This sounds like a cross between Hawkwind and Television, albeit some rather twisted, scary versions of both bands. Does that sound like the perfect blend to you? It does to me
The Modern Dance is the debut album by American rock band Pere Ubu. It was released in January 1978 by record label Blank. The Modern Dance has been critically acclaimed. Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1978, Robert Christgau wrote that "even though there's too much Radio Ethiopia and not enough 'Redondo Beach,'" he would be "listening through the failed stuff—the highs are worth it." In Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), he reaffirmed that "the highs are worth it, and the failed stuff ain't bad" in his revised review. Ken Tucker, writing in Rolling Stone, called it vivid and exhilarating, even if "harsh and willfully ugly". NME named The Modern Dance the 11th best album of 1978. Fact placed the record at number 31 on its list of the 100 best albums of the 1970s.
This sounds like a cross between Hawkwind and Television, albeit some rather twisted, scary versions of both bands. Does that sound like the perfect blend to you? It does to me
If I wanted to listen to random noises I would listen to my butt cheeks.
One guy on Rate Your Music said this is his favorite album ever. I disavow that.
Really dug this. It's got a raw, punk rock vibe to it.
why do i have the best time with the weird albums
Ground zero for postpunk. The avant garage. The beauty of Cleveland pressed into vinyl... A band I'd probably have never got into, except for reading Rip It Up and Start Again, Simon Reynolds amazing book on postpunk 78-84. I hear it very differently now. Not a perfect album, but the highs are totally exhilarating. 4.5*
3.5 stars. Started off great for being pretty out there. But second half faded and got too harsh. Standout is "Non-Alignment Pact".
40 minutes of goofy caterwauling
I've got no language for Pere Ubu's early genus. No positive language, at least, which made the trip from second to first release a search for flaws. I suppose there are plenty: It's a rough album, deliberately spiky at all kinds of levels. But breaking glass fills the brain-space prepared for it more than perfectly. I'm no dancer, so even the title is appropriate. Glad there are several more hours of this somewhere out there.
10/10 Pere Ubu has quickly become one of my favorite post-punk bands their stuff is incredible
great punk sound
This is SO weird, but I LOVE IT.
A really great record! I never listened to it before but it is flawless in my opinion.
Avant- garde punk. Some songs are great and hit hard. Others I wouldn’t listen to unless I were in the mood for experimental sounds. Classic album though.
Ahh my old pal/nemesis Pere Ubu - my first experience of what can only be described as headache inducing euphoric psychosis was back at the start of this project. This is slightly more accessible but still fucking way out there man. It's made me surprisingly tempted to go back and listen to Dub Housing again (a task I swore I would never willingly subject myself to after my first listen) to understand where the differences between the two lay. I think the accessibility of this one comes from the fact that although it's still rife with seemingly non-sensical horn and synth key bashing, each track ultimately opens up into pretty strong, pretty funky post punkesque riffs - something which I seem to remember Dub Housing definitely not doing. Okie dokie have just got to Life Stinks and they are back to their old tricks again and I love it. They are definitely going down as one of the most interesting finds within 1001 and I am super glad they snuck two albums in, have really enjoyed the point of comparison. I've mentioned before that Post Punk is my favourite genre and I think it could be argued that these guys (along with Talking Heads, Devo etc) are probably responsible for the genre as we know it. ALL HAIL PERE UBU
I enjoyed this album
Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Modern dance
very good...kind of niche rock and jazz fusion.
More cranky, hanky stuff like Dub Housing, but it feels slightly more like organised chaos here. In some senses, that's great, this album has ten actual songs, but on the other hand, I quite liked the terrifying unpredictability of the former. In short, both are great, the people low balling this just want everything in varying shades of grey and beige.
There's a lot to digest here. Not the most listenable album, but definitely worth listening to for the ideas and imagery it spontaneously generates.
