Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997
by Various Artists
Released: Feb 2014
From the U.K.'s Strut label comes an essential primer to Chicago's Dance Mania imprint. Dance Mania is best known for pioneering the raw, ribald style known as "ghetto house," and there's plenty of that here, whether it's Traxmen's "Hit It From the Back" or DJ Deeon's nerve-rattling "Da Bomb." But the album also tells a much broader story, touching upon early jack tracks like Hercules' "7 Ways" as well as understated deep house like Vincent Floyd's "I Dream You." DJ Funk's "The Original Video Clash," meanwhile, is a masterpiece of stripped-down brutalism, as tough as techno gets.