LCD Soundsystem’s highly-anticipated revival record American Dream is just two weeks away from its long awaited release. In his classic-nervous-yet-celebratory-fashion frontman James Murphy has taken to Facebook to address some of the record’s final matters. First confirming— that yes— that is indeed the cover, despite others hoping a more exciting unveiling was around the corner. Murphy also shared that anyone who purchased a ticket to one of the band’s upcoming tour dates will receive a free American Dream CD, and if that’s too uncool, they also have the option to pay slightly and receive a vinyl copy instead. But the best part of the post was when Murphy commented on the actual music, remarking, “some of you may hate it, but i’m very proud of it. it’s the best i’ve felt about an LCD LP ever. which could totally spell disaster.” Read the full statement below.
Long before serving as the frontman of dance-punk’s group of the century, James Murphy was a DJ, falling into LCD Soundsystem, really, by happy accident. But Murphy wasn’t just a DJ in the early 2000s. He was a force to be reckoned with. His eventual label DFA began merely as a party where Murphy entertained his friends by doing what he loved. What may have been done blindly at the time — although surely clear in hindsight — was Murphy serving as the intrinsic ingredient in NYC’s marrying of dance and rock. Helping launch the careers of groups like the Rapture or Hot Chip along the way, he left his mark on both the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Arcade Fire. There’s no doubt disco-rock would not be the same without him.
Often speaking out against the commercial side of dance music is a man who gave an entire generation of indie kids a revolutionary repertoire of records to bust a move to.
Currently amidst their mighty revival, LCD Soundsystem — and Murphy, in particular — is revisiting these roots on “tonite.” Marking itself as the third song off their forthcoming LP, “tonite” hits airwaves with a plethora of vintage musical vehicles. Riding along a smooth crescendo comes a polished dancehall track, revealing a glimmering path back to Murphy’s days of an oily forehead behind the booth or a floor wet with sweat.
While it may seem Murphy’s coming to grips with age and his relevance once more, as he did on “Losing My Edge,” there’s rather a man who’s, at last, changed his tone. “Everybody’s singing the same song/It goes tonite, tonite, tonite, tonite,” he begins. Near the second half of the stanza, he continues this time much darker: “I never realized that these artists/Thought so much about dying.”
“Man, life is finite/But shit, it feels like forever.” As the song comes to an end, it rises in intensity and Murphy turns to the camera. “You hate the idea that you’re wasting your youth/That you stood in the background until you got older/But that’s all lies.” Murphy’s understood his mortality for quite some time, and on “tonite,” he’s thinking beyond. It’s a blissful wave of euphoria that leaves listeners optimistic of what else they too can do to improve their internal landscape and realize their own American Dream. It seems, at last, Murphy’s realized he’s been living his all along.
Flamingosis and Tokyo Megaplex have worked hard to cultivate a sample-heavy yet artistically innovative sound. Never failing to bring jazzy and danceable beats to people, the two Brooklyn-based producers have released their third collaborative effort, titled “Herbie.”
Released by SVNSET WAVES, an electronic label out of Texas, the track is a standout on the label’s SVMMER SVN Vol. 5 compilation. A seemingly simple house beat starts the song off, until the plucking of strings and gentle keys transform the track into a smooth, funky masterpiece. The two artists also throw in what might be the all-time most subtle and tasteful sample of the Ying Yang Twins’ iconic 2005 track, “Wait.” This is just another example of the producers’ clever craftsmanship, taking bits and pieces of many tracks and weaving them into a cohesive and fresh sound.
Music, dance music especially, operates on emotion and intuition, it exists to generate reactions that writing and rhetoric cannot. Music, again, dance music in particular, is also profoundly contextual. A record that is written for loud clubs and late night dance floors may not exactly click when heard through earbuds on the subway, but, when listened to in its proper context, feels like a masterpiece.
Most of the time, when we at DA are reviewing an album, we listen to it alone, through headphones. sitting at home. Listening to music in this context invites analysis, invites rationalization, and can trick us reviewers into thinking that it is our duty to explain an album. We mention this because First Landing, the debut LP from Ajunadeep star Moon Boots, is an undeniably accomplished piece of music, but a difficult one to write about. It’s an album that isn’t looking to be explained. It’s meant to be danced to.
First Landing, although decidedly its own entity, is rooted deeply in the long disco tradition, and its greatest strength is its ability to deploy the techniques of old school disco, R & B, and soul, without losing its contemporary, current sound. Moon Boots demonstrates a prodigious understanding of tonality on this record, evident everywhere from the lush, complex chord progression that introduce the first song, “Fortune Teller,” to the melodic runs that bridge phrases in the album’s closer, “Red Sky.”
Like all great songwriters, Moon Boots both upholds and subverts our expectations of musical convention to maintain interest and hold our attention. Note the stair-stepping bass line that propels the verses of “Keep the Faith,” its elliptical syncopation, the way it runs through scale tones without ever settling on the note it seems to be leading to. Then, when the chorus hits, it gets right in step with groove, emphasizing chord roots and giving the choruses a richness and fullness that contrasts wonderfully with the counterpoint of the verses.
The album is full of deceptively clever uses of counterpoint, of divergence, that pervade it with a dynamism and complexity that more than make up for the predictable schmaltziness of the written-for-radio lyrics. The cast of guest vocalists all do a fine job, but it doesn’t really matter what they’re saying. Moon Boots treats the vocals as just another instrument in his arrangement, and seems, above all, interested in the timbre of the voices, in their harmonies and phrasing.
In its own way, First Landing is dance music at its most elemental. its interest lies only in its pure sound, and the response that sound evokes in the listener. It’s rhythm and melody, point and counterpoint, not in the service of something greater, but for their own sake.
First Landing is worth a listen, even if it’s through cheap headphones on your commute. But we think that a better way to listen to it would be somewhere you can dance, somewhere with lots of people, and speakers loud enough that you can feel the beat in your core. In that context, it might just sound like a masterpiece.
In an unexpected turn of events, the two producers released an eccentric remix of Post Malone’s smash hit “Congratulations.” And it’s far from the original hip-hop version heard in bars around the world since its release in late 2016.
Goshfather and Aylen have taken the original track and flipped it completely. Though it starts of relatively the same as the original, it slowly builds into a whole different animal. The drop just after the minute mark is completely unexpected in the best way. The two talented producers have turned a slow-paced hip-hop track into disco gold. They play with Post Malone’s vocals over a fast-paced dance beat that wrings out the overplayed original and gives it a fresh new life.
Tomorrowland is on the verge of wrapping up yet another year of successful festivities in its picturesque Boom, Belgium location. Quite a bit of growth took place this year, with the festival announcing its intent to be a two-weekend event moving forward, renewing its contract with the local government, and more recently, the announcement of a potential return of Tomorrowworld in the states come 2018.
Weekend 2 allowed artists another chance to bring their A-game to the table, and from the sets that are just beginning to trickle in thus far, it looks like they met the challenge. Those who missed out on this past weekend’s action can immerse themselves in an array of sets across all genres, from DJ Snake, to Kaskade, to Seth Troxler.
Keep watch on this post, as more sets will be added as they arrive.
After releasing singles over the past few months, Umii, a duo consisting of rising vocalist Reva DeVito and producer B. Bravo, have released their first EP. Titled This Time, the three-track project explores funk, disco, and more.
“Don’t Let Up” is an upbeat and lighthearted song with an infectious bounce. The next track, “Dangerous,” is a soulful disco tune, with DeVito’s voice floating over B. Bravo’s funky production. The final track, “Masquerade,” is a downtempo R&B jam that shows off Umii’s more serious side. The EP, released on Portland’s Fresh Selects imprint (home of Mndsgn, SiR, and more), is Umii’s debut, although these two up-and-coming artists surely have more work to come.
Hailing from the bustling city of Baltimore, rising duo Life On Planets bring their latest delivery titled “The Maze” via Wolf + Lamb Records. While the title track from their forthcoming EP, out July 21st, is not the team’s first release off the coveted Brooklyn-based label, it surely stands out an advanced extension of their distinctive, soulful sound.
Made up of DJ/producer Patrick and vocalist/guitarist Phill, the pair’s debut album Curious Palace was released off the label in 2015 with abundant praise, introducing the project’s eclectic melding of funk, house, and disco virtuosity that has resulted in a dedicated following over the years. Now, Life On Planets make their long-awaited return and seek to further harness their creative pursuit with lead single “The Maze” by encapsulating a matured musical landscape.
The track quickly evolves into a ruminative, tech house number filled with R&B-tinged sensibilities. A driving 4/4 rhythm supplies a platform for minimal percussion, luscious chords, and Phill’s longing narrative, displaying the duo’s undeniable musical synchronicity that dives deep into the soul.
Stream Life On Planets’ “The Maze” below, exclusively on Dancing Astronaut.
Those looking for a fresh new single that fuses elements of disco, future, and hip-hop need look no further than Malarkey’s “Live My Life.” Featuring the vocal stylings of Louis Slater and Dan Fresher, the track seamlessly mixes thoughtful raps, soulful singing, and layered production.
The 19-year-old, UK-based producer keeps the track in perfect lockstep with the vocals while playing with different effects and filters on his infectious synth sounds. The end result is a piece of creative, original music that’s in a class of it’s own.
Disco sucks. Or does it? Ask emerging Los Angeles-based selector Colby J., and you might find yourself in for a much-needed house history lesson.
Embracing the sonic sensibilities of the seventies and eighties, Colby J. offers up a flawless, ultra-funky hour-long mix cleverly titled “Disco Demolition” as his first major solo project since his former group, The Interns’, recent disbandment. The mixtape’s name is a sly jab at the Chicago White Sox’s ridiculously sophomoric attempt to fill seats in 1979 by offering fans discounted entrance to the ballpark if they bought a disco record with them. On Disco Demolition Night, the records were thrown onto the field, collected and detonated, which ultimately resulted in droves of fans storming their own field and forcing the White Sox to forfeit the game. The moral of the story: nobody disses disco, nobody.
For his first solo mixtape release, Colby harkens to his funk roots, driving through a crate of tunes that includes disco-inspired cuts from nearly every decade since the 1970’s. Pairing Soulwax with The Bee Gees, LCD Soundsystem with James Brown and The Gibson Brothers, Colby J. navigates a span of nearly forty years of impeccably curated dancefloor gems in one hour.
Weaving together tunes from Tiga, Holy Ghost, The Black Madonna and more, Colby J. dives deep into modern dance music’s derivatives on his new “Disco Demolition” mixtape.