Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Williams, "Love On A Real Train (Williams Odyssey mix)" (YSI link)
Williams, "Love On A Real Train (Version By Studio)" (YSI link)
I spent the night working on a cosmic mix. Two points: 1) Happy birthday to JH-B, the recipient of said mix! A Cosmic Birthday, yeah! 2) I'm in a cosmic state of mind. So, here's a phenomenal track from early this year, Williams' "Love On A Real Train," released on Love Triangle Music. While that label specializes in tech-house, this one fits in so nicely with the new disco scene that has developed over the past 5 years or so, that space-y, stretched out music that is the best thing going today imo.
I spent part of last night hearing some great NYC DJs like Mr. James Friedman, Ms. Louisahhh!!!, Mr. Cocco and Ms. Jess Jubilee spin tech-electro-house all night at The Delancey until the speakers couldn't take it. Fun night and great tunes, but it only served to reinforce that my head is just in a different place now. All I wanted was a nice, slow-burning song to come out of the ether, something that slowly fucked with my ears rather than having them bombarded. These two remixes for "Love On A Real Train" fit that bill, unfolding slowly but surely for those who have patience. Williams redid his own song with his Odyssey mix and he's done well again. This one raises the pressure, while keeping the sounds the same. It makes for a more dancefloor ready song and yet somehow it doesn't feel rushed either. Sweden's Studio turn in a sick remix, adding in some rad flamenco-y guitar action that makes me feel like I am on some Spanish beach waiting for the sun to go down. There's also a way funkier bass here that gives things a little more oomph. Awesome.
Sit back, put your headphones on and enjoy. Also, don't forget to add yourself as a fan of Pound for Pound. Click the link in the upper right hand corner and show your love. Thanks! Yeah!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Inner City Express, "Dance and Shake Your Tambourine (Beedle's Heavy Disco edit)" (YSI link)
Disco edits! Yeah! We did a post last week on "Dance and Shake Your Tambourine," the tune covered by the Universal Robot Band. The original by Inner City Express is hard to come by, but thankfully the master Ashley Beedle decided to drop an edit for the world to experience the original.
Beedle is one of those dudes who always has his hand in great music without becoming an ubiquitous figure. He was a part of the rave-y X-Press 2, made amazing house music with Rob Mello and Josh Howard as Black Science Orchestra and jazzy downbeat music in the Ballistic Brothers project. Dudes has even started three labels over the past decade plus - Afroart, Soundboy Entertainment and Ill Sun. Through it all, he has maintained an interest and love of disco, which has become much more clear recently with his amazing Heavy Disco edits.
This 12" is just pure bliss on a slab of vinyl. I want everyone to download these ASAP, put them on your iTunes or iPod, take 20 minutes out of your work day and revel in the beautiful sounds. I can guarantee you that Monday will seem a lot better and you will look forward to the week ahead and to falling in love and Obama being President. Let the horns and strings and guitars take you away from everything, as this is LIFE MUSIC people. Beedle has put his foot to the pedal on "Dance and Shake Your Tambourine," keeping it a burner right through. He's thankfully kept things mostly the same, including that little kazoo sound. There's a sick drum breakdown, those airy vocals and "oohs" and just the right amount of synths. All I can really say is wow. Grab a copy now.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Phreek, "Weekend (long version)" (YSI link)
Phreek, "Weekend (short version)" (YSI link)
Phreek, "Weekend (extended version)" (YSI link)
I got free guacamole from the Chipotle lady tonight, who I think may have been flirting with me, and now it's Friday afternoon and the weekend is here and it's just the perfect time for some classic disco.
Oh boy, you need this one in your life. I guarantee that Phreek's "Weekend" will be in the main rotation for a long time regardless of the day. It's one of those songs that will immediately lift your spirits as soon as you hear it, from those first rubbery bass notes and beautiful keys. This one was written and produced by the amazing Leroy Burgess and Patrick Adams, you can hear his touch with the all the little details, like the cowbells, gorgeous strings and shakers. It's all so well composed, all of these little pieces fitting into a magnificent big picture. The lyrics and vocals might even be better, as Christie Shire kills it on that front.
