We must admit: we're not partial to using the calendar as a crutch for progress. A new year (and decade) is an exciting thing, and an excuse to party always sits well with us. However, at outerglow hq's we are firm believers in self-improvement not as a resolution, but as an ever-present mindset. Even more, though, we believe in intentional daily happiness (for at least a few moments). It's great to have a work ethic and to push hard for your version of success, and if you're able to make a new year's resolution and keep it, more power to you. But you know what's better? Making time to do things that give you full and legitimate pleasure– like listening to super flamboyant disco, fist-pumping (ahem) house beats, or the understated genius of Arthur Russell. That's our wish for you, not for 2010, but every day. Much love and happy new year.
Here is the first song we listened to in the new year. It is a huge compliment when we say this edit approaches the loveliness of the original.
Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk On The Moon (218 kbps)
Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk On The Moon (Youth Return To Base Edit) (320 kbps)
Dynasty - Adventures In The Land Of Music (276 kbps)
Camp Lo - Luchini AKA This Is It (224 kbps)
Angie Stone - Lover's Ghetto (244 kbps)
This week's crossword centers around one of our favorites– 80s disco-funk group Dynasty and their best album, Adventures In The Land Of Music from 1980. We love Dynasty because they glide so easily between silky ballads and uptempo dance numbers; plus we can never turn down male/female vocal synergy. The title track is of the slower variety, but punctuated with stabs of brass, the perfect foundation for some hip-hop/r&b cuts. 90s Bronx rappers Camp Lo sampled it in their graceful-yet-street '97 track 'Luchini AKA This Is It,' and Sugar Hill r&b/neo-soul diva Angie Stone used it in 04's 'Lovers' Ghetto.'
Dynasty - Groove Control (257 kbps)
Bag Raiders - Shooting Stars (Shazam Dub Mix) (192 kbps)
The next piece of the puzzle features our favorite Dynasty track, 'Groove Control'– so slick, so funky, those strings, that xylophone! So dope. Shazam's dub of Bag Raiders' 'Shooting Stars' from '09 which samples it is... well, let's just say, we love Bag Raiders and we love Shazam and we're generally not ones to get picky about sampling, but we think the degree of sample here is a little cheap. Kinda clever, and definitely sounds sexy, but cheap (again, with all due respect to Shazam/BR). Well, we'll let you be the judge. It's all for the love of the crossword, y'all! Drop in again next Wednesday, won't you?
Here are two songs related in some way to the zodiac.
Capricorn - Pow Pow Pow (256 kbps)
Wailing 1980 italo number from Capricorn, or Italian duo Claudio Simonetti and Giancarlo Meo. Even without the knowledge that they were part of acclaimed italo group Easy Going, don't those names just assure you this song is legit? It is.
Uncle Jamm's Army - What's Your Sign (192 kbps)
Some goofy 1985 vocoder action on top of a massive, classic beat from equally massive L.A. old school electro-hip-hop crew Uncle Jamm's Army– L.A.'s first hip-hop crew, and hugely influential to West Coast hip-hop and early electro in general. And Ice-T was in it.
Got a little distracted last week, what with list-making and all, but no worries, we haven't forgotten. This time around it's more of a funk crossword, and both of our samples come from a really amazing compilation we've been spinning for a while– 'Can You Dig It? The Music & Politics of Black Action Films 1969-75' from Soul Jazz Records. It's a collection of music from the Black Action/blaxploitation films of the early 70s (Shaft, Super Fly, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, etc.), the first films written, produced and acted by almost entirely blacks and focused on black life. Pretty unsurprisingly, the genre is steeped in controversy (hence the negatively-connotative 'blaxploitation'); was it a perpetuation of stereotypes, or a groundbreaking expression of previously ignored themes? Regardless, their soundtracks fucking slayed, featuring the best, most sophisticated funk and soul jazz tunes of the time.
Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft (223 kbps)
Young MC - Know How (251 kbps)
Our first pairing starts with Isaac Hayes' theme from Shaft from '71, a smooth and richly orchestrated number punctuated by can you dig it's and bad mother shut your mouth's– how can you go wrong? Young MC (who you know better for his Grammy-winning 'Bust A Move') deftly sampled it in his '88 track 'Know How,' one of our favorite hip-hop tracks of all time.
Willie Hutch - Theme of Foxy Brown (203 kbps)
Cassius - Foxxy (320 kbps)
Next up is Willie Hutch (dope Motown artist who soundtracked The Mack and Foxy Brown, as well as cowrote the Jackson 5's 'I'll Be There') and his awesome theme for Foxy, which the legendary Cassius sampled on 'Foxxy' from Cassius 1999. Catch ya same time same place next week for another crossword!
