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Electroclash: 12 Artists You Need to Know

In our newest feature Obituary for a Genre, we look at the songs that defined a now-dead scene

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Scissor Sisters (Getty Images)

Depending on your age and where you live, the word "electroclash" either conjures up vivid memories of the early 2000s or sounds like something you vaguely read about once on some electronic music blog.

While the Strokes, Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs were reshaping rock music in New York, a group of similar-minded dance music lovers were creating electroclash, a fusion of techno, New Wave, electro, rap and rock. We gave the genre a proper obituary, but here are the artists that made the brief movement indelible.

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I-F - "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass"

Four years before the movement would blow up, Dutch DJ I-F released this 1997 track. Its electro, vocoder-anchored roots would become Ground Zero for the genre, paving the way for a slew of like-minded producers and singers.

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Fischerspooner - "Emerge"

Arguably the single biggest song to, sorry, "emerge" from electroclash came from the minds of NYC musicians/performance artists Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner. When they weren't staging elaborate art installations-cum-concerts in New York, the group was unwittingly soundtracking countless downtown and Brooklyn bars and clubs.

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Peaches - “AA XXX"

Sex-obsessed provocateur Peaches took simple electronic backdrop and infused them with amazingly filthy, disgusting lyrics and raucous live shows. More than anyone else, she drew the ire of conservatives (she called her third album Fatherf-cker) and applause of growing audiences.

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Felix da Housecat featuring Miss Kittin - "Silver Screen Shower Scene"

Despite being predominantly a singles-oriented genre, electroclash did produce a few (relatively) classic albums. DJ/producer Felix Da Housecat's Kittenz and Thee Glitz was one,featuring assists by Tommie Sunshine, Junior Sanchez and French singer Miss Kittin. Kittin, the most ubiquitous of the genre's vocalists, seemingly appeared on 90% of all electroclash tracks.

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Golden Boy & Miss Kittin - "Rippin Kittin"

One-hit wonder Golden Boy not only enlisted Miss Kittin (see? She's on everything) but lent her name to the title. The pulsating track was a staple late-night track of the scene.  

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Ladytron – “Seventeen”

Ladytron did everything in their power to distance themselves from the scene, and the fact that we're still talking about them over other, now-faded acts, is a testament to their ability to transcend genre.

At the height of the genre, member Daniel Hunt said, "We were existing in complete isolation, then suddenly we’re being written up as part of this thing that we don’t feel we’re part of."

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Scissor Sisters –“Electrobix”

Yes, they changed and matured their sound well past their electroclash roots, folding in pop, glam, cabaret, funk and disco in future recordings. But the NYC group's earliest records were rooted firmly in the genre.

"Comfortably Numb," the group's breakthrough cover of the Pink Floyd classic, was the b-side to "Electrobix" above, but the latter shows where the group's roots lay.

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Tiga and Zyntherius - "Sunglasses at Night"

Corey Hart's 1983 New Wave cheeseball classic didn't exactly need to be revamped for a new generation of irony lovers, but Tiga and Zyntherius deftly reconfigure the track to sound like it was made by aliens in the year 3000.

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Miss Kittin and the Hacker – "Frank Sinatra"

Miss Kittin's deadpan style, sincere love of Ol Blue Eyes and The Hacker's thumping, futuristic production made this one a club staple. While we can't imagine Sinatra crooning, "Suck my d-ck. Lick my ass. In limousines, we have sex every night with my famous friends," it works for this song.

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Vitalic - "La Rock 01"

French electronic producer Vitalic didn't release his debut album OK Cowboy until 2005, a few years after the electroclash boom, but the booming beat and grinding synths of "La Rock 01" fell in perfectly with the sound.

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ADULT. – “Hand to Phone”

Detroit duo ADULT. was always one of the more rock-oriented dance acts of the scene and one of the few to successfully transcend electroclash into a long-lasting career. "Hand to Phone" was one of their earlier singles, released later on their debut album/compilation Resuscitation.

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Chicks on Speed - "We Don't Play Guitars"

The flamboyant German band/art collective Chicks on Speed started in performance art and fashion before incorporating music into their singular art. 2003's scream-sung "We Don't Play Guitars" is as much a mantra and exclamation as song.

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