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Coen Bros. Meet Factory Records: Hear Thick Pigeon’s Arty 1984 Synth-Popper ‘Babcock + Wilcox’

Factory Records, the Manchester, England-based label behind Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays, also gave us a whole host of lesser-known bands. Last year’s compilation Fac. Dance: 12″ Mixes and Rarities 1980-1987 brought together an array of dancefloor versions and obscurities from the Factory vaults. On September 18, Strut is releasing a sequel, Fac. Dance 02, which will compile tracks from post-punk luminaries such as ESG, Durutti Column, the Wake, and a Certain Ratio.

Also featured on the upcoming compilation are Thick Pigeon, surely one of Factory’s more obscure groups. Centered around songwriter Stanton Miranda and arranger Carter Burwell, the New York group released one album of arty, stripped-down synth-pop for Factory, Too Crazy Cowboys, in 1983. Burwell, however, has gone on to score dozens of movies you’ve probably heard of, including the full Coen brothers filmography. Billed at the time as the first Factory U.S. release to be mastered digitally, Too Crazy Cowboys‘ “Babcock + Wilcox” might’ve sounded out of place in The Big Lebowski, but given its stylized, off-kilter chirp, maybe not that out of place.