‘The Less I Know the Better’ was released by Tame Impala towards the end of 2015. Selected as the third single off the album Currents, the song flows from Kevin Parker’s love of “dorky disco”.
In 1977, First Choice comprised constants Rochelle Fleming and Annette Guest, with Ursula Herring half way through her stint as their number three. But as is the norm with a Salsoul production, the success of ‘Doctor Love’ is about the bigger team. The opening track off their album Delusions was written by the Philly musicians Felder, Tyson and Harris; it was mixed by Tom Moulton; and it was arranged by Norman Harris. That is calibre; at about 3 mins, after the upbeat vocals, just listen to that choppy guitar, drum and orchestral workout. So we start and end the week with disco. Have a great weekend.
Monday or not, I just fancy a spot of disco. Rose Royce’s fourth album Rose Royce IV: The Rainbow Connection was the last to feature vocalist Gwen “Rose” Dickey, who had shined so brightly on hits like ‘Carwash’, ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ and ‘Wishing on a Star’. Produced by Norman Whitfield, ‘Is It Love You’re After’ was a testament to what the LA band would be losing. They would never reach such heights again, although the distinctive synthesised into would feature across dance floors a decade later, courtesy of S’Express.
In 1983, 17-year-old Harlem singer Jackie Stoudemire released ‘Dancing’ on label TAP Records. It’s an obscure late disco track beloved by crate-diggers. However, indie-pop merchant Jens Lekman heard it and used its insatiable groove on ‘#29’ of his Postcards undertaking. Throughout 2015, Lekman wrote and released a new song (“Postcard”) every week. And I thought a song a day was tough…
My favourite sounds of 2016 in no particular order…
Honourable mentions also go to: De La Soul for ‘Trainwreck‘; The Last Shadow Puppets for ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect‘; Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Deep Six Textbook‘; Anderson .Paak for ‘Come Down‘; Solange for ‘Cranes In The Sky‘; DJ Snake for ‘Let Me Love You’; Honne for ‘Someone That Loves You‘; and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Rings Of Saturn‘.
As we emerge from a wet weekend, I use the tenuous opportunity to segue the ‘The Whale’. Off the ELO’s unreal gatefold album Out Of The Blue, this ambient track feels forever current with its Tame Impala-style trippy disco, vocoder sounds and electronic funk. Jeff Lynne, you are an unlikely genius. Have a great week.
Well that’s a relief. The best track on the recent Avalanches album Wildflower is released as a single. ‘Because I’m Me’ is available and wrapped with a ribbon in time for Halloween. The young star in the video has more than a passing resemblance to a young Michael Jackson and the subway station is a familiar setting for both Michael and The Avalanches. Filter disco and rapper Camp Lo play their part too. Have a great week.
‘Inspector Norse’ was written, performed and produced by the world’s favourite Norwegian DJ, Todd Terje. He released it as a single on Smalltown Supersound Records and then as part of his EP It’s the Arps. More beach lounge than dance floor, this was the sound of summer 2012.
In 2002, the world of the bastardised mashup was on the rise. No more so than in the experimentation of Belgian duo 2 Many DJ’s. Their Soulwax compilations were pushing the boundary of what was acceptable on the dance floor. On As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Pt. 2., they gave Electric Six (formerly known as The Wildbunch) a big break by my mashing “Danger! High Voltage!” with Les Rythmes Digitales’ “Hey You What’s That Sound”. The Jack White-like vocals were chi-chi, even on a dance floor. And in 2002, there were still enough people on the scene that hankered after the ironic abandon of the 1980s.