If you’ve somehow missed it, I’ve had a residency at River Gods in Cambridge, MA this year, playing nu disco, house, and certain strains of pop music. They were kind enough to invite me to participate in their New Year’s Eve plans and as I tend to not do anything for the holiday anyway, my calendar was wide open. It should be fun.
A new mix is up on Disco Potential, and you can click here to go listen and download.
Those images above will take you to the respective pages for the latest two Five Tracks mixes I’ve made. As the title says, I should probably make an effort to update this page with links when I do these kinds of things, or make sure to at least post the flyers for my new residency at River Gods in Cambridge, which has just been confirmed in an email. We’ll be broadcasting the next one over the internet, probably, so that’ll be nice if you like nu-disco.
Adam Yauch taught me that you could be a Jewish Buddhist who made hip-hop records, or that you could be a Jewish rapper who became a Buddhist. Either way.
Adam Yauch taught me you could be interested in many different media and genres and still be the same person, that camp wasn’t the only way to look back on pop culture excess and that when you’ve got a platform, you shouldn’t hold back from using it.
Mostly, he taught me that a middle-aged guy from Brooklyn could be the funkiest man in the room at any given time. I’m very glad that we had the Beastie Boys for as long as we did.
The January 2011 installment of my Disco Potential mix series is now available.
This is not a series of definitive year-end posts by any means, just a way for me to remark on things that I’ve enjoyed. I’m going to try to omit the obvious choices and dig a bit deeper than reminding you guys that Kanye West is gloriously mad and that Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy score is better than the film itself.
Danny Byrd, Rave Digger
Danny Byrd’s second album aggressively flirts with multiple genres (g-funk on “Judgement Day,” hardcore on “Hot Fuzz,” funky breaks and two-step on “We Can Have It All”) even as it helps push the Hospital Records strain of drum and bass forward. In a lot of ways it recalls Daft Punk’s Discovery: a dance record that nods to the past and provides a set of twenty-first century songs, not tracks. Melodic, funky and downright beautiful in places, Rave Digger serves as a reminder that drum and bass is still vital. Key songs include opener “Ill Behaviour” and the Liquid-sampling “Sweet Harmony.”
Robyn, Body Talk
There I go ignoring my disclaimer. I’m pretty sure you guys already know how amazing this one is and I’m just typing make sure you know that I know. Collecting work from the three Body Talk EPs released this year, this is one of those records that I wish got attention from people who weren’t on the internet as it proves that the quality dance-oriented pop is out there, even if Black Eyed Peas are trying to murder it with every step. Production by Röyksopp, Diplo, Max Martin and others accentuates Robyn’s ability to find new angles on teenage innocence (“Dancing On My Own”), post-twenties female-friendly sexuality (“Call Your Girlfriend”)* and even plain old giddy love (“Indestructible”).
*Something that Marty Brown at The Factual Opinion writes about very nicely
Moon Wiring Club, A Spare Tabby At The Cat’s Wedding and VHSHead, Trademark Ribbons Of Gold
I quite like the genre dubbed ”confusing English electronic music” and both of these albums represent major entries into its canon. Moon Wiring Club have been doing their thing for a while, all radiophonic workshop and Hammer horror films pumped through rhythms that are deceptively laconic. Their albums so far have followed a similar strain, but this one (which is available with two completely different track listings depending on which format you choose) goes a bit darker, a bit more deep space in places. VHS Head, meanwhile, run amuck in the studio, throwing in snatches from a billion different sources chock-a-block into a beaty bouillabaisse while creating something that’s almost, but not quite, dance music. Fans of Autechre’s middle period would do well to check into their work.
Anoraak, Wherever The Sun Sets
Give up trying to figure out if Frédéric Riviè is being sincere or ironic with this collection of dreamy pop songs and instead just savor the damned thing. “You Taste Like Cherry” is Phoenix mugging Hall & Oates while Talking Heads play rhythms, “Midnight Sunset” is made for a Miami Vice driving montage, and Sally Shapiro’s sweet vocals make “Don’t Be Afraid” into an instant mixture favorite, right next to “You Taste Like Cherry.” Wherever The Sun Sets is a great example of how to do a “retro” album that sounds fresh.
Adam Warrock, The War For Infinity
I’m biased, but Euge really is that good. It’s not nerdcore, it avoids jerking off the listener with easy references and it’s produced wonderfully by Ruckus Roboticus.
Click here to go listen and download.
More information, a download link, and a tracklisting are up on Disco Potential.
Me? I come home two weeks later to discover that I actually did buy that limited-edition Human After All remix disc with Kubrick figures of Daft Punk from that guy in Japan while under the influence of a perfectly indecent number of vodka tonics instead of just strongly considering it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Cocteau Twins this weekend after a conversation with my friend Dave, and I thought I’d list my five favorite songs by the band and what albums they’re from so you guys can go and seek out their work. I’d like to think that maybe you’ll discover what I have: their elegant approach to production and songwriting, when combined with melodies that only boost Elisabeth Fraser’s ethereal voice, doesn’t seem dated at all.
- “Pur,” from Four Calendar Cafe
- “Wax & Wane” (The Peel Sessions Version is preferred, but The Pink Opaque is a magnificent album.)
- “Aloysius” from Treasure
- “Eyes Are Mosaics,” from The Moon And The Melodies, the album they recorded with Harold Budd.
- “Fuk U In The Ass” from 1 Polish, 2 Biscuits And A Fish Sandwich.
Euge does good work and proves that you can do nerd-friendly music that’s not non-stop fanwank. It’s good to see someone hit that middle ground between Kool Keith and MC Chris.
From the 1989 book Pet Shop Boys, annually. here’s a look at vocalist Neil Tennant’s career at Marvel Comics’ UK offices in the 1970s. I’d normally post this sort of thing over at Disco Potential, but this features confluence and synergy with my medium of choice, so here we are.
(You can hear “Pistolero” and “Disco Galaxy” on YouTube if you want.)