Maps is the nom de plume of UK artist James Chapman, whose 2007 debut was nominated for a coveted Mercury Prize (he lost out to the Klaxons). On his third disc, Chapman feels a little lacking in the inspiration department. Sonically, Maps falls someplace between twinkly electronics and hazy shoegaze, and opener track/single “A.M.A.” sets the tone: sleepy synths, ambient textures, wafting effects and gently sung vocals drenched in throaty reverb. And while “You Will Find” is a pleasant enough M83 wannabe track, it doesn’t reach any heights, while “Left Behind” is the most sanguine track here. It’s a wistful story of friendship built on delicately glinting tones that builds slowly to an orchestral wash of electronics. On “Heard Them Say,” Chapman opines “You get the highs, you get the lows” and it just makes me pine for a few more of those high moments.
Jody Watley, “Nightlife”
Still in fine voice, Ms. Watley confesses about some bliss from her own dance floor on this effervescent return to form. As she sings, “It don’t matter where you’re from, a worldwide phenomenon” it is, indeed, all about the music. She even got her hair and nails did for this neon-lit, body music gem. Welcome back, lady mama!
Foreigner, “Urgent” (Luxxury edit)
L.A.’s Blake Robin (AKA Baron Von Luxxury, a terrific electropop artist unto his own right) is making it his mission to sprinkle his dubbed-out, disco dust magic on some classics from the late ’70s and early ’80s, starting with Foreigner’s funky crossover hit. Follow his series on Soundcloud for future edits from Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and more.
Icona Pop vs. Madonna – “I Love Vogue” (Mad Mix Mustang)
This week, everyone’s been talking about the 30th anniversary of Madonna’s debut album, but my money is on this bootleg banger that mashes one of the year’s biggest club anthems (“I Love It”) with the fully-formed Madge and her timeless ode to pose-striking. Download it free here.
SOUND AND VISION:
Lady Bunny, “Take Me Up High”
Take two parts Wizard Of Oz, a dollop of Barbarella, and so much big hair that it needs its own zip code, and you get this deliciously spaced-out dance ditty from the one and only Lady Bunny. This is the Tru2Life radio edit, and you can find all of Bunion’s remixes on iTunes here.
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