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Various Artists ZE 30 – ZE Records 1979-2009

When punk, disco, and no wave were considered bankrupt and exiled to the underground, the ZE label was there to pick up the pieces. In the process, they captured an enviable amount of schizophrenic diversity, from rides on George Clinton’s mothership like Was (Not Was)’s infectious “Tell Me That I’m Dreaming” to art-damaged affairs like Suicide’s classic L.E.S. junkie lullaby, “Dream Baby Dream.” Ironically, the stand-out here comes from our decade—Scottish no wavers Michael Dracula, who shade atonal guitar scratches across wispy vocals that are spoken like a betrayed lover tucking in her soul mate before a pillow-smothering. It’s not a moment that easily fits among so much smiley-faced disco on ZE 30, but that’s the pleasure of schizophrenia.

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