On "Bermuda," LA's KISSES deftly combine the clean, synth-driven throwback disco of some Morgan Geist productions and the male vocals that helped define the '80s New Romantic sound. Vintage synths, bright jangly guitars, and dusty beats ride below a voice that recalls a more full-throated Tony Hadley (of Spandau Ballet). With a sound that sits nicely next to the Smiths as well as Geist's recent collaborations with Jeremy Greenspan, KISSES' upcoming full-length just might lead to a new New Romantic revival.
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Get ready to surf over to Discogs, because this track is The Very Best's African pop take on The xx's shuffling remix of Florence + the Machine's cover of The Source and Candi Staton's 1986 disco-gospel hit. Luckily, the increased distance from the original doesn't diminish the quality of this fine reworking, which leaves The xx's interpretation intact while adding African vocal harmonies, sweaty tropical percussive elements, and a healthy amount of delay. Candi Staton should be proud.
After more than 10 years in the DJ game, Mike Monday offered his latest single, "Your Body," to frequent DJ-partner-in-crime and Veryverywrongindeed label head Tim Sheridan. Sheridan's beat takes a more motorik approach than Monday's original, though his warbling bass and reverb-laden vocal samples sound straight out of the dubstep playbook. It all abruptly cuts out around the halfway point—giving Sheridan a chance to rebuild the song's subtle energy into a flourish before retreating back to the initial beat.
German techno vet, Oliver Huntemann delivers one of his trademark reworkings on this single from Abe Duque's '09 full-length, Don't Be So Mean. The original version of "Following My Heart" was centered around the guest vocal from diva Virginia Nascimento, a slow-pulsing bass tone, and loads of delayed synths. Huntemann pitches Virginia's vocal down, just about doubles the BPM, and trades in melody for all sorts of dark, industrial-sounding percussion on his interpretation—the final chapter in Duque's Don't Be So Mean remix series.
People love to throw out the word "schizophrenic" to describe musicians, but in the case of Kenneth James Gibson, it might actually be true. By his own estimation, the prolific LA-based techno producer has recorded under approximately 12 different monikers. His latest effort, "Something in the Way," on the rapidly up-and-coming Culprit label, was actually made under his own name and was released just today. Although those songs remain under lock and key (unless you actually buy them—what a novel idea), Mr. Gibson has passed along "Painted Eyes," a sultry vocal techno cut on par with his already stuffed volume of work. Watch for a Kenneth James Gibson LP later this year.
It's a safe bet that we're not the only ones counting down the days until the release of No Más, the debut full-length from Brooklyn duo Javelin. To tide us over, the playful cut-and-paste specialists have handed over "Oh! Centra," a hyperactive pop confection that pairs silly, helium-voiced '80s playground raps with light-hearted melodies and Game Boy-era blips and bleeps. Normally this kind of camp sends us running for the hills, but this is the sort of goofiness we can get behind.
Sitting over here in Americaville, it's easy to imagine '70s funk and soul as something that happened in a bubble exclusively limited to the borders of the good ol' US of A. In reality, half the globe was jamming out to these grooves, not to mention making their own, especially in Africa, as evidenced by the cottage industry of Afro-funk reissues that has sprouted up in recent years. Oddly enough, that crate-digging wave was partially set off by the 2001 release of Afro-Rock Vol.1 on the tiny Kona label. Now the folks at Strut have decided to reissue that groundbreaking compilation, and they've sent along the previously unavailable, non-album bonus track "Odi-Yoo" to whet everyone's appetite. If the track's head-nodding bassline and psychedelic guitar work are any indication of what kind of trip Afro-Rock Vol.1 has to offer, it's a journey not to be missed the second time around.
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