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Moving Units

Los Angeles's Moving Units rock like it's 1980 and I mean that in the best possible way. The band taps the rhythms, textures, and moods of British post-punk and early New Wave as well as anyone else around, at times sounding like the missing link between the legendary Mutant Pop and No New York compilations which chronicled the spastic innovations of that era on either side of the Atlantic. Moving Units though they may be, the band's various parts work in perfect synchronicity, from Chris Hathwell's stuttering, syncopated percussion on up. Blake Miller's slashing guitar and angsty, rhythmic vocals get the most attention, but Johan Boegli's seesawing bass work is the glue that holds everything together. The Units should appeal to anyone who loves Gang of Four, A Certain Ratio, or The Pop Group, but don't think of their music as rote recitation of bygone styles; not only is the band tight as hell, but their tightly wound, minimal, paranoid take on punk feels fully appropriate for these nerve-racking times. What's more, you can dance to it.

The Moving Units got together in the waning days of 2001 after Miller arrived in Los Angeles from Detroit and got hooked up with native Angeleno Hathwell, who meanwhile had begun collaborating with another newcomer, D.C. transplant Boegli. In the blink of an eye, the Moving Units became one of the coolest bands in Los Angeles, snagging a residency at the beloved Silverlake club Spaceland in early 2002, and soon thereafter releasing their self-titled vinyl-only debut on Three One G. A deal with the newly formed Rx Records followed, which led to the release of the EP on CD in early 2003. Clocking in at just under 15 minutes, the EP offers both visceral thrills and arty nuance, frustrating only with its brevity. That problem will be resolved later on in 2003 when the Units release their long awaited debut full-length Dangerous Dreams.

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