Never heard of these guys before this project. Great stuff - the more I hear it the better it gets! Standouts: The Modern Dance, Real World, Humor Me, Non-Alignment Pact, Laughing, Life Stinks, Over My Head, Sentimental Journey. 4/5
Really like this. I love the "avant-garage" description, I think that captures what they are doing. Their sound is solidly punk in some ways, but they are also freely experimenting, and the concoction is irresistable. Occasionally it got annoying, like that track with all the bottle smashing, but besides that I think I have a new band to dig into.
Lost me a bit towards the end but overall boundary pushing and solid
I LOVE POST PUNK!!!@ this is a good album, a bit too weird for me but I like the title track and a few others. very niceee
Discarding all sense of musical conventions reminds me of both the fall and the minutemen but with less of an effort to make musical sense. Anti music Don’t take the brown acid, man. It’s “challenge music.” Side effects may include writer’s block, delusions of postmodernism, man’s inhumanity to man, and improper comparisons to abstract art.
It's good. I never heard of these guys before this book project. Now I know two of their albums. Great sound, interesting. I'd definitely keep listening. Standouts: Non-Alignment Pact, Real World 4/5
I don't know if my tastes have evolved, but this sounds more accessible and melodic than Dub Housing. There are several catchy dance tracks, skewed toward the first half. The sparser, creepier tracks remind me of the post-rock band Slint. The Byrne-esque vocals are very dramatic and excessive, but just adds to the extremity of how hard music can be while still retaining some form and structure. The samples are a cool addition that add to the atmosphere. Bass is strong, which is also a standout to me in post-punk. There were several unsatisfying parts, but I had a fun time.
"Modern Dance" has white noise that honestly made me think my headphones were faulty. :P
Holy fucking shit, this album kicks balls. I was originally going to give it 5 stars, but I’m torn because “Sentimental Journey” was the only low point that I thought didn’t come together. Everything else about the sound of the album is fantastic.
post-punk. Me ha sorprendido para bien.
I loved this album when it first came out. So jarring. It still holds up.
I really liked how weird this album was, but sometimes it got too shrill for me. "Sentimental Journey" is basically unlistenable. But, I ended up listening to it 3 times and would definitely listen again.
Vinksahtanut ja ihan hauska levy, alku vahvempi kuin loppupuoli joka menee jo vähän kikkailun puolelle. 3/5
Hämmentävä levy! Laidasta laitaan matskua niin postrockia kun reggaetakin. Jotenkin sellanen popedamainen versio talking headsista tulee mieleen. Täytyy kuunnella uudelleen myöhemmin jos sit vaikka hiffais onks tää birdy vai fisu 3/5
HL: "Non-Alignment Pact", "Street Waves", "Humor Me" Listening to this made me go back to Surfer Rosa, for two reasons. One, I underappreciated it the first time, plus this generator has blessed me with a tolerance for noisier rock I may not have had then. And two, there has to be some of Pere Ubu's David Thomas in Black Francis's vocal stylings. This isn't an easy listen, but it's surprisingly catchy at times. I actually liked the spooky synth, but I was less enthused when it was isolated in my right ear. Just put the damn oboe down 3*, I’m feeling generous August 3, 2023
Some of it was interesting some of sounded like a bratty 5 year old with a toy trumpet
Pere Ubu has always one of those bands that I struggle to "get into". They're similar to say The Residents or Captain Beefheart with Kraut Rock sensibilities. With no discernable melodies and purposely ugly vocals, its a challenging listen. But I guess this is intentional as they're reflecting the angst and chaos of their apocalyptic world.
This album has a much more Ramones-y, rock&roll feel to it than their other 1001 offering, Dub Housing. Yet there are still a few avant-garde pieces thrown in to please the lovers of noise.
Late 70s was an interesting time for music. The cool musicians were leading the charge to trying to get run away from disco as fast as possible. This coupled with economic woes resulted in an environment ripe for creativity and change. This album was one of the results. Sure there is a lot of noise and at times it sounds like a novelty act but it’s still a good example of the creativity that came out of that period.
