No matter how much we love all of Honey Owens' ambient/experimental pop work with Valet and Nudge, it would be a lie to say that we weren't initially a bit skeptical of her new "house music" project, The Miracles Club. After all, Portland isn't exactly a hotbed for club music and the city's arts-and-crafts, über-DIY house-party vibe doesn't usually lend itself to proper house and techno. But if "Light of Love," the title track from the group's new self-released EP, is any indication, it seems that our fears were unfounded. The Miracles Club is actually a collaboration between Owens and the drum-machine-wielding Rafael Fauria, and the pair often cites classic Chicago house as a major inspiration. The '80s piano melodies on "Light of Love" certainly reflect that, but the song is also bathed in washy melodies and a slightly psychedelic feel—it's not exactly modern, but it's no exercise in nostalgia either. Maybe all those rainy days in Portland have got The Miracles Club dreaming of sunny Ibiza.
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Brooklyn duo The Hundred in the Hands is an interesting group. The band is signed to Warp, some of its music has been produced by disco stalwart Jacques Renault, and they've just passed along this remix from Detroit techno prodigy Kyle Hall, but the original version of "Dressed in Dresden" sort of sounds like Bloc Party. Hmm. Well, whatever works. Their new 12" on Warp comes out on April 6, and they'll be performing that night at Santos Party House to celebrate along with friends Renault, James Fucking Friedman, and The Rapture, who will all be DJing. In the meantime, dig into this remix, which finds Hall—billed as Kyle "MF" Hall, which we're okay with because the guy is a fucking boss already at age 18—stripping out the guitars and poppy post-punk while injecting a healthy dose of soulful Detroit techno. We approve.
The first offering to come from the recently relocated California native CHLLNGR (a.k.a. Steven Borth) is this remix of The xx's oft-reworked single, "Islands." The new Copenhagen resident stripped the original of its instrumentation and placed the boy/girl duet atop throbbing low-end and reverberated percussion, but the real treat comes towards the end, when CHLLGR tweaks the vocals into a high-pitched squeal and drops more spacey elements on us—making for a smooth dubstep treatment.
Even as his main project, noisy Brooklyn dance trio These Are Powers, is blowing up the scene, Brenmar is finding the time to fashion old-school ghetto house and garage into futuristic new-school jams. "Kicked Beneath Too" combines whooshing synths, sirens, acid tweaks, and a just-hype-enough beat to make one mighty fine club track. Is it just us, or is every hot new producer primarily inspired by the music from the Eric Nies era of MTV's The Grind? (Not that we're complaining.) Seriously though, if Brenmar keeps cranking out tunes like this one, maybe folks will start referring to These Are Powers as his other project.
The LA-based Friends of Friends label has already made a splash in 2010 with releases from Shlohmo and Ernest Gonzales, but the FoF crew is not going to simply rest on its laurels. This April, they'll be teaming up with fellow Angelenos Innovative Leisure to release a new EP from Mexican with Guns, Me Gustó. This bustling here.
Here at XLR8R, new genre and sub-genre names cross our desks all the time, but rarely do the tunes have the heft to warrant major attention. But when it comes to moombahton, weight is something the music is definitely not lacking. Dave Nada coined the term after playing some pitched-down Dutch house for his bachata- and reggaeton-loving little cousins and their friends—check this FADER interview for the full story—and decided to start making some proper edits for his DJ arsenal. Check his thunderous "Riverside" edit, which slows down the Afrojack remix of the Sidney Samson tune and also mixes in a bit of Bay Area hyphy prodigies The Pack. The entire Moombahton EP is actually available for free download, and if these heaters are any indication, club DJs may no longer have to live and die at 130 bpm. Moombahton can rock the dancefloor at 108.
Already anticipating the next album from Stars of the Lid? Perhaps It All Falls Apart, the upcoming album from which "Fervent" is taken, will whet your appetite for a while. With its light, glassy synth drones moving glacially behind a high-frequency melodic loop and dusty scratches here and there, The Sight Below crafts perfect ambient squalls to soothe the ears and mind.
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