For everyone getting ready to head out, this one's for you. "It's party time, it's party time tonight." Enjoy, be safe, dance your asses off, fall in love.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Cabaret Voltaire, "Do The Mussolini (Headkick!)" (YSI link)
Cabaret Voltaire, "Nag Nag Nag" (YSI link)
Cabaret Voltaire, "Obsession" (YSI link)
Cabaret Voltaire, "Loosen The Clamp" (YSI link)
[Ed. note: Sorry for the m4a files. I uploaded this CD a long time ago and didn't realize I had done so in this format. I don't have access to the CD at the moment, but hopefully once I get back to Philly, I'll be able to give everyone a HQ mp3. In the meantime, this should give you a taste of CV.]
It wasn't all disco and cocaine back in the late 70s. There was also a parallel electronic music scene that took its inspiration from the avant garde and punk than soul and funk. Cabaret Voltaire are one of the best examples of this dark dance music. A trio consisting of Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson that formed in the early 70s, the band was supremely influential in developing the industrial sound. They themselves were influenced by the work of Beats like William S. Burroughs and Bryon Grisin, who experimented with the cut-up technique in which they would cut up their work into pieces and reorder them at random.
Enough background, let's get to the music. These songs come from the 2001 compilation, The Original Sound Of Sheffield '78/'82, on Mute Records that collected some of the band's best songs from the period of 1978-1982, the period when things first got rolling for the group. This early period features some of the bleakest, darkest music ever, a whole disc of feedback, distortion, manipulated sounds, tribal drum machine noises. There's definitely a pulse and rhythm here, somtimes buried under the static, this ain't bleeps and noises; check out the final song, "Loosen The Clamp," you will clearly hear that these guys were responding to the dance music coming out at the time. This isn't oontz-oontz dance music, but it's there, stripped to the bone. The funky bass, the mechanical, almost tribal drums and space-y keys create a hypnotic track that would influence lots of our favorite music still to come.
The earlier songs like the awesomely titled "Do The Mussolini (Headkick!)" come more out of the punk ether, with the main comparison that comes to my mind is the electro-punk sounds of Suicide. "Nag Nag Nag" is similar, starting off in feedback and never giving your eardrums much of break from there on out. There's some distorted vocals, a massive rhythm section that would make a rock band proud and that layer of feedback that drifts over the whole thing. Awesome stuff.
Obviously, I highly recommend picking up this CD from the excellent Forced Exposure, a great introduction to the group. We'll take a look at part of the look back which covers 1983-1987 and hopefully a lot more down the road, as we're gonna focus a lot more on this darker side of the dance music world. Oh, and I am going to be a little more active with my myspace page, so add me if you'd like some extra goodies. Yes? Yes!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Bionic Butterfly, "Chains" (YSI link)
Bionic Butterfly, "Cream (Always Rises To The Top)" (YSI link)
Bionic Butterfly, "Fess Up To The Boogie" (YSI link)
Let's kick the week off with some great disco tunes and some of Larry Levan's favorites from the year 1979. Bionic Butterfly either have the worst name ever or the greatest, I have not made up my mind. I do know that in their short career, they dropped three LPs including this amazing one, Hot Butterfly. This is just joyous disco music that you need in your life. Yes? Yes!
Check out "Cream (Always Rises To The Top)" and experience the magnificence of this music. That bass is so big and so deep, it will make you funky and cool by osmosis. This one's got some great vocals, including a goody sounding guy talking about private parts at one point. "Chains" is my favorite, an uplifting rager that goes from 0-60 in one second. This one's ready to go right from the starter's gun. It's got another massive bassline, some horn bursts, great lyrics about going for love, drums right up front and lots of soaring vocals. Awesome stuff. "Fess Up To The Boogie" gets the award for best song title, another great track, similar vibe and structure as the other two. When you do it so well, why fuck around with experiments? They do add in a really deep horn, perhaps a tuba or bass saxophone? Whatever it is, it's nice and gives a great low end to the tune.
Okay, much more to come. Disco! Yeah!
Monday, October 13, 2008
This one's a special one. Maestro is a film by Josell Ramos that chronicles the early days of disco and dance music in New York City. It takes a look back at the underground scene that gave birth to disco and house music, chronicling legends like Larry Levan, David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Frankie Knuckles and Tom Moulton and legendary places like Paradise Garage, The Gallery and The Loft. It's an amazing document, a chance to go back to the beginning of dance music and hear the stories from the people who were there. Ramos talks with Siano, Mancuso, Knuckles, dancers from back in the day, club staff, lighting men, sound engineers and others. Add in some great archival footage from the various clubs and you've got yourself a history lesson kids should be learning in school. It will show you just how important this music and scene was in the lives of so many people, who were able to find themselves and be themselves in an environment that strived to bring people together.
Here's the video for part 1 (there are 9 total parts) and anyone who reads the blog should consider this essential viewing:
It got me to thinking about the dance culture that existed back then, in the late 70s and 80s in New York City, and what things are like in the NYC of today. I try to avoid nostalgia, as it's such a corrosive and pointless emotion, usually based on rose-tinted glasses that never quite tell the whole story. But, it's hard not to feel like NYC today is missing something, something big. I'm not sure if it's the cabaret laws that have shut down so many clubs, if it's the yuppification of Manhattan, if it's the fact that gay culture doesn't have to be underground anymore, if it's the fault of bloggers like me who talk about everything and prevent any underground from really developing, if it's the insane cost of living or a combination of all of those factors. Whatever it is, I feel like club life in NYC is at a nadir, more about being seen or making money than telling a story or celebrating music. Am I being too pessimistic? Am I missing something? Leave some comments and let me know your thoughts, as I want to be so wrong.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Time for a little self-congratulations here at Pound for Pound. Sometime in the last month or so, we blew past the 1,000,000 visitor mark! Like whoa! Kinda amazing, right? I want to thank everyone who has ever stopped by here and read my ramblings and downloaded my personal take on dance music over the past three decades. I love all of you and look forward to doing this for another million people, as we continue to spread the word about the joys of disco, 808s and big boobs. You are the wind beneath my wings. [P.S. We also got a link on the weekly GBH newsletter for the Mock and Toof Hot Chip remix! Yeah!]
Can I ask a favor? Can you take a second and become a follower of this blog? In the upper right hand corner, you should see a link that says Follow This Blog. Click and add Pound for Pound and you will make me happy and you will join a pretty elite group of the raddest people on Earth. I would love to show what kind of audience we have here, show just how deep this shit goes.
Pound for Pound is an army! Strength in numbers! Yeah!
Friday, October 10, 2008
DJ Harvey, BBC Radio One Essential Mix December 26, 1999 Part 1 (Filemojo link)
DJ Harvey, BBC Radio One Essential Mix December 26, 1999 Part 2 (Filemojo link)
tracklisting in comments
I'm liking the idea of throwing up some long mixes on Friday, give everyone some nice listening for the weekends. We haven't done an Essential Mix in awhile, way past time to throw up one of these. We're going way back for this one, to a different century in fact. Hopefully some readers remember those glorious 90s, when the biggest issue our country faced was a blowjob and . House music entered its peak years then, as it absorbed the blueprint and expanded on it in every major city on Earth.
