The Artist/Album: A Certain Ratio, Early (Soul Jazz, 2002)
The Reason(s) We Can’t Stop Listening: If you only listen to one Factory Records act outside of Joy Division and New Order, make it their very first signing. “Shack Up” and “Do the Du” are both undisputed disco-punk standards, with the former being an obscure funk cover that once lit Lower East Side dance floors right up and the latter shamelessly–and tellingly–ripped off by the Rapture on their seminal Echoes album. Elsewhere, hollow cowbells and heat-seeking horns mingle with rhythms that’d spark a conga line in the dead of winter. Pure fire from post-punk’s peak.