MUNK with MIKE TULL, ANDREW ALLSGOOD, ERIC & CODY at Andy Poolhall (489 College), Saturday (November 27). $5 before 11 pm, $8 after. 416-923-5300.
It's tempting to think that Munk have jumped onto the disco-punk bandwagon. The Munich-based production duo of Mathias Modica (originally from Italy) and Jonas Imbery, who also run the Gomma record label, have just released their debut album Aperitivo, in which they enlisted their various hip friends as collaborators, including James Murphy (of DFA Records and LCD Soundsystem), Princess Superstar, Bobby Conn and Parisian up-and-comer DJ Chloé among others.
But it should be pointed out that Munk have been key in reviving these sounds in the first place, especially with their much-talked-about Anti-NY and Teutonic Disaster compilations of obscure New York no-wave and German electronic rock. There was originally supposed to be a third segment concentrating on weird Italian music, but they've since decided to focus on new music, albeit influenced by the vintage experimentation of the compilations.
"We originally started the label to release our own music," explains Modica from Munich. "We were making music all the time, first with bands and later with parties and DJing. We then started making electronic music together, but the sound was a bit different from what was going on, and people weren't interested in releasing it for us, so we started the label."
One of the reasons people are paying attention to Gomma is that their 12-inch singles have successfully made punk-influenced music that you can DJ and that people will actually dance to.
Journalists struggle to name the sound and often cop out by calling it electro, when it's really a much broader form, pulling equally from underground dance music and underground rock. The album goes beyond the dance-floor mentality of the singles to deliver something closer to a mix tape of strange bands than what you image an "electronic" album sounding like.
"We DJ together every weekend, basically playing different forms of house from late 70s to now. We weren't interested in doing a dance album of club tracks, though, so we mixed it up with all of the other music we like - psychedelic rock, krautrock, no-wave, Italian music."
They been playing shows lately as a five-piece band, but on this tour they will DJ. As Modica explains, "We need to practise more. Whenever we get together we spend too much time jamming and not enough time learning the songs. We have all these friends in bands that keep offering us shows opening up for them, but I don't think we're ready yet."
One of the reasons it's been hard to name this style is that it's not coming from just one place. Electroclash, for example, failed as a genre term; it was specific to a certain kind of party in a certain place. It ignored that the music was happening all over the world, from many different points of view.
"We get responses from all over the world, but we were surprised that we got lots of feedback from Russia, and we're actually selling lots of records there. I guess there are lots of young rich kids there now."