The elusive Crooked Man returns to DFA with Crooked House, a maximalist take on electronic and house music that picks up where 2016's self-titled LP left off. Teaming up again with Michael Somerset Ward (Clock DVA) and David Lewin (Bleep & Booster) in the studio, Richard Barratt crafts a comprehensive journey of hi-fi house belters with more sinister electro-pop mixed in for good measure. The LP is influenced by two historic epicenters of electronic music: Sheffield, UK, where Richard has had an illustrious career in a mix of legendary groups like Funky Worm, Sweet Exorcist, and The All Seeing I; and the NYC Loft-era disco sound, where extended grooves were layered with peak-time choruses.
Richard's diverse collaborations and intensely prolific discography have now led him to records as lush and sophisticated as Crooked House. Considering the rarity of a live Crooked Man performance or DJ set, it's a testament to his hyper-creativity that these tracks are able to reach new heights in a club setting. With support from disco historian Bill Brewster and NTS resident Ross Allen (not to mention "Echo Loves Narcissus" being named #1 single of the year by Piccadilly Records in 2017, before it was even properly released), it's clear that Crooked House brings a timeless vitality to the current landscape of dance music, and continues an exciting new chapter in Crooked Man's career.
NYC singer Amy Douglas makes her official DFA debut with "Never Saw It Coming," a limited release 12" single co-written and produced by Tim Wagner of 33Hz, with two remixes by Sheffield artist Crooked Man.
With a five-octave range and a diverse background in performance, ranging from rock to soul to jazz, Douglas' voice is the heart of the song, lending heightened drama to the steady mechanical funk of Wagner's production. The two remixes by DFA artist Crooked Man let the track grow and build slowly with longer, lush arrangements, while his hypnotic dub doubles down on the woozy bassline and has Amy's vocals echoing out into the ether.
Though this is Douglas' first release on the label, she is no stranger to the DFA roster. She is the voice behind "Happiness," the epic closing track on Crooked Man's self-titled 2016 LP, and also appears on the forthcoming Crooked Man album, due out on DFA this fall. Amy also works with Juan Maclean as one half of Peach Melba, who have released singles on both DFA and Defected / Classic. Crooked Man's signature maximalist house sound has always been complemented by the support of strong female vocalists, and together the pair take each other's work to a new level for an impressive collaboration. Rumor has it they're currently working on more tracks togetherâ¦
Lots of artists these days aim to 'reimagine' the sounds of disco, house, and soul, but Amy Douglas and Crooked Man are creating something all their own that pulls from the best of times past, while also looking decidedly forward.
Analog synthesizers give tangible life to the works of Guerilla Toss. Whether it be the sound of a rocket ship, a kitten-with-a-wah, distorted dolphins, or a clavichord made out of honey-baked ham, the band consistently finds new ways to bring together the many ideas that combine to shape each new batch of art-rock puzzle pieces. Twisted Crystal, Guerilla Toss' new LP, feels more personal than ever for the band. Angular yet irresistibly catchy, this collection of pop songs pulls influence from powerful groups like The Slits, ESG, Gina X, and early Madonna, with sing-speak vocals from Kassie Carlson nodding to legendary artists like Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux - combining this all into a twisted, crystalline concoction.
Marcus Marr shares his Familiar Five: Remixed EP. The remixed tracks first appeared on the UK producer's Familiar Five EP, released earlier this year. The new record will feature remixes from Justin Van Der Volgen, Prosumer, Gerd Janson and Ara Koufax. "It was fun to ask some of my favourite producers to remix these tracks," notes Marr. "I love Gerd's remixes and play them loads. Prosumer is a great producer and I've been a fan of his for ages. Justin Van Der Volgen I also love - his originals and his remixes are always interesting. And Ara Koufax I;ve been a fan of since their tune 'Brenda'." Marr is no stranger to collaboration, working with Australian musician Chet Faker on 2015's Work EP. Work yielded two hit singles, "Birthday Card" (Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 first play, #1 Hype Machine) and "The Trouble with Us" (#1 Hype Machine). The Familiar Five EP, however, shows him in his individual element, an artist and performer who understands just how to make superb music for both man and machine.
Sometimes the best remixes come direct from the artist themselves. Following the success of their debut EP, CCFX return to reimagine and reiterate all four tracks. At times turbulent, at others serene, and throughout unabashedly raffish, these instrumental versions take the liberty of exploding the originals and thrusting the fragments into deeper and more ornate sonic territory. Minimal beats as well as pumped up breaks take the forefront here, rendering nascent atmospheric jungle & dubbed out balearic new wave.
