Recently, I’ve been dipping into my old DJ playlists. Call it nostalgia for the barely remembered 00s — the long Tuesday nights mixing italo into Squarepusher into novelty records to the amusement of DJ Rok One and the complete obliviousness of the drunken corner booth canoodlers.
At a considerably better-attended roof party last weekend, Shawn Ryan of Hurrah and I bonded over our shared love for one of these old favorites, Slang Teacher by Wide Boy Awake. Started by former Adam and the Ants bass player Kevin Mooney, these fugitives from the wild frontier had two EPs of mostly forgettable new romanticism.
A prime example is their single Chicken Outlaw. Five odd minutes of silly whiteboy-funk organ jamming overtop a disco arpeggiator, it sounds like Dexy’s Midnight Runners guest-starring on Knight Rider However, the B-side, Slang Teacher is a cocktail of funk bass, heavy percussion, and electronics that moved dance floors 20 years before LCD Soundsystem. These guys were so far ahead of their time that it seems no one noticed it, even them. If they had made one full length album that sounded like this song they’d be on t-shirts now. They deserve one for the Slang Teacher handclap breakdown alone. I have my google alerts set for when someone finally does the reedit.
Also worth checking out, if you can find it, is the dub mix of Billy Hyena, which strips out most of the silliness, concentrating instead on the drums and the laser attack synths. When the vocoder drops two minutes in, you’ll thank me.