I have to be in the mood, but when I am I like them.
Cool sound. The immediate drastic panning of instruments is very annoying. I've written before about how I think it's very easy for panning to hurt a song's overall production and how frequently this kind of stark/heavy handed panning was happening in records from the 50s up to the 80s. I am enjoying track 2 "Modern Dance". It's got this cool repetitive riff and yelping vocal part that I find attractive. Track 3, "Laughing" is cool too. I like how improvisational it feels. That is a musical concept that I feel like this list has been avoiding. Overall I give it a 3.
This list is a real treasure trove of experimental rock and early punk. There are a lot of bands I'm learning about for the first time. The sort of bands that your favorite bands probably listened to. Pere Ubu sounds at times like a less polished B-52's. A little more wild and out there and experimental. Something I've learned by going through this list is that punk and post-punk basically happened around the same time. The name 'post-punk' can be misleading because it suggests that it could have only happened after punk became popular. But it seems like almost right away, a lot of experimental bands picked up on the energy of punk and twisted it in new directions. ("Chinese Radiation" is a good example of post-punk on this album.) Maybe post-punk is a good descriptor of bands that were influenced by experimental 60's rock and just happened to be continuing those sounds alongside punk rock. I also read something recently where a music critic argued that bands don't think about genre as much as fans and critics do. They just make the music they want to make and it gets labelled after. That seems right. Pere Ubu is a band that clearly made whatever crazy music they wanted to make. I don't think they thought a ton about music history when recording this album. The first half felt more focused than the second half. A few tracks lost me in the back half, particularly the nonsense noise of “Sentimental Journey.” 2.5
Didn’t know this band. Lots of interesting stuff going on. Probably needs another listen or two to land on proper rating.
Interesting sound. Never heard them before. 3/5
Had some real chaotic energy, was mostly fun to listen through. A 3.5
I'm delighted that Dimery's list has weird art-rock records like this. It's important that all sorts of music are represented, in spite of all the reviewers in here grumbling about this one and giving it low grades (I'm talking about music from the "western" world and using the album format, at least). Besides, Pere Ubu is an act so bizarre that it literally can't age. Some reviewers talking about the two Pere Ubu albums selected by Dimery referred to recent groundbreaking bands like Squid or black midi so as to give their opinions and try to explain what those LPs are all about. And I'm also glad about this. There's definitely an affinity between Pere Ubu's own off-kilter sound in 1978 and the one played by quite important rock bands that don't want to fully rehash the past these days. The good news is also that, contrary to *Dub Housing*, *The Modern Dance* more or less manages to keep momentum for the duration of its ten tracks. "Non-Alignment Pact" and the title-track offer great moments right off the bat. David Thomas' frantic voice, somewhere between Jello Biafra and David Byrne, is an acquired taste, of course. But once you find your footing with it, it becomes quite fascinating. After that great start, "Laughing"'s deconstructed, sax-enhanced shenanigans are a bit of a letdown, yet Thomas's voice does a good enough job getting you hooked in spite of the overaffected free-jazz surroundings. And then "Street Waves" quickly surges anyway--with one bridge containing a classic guitar solo that will easily rock your socks off, and another bridge where eerie wind sounds will suddenly keep you on your bare toes as you force them to walk on ice. Funny how those two bridges actually epitomize the two sides of the word *art-rock* all by themselves. Following "Street Waves", you have "Chinese Radiations", another "deconstructed" cut going from a slow ambient mood to a more lively conclusion. Yet this time, said "decontructed cut" is fortunately far more efficient and evocative. Thomas then goes totally bezerk on bonkers "Life Stinks"--the rhythm section is on a full punk mode here--before centerpiece " Real World" ensues--some sort of dub track that goes off the rails to become far more at the end: a mesmerizing-yet-hectic plea and a proto-Talking Heads