Gang Gang Dance
When Gang Gang Dance started gigging around New York City in the early 2000s, they were the last band anyone ever expected to make a great pop album. Early shows -- no doubt inspired by fellow New Yorkers No-Neck Blues Band -- were half performance art, half mystical ritual, with the band deconstructing noise rock, homemade electronica, free jazz, hip-hop and world music from Africa and Asia. Drummer Tim DeWitt and keyboardist Brian DeGraw had previously played together in the Cranium, an experimental post-hardcore outfit from Washington, D.C. They were strange, but not like Gang Gang Dance. Then things started to change. Each new album documented a band striving to alchemically transform all the weird stuff mentioned up above into a novel and all-too-fantastical breed of dance pop. After two challenging albums, they succeeded with the release of God's Money in 2005. Over an undulating latticework of phantom bass drops, tribal percussion and crystal synths, vocalist Liz Bougatsos chirps, cries and coos like some kind of post-nuclear gypsy. In 2008 Gang Gang Dance upped the ante with the wonderfully psychedelic Saint Dymphna, which actually boasts a dancefloor anthem or two -- sort of.