Wow– we thought narrowing down our top albums was tough, but jesus. So we aren't putting these in any particular order aside from the top ten (err, 11 plus a 'special award,' we can't edit); frankly we just can't wrap our minds around a task that huge and subjective. Fuck an order, anyway; these songs all ruled and that's what matters. This list is pretty much all dance/electronically biased, with a few exceptions, but really, isn't the internet already over-saturated with 'indie' lists anyway? We know y'all got good taste, so as not to be redundant and give you tracks you've already played out, we're hitting you with some downloads of the possibly less-circulated tracks, as well as some alternate takes on the bigger ones, and we'll direct you to places where you can check out the rest. Blah blah. Here are our favorite tracks of 2009!
SPECIAL MENTION: DFA Class of '09
You already know DFA is the bee's knees. We think this year was their best in recent memory, even considering last year's Hercules frenzy and 2007's release of 'Sound of Silver.' This year saw the major success of YACHT and The Juan Maclean (whose live show this summer was one of the best of the year (RIP Jerry Fuchs)), but it's the smaller releases that made us love DFA evermore: a plethora of smashing EPs from Canyons, Shit Robot, Walter Jones, Holy Ghost!, James Curd and more, and a few albums thisclose to making our top albums list (Black Meteoric Star's self-titled in particular). Here are a few of our favorites that didn't quite make our top ten but definitely deserve a spin (there's more DFA in our top ten and honorable mentions).
Canyons- Apples & Pears (192 kbps)
Black Meteoric Star- Death Tunnel (320 kbps)
Still Going- Spaghetti Circus (320 kbps)
11. Vitalic- Second Lives (Different)
When we first heard this song, we kiiinda cried in our car stuck in traffic. Hugely powerful stuff that you expect from Vitalic, and then some. (We actually kind of regret not putting 'Flashmob' in our top 15 albums in retrospect. We're sorry.)
10. Four Tet- Love Cry (Domino)
We've had a special relationship with Four Tet for a long time (basically the first 'electronic music' we truly loved– yeah we used to be #indieasfuck, our bad). That Kieran Hebden's time kicking it with Burial has rubbed off on him is definitely not a bad thing.
9. Bottin- No Static (Bear Funk)
If you had yet to notice, we think Bottin can do no wrong. Pure Italo bliss. You can download this track from our top 09 albums post, or here.
8. Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks (Fred Falke Remix) (Warp)
Best remix of the year (and it makes us happy to say that of the lately hit-or-miss Falke). A heartstring-tuggingly perfect take on one of the year's most beloved tracks.
7. Classixx- I'll Get You ft. Jeppe (Kitsune)
Do you like bass? Do you like the producers that, out of nowhere, almost single-handedly crafted a defining sound (minimal nu-yacht-funk if you will) that majorly influenced the aesthetics of a huge realm of dance music production? Word, us too.
6. Air France- GBG Belongs To Us ft. Roos (self-released)
Does this count as an official release this year? Eh, don't care. Considering that 'summer-sounding music' was one of the year's most distinctive trends, here's a somewhat bold claim we're willing to stand behind– summer song of '09 right here.
5. Siriusmo- High Together / Siriusmo- Nights Off (Monkeytown)
Too hard to pick between these two, off the fantastic 'The Uninvited Guest.' Nobody does it likes Siriusmo; even at his worst, he's never uninteresting.
Siriusmo - Nights Off (203 kbps)
4. YACHT- Psychic City (DFA)
Really, come on. Who isn't in love with this song? Shitheads, we suppose.
YACHT - Psychic City (Classixx Remix) (320 kbps)
3. Shit Robot- Simple Things (Work It Out) (DFA)
But man... but man!... even that's hard sometimes! Every day for a good two months, we'd start our morning by playing this song. Arguably a lyrically depressing way to face the day, sure, but who gives a shit with a song this good, with a slow build this overwhelming.
Shit Robot - Simple Things (Work It Out) (Original Mix) (320 kbps)
2. Phonat- Set Me Free (MoFoHiFi)
Simply ecstatic. (And the Avicii version is by far the best remix. Massive stadium house. Don't act like you're too cool.)
