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Deep Inside: 'Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997'

Nearly 30 years after its inception, pioneering Chicago house label Dance Mania is finally receiving the accolades it deserves. Launched in 1985, Dance Mania was operated by Ray Barney, a Chicago music industry heavyweight who grew up in music and inherited his family business (Barney's Records, a record distribution company and local retail chain that attracted touring soul artists and working DJs alike). Operating the label out of the company's existing business infrastructure, Barney went on to release approximately 300 Dance Mania records; looking back now, there's little question that the label spawned numerous bonafide classics, played a part in many legendary artists' careers, and essentially created the ghetto house genre. Even so, Dance Mania's eventual reach and influence wasn't apparent to anyone involved at the time; Barney claims the imprint was "just making records for DJs." He adds, "Nothing was manufactured. Everything was genuine. We didn't do anything to look good." Read more » 

Bubblin' Up: Lockah

When we get ahold of Tom Banks (a.k.a. Lockah) via Skype, he's in the final stages of packing up his flat and moving away from Aberdeen, Scotland, the city he's called home for the past 28 years. He's headed for Brighton, England, to be close to his label Donky Pitch, and to have easier access to a larger scene. "I've been gradually getting money from gigs that's almost acceptable," says Banks, who recently quit an IT job he dreaded showing up to. Fortunately for him, it's looking less and less likely that he'll have to return to an office. After successful releases over the past few years on labels like Mad Decent's Jeffrees imprint, Mishka, and the aforementioned Donky Pitch, he's about to release a new 12", "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Wrong," which will quickly be followed by his first full-length, a Miami bass-, electro-, and rave-inspired LP called Yahoo or the Highway that's set to drop in April. Read more » 

Hi-Five - Perc Selects His Five Favorite Acid Cuts

With records for Kompakt, Stroboscopic Artefacts, and his own Perc Trax label accounting for much of his noteworthy discography, Londoner Ali Wells (a.k.a. Perc) has built a solid reputation over the last decade as a bastion of boundary-pushing techno. Presented in full-length form for the first time on 2011's Wicker & Steel LP, the range of Perc's talents have consistently proven to be far-reaching, as the time-tested producer has evolved and touched on a wide array of techno's hybrid sounds over the years. Now, with Perc's sophomore full-length, The Power and The Glory landing on February 17, we've tapped Wells to share with us his five favorite acid cuts—after all, it's a sound that Perc and the Perc Trax imprint have made use of often over the years. Reaching back to some classic UK fare while also citing some more contemporary Midwest tunes, Wells' selections reflect his longstanding love for the squelching pulses of acid house and techno. Read more » 

Press Play: Stream the Latest Audio and Video from DJ Rashad, Madlib, Shlohmo, FKA Twigs, and More

There's no need to really sell this edition of Press Play; the artists responsible for this week's selection of fresh audio and video speak for themselves. So, if the likes of Madlib, Shlohmo, DJ Rashad, Mickey Pearce, FKA Twigs, Glacher Lustwerk, Maddslinky, Luke Abbott, Ricardo Villalobos, and Osborne sound like an intriguing bunch, we suggest that all interested parties get to pressing the play buttons located after the jump ASAP. Read more » 

Locals Only - Todd Osborn Lists His Favorite Spots in Detroit and Ann Arbor

Perhaps known best by his Ghostly-affiliated Osborne handle, Todd Osborn has long been a fixture of electronic music in Michigan, following a number of musical muses over the years to form a catalog that is as deep as it is diverse. Most recently, Osborn has delivered the Michigan Dream EP for FaltyDL's fast-growing Blueberry label, a four-track record that covers a wide range of sonic territory reaching "from hip-hop to jacking vocal house, from druggy techno to braindance." In light of his new release, we've tapped Osborn to give us a taste of the Michigan experience, enlisting the veteran producer (and former record store owner) to take us through his favorite spots in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and his current hometown of Ysplanti for a list that includes a bar whose best-selling drink bears Osborn's own name as well as an apologetic conceit that Detroit's live music scene has had better days. Read more » 

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