The Modern Dance album cover
The Modern Dance

Pere Ubu

Blank Records

This album is the urtext of art-punk. Without Pere Ubu’s debut blast from the Cleveland wastes, there would have been no Mission of Burma; no Pixies; no Pavement. The transition from the chugging kiss-off song “Non-alignment Pact” to the resolutely weird title track is, arguably, one of the most hair-raisingly perfect moments of 1970s rock’n’roll. And then it gets weirder, with tracks like “Real World” and “Over My Head” using herky-jerk rhythms and muttered spoken-word asides to generate moods that were completely alien to pop music at the time. And then the floodgates broke and rock music was never the same again.

Rick Anderson

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