With the advent of ringtone rap and hip-hop singles that all sound alike, it is a pleasure to hear some heavy MCs spitting over beats that are more late '90s than late aughts. LA's Strong Arm Steady crew has been rolling together since 2003, and this longevity is evident on "Get Started," where the internal rhymes, political commentary, and clever roasts pop with unbridled energy. Having Talib on the piece only elevates it further, and with Madlib producing, the deal is sealed: "Get Started" is some tight hip-hop for those who are tired of the tacky electro-commercialism of what is played on most "urban" radio stations. From the upcoming Stoney Jackson album on Stones Throw, produced entirely by Madlib himself.
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A swirl of dreamy arpeggiated synths and sparse percussion lead us into "BEAD," a track taken from budding Brooklyn trio Dinowalrus' debut album, %. The song's hazy electronics, bleating vocal attack, and occasional clarinet squawk create the perfect arena in which the band can unleash its tribal/post-punk fusion reminiscent of The Rapture, albeit on a heavy dose of psychedelics and Tangerine Dream records.
Legendary disco-funk group the Universal Robot Band is perhaps best known for its break-out 1976 single, "Dance and Shake Your Tambourine," but the large URB crew produced a number of other singles before splitting up, including the epic "Doing Anything Tonight," which guarantees a packed dance floor whenever it's played. Part of URB's legend is intertwined with one of the most accomplished producers and remixers of the dance music era, John Morales. A remixer whose prolific output over the past 30 years has helped many people get on the floor, Morales has a new retrospective compilation coming out, The M & M Mixes, which features his extended club mix of this one-off from URB, who got back together to record the track in 1982. Though not revolutionary in its extension of the original, Morales' mix certainly allows Patrick Adams' synths to shine and gives LeRoy Burgess' voice more urgency, particularly in these times of infernal money trouble.
One of the younger groups from Lisbon's burgeoning kuduro movement, Octa Push has crafted a sound that makes most other bass producers look like 98-pound weaklings. With a ragga underpinning and some lyrical fire from MC Zulu, "Baila Mundo" features some gut-rumbling low-end, a bit of acid squelch, and an infectious chorus. If there's one way to get asses shaking, it's playing this track loud.
Ghent's Beni gets remixed by Southern California's Harvard Bass, who takes a rather par-for-the-course French electro piece and turns it into a veritable minimal electro club banger. While the original's sexy vocal clips are kept intact, the kicks are made monstrous, the main melodic line is pushed to the brink, and rim-shots are brought to the fore. Culled from the upcoming Kitsuné Maison 8, Harvard Bass' remix gives indication that the French label might have its groove back after a string of so-so releases.
On the revisited version of the title-track from The Prodigy's latest album, Invaders Must Die, producer Liam Howlett has taken the original's distorted sensibilities and run wild with the group's updated '90s rave sound. The seminal UK group, which we featured on our cover back in April, has reworked its last record for the Invaders Must Die: Special Edition—a release we expect to start parties (maybe fires?) when it hits stores this week.
As an exclusive for XLR8R and in celebration of their European tour kicking off today at London's massive Fabric club, San Francisco's dons of space-bass and electro-blap, Lazer Sword, have handed over their glitched-up homage to that classic Nintendo nemesis King Koopa. "Koopa Boss Mode" borrows from the original 8-bit soundtrack, but the duo also revamp those sinister melodies with their trademark crunchy basslines dropped amongst a slow-grooving beat littered with intergalactic transmissions.
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