Phonat- Set Me Free (Avicii Remix) (320 kbps)
1. Duck Sauce - aNYway (Fool's Gold)
IIII CAN DO IT ANYYYWAY THAT YOU WANT IIIIT! We can't count how many times we've walked down the street blasting this in the headphones with our swag at maximal levels, belted this out in the shower, or gone mental on the dancefloor (not just when it was fresh this summer– try last weekend) from the first second it hits. It just fucking rules. Enjoy the killer '79 soul jam from Final Edition that's sampled here (we've heard a few peeps complaining that A-Trak and Van Helden's version was too similar, but we think they are totally missing the point)!
Final Edition- I Can Do It (Anway You Want) (262 kbps)
Alex Metric- Head Straight
Atlas Sound- Walkabout (ft. Noah Lennox)
Aufgang- Channel 7 (John Talabot's You & Me Remix)
Basement Jaxx- Raindrops
Best Coast- Up All Night
Birdy Nam Nam- The Parachute Ending
Cassius- Youth, Speed, Trouble, Cigarettes
CFCF- Big Love (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
Chew Lips- Salt Air (Jupiter Remix)
Chromeo- Night By Night
Damn Arms- Destination Pt. 1 (DCUP Remix)
DJ Kaos- Love The Night Away (Tiedye Remix)
Fake Blood- I Think I Like It
Fear of Tigers- Sirkka △download (320)△
The Field- I Have The Moon, You Have The Internet
G.L.O.V.E.S. - PYX
Grace Jones- William's Blood (Aeroplane Remix)
Grum- Heartbeats (Joe & Will Ask? Remix)
Heads We Dance- Model 21 (Justin Faust Remix)
HEALTH- Die Slow (Tobacco Remix)
Holy Ghost!- I Will Come Back
Javelin- Lindsay Brohan △download (279)△
jj- Things Will Never Be The Same Again
The Juan Maclean- One Day
Kings of Convenience- Boat Behind
LCD Soundsystem- 45:33 (Theo Parrish's Space Cadet Remix)
Linkwood- Tears △download (168)△
Major Lazer- Keep It Goin' Louder ft. Nina Sky
Memory Cassette- Surfin (Weird Tapes Version) △download (320)△
Memory Tapes- Plain Material
Miami Horror- Make You Mine (Cassian Remix)
Motor City Drum Ensemble- Raw Cuts #5 △download (320)△
N.A.S.A.- Gifted (Treasure Fingers Remix)
Pictureplane- Goth Star
Renaissance Man- What Is Guru
Royksopp- Happy Up Here
Sebastien Tellier- Roche (Breakbot Remix)
Space- Carry On, Turn Me On (Bottin Remix)
Teengirl Fantasy- Azz Klapz △download (320)△
Villa- Agneta (Edit) △download (320)△
Washed Out- New Theory
Wavves- Cool Jumper
Whitney Houston- Million Dollar Bill ft. Alicia Keys
6th Borough Project- Do It To The Max
Thanks for tuning in, and keep an eye out for our favorite mixtapes and compilations of the year!
Marvin Gaye- Got To Give It Up (Pt. I) (237 kbps)
Well guys, we are in kind of a funk at the moment; we spent all day putting together a (we think) glorious list of the best tracks of the year, and Blogger's dumb azz did not save a shred of it when our computer crashed. Anyway, that's gonna be postponed for a day or two, but rather than stew, we figure we'd turn to two things that never fail to improve our mood– Marvin Gaye and wrinkly-faced dogs. Thus, we'd like to share with you the best Marvin Gaye song ever and a wrinkly-faced dog. Hehe.
image courtesy of haw-lin
Jackie Stoudemire - Invisible Wind (204 kbps)
Jackie Stoudemire - Don't Stop Dancin' (202 kbps)
God the Numero Group is awesome. If you're unfamiliar, they're a record label that finds, compiles and remasters previously released but super obscure material– not genre-specific, just cool shit they think deserves attention. Their mission statement:
'To dig deep into the recesses of our record collections with the goal of finding the dustiest gems begging to be released from their exile on geek street. No longer would $500 singles sit in a temperature-controlled room dying for a chance to be played. No more would the artists, writers, and entrepreneurs who made these records happen go unknown and unappreciated.'
Dope. We've come across a shit-ton of astounding funk, soul, and gospel jams through them, and we'd like to share one of our favorite finds: the romantic, string-and-brass-heavy soul/boogie grooves of Jackie Stoudemire. 'Invisible Wind' and 'Don't Stop Dancin'' are some of the highlights from Numero's 'Dont Stop: Recording Tap,' a collection of amazing early 80s soul, boogie, disco and hip-hop tracks from Jeremiah Yisrael's short-lived Tap Records that Numero resurrected from a moldy pile in Yisrael's garage. You basically can't find Stoudemire's music anywhere else– jump on this shit! And definitely check out the rest of this compilation and the rest of Numero's catalogue for tons more amazing finds.
We know outerglow has only been around for a week or two, but we love year-end lists (making, reading, insulting) and we hope you will enjoy ours. It's been an amazing year in music and it was a stressful process weeding down our top 15 albums of the year. We also stray from using the qualifier 'best' because this list is in no way objective, and we're really not qualified to talk about music in that way. This is simply shit that we loved. Oh, and please bear with us through our ramblings in our top five; we just get excited about these things and we're starting to suspect our cat isn't really paying attention when we tell him why disco will never die, so this is our venting place as much as anything. Oh, and each artist/album title has a link to where you can purchase said album if you see fit. Okay. Without further ado, the
OUTERGLOW TOP 15 ALBUMS OF 2009:
15. Phonat- Phonat (MoFoHiFi)
God damn did Phonat kill it this year. Italian Michele Balduzzi came out of nowhere with a totally unique blend of choppy, psycho-Falke-ian, A.D.D. french-house-nu-disco-electro-thrash-pop (what? for real); the first times hearing 'Set Me Free' and 'Learn to Recycle' (the 2:25 mark at which we just go apeshit) were straight up magical. If this album hadn't contained a lot of odd, discordant moments (too thrashy at times, least for our liking), the strength of four of five of the tracks could have put this much higher.
14. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
Fine. We don't think it's their best, and we don't think it's as pants-shittingly perfect as everyone else in the world seems to; oh, and 'My Girls' is not, by a long shot, the best track on here. But we all know this is a dope album. No more to say.
13. Dan Deacon - Bromst (Carpark)
Dan Deacon has always been entertaining, but he used to do it in an ironic, funny-fat-geek sort of way. His second album, 'Bromst,' stops messing around; he's still making oddball party music, but this time it's really kind of profound, and you can actually tell he's a musician as opposed to a dude who likes to party. It's the dense, buzzing wall of overlapping modem-synth sounds we expected, but we didn't expect it to have as many calms before storms, and it's really nice.
12. God Help The Girl- God Help The Girl (Matador)
If Belle & Sebastian weren't our favorite band of all time, this (B&S frontman) Stuart Murdoch-penned soundtrack to an in-the-works musical-film project probably wouldn't make it into this list. But guess what? Belle & Sebastian is our favorite band of all time, and this album, featuring the totally wonderful vocals of Catherine Ireton (in whose hands 'Funny Little Frog' transforms from okay B&S ditty to charming soulful perfection), sounds like them. Sooo...
11. Here We Go Magic - Here We Go Magic (Western Vinyl)
Softly experimental pop (we guess? electro-folk-psych-pop?) from art school boy Luke Temple's band is a woozy, romantic wash of lo-fi folk swooped out of lo-fi with textured synth sounds. Temple's fragile voice and captivating lyrics are the icing on the cake; if you've yet to hear 'Only Pieces,' drop everything and do so now.
10. Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - II (Eskimo)
Duh. It's Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, Scandinavian cosmic disco kings. It's Eskimo, arguably the best disco label right now. What more do you really want us to say?
9. Linkwood- System (Prime Numbers)
We wrote about Linkwood here. Criminally underlooked funky deep house. This shit is delicious.
8. TIE: Memory Tapes- Seek Magic (Sincerely Yours/Acephale)/
Washed Out- Life Of Leisure EP (Mexican Summer)
Hate the stupid Carlesian title, but we like everyone else in the universe loved the fuck out of 'chillwave' this year– so much so that we couldn't pick between our favorites, and easily the most talented of the genre, Dayve Hawk's Memory Tapes and Ernest Greene's Washed Out. We'll spare you the descriptions with which you've probably already been inundated. These guys sound good, they sound like summer, and 'Plain Material' and 'New Theory' are some of the year's most stellar tracks, period. (We also highly recommend checking out Hawk's blog, weirdtapes.blogspot.com– tons of downloads from Memory Tapes and its previous iterations.)
7. Fear of Tigers - Cossus Snufsigalonica (no label)
Fear of Tigers (UK's Ben Barry) produced our favorite song of 2008 (Study Hard Drugs School), and the unapologetically-happy-nu-disco-powerpop-house buck sure as fuck does not stop there. Ecstatic, one of a kind, and FREE! We expect big things from this guy; 2010 will be no doubt be the year of the tiger (gag, sorry, we couldn't help it).
