Unlike other Portland dance acts, Ancient Heat isn’t simply influenced by disco music: This nine-piece ensemble is a living embodiment of the much-maligned genre. And to ensure the authenticity of its sound, the group has analyzed the deep cuts from the 1970s and early ’80s and, in some cases, worked out covers of its favorites for live shows and this new EP.
As with the songs Ancient Heat plays in concert, the tracks chosen for Under The Covers
are particularly inspired. You get a small taste of Portland music
history with the band giving a sparkly spin to “Ghettos of the Mind,” a
track from disco-soul group Pleasure. There’s also an allotment of
kitsch via a version of the theme to Lucio Fulci’s Italian camp horror
film Zombi 2. On “Is It All Over My Face?,” a rendition of a
single recorded by Loose Joints in 1980, leader Brendan Grubb and co.
take to the original’s lost-in-space vibe—a hallmark of its
writer-producer, Arthur Russell—with great aplomb, giving their all to
wandering synth lines and capricious group vocals. It’s as close as any
current band is ever going to get to uprooting legendary New York night
club the Paradise Garage and transporting it to these modern times.
SEE IT: Ancient Heat plays Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., with Foreign Orange, Phone Call and 1980sprince, on Wednesday, May 29. 8:30 pm. $6. 21+.