The Disco Students: I Beg to Differ
PopMatters Interviews Editor
When’s the last time you picked up a double-disc CD retrospective of a band that’s been around for a quarter of a century and you haven’t heard a single song from? Well, this is gonna be your first. The Disco Students is a band that, in many ways, is an awesome Joy Division knockoff with absolutely none of the budget. The band has long since been plagued with problems that would make VH1’s Behind the Music shame itself, but long-suffering leader Simon Cheetham has prevailed for 28 years, making songs with great titles and a sense of danceable fun despite budget limitations. The Disc 2 electro experiments wear thin after a while, but the gems all lie in Disc 1—prime-era Students where the Joy Division influence was so great they named one song “Love Will Blow Up in Your Face”. Sure, you can argue that some songs, like “A Boy with a Perchant for Open Neck Shirts”, wear thin (and it does, especially with Cheetham’s never-there voice), but the gems are just as numerous, like tuning into some great lost radio station run by Ariel Pink. It’s not perfect, it’s sloppy and sometimes a strain, but never before has a double-disc retrospective release been so warranted. Ladies and gentlemen: the best band you’ve never heard.
Evan Sawdey began contributing to PopMatters in late 2005 after contributing for years to his college newspaper The Knox Student
. Evan became the Associate Interviews Editor for PopMatters in the summer of 2008, and then the full Interviews Editor a year after that. Since joining, Evan's work has been written for and been quoted/featured in a wide array of publications including SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and multiple national newspapers. Evan has been a guest on WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle
album (available for free at GoodWithWordsAlbum.com
), and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C.
(Big Break Records) and the 2012 re-releases of Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder's standalone 1985 pop effort
(Virgin/Gold Legion), the JoBoxers' 1983 debut album Like Gangbusters
, 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry
, and Plastic Bertrand's 1978 album AN 1
(all Hot Shot Records). He is a current member of The Recording Academy and resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye
should you be so inclined.