gem all at the same time. After that, calm "Over My Head" and its haunted background vocals provide a welcome respite--with another lovely guitar solo for its bridge. Concluding the album, you have "Sentimental Journey", a self-indulgent, seemingly improvised number where the most recognizable pattern comes for the sound of breaking glass (the studio's floor was notoriously littered with broken bottles after they recorded that cut). And then, you have the mock-reggae of "Humour Me", with fun clapping hands helping you digest all the guitar and synth harmonies around them--weird ones for sure, yet also poignant, oddly enough. That last guitar solo, short but epic, is a major plus to turn that closer into a highlight. Voilà, to put it in a nutshell. *The Modern Dance* is a mid-western, no-wave version of Roxy Music. As such, it's "out there" and sort of a mixed bag, but it's still a fun listen if you open your mind and try to forget the usual expectations of run-of-the-mill rock and punk-rock. It sure won't send you to the highs that Wire or Gang Of Four can aim at (two bands that Spotify's algorithm played after *The Modern Dance* ended--which was highly predictable, lol). But it's still a success in its own (admittedly bizarre) terms. After all, you can find other admirable players in second leagues sometimes. Number of albums left to review: 442 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 260 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 133 (including this one) Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 168
Knotty, spiky and interesting at times. Bonus points for originality and willingness to experiment. Points off for lack of melody or anything remotely pleasurable.
Short angular dirty grooved funk rock. Bit like Talking Heads dirty uncle.
Oh god what the hell was that feedback noise at the beginning of Non-Alignment Pact!? That was especially horrible over my car speakers. Might not have sounded so bad in 1978. This ended up being okay, some neat early post-punk. Will I listen again? Probably not. Generally this wasn't my thing. It was just too unhinged with no real substance or direction to justify it. Seems very creative for 1978 though. Favourite: Modern Dance
Kinda weird but not bad
Congratulations to anyone who got through the first 20 seconds of this album. You either weren't paying attention, or you're now clinically insane. The lead singer sounds a little too much like Pete Townshend. If you weed through the garbage, there are some gems here, moments of which are enough to push it up from a 2 to a 3. But Jesus Christ, do you have to kiss a lot of frogs. So many that it's almost not worth it. Avant Garde doesn't always mean "listenable". Oh well. I'm sure Yoko Ono is found of this.
Frantic, cynical and fun. I really enjoyed this album. Can't believe I've never heard of this band before.
Boy I know the name but I did not know the music. Vocals are very unique... I can see people absolutely hating them and I am not sure how I feel. I bet live this would be killer though. Definitely has avant-garde fuck you energy that I can get behind. I may need to revisit later.
Simultaneously charming and off-putting. Seems more intentionally weird and difficult than their debut "Dub Housing," which I prefer.
I'd swivel between a 3 & 3.5 depending on my mood. Decent punk/post-punk.
Noisy and ridiculous, in the best ways. I used to really dislike Pere Ubu, but they've kind of grown on me over the years. Not everyday listening, but I appreciate this band's fearless creativity. Fave Songs: Street Waves, The Modern Dance, Non-Alignment Pact, Humor Me, Real World, Chinese Radiation
Whenever I see an album tagged as "art rock" or "art punk" I reflexively lower my expectations a bit. As expected, this one shows promise at times, but more often is off-putting, I suspect simply for the sake of being inaccessible. It's a bit like early B52s or Talking Heads, but more abrasive.
Not the finest thing punk has to offer
A classic art-punk record which I listened to back in the late 80's, because a few friends used to be into them. Not revisited this since mind you. Not a lot like it back then or even now. Seems odd listening to it in perfect clarity instead of what was probably a very old worn LP! It's pretty good, best tracks; Street Waves, Real World . It gets a 3.
Can't blame anyone for not making it past the first few seconds. I guess that's how they let you know what you're in for. That opening is probably the worst part though. Not that the rest is really amazing, it's just not that bad.