6. Atlas Sound - Logos (Kranky)
Warm, glimmering, fuzzy dreampop from indie's smartest, most lovable weirdo Bradford Cox. Each song on Atlas Sound's second album was recorded in one take, making Cox's songwriting genius even more apparent; Cox exists for and by his songs, you can tell, and while often insensely personal, they're also inviting and relatable. But mostly just fucking gorgeous– Panda Bear collaboration 'Walkabout,' 'Quick Canal' featuring Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, and the stunning 'Shelia' are three of the best pop songs we've heard in a long time.
...and now for the best of the best... ready?
5. Royksopp- Junior (Astralwerks)
We didn't immediately fall for 'Junior'; using 'Melody AM' (ohmygod) and 'The Understanding' (less so, but incomparable moments–'What Else Is There,' 'Only This Moment,' oophh) as measuring sticks, 'Junior' on first listen didn't do what we know the masterful Norwegian electropop duo can do. But we were so wrong. Royksopp has previously focused on either downtempo 'chillout' soundscapes or on uptempo melodies with dark techno inflections; 'Junior' is their middle ground that gets less 'middle' with each listen and still manages to maintain variation and the unmistakable Royksopp was here stamp. The album brings two powerfully catchy pop gems right off the bat: the infectious, P-funk sampling album opener, 'Happy Up Here,' is one of the feel-good songs of the year, and leads into Royksopp's most dancefloor-friendly yet, 'The Girl & The Robot' with Robyn slamming the vocals. But it's where 'Junior' goes next– the smooth-yet-growling, Royksopp-to-a-T 'Vision One' (a remake of a remix they did for j-pop star Eri Nobuchika), the dark and driving 'This Must Be It' with Karin Dreijer-Anderssen's vocals unsurprisingly owning the best chorus on the album, and the total standout 'Royksopp Forever,' the massive string-filled instrumental with a jaw-dropping mid-song chord change– that makes 'Junior' stand as tall if not taller than its predecessors. The Royksopp we love (earnest, dramatic, almost manic in their mood swings from saccharine to moody but with the chops to back it up) didn't go anywhere.
Royksopp- Royksopp Forever (212)
4. Woods- Songs of Shame (Woodsist)
Windblown, comfortably psychedelic, and (ah, fuck it) woodsy, Woods' fourth album 'Songs of Shame' does the lo-fi-psych thing in a way that seems immediately more mature than the slew of wannabes that popped up like dandelions in the past year. Unlike many of these conveniently noisy and rough-around-the-edges (*cough* underwritten) acts that got hyped, 'Songs of Shame' is cohesive and meticulously put together even in it's more 'jammy' meanderings and lo-fi aesthetics. Woods has reached an immediately intoxicating balance of unhinged clamor and catchy pop-ish hooks, naturalism and organization, strung together with random guitar wailings and Jeremy Earl's wistfully nasal choruses that kind of remind us of Built To Spill (which is a good thing). 'Songs of Shame' is a collage of evocative, campfire-suited gems somehow simultaneously eerie and strange and familiar and accessible, with moments of totally charming rustic bliss ('Rain On,' 'Gypsy Hand,' 'To Clean') leading up to the short but so heart-wrenchingly sweet 'Where And What Are You' that makes us want to start it again every time.
Woods - To Clean (224)
Woods - Gypsy Hand (224)
3. Bottin- Horror Disco (Bear Funk)
We read a lot of reviews that harped on the album title, turning it into some sort of Goblin-homage disco concept album. Anyone who actually listens, and has listened to Italo disco before in their life, can figure out that Italian producer William Bottin made something far less shallow than that. 'Horror Disco' is an impeccably-crafted (unsurprising given his background as a sound designer), kitschy-yet-classy, contemporary-yet-classic, focused-yet-surprising album that shows his unmistakable knowledge of, and passion for, pure Italo and rare synth sounds. Sure, the giallo influences are there, and Bottin's sounds are Italian to the core, though with a healthy dose of American funk. But the sprawling 78-minute album is much too varied, briskly jogging from the uber-camp ('Disco For The Devil,' 'Undercover Monkey') to the spacey and hypnotic ('Mary Lewis,' 'Endless Mother') to the dancefloor-ready boogie-and-funk-injected ('Sciarando El Scuro,' 'Venezia Violenta'), and far too subtle in its 'horror,' to be as one-trick as the title could have doomed it to be. The best moment is 'No Static,' cosmic and danceable, steadily arcing into what we can only describe as disco at it's most sublime. This is not the work of a bandwagon-jumping disco fan, nor is it 'nu-disco'; 'Horror Disco' is Italo at its freshest and truest.