One of the world's great DJs, DJ Harvey, closed out the decade with a 2 hour mixing looking back at the best of house music for the preceding 10 years. I actually know Harvey mainly through his Sarcastic Disco party and various disco-y edits over the years. Clearly though, the guy is just as well-versed with house music. You get big names like Moodyman and Orbital, lesser-known-but-no-less rad artists like The Basement Boys and 4 To The Bar, plus some disco goodies here and there. Harvey's mix makes the connection between those two genres nicely, covering much of the developments along those lines in the 90s as disco stopped being such a dirty word and more artists started to be openly influenced by the sound.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Universal Robot Band, "Thyme" (YSI link)
Universal Robot Band, "Disco Boogie Woman" (YSI link)
Universal Robot Band, "Space Disco" (YSI link)
Okay, I got all that white boy blues out of my system, time to get back to the dancefloor. Not just any dancefloor, but a weirdo, space-y one in the late 70s, our favorite time. Universal Robot Band aren't just one of the best named bands ever, they also put out some rad disco music for a short stretch of two years. They began as a rock band called Pipeline, became the URB in 1976 and would drop two LPs and a handful of singles before taking on the Kleer name.
I mean, this is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. Week's been shitty, weather's getting colder, essays won't write themselves, I ain't gonna be eating for 24 hours. Throw on any song from this LP, Dance and Shake Your Tambourine, and all of that will melt away a few notes in. The titles alone convey what a beautiful world the Universal Robot Band conjure up - "Making Love," "Doesn't It Feel Good," "Love and Understanding" and "Sunshine". I love it! Yeah! Pessimism and darkness be gone!
This LP is a classic piece of soulful funk, complete with duets, space out jams and obviously some hot tambourine action. While I love the lyrics and vocals, the real heat here is the music, which was written and produced by the legendary trio of Greg Carmichael, Patrick Adams and Leroy Burgess. It's everything you could want - danceable, stretched out, grooving. Check the unstoppable "Disco Boogie Woman," which features great horn work, a tight rhythm section and precise writing. Or "Space Disco," a nearly 12-minute freakout, where the female vocalists intone that "We are going to spaaaacee" and the band tries to get us there. There's so much great stuff I had a hard time picking a few songs to upload.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Disco saved my life, let it save yours. It's what the world needs now. We'll back at sundown tomorrow, with a full belly of bagels. Be rad until then everyone.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Beirut, "Nantes" (YSI link)
I had a seriously shitty, emotional night last night and this was the only song I wanted to hear. I've listened to it close to 50 times on the L ride over and back and walking around and whatnot tonight and I needed to post this up late night to clear out of some of the bad vibes for sleep. It's Beirut's "Nantes" and I consider it to be the best song of the last 25 years, in the non-Dylan, non-dance category. It makes me want to cry, it makes me feel like I have cried, it makes me want to be in love and care for someone, it makes me be all of the things that I can't do in real life. The gorgeous strings, the clattering drums, the trombone deep down. Most of all, it's Condon's mournful vocals and lyrics, singing of lost loves returning or is it a love passing on into the past?
Well it's been a long time, long time now
since I've seen you smile.
And I'll gamble away my fright.
And I'll gamble away my time.
And in a year, a year or so
this will slip into the sea
Well, it's been a long time, long time now
since I've seen you smile
Nobody raise their voices
Just another night in Nantes
Nobody raise their voices
Just another night in Nantes
Go out and buy the LP, Flying Club Cup, as it deserves your money simply for putting this song into the world. Oh, and do you know how rad we are? Even sad, we still keep the French theme going, as this is Condon's homage to France and its music. Yeah!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Jamie Jupitor, "Computer Power" (YSI link)
Jamie Jupitor, "Computer Power (instrumental)" (YSI link)
No better way to start the week than with a classic slab of West Coast electro, so let's get to work. Jamie Jupitor is one of those aliases that comes out of the ether to drop one track and then returns back to outer space, Jupiter apparently, his job done, minds blown, electro victorious. The story behind Jupitor is a tough one to follow. This is lone 12" was written, produced and arranged by The Egyptian Lover, in the ensuing two decades, he has decided to clean up the spelling of his last name, becoming Jamie Jupiter and touring with EL. This one was released in 1984 on Egyptian Empire Records, and would amazingly be the only release by Jupitor, outside of a few remixes.
