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Drums, DJ Dez, and The D: 10 Things You Need to Know About Andrés

In a field often known as much for ambiguous identities as it is for music, Detroit's Andrés—or is it Dez Andrés, DJ Dez, or something else?—stands out as a master of both. Regardless of what moniker is being used, there's little question that Andrés' star has been ascending over the past few years, which piqued our curiosity about exactly how this Motor City artist found his way into the spotlight. In an effort to find out more, we went digging for information and put together a list of 10 things everyone should know about this versatile DJ/producer. Read more » 

Bubblin' Up: Hound Scales

When asked about his biggest influences, Nico Jacobsen (a.k.a. Hound Scales) is just as likely to reply with the names of artists and filmmakers than those of his fellow techno producers. "I've always tried to look to film and art more than just music for inspiration, so you have less chance of sounding like other people," he explains. One half of the duo behind the burgeoning Fifth Wall label, the Brooklyn-based Jacobsen debuted the Hound Scales moniker in February of last year with the Case (Nabis) EP, and the music he's been offering up since then has a noticeably cinematic feel. "I went through a period for like two years where I literally did nothing but just watch every depressing, fucked up movie I could get my hands on," he says. "It was when I came out of that hole that I started making music." Read more » 

20 Questions: Simian Mobile Disco Talks Robert Johnson, US Customs, Pioneertown, and the Meaning of "Whorl"

Somehow, Simian Mobile Disco has only gotten better with age. Initially emerging alongside—and somewhat unfairly lumped in with—the electro-house movement of the mid 2000s, the pair (consisting of synth-obsessed Londoners James Ford and Jas Shaw) has evolved at its own pace, forging a path which eventually landed on Unpatterns, the duo's spellbinding 2012 LP and most accomplished release to date. In the two years that have followed, the group has only continued to gain momentum, as Simian Mobile Disco has refined its heralded live show while steadily releasing intriguing one-offs and collaborations via its own Delicacies imprint. Now, the pair is set to return to the full-length format, with its upcoming Whorl LP dropping in September via Anti–. The result of a live performance recorded earlier this year in Pioneertown (just outside of Joshua Tree National Park in the desert of Southern California), then mulled over and mixed back at SMD's headquarters, the next chapter of the outfit's saga is just around the corner. In the meantime, we've tapped Ford and Shaw for a quick session of 20 Questions, in which the pair talks about the sound at Robert Johnson, the headache of going through US customs, and the completely illogical location where Whorl was recorded. Read more » 

XLR8R's Top 20 Downloads of June

During the month of June, XLR8R's Downloads section was again home to an eclectic mix of electronic productions, with original tracks and remixes coming from an array of international artists. Now, as the calendar turns to July and summer begins to get into full swing, we've compiled the top 20 downloads from the past month—a list populated by a handful of more familiar names in Mark E (pictured above), Steve Huerta, Avalon Emerson, Marley Carroll, and TÂCHES, alongside a number of relative newcomers to the XLR8R pages. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Hercules & Love Affair's Favorite Bits of Industrial and New Beat

Hercules & Love Affair's self-titled debut was essentially declared a contemporary classic upon its arrival in 2008, and the group's subsequent albums, Blue Songs and the freshly released The Feast of the Broken Heart, have entrenched the ever-evolving outfit as one of the last true bastions of New York's resolutely eclectic '90s club scene. From the beginning, Hercules & Love Affair has flown the flag for rave-pop and disco-tinged house, but the latest album finds the group exploring what founder Andy Butler describes as "fiery, rough, tough, and ragged" sounds, adding, "I didn't want polite, I wanted aggressive." Given that, his contribution to our Hi-Five series is far less surprising than one might assume. Instead of disco darlings and dancefloor divas, Butler has elected to mine some darker musical territory, and has come up with a rather idiosyncratic selection of industrial/new beat live-performance clips from the depths of YouTube. Read more » 

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