Bottin - No Static (320)
2. YACHT- See Mystery Lights (DFA)
There were a lot of highly-acclaimed artful pop albums this year, and we pretty much liked them all (ya know. Various animals etcetera). But there was only one that totally melted our hearts, that stood the test of warm weather and cold weather and road trips and parties and sitting alone, and that was 'See Mystery Lights,' the light but never shallow, exuberant, sincere experimental-electronic-pop album from Portland duo YACHT. Jonah Bechtolt's playful creativity often got the best of him in his work with The Blow and with YACHT's previous album (2007's 'I Believe In You, Your Magic Is Real,' before Claire Evans joined), at times a bit too precocious and don't-ya-think-I'm-unique? But Bechtolt has figured out the perfect ratio of weirdness to coolness to earnestness by now, thanks in part to now being under the DFA roof. The DFA influence is apparent in tracks like 'Summer Song,' the album's most danceable track, with its chanted/shouted lyrics and strutting disco-punk baseline. But the album isn't carried by its DFA-ness; rather, the Murphy touch only adds to the loops and layers of bright simple sounds (skittering, minimal beats, off-kilter speak-singing) crafted with equal parts cheekiness and reverence. We've yet to meet anyone uncharmed by 'Psychic City' and its slow build from a simple chant over a quirky water-droplet beat (pretty sure that's sampled from 'Trapped In The Closet,' btw) to a totally anthemic affirmation of all that is right and good and weird in the world. But for us, even that doesn't top the album's randomly guitar-driven two-part song 'It's Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want,' the adventurous, frantic, hypnotic rumblings of which resonate in the pit of our stomach. What we love most about YACHT is their effervescent energy, the fact that everything they do (not just their music but their album art, their blog, their clothing, their live performance) comes off as both endlessly thoughtful and totally natural, injected with their unique ideology in which things are full of mystery and wonder and meaning under their shiny pop surfaces.
YACHT - Psychic City (320)
YACHT - It's Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want (320)
1. Mondkopf- Galaxy of Nowhere (Asphalt Duchess)
We're fairly emotionally hinged, but there's a list of about ten tracks/albums that for some intangible reason unfailingly send us into tears. This summer we randomly came across 'Galaxy of Nowhere' by previously-unknown-to-us Mondkopf (23-year-old Parisian Paul Régimbeau) and popped it on at our desk at work; half an hour later, fuck if there weren't tears flowing freely onto our totally forgotten spreadsheets. Mondkopf is best described as a melding of Aphex Twin, Vitalic, Modeselektor and Vangelis (seriously– we wouldn't toss those names around flippantly), and 'Galaxy of Nowhere' is a dark, monumental electronic journey with serious emotional heft, suited less for the dancefloor than for night driving on a mission. These aren't the 'ambient' tunes you put on when you study, because there's no chance in hell you can separate yourself from what you're hearing. It's the closest thing I've ever heard to ambient bangers (not in the lame Aoki sense of the word, but in that... it fucking bangs). Maybe it's because Régimbeau is new to dance music production and grew up creating Dilla-inspired hip-hop beats that reflect in the fat, crunchy claps giving backbone to waves of cosmic synths. One thing's for sure– he's dug out his own little world within the dance music sphere, glistening, echoing, intense, lonely. There's a religious somberness running through the album, subtly throughout, overtly in the swelling hymnal choruses of 'La Dame En Bleu' and 'Speaking With The Noise' and head-smashingly in the album-closer 'Ave Maria,' and it's a shock-and-awe, brooding-then-exploding religiousness rather than anything comforting or familiar, surrounding us, keeping us constantly on edge, apprehensive, in a reverent stupor. There are tracks that stand above the rest, but we don't feel it's relevant to discuss them– this is a rare occurrence of a modern album, an album with the total synergy albums were created to have, not for separating and ranking but a true sum so much greater than its parts.
Mondkopf - La Dame En Bleu (320)
Mondkopf - Valse Dans L'Ombre (320)
Mondkopf - Planetes (320)
Check back in later this week for our favorite tracks and remixes of 2009!
original artwork: an outerglow/Bangers & Trash/@coal_slaw collaboration
medium: Macintosh Preview; desktop-background size available for download here
medium: Macintosh Preview; desktop-background size available for download here
note: we recognize Tellier isn't yacht rock but he epitomizes Naught Yacht (naughtical?) Style amirite?
Michael McDonald - I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You're Near) (256)
Toto - Rosanna (320)
Warren G - Regulate (192)
Hall & Oates - I Can't Go For That (DJ Apt One Drum Edit) (320)*
Lately we've been getting the sinking feeling that we're old. If we 'go out' more than 2 nights in a week, we spend our Sunday/Monday feeling like this happened to us. Sad as that may be, there is a remedy almost more potent than a bloody-mary-advil cocktail (official drink of outerglow), and that remedy is smoothness. Yes, we're talking about yacht rock; the soothing sounds of the Doobies, Steely Dan, Michael M and their late 70s/early 80s contemporaries have gently rocked our hangovers away many an afternoon. Here to wash away your seasonal depression are some of our favorite yacht rock classics, including our favorite Michael McDonald track from '82, 'I Keep Forgettin,' and the West Coast's smoothest gangsta Warren G's '94 hit that samples it, 'Regulate.'
*Okay, there is some debate that Hall & Oates are not 'yacht rock,' but in fact just 'rock.' But for us, yacht is more a state of mind than a tightly-defined genre... if it feels smooth and yuppie, well fuck, it can be yacht. Plus this uber-percussive edit by DJ Apt One of Philadephyinz is chronic.
Heatwave - The Groove Line
Dynasty - I Don't Wanna Be A Freak (But I Can't Help Myself)
Foxy - Hot Number
Paul Feig - Spacefunk
We aren't ashamed to admit that on a pretty regular basis, we find ourselves spending our Friday nights in bed with the cat watching Freaks and Geeks on dvd. Fuck it, it's possibly the greatest tv show of all time, Bill Haverchuck is indisputably the greatest tv character of all time, and on top of all that the soundtrack fucking owns. The majority is 70s/early 80s rock, but then in the final episode Nick gets into competitive disco dancing. The song scoring his amazing routine is Heatwave's '78 disco-funk hit 'The Groove Line,' and there are a ton of other disco gems in this episode too: Dynasty's '79 funk-pop party jam 'I Don't Wanna Be A Freak (But I Can't Help Myself)' and Foxy's uptempo r&b/soul jam from '79, 'Hot Number.' But the high point of this episode's soundtrack is also featured in episode 15 (we know we're lame), which opens with Bill bringing the funk to the tune of 'Spacefunk' by the show's creator, Paul Feig. It's partially a Pavlovian response that makes us super happy when we hear it, but it's also a pretty fresh lil track that stays true to its name. RIP Freaks And Geeks... even though you implied that disco was kind of embarrassing I ain't even mad at you.
we're sad that we've forgotten who this artist is.
if you know, could you kindly leave it in a comment?
if you know, could you kindly leave it in a comment?
The Factory - Path Through The Forest (Long Version) (320)
The Factory - Red Chalk Hill (320)
This is not the kind of thing we typically become obsessed with. But underground UK 60's freakbeat/psych-rock heroes The Factory make music so entrancing it's hard for us to understand why these guys didn't make more than just a handful of 45s (they never released an album). 'Path Through The Forest' will take you on a fucking mysterious psychedelic journey... seriously.
image courtesy of synapticstimuli.com
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Annie I'm Not Your Daddy (256)
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Something Wrong In Paradise (Larry Levan Mix) (~256)
Fuck it, thought we could breeze through that ZE post only mentioning Kid Creole but we can't. Kid Creole (August Darnell) is the man– part of Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, producer at ZE Records, and inimitable frontman of Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Latin-disco-funk group we love for their sense of humor as much as their super smooth salsa-and-big-band infused tracks. 1982's 'Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy' will wash away your December blues, and if you don't find yourself tapping your feet to godlike Larry Levan's remix of 83's 'Something Wrong In Paradise,' I'm sorry but you're just an asshole.
image courtesy of sacred mountainWas (Not Was) - Tell Me That I'm Dreaming (Traditional 12" Remix)
Sympho State - You Know What I Like
For a bit now we haven't been able to stop playing 'ZE 30,' a compilation that came out a few months ago celebrating the 30th anniversary of New York no wave cult label ZE Records. The super-stylish label, run by Michael Zilkha and Michel Esteban (Z + E), was home to a totally eclectic array of artists like afrobeat-meets-post-punk French babe Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Latin-funk-pop goofball Kid Creole. The way ZE brought all these seemingly random artists together into a cohesive, avant-garde unit of funked-up weirdo disco-tized post-punk was fucking awesome, and we find it hard to think of a comparable label today (sorry).