Though it was released last October, the original EP is still making waves, having been hyped by the likes of NPR, Pitchfork, and NME. With this new record, the band demonstrate their versatility in addition to their songwriting talent - always willing to take risks, The Remixes is a masterful selector's spin on their late 90s/early 00s indie pop-oriented sounds. And the band isn't slowing down, as this release comes on the heels of the band's debut live performance on KEXP, and ahead of their appearance at Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington state. Stay tuned for more from CCFX this yearâ¦
German DJ and producer Perel's debut album is a striking amalgamation of house, new wave, and kraut frameworks that shape a distinct new sound and add a strikingly direct vocal delivery to the mix. Her arrangements recall the starkness of Cluster, Grauzone, and Conny Plank's work with Liaisons Dangereuses â all distinct German voices from the 1980s. Born in Saxony, Annegret Fiedler ventured into the realm of songwriting at the age of eight, composing her first songs on her grandmother's piano while listening to Eurythmics and 2 Unlimited cassettes in her spare time. She went on to develop her craft as a formally trained singer, co-producer, and multi-instrumentalist in several bands, covering a broad palette of styles ranging from punk rock to electro pop and honing her performance skills. A move to Berlin (and the city's club landscape) inspired her to start recording solo productions under the moniker Perel. These days, she can be found playing DJ sets at internationally acclaimed venues like Berghain / Panorama Bar, De School, ://about blank, and Wilden Renate, while also forging connections with Paris' Rex Club, Oslo's JÃ¦ger, and Bossa Nova Civic Club in New York. She's shared bills with Jennifer Cardini, John Talabot, and DJ Harvey, among others, and the record's lead single "Die Dimension" was one of Dixon's most played tracks on last year's festival circuit. Hermetica is a focused, sonically adventurous work, where an artist previously known for her DJ sets plays every instrument, writes every song and explores this new dimension of her own creative process.
On New Path, their second album for DFA, Montreal electronic duo Essaie pas (Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau) take inspiration from Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, a dystopian science fiction classic. The album sounds like the book reads - a voyeuristic, druggy, and paranoid narrative of existence in the surveillance state."I read the book a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago, and it had a strong impression on me," explains Pierre. "In our previous work we always looked to music as inspiration in our lives, but this time we felt the desire to try something different, that's not based on ourselves but on someone else's universe. It was going to be more conceptual, more political."New Path touches on addiction, loss, and the lingering strength of identity within late capitalism's mass media paranoia. It pins down the central character's destructive tendencies, using this as a metaphor to explore the dichotomous rupture between our inner lives and our social environment, one that is often fed and soothed by various kinds of dependences."I think it touches us on many levels," Pierre continues. "We can talk about drug addiction issues, we can talk about the mass surveillance world we live in, but there's also the experience of loss, of grief. I was surprised by how the book felt so modern and accurate to the time we live in right now. Dick's visions of surveillance are the reality of social control today." Essaie pas possess a wiry, experimental take on the more leftfield end of techno music, in the way of pioneers Chris & Cosey and Cabaret Voltaire, as well as newer acts like Fever Ray, Factory Floor, and Helena Hauff. The album trades in hypnotic pads of strings, punctuated by dramatic stabs and sensual rhythmic patterns, with Marie's tripped-out, pseudo-scientific verbiage further adding to the ambience. The world the duo have created here offers a tangled vision of tomorrow's aesthetics, a soundtrack stacked with cold music for cold times.
DFA is proud to present the long-awaited debut EP by London’s Marcus Marr, Familiar Five. Influenced by classic soul, rock, disco, and acid house, the multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer makes spacy dance music, often including percolating synths, funky bass guitar, and vocals. A regular at Berlin’s famed nightclub Berghain/Panorama Bar since 2014, the lifelong music obsessive’s first encounters with dance music were acid house records, which grew his vinyl collection of rock and soul, and attending all night parties under Brixton’s St Matthews Church. At last, Marr returns to DFA with a collection of elastic bassline stompers, reminiscent of early Daft Punk. The title track “Familiar Five” originally began with a rock riff, which he later repurposed as the backbone of a piece of slow, dark, dance music. Inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Faust, and Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Marr explains that he wanted to make something spooky and simple â a song utilizing “very few elements, with a throb and synth vomit.” On the flip side, lead single “High Times” channels the electric guitar stylings of Nile Rodgers circa 1979, and makes good use of the producer’s trademark whizzing synths as well as vocals from collaborator Nandi Bhebe. “Love Release” and “Rocketship” are both equally effective tracks built for the dancefloor.
