Kraak and Smaak, Chrome Waves
The small Dutch town of Lieden isn’t known for much, except perhaps for where the Pilgrims launched to arrive in Massachusetts in the 17th century. It’s also where a trio of producers named Kraak and Smaak hail from, and like many Dutch music makers, they know how to spin some gold when it comes to electronic music. For their fourth disc, they procure their signature blend of deep house and electro-funk grooves, light shades of indie rock sounds, and a few guests sitting in the guest vocalists’ chair. Their chops as live musicians informs the organic playing and vibe here, most notably on tracks like “Just Wanna Be Loved” (featuring the fierce Joi Cardwell), the piano-driven and uplifting “How We Gonna Stop The Time” (featuring Stee Downes), and the plucky, French house inspired aura of “Good For The City,” which features London’s Sam Duckworth (AKA Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly). My fave cut is “Love Inflation,” which thumps like a meeting of the minds between New Order and Ladyhawke covering “Don’t Fear The Reaper” (and yes, you heard that right). All told, this makes for a cosmic journey that straddles the perfect balance between heady and danceable. And if Disclosure kept your ears pricked up all this year, you’ll find a simpatico vision thing going on here.
Duck Sauce, “Radio Stereo”
If you listen to the radio, is it better than the stereo? Or are you just bumpin’ your favorite tunes on your iPod now? Well here’s one you’ll wanna add in to the shuffle. Once again, A-Trak and Armand Van Helden get us shaking a tail feather, and this infectious singalong is actually a groovy sample interpolation of a (semi obscure) 1982 single from The Members. Check out the original here.
The Velvet Underground, “Rock & Roll” (Gigamesh remix)
This one has been out for awhile, but seeing as we lost the iconic Lou Reed last week, it’s a fitting tribute. And if you ever questioned how rock ‘n roll is the true, original dance music, this hip-shaking update of one of V.U.’s most consummate tunes will change your mind. RIP, Lou. Say hi to Andy, Edie and Nico for us.
Dan Untitled, “Oh Lorde” (Janis Joplin vs. Aerosmith, The Knife, Lorde)
This is gonna sound crazy and insane on paper, but somehow it all comes together seamlessly. You’ve got Janis Joplin driving her Mercedes Benz, Aerosmith living on the edge, The Knife making your heartbeats race, and Queen Bee Lorde opining about all those things she can’t afford. Download it here.
SOUND & VISION:
The Hidden Cameras, “Gay Goth Scene”
This powerful video had me in tears this morning, because it reminded me of some harsh things I went through as an adolescent. The song (which came out this summer) is absolutely beautiful, the new video imagery accompanying it is not: it’s a gut-wrenching tale of a kid being bullied and tormented in high school. It’s sad and tough to watch, but it’s important. Check it out.
DJ Paul V. has been offering up his alternative/electro beats on dance floors since 1982, most notably at LA’s Dragstrip 66. He’s also an accomplished blogger and author of Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay.