Tag Archives: dance music

478. Lo Fidelity Allstars – “How to Operate with a Blown Mind”

It’s probably about time we re-entered the dance floor to the sound of pounding electronic beats.

This British combo where a yet another (somewhat tangential) member of Big Beat scene who somehow captured some of my wallet attention.

This 1998 collection sits nicely as a more band-like incarnation of Fat Boy Slim. Prodigy-tendencies are thrown into the mix but thankfully bereft of that act’s overarching brattiness.

This is better than most albums from this genre, simply for the diversity of sounds, and the competence with which such jumps are handled.

The floor fillers like Kool Roc Bass are deft and still sound pretty fresh. I particularly like the funky Battle Flag (featuring a Sub-pop acted called Pigeonhed who I had somehow never heard of):

I’m a little torn on the spoken word elements of this album.  Presumably this was all about the integrity of the work and distinguishing this from merely a bunch of dance tracks (and thus also forcing djs to listen closely to find the beats etc).  Unfortunately, the chatting tends towards weird streetwise barrow boy cockney babble and is just distracting.

File under: I’m in two (slightly blown) minds

458. LCD Soundsystem – “LCD Soundsystem”

You’ve probably picked up that I only make very occasional
excursions into dance-floor targeted acts.

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem was hard to ignore with this debut.

The Daft Punk is Playing… single was (and still is) delightfully infectious, as well as being the perfect party invitation:

That song and this whole double album showcase a playful and daring
approach to a raft of different musical styles. Murphy is clearly a
complete music geek. Losing My Edge manages to
namecheck more seminal acts and epochs than should be possible in 7
minutes.

I love Murphy’s laconic, nasal chatter-as-vocal and the
smattering of garage rock elements amongst the stomping blips and
beats.

He is not afraid to explore a more melancholy side, with downbeat tracks that out-Eel The Eels , such as Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up.

This mix and mash of styles and sounds is both unique and worthy of Murphy’s claim to a Movement.

File under: Languid Crafty Display

424. Junior Senior – “D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat”

As promised, the letter J has been bookended by a pair of Danish pop duos.

There is no long-winded tale of discovery here.  I was just one of the many people who succumbed to being bombarded by the power tracks from this highly contagious bundle of disco-targetted fluff.

There is so much to love about this CD.  The cover perfectly captures the content, which is all neon and bubbly, and inducing of much arm-waving and other silly gestures.

Sitting around at home today reading through academic articles has not been the ideal setting for this collection of tracks.  This is a Saturday night album (or whatever evening it is that the kids do their thang these days).

It is helium-like in its upbeat-ness. The songs have that breathy, rushed jolliness that so few bands manage (think B-52s), over a great set of rhythms.

The two lads obviously have very short attention spans, as they jump from one floor filler to another, chanting choruses that anyone/everyone will yell along to (while ignoring that glam poppers like Sherbet and Bay City Rollers were onto this schtick in the mid-70s).

Somehow, the duo do find time within the 32-or-so minutes to manage to produce a hilarious Dylan meets Beach Boys meets Oasis hybrid on Shake Me Baby.

In the end everyone bought this album for Move Your Feet and it was worth every cent:

File under: Move your feet to your local music retailer

295. Fatboy Slim – “Live on Brighton Beach”

As someone raised on bands with guitars, drums, mikes etc, the notion of a ‘live’ album from a DJ has always seemed a bit wierd.  But then I have paid to see said artist ‘in concert’ (and I bought this here album), so obviously it wasn’t too much of a conundrum.

Playing live here means DJing, spinning in tracks from other artists plus some knob twiddling. 

The tunes Norman Cook pulls out of his enormous pile of record crates are a mix of the very familiar and the much less so (again, to these undancey ears).

Basement Jaxx‘s Where’s Your Head It sounds as great as always, as does Underworld‘s Born Slippy.

Fatboy delivers the sort of slick mix and ear-catching samples that you’d expect from a world-class DJ.

As I become an increasingly sedentary, wine-supping, comfy-chair-occupying old bloke, I have less and less need for dance music, but this collection still sounds very good pumping out a car stereo (I just don’t have the requisite sub-woofer, bass, spoiler combo of the younger crowd).

File under: A romp comp

294. Fatboy Slim – “Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars”

I certainly haven’t spun this disk as often as its hit-laden predecessor over the past decade or so.

That’s a shame, because it’s a considerably stronger album in terms of consistency of sound and approach. Gone is the (very successful) inclusion of somewhat gimmicky power-tracks padded out with run-of-the-mill electronic doodles.

Here we see Fatboy adopted an approach more a like a happy hybrid of Moby and The Chemical Brothers. We get the funk/gospel vocal samplings of the former, plays the hardcore squelchy electronica of the latter.

There certainly aren’t the big crossover hits of Fatboy’s last effort, but there are a lot more tracks that I’m happy to hear and hear again.  This would much better as a party album, as the diversity of sounds and rhythms keep interest levels high.

His guest vocalists deliver the goods.  Macy Gray performs the most memorable stuff that I can recall from her.  Love Life and Demons are sultry chillout tracks. Unfortunately, Bootsy Collins is wasted (as in ‘not put to good use’… I’m sure he probably fitted other definitions to, but that’s not unfortunate) on the very weak single on here – Weapon of Choice – a track that was inexplicably given a great Christopher Walken vid:

File under: Surprisingly stellar

293. Fatboy Slim – “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”

The work of Norman Cook (a.k.a. Fatboy Slim among many different recording aliases) was extremely hard to avoid in the late 1990s.

Along with fellow Brits The Chemical Brothers, he produced some of the biggest crossover dance floor fillers, building a huge following for the so-called ‘Big Beat’ sound.

I had a predilection for seeking Cook out, given his past life as bass player for the much under-rated Housemartins.

The similarity between that poppy outfit and his reincarnation as a DJ and pastiche artist rests on his innate knack for finding a very, very catchy hook.  As Fatboy any subtlety is thrown out the window, as he beats us around the ears with ludicrously contagious catchphrases and musical riffs.

The singles on here are true benchmarks in commercially viable dance music, passing that test of working outside the club environs. The opening two tracks (Right Here, Right Now and Rockafeller Skank) are pretty irresistable:

The rest of the album doesn’t engage at the same level.  Praise You is much less compelling without the video.  Gangster Tripping comes closest to the gems, while too many of the others feel only marginally distinguished.

File under: The trip gets a little tiring

166. The Chemical Brothers – “Surrender”

Album Cover Chemical Brothers Borthers Bros SurrenderThe party continues in my office. The bass in pumping, the crowd are swinging their arms around like they just don’t care (whoever does care about their arms swinging around (other than in the presence of low ceiling fans)?) and the sniffer dogs are having a field day.

OK, that’s all wishful thinking (other than the dogs… and the bass).

Irrespective, I’ve been having fun. This is a pretty strong album. It features one of this insanely catchy songs you’ve probably danced to too many times (well, I have) – this one:

There are some very familiar voices on here, including a blast from my past New Order‘s Bernard Sumner doing that whole dry, talkie vocal thing that has worked well on so many tunes. And Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star sounds as breathy and spacey as ever.

There’s also a vocoder riff on the opener that had me doing Kraftwerk impressions all day (“Musique non-stop, techno-pop”).

So the upshot, is the CBs showcase their roots, and their diversity (Noel Gallagher also gets a rockier workout) and deliver a solid collection. It doesn’t have the consistency of their debut, but it’s still a fiesta of fun.

File under: Buckle under to the beats