Dawn People's "The Star Is Your Future" is a studio collaboration between New York musicians Nick Forte and Peter Negroponte. The pair's mutual disregard for musical categorization results in a genre-bending ride on the nine-track LP, which portrays their diverse backgrounds while maintaining a sense of accessibility, continuity, and purpose.
Both veterans of the underground experimental scene, the duo entered into the project preparing to make a serious racket. In time, their mutual appreciation for breezy 70's jazz fusion, kraut rock, and library funk became apparent, setting the course for the sessions. In the summer of 2016, they started tracking live jams with drums and electronics at the Outlier Inn studio in upstate New York with engineer Josh Druckman. As the tracks took shape, Forte and Druckman arranged the material and Negroponte overdubbed guitar, synthesizer, bass, and percussion. Finally, the tracks were handed to Abe Seiferth for mixing and post production.
The sound of this LP harkens back to a time not too long ago, in the early - mid 90's, with groups like Air, Cornelius, Stereolab, Tortoise, and Cibo Matto. All these artists combined a love of Krautrock & David Axelrod records into a lushly produced jigsaw puzzle of live instrumentation, editing, sampling, and immaculate production. It is a genre that Pitchfork's Eric Harvey recently described as "recombinant pop", which is applied to "adventurous, sample-driven and style-copping music".
"The Star Is Your Future" shifts aesthetically and dramatically between sections and phrases, woozy in the best way and never unfocused. Together, Forte and Negroponte have cobbled together a dazzling scope of sonic elements to create something cohesive and mesmerizing - put on the record and get lost in the haze.
CCFX are a new trio from Olympia, Washington, featuring Mary Jane Dunphe (Vexx, CC Dust), David Jacques (CC Dust) and Chris McDonnell (TransFX). Collectively coming from a background of punk, new wave, and shoegaze, all three members embody Olympia's historical ethos of DIY, and join forces for a record that is a showcase of what is currently coming out of the Pacific Northwest.
Recorded and mixed with Captain Tripps, the CCFX EP is a testament to the nostalgic properties of 80's UK chiming and melodic guitar parts that counter and complement Mary Jane's emotional vocals. Undeniably indebted to the sounds of The Cure, New Order, The Smiths, and My Bloody Valentine, Chris McDonnell has made much of the kinship he feels between Olympia, Washington and Manchester, England. And like the Brits across the ocean, CCFX strike that delicate balance between heartfelt and gloomy, but there is an earnest sincerity to these tracks that sets the band apart.
The timbre of the music is warm and just slightly fuzzed out, and the expressive quality of Mary Jane’s voice is pushed to the front. These four songs allow access to suppressed and forgotten feelings from youth - punk's not dead, and neither are its descendants. This is the stuff indie dance nights are made of.
Eric Copeland (Black Dice) returns to DFA with a brand-new set of hyper & hectic leftfield club music. Goofballs places its emphasis on playful melodies, ear worm hooks & vocals mixed with trademark machine funk rhythms that hit hard and land off-balance. Any other way would be too obvious for an artist like Eric. Perhaps he even invented a new dance genre: 'Goofstep'. We'll see if that one sticks...
Eric Copeland is a founding member of Black Dice as well as a prolific solo artist. Besides DFA, he has released albums on L.I.E.S., Post Present Medium & Paw Tracks.
Goofballs was mixed by Rusty Santos (who has mixed everyone from DJ Rashad to Panda Bear to Owen Pallett) and mastered by Joe Lambert. It is Eric's third solo album for DFA Records.
GT Ultra is the second full length album by Guerilla Toss on DFA Records. The album demonstrates a remarkable shift in sound, musicianship and songwriting, without ever giving up the unhinged quality that made their earlier recordings so exciting. It is a dream state record for sure, filled with an insistence to "hydrate, gyrate, think straight, no weight", all the while under the influence of golden beams of orange sunshine, glimmering glitter and kaleidoscopic bursts.
Horse Follows Darkness is the second record by Delia Gonzalez, her follow up to the album "In Remembrance".
The title is taken from a werewolf genre film her 8 year old son Wolfgang had created. At this time, Wolfgang also turned Delia onto a genre of cinema she had always resisted - the American Western.
Delia explains that what she observed "was all relevant - the album is based on our personal experience of moving back to America (from Berlin) and the journey that followed. The record is a manifestation of that, and what one creates for themselves under the given circumstances. Coming back to America, I felt like a foreigner and NYC / America felt like the Wild West. Most Westerns from the 1960s to the present have revisionist themes. Many were made by emerging major filmmakers who saw the Western as an opportