Imagine a club night called ‘Diamonds and Death’, who would the perfect house band be? A band that rattles out percussion based indie dance in the same ilk as LCD Soundsystem with the dulcet bittersweet tones of Ian Curtis perhaps? That band would be VHS or Beta, the New York via Kentucky based dance punk collective, renowned for their winning combination of rock and house music.Read More
VHS or Beta formed in 1997 in Louisville, Kentucky, when bassist Mark Palgy and guitarists Zeke Buck and Craig Pfunder met after high school. After a brief stint with noise punk and the addition of drummer Mark Guidry, they re-formed in response to their love of house music, soul, and disco. The new sound, enhanced by keyboards, vocoder, samples, and electronic drums, eventually brought in hundreds of dancing people at their shows. Soon, the band released the vinyl-only EP ON & ON. After playing the 2000 South by Southwest music festival and negotiating with record labels, they released Le Funk on their own label, ON! Records, in June 2002. In summer 2002, VHS or Beta toured with I Am the World Trade Center. Chea Beckley was added for the band’s performances to handle vocoder, samples, and keyboards. By the time the band’s Astralwerks debut, Night on Fire, arrived in 2004, their sound owed more to dance-punk than Daft Punk. Over the next few years, the group hid out at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina, and concentrated on writing songs with producer Brandon Mason. Buck left in 2006, just before the release of Bring on the Comets in 2007. Following the album, Pfunder and Palgy moved to New York City, leaving behind another member, Mark Guidry. The two continued as a duo, and drummer Jim Orso filled in for their follow-up, Diamonds & Death, which was released in 2011.