It’s not surprising that Omaha quartet the Faint chose to reissue its 2001 opus, Danse Macabre, in 2012; the group is one of many who released anniversary editions of old LPs last year, including Interpol and Rage Against the Machine. But revisiting Danse Macabre offers a reminder that the Faint has always occupied a weird spot in music. Formed in the mid-’90s, the band signed to Saddle Creek—Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst was part of the earliest lineup—but released electro-inflected records distinctly at odds with the label’s folk- and emo-leaning roster.
Within the larger indie-rock scene, the Faint remained outsiders: too enamored of synths for the so-called garage-rock revival led by the Strokes and the White Stripes, too rock-oriented to be part of the budding electroclash movement. But that might be why Danse Macabre holds up as well as it does: Its dark, pulsating tunes are as danceable as ever, with songs like “Agenda Suicide”—featuring lyrics about grinding yourself down at a soulless job “to get that pretty little home”—remaining relevant a decade later.
To celebrate the reissue—which includes bonus tracks and a DVD of rare concert footage—the Faint took Danse Macabre on the road, playing the 35-minute record in sequence. The group’s electropunk ethos comes alive during a gig, which is often a sweaty, glorious mess of music and frenetic dancing (both from the band and the audience). We can only hope the Coachella crowds will abandon any too-cool-to-dance posing for the rockers' Sunday sets.—Amy Plitt
The Faint plays Coachella Sunday April 14 and Sunday April 21.