Is it weird I’ve never heard of this band? Sounds like the kind of thing I used to listen to a lot.
More interesting than awesome. There are some bits that are engaging alternative rock with a challenging edge, but there's also enough experimentation that doesn't work.
A strange arty punk/rock album that I'm not too sure of what to make of it. There were lots of weird sounds and beeps that I'm not sure what Pere Ubu was going for, but modern dance, I wouldn't have picked that from the overall listen. There were some glimpses of goodness, but overall a little lackluster. Best: Modern Dance Worst: Laughing 2.5 Stars
Way more interesting than I thought it would be
Huh en ihan tällaisen häröilyn fani ole, vaikka onkin suht kiinnostava. Livenä saattaisin innostua.
Great sound, but not terribly moving for me.
Very offbeat and quirky.
I really did not care for this at all.
Punk is fine, but once you start calling it art punk maybe the original intention is being lost. Anyway I found this a difficult listen.
Best Song: Life Stinks. The one song that was appreciably punk. Worst Song: Non-Alignment. Who decides to kick off an album with such an insufferable noise? "Hey, you know how we should start the album? How about a metro train screeching into the station, but worse?" Overall: Not every obnoxious art project is accidentally great art. This is mostly just directionless, uninspired nonsense. I bet they had fun making the album, and I love that for them, but it sure isn't fun to listen to.
lost interest halfway through
It’s weird, too weird for me like I tend to enjoy most post punk and vocals aren’t usually an issue but I didn’t find this fun 2/5
It's highly admirable that the list is inclusive of special needs musicians.
Wow! The album started out with a long annoying sound and managed to sustain that thru several tracks. Points of brilliance but nothing I will need to endure again
Rock experimental. Un rollo que quiere ser moderno metiendo ruidos... Un 2.
As a punk fan I can appreciate elements, but this is just noisy.
Much better than the other Ubu album on here (That's right there's TWO OF THEM) but only just. Some of the musical compositions are interesting, and I kind of like the humor in taking a groove and inserting some challenging sax bleats or whatever. Really it's the horrid, awful vocal wailing shit that I cannot stand.
Non-alignment pack is a pretty fun punk song and the rest of these are not
Was just not that into it.
Estilo un tanto underground y experimental. No me ha aportado nada especialmente. Flojo en muchos sentidos.
Regular punk album. I'm sure it must have historical importance, but I didn't enjoy it that much.
I couldn't finish this one, it's a sensory overload. Can hear slithers of garage rock and hearty serves experimental rock from the tracks I could tolerate. Reminds me of J Mascis. Can understand the underground appeal. 4/10
Not great, didn’t make it through. Not bad, either.
Random sounds with no coherence. Not enjoyable unless you actively want a headache
Tried it twice, didn't get it.
Not my thing! Started off good but didn't enjoy it all
I find the cover art 10% interesting and 90% off putting. Which actually makes it perfect for this album. Starts strong, but somewhere in the third song they lost me. It's interesting, but also a mess. A stressful listen, honestly. Songs like Sentimental Journey are just more work than I want to put in when trying to relax to some music. It is possible Pere Ubu belongs on this list. It is also possible The Modern Dance is mostly just noise. Maybe both can be true at the same time? 2.5 rounding down for the cover art.
This was a tough listen. Really noisy and I played it way too early. It was interesting though and felt fresh and new despite its years.
Liked some of the later tracks a bit more than the first few but not for me. Might be one that would grow on me.
meh. the majority of the songs just don't do anything for me.
Regardless of what my daily album is, I always listen to the whole thing. It was a tremendous struggle to make it through this one. Now excuse me while I help my wife get the knitting needles out of her ears.
Kinda gratey on the ears
purposely bad. fuck off.
I begin to get really irritated at the recommendations for 40 minutes of nonsensical noise.