I recently came across a 2006 EP from New York foursome Professor Murder titled, “Rides the Subway,” and I dug it. I know I’m a year late, but hopefully I’m not too late. It was a remarkably short but equally remarkably infectious collection of dancepunk tracks that (in my view) are way better than anything OK Go! or The Go! Team ever released, and equally as good as the new !!!.

The standout track, “Champion,” is essentially a chant, with various forms of percussion (cowbell!) and storytelling verses around a shouted, fuzzy hook “Champion!” followed by some mumbling that I can’t quite make out). On “Camron’s New Color (Part 3),” the band takes their percussive experimentation a step further, with each instrument hitting a beat slightly before or after the beat that came before it. It’s a style similar to Eminem’s old vocal style, before he perfected his ability to hit the mark. The various rhythms give a tribal feel but also keep you on edge, constantly trying to catch up to where the song has gone and never letting you get ahead of the beat.  This remedies one of my biggest complaints about dancepunk, by the way, which is that you always know which direction the song is going before they get there. (Come on, as catchy as “Take Me Out” may have been, you can’t say it was surprising.)

The band only gets ordinary on “Free Stress Test,” the relatively slower closer of the EP, but by the time it arrives, you’re ready for a rest. And it’s not like they change dramatically here, they just give you a constant groove so you can nod your head and appreciate what you just heard. I’ll get hate mail for this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Professor Murder is to dancepunk what The Clash were to punk punk. PM seems to want to bring a reggae groove to a medium that doesn’t generally have that kind of texture. Of course, it remains to be seen if PM will make an impression in the future.

The EP is available at emusic.

Note: At their website you can download a live show and a cool new track:

That’s How They Getcha, over South Rakkas Crew’s “Chinkuzi Riddim.”

They’ve also got stuff on their myspace page.


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