We shouldn't complain, as we are lucky to have "Computer Power" as dude probably couldn't top thi. It captures that perfect futuristic sound that bubbled up in the early 80s, where computers and machines took the lead. As Jupitor says here, "Computers are the future world, we program for the boys and girls, there's nothing we don't understand, we're smarter than the normal man...Computer power!" What intrigues me most about this music is how uplifting technology seemed in those early days; despite the coldness of the drums and minimalism of it all, there's an uplifting melody and a real attempt to avoid the feeling that technology would turn us all into automatons and make the world into a scene from Metropolis. The instrumental on the flip side might be even better, letting you hear the music without the vocodered voice or Jupitor.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas, BBC Radio One Essential Mix May 6, 2007 (Filemojo link)
T.G.I.F. In celebration of the weekend, here's one of the best mixes I've heard in a minute, one that I've put up before (I believe) but deserves another listen. For those that don't know, Hans-Peter Lindstrom and Prins Thomas (real name: Thomas Moen Hermansen) are the Norwegian dons who have been responsible for the space-disco, cosmic stuff that, imo, is the best and most interesting stuff today.
This mix is so perfect for a late night chill out or a walk around your city or a day lying the park. It should make you want to grow a beard and listen to weirdo music, just like the boys and me. You get essential spaced-out house and new disco tracks, from the best labels like DFA, Full Pupp, Smalltown Supersound, Eskimo and Wurst. There's white labels galore that should every DJ and nerd drooling. Take two hours this weekend while you are studying or doing nothing and let this one unspool in your head. Yes!
Run-DMC, "Peter Piper" (YSI link)
Run-DMC, "You Be Illin'" (YSI link)
Run-DMC, "Lord of Lyrics (demo)" (YSI link)
I'm feeling a little emotional today after some nice Rosh Hashanah moments. It's fitting today that I finally return to one of, if not the, most important LP of my life, Run-DMC's Raising Hell. It was the first tape I bought, my first foray out of the world of 45s and into the new technological edge. I was about 8 years old and really had no idea what I was getting into; a friend's older brother was listening to it all the time and talking about it and since I thought he was cool, I felt like it was the right call. Oh, was it ever! It put me on the path to a lifelong love of music and rap and everything. Thanks Brian Park, wherever you are!
Those opening lines of "Peter Piper" where Run and DMC trade rhymes brings tears to my eyes, takes me back to when I was 8 years old and forced my parents to take me to Sam Goody's to buy this tape. I have been listening to a lot recently and it has lot none of its power or excellence. What strikes me most is how much that early rap was creating its own world through words. Run and DMC spit so many words here and not in that awful Twista way, but in a literate way that just sounds like two guys who have so much to say. I miss that spirit today, that joy at rapping and being heard. Songs like "My Adidas" and "It's Tricky" are amazing, songs that are a part of my DNA now. There's such a swagger to each song, that King of Rock style, the adidas tracksuits, the gold chains, the poses. However, take note current rappers, these guys were as hard as fuck yet didn't need to beat the shit out of women nor kill people to get that attitude across.
The music is just as good, as this album saw Run-DMC adding so much to the rap sound and not just with "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith. Check "Is It Live" for a great congo-y beat. Or listen for all of the scratches and riffs, the introduction of rock samples like "My Sharona" on "It's Tricky," the various layers that took rap out of its minimal stage. It's not surprising that this album would take rap to the next level of popularity, as it is a huge sonic leap. Rick Rubin and Jam Master Jay were the architects on this one, changing the world and my life in 1986.
Buy your copy now, if you don't already own it. This is an essential, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200 album. You need it in your life. You need