If you’re a semi-conscious human being living in the 21st century, you’ve probably felt it. A gnawing sense of dread. An unfocused black hole of despair. A weary feeling of resignation when faced with another day of bulldozing through the competition and winning at all costs. Call it what you will: late stage capitalism, the rat race, the Way We Live Today. It’s a disease, and there’s seemingly no cure. Milwaukee’s finest Bay View sausage emporium, The Vanguard, is fond of saying “BE SOMEBODY.” But nowhere in that slogan does it say “AND FUCK THE OTHER PERSON OVER.”
Enter Milwaukee’s finest art-damaged post-punk outfit, Dirty Dancing. “To win you gotta beat someone!” howls frontman Eric Schoen on the group’s serrated new single, “Winning.” Not that the band (Schoen, Neil Larson, Max Williamson, Travis McDonnell) revels in this reality. “From the bottom I can see more,” Schoen deadpans in the song’s opening seconds, firmly establishing his place in the pecking order. Later, he flips the script on a popular phrase: “To the spoils go the victor.”
“Winning” is the first single from Dirty Dancing’s upcoming LP, That For This, due May 10 on Gloss Records. Produced by Harrison Colby (NO/NO, Sex Scenes), the record promises to be a clanging, angular, pissed-off treatise on some of Schoen’s favorite topics: “chance, loss, love, and consumerism.” (See also: 2016’s “Don’t Wanna Be Satisfied.”)
“The entire music experience, from performing to buying and selling records, is a transaction between audience and artist, like an abstract conversation,” Schoen says in a press release. On that note, you can preorder That For This right now via Gloss Records, or pick one up at the release show May 18 at Club Garibaldi (Sex Scenes, Head On Electric, and CRLSS will play in support).
Listen to “Winning” and non-album B-side “The Carrot & The Stick” below.