Anyway we want to share two of our favorite tracks from the compilation, one you've maybe heard and one you maybe haven't. The first is Was (Not Was)' 1982 Reagan-sampling post-disco/funk track 'Tell Me That I'm Dreaming'... totally essential. The second is by a lesser known ZE artist, Sympho State, with a more traditional super-sexy disco number 'You Know What I Like' from '79. But it was seriously stressful trying to streamline our selection, and these honestly aren't a sufficient representation of how dope this comp, and ZE in general, is, so please just do yourself a favor and grab that shit if you haven't.
Linkwood - Tears
Two of our favorite discoveries/releases this year go side by side nicely– tightly-produced, Detroit/Chicago-influenced, deep soulful house from Scotland's Linkwood and Stuttgart's Motor City Drum Ensemble. Linkwood's 'System' LP (released this September) shot out of left field and into our year's best albums list instantly; deep Midwest house slipping through phases of electro-funk-soul-boogie-jazz-italo... whatever you want to call it, this shit is just FRESH. Can't recommend this album highly enough (you can pick it up here).
Motor City Drum Ensemble - Raw Cuts #5 (320)
Motor City Drum Ensemble, or Danilo Plessow, is a producer we can't believe we didn't catch on to sooner. Don't think he's released any full length albums yet, but each of his Raw Cuts series (#1-6) are shiny ass gold (pick em up here). Deep Detroit house with chunky kicks for days. If we heard this played out we'd probably explode (wink wink Chicago). MCDE also has a very nice RA podcast, which you can download here.
Modjo - Lady (Hear Me Tonight) (320)
Chic - Soup For One (LP Version) (256)
Here at outerglow, we regularly embark on manic hunts for the disco/house tracks sampled in our jams (STILL trying to drum up a nice version of this bad boy). Rejoice– we've arbitrarily decided to make Wednesdays Disco Crossword Wednesday™– where samples meet their daddies. (Eventually this will blossom into a giant Disco Sudoku™, but that's for another Wednesday.)
Never been a big believer in saving the best for last, so let's sink our teeth into one of our favorite sampler/samplee pairings of all time. You know it, you love it; Modjo's french-house club classic 'Lady (Hear Me Tonight)' just makes us lose our shit every single time. Only fitting that it samples 1982's 'Soup For One' from (we'd argue) THE greatest band in disco history– Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were the Lennon/McCartney of late 70s/80s disco. These two gems go together like tomato soup and grilled cheese, baby.
Modjo - Chillin' (192)
Chic - Le Freak (256)
Modjo - Chillin' (Buffalo Bunch Remix) (320)
It doesn't end there– Modjo sampled another Chic dance anthem (1978's 'Le Freak') in their 2001 Bangalter-comparison-worthy house jam 'Chillin.' We're including the Buffalo Bunch version of 'Chillin' because, well, why not, Buffalo Bunch are dope (for the unfamiliar, Buffalo Bunch was a Crydamoure duo of Raw Man and Paul de Homem-Christo). And that's the shit Disco Crosswords are made of.
image courtesy of Superstudio
Bunny Sigler - Let Me Party With You (Party Party Party) (192)
Funky as all hell 1977 Philly-soul-tinged disco joint from Bunny Sigler, aka Walter Sigler, aka member of Instant Funk. Mixed by Tom Moulton, disco hero and go-to remixer of the day. Please party responsibly, or something.
Space - Save Your Love For Me (320)
An epic, cosmic ballad from 1978, courtesy of some of the pioneers of synth-disco. For the unfamiliar, Space was a late 70s/80s (and I guess they still perform?) French band fronted by super sexy synth-composer Didier Marouani. Vocals by the lovely Madeline Bell. Why she did not become the next Donna Summer eludes me; girl's got some motherfucking PIPES.
Gay Cat Park - I Am A Vocoder (Original Mix) (320)
Sadly, Gay Cat Park's only hit– 1982 lo-fi bizarro-italo ode to the vocoder. So eighties it hurts... but it hurts so good.
The Love Symphony Orchestra - Let Me Be Your Fantasy (320)
10 minutes of 1978 disco, so sexy it was originally released by Penthouse. They aren't stingy with the bongos, which is an automatic win in my book. UK disco collective Horse Meat Disco and Strut Records included it on their most recent compilation, which is great, which you can purchase here.
image courtesy of jean giraud aka moebiushi.
let's have some fun.
Gary Davis - One Lifetime To Live (Greg Wilson Version) (320)
Michael Zager Band - Life's A Party (320)
Loose Joints - Tell You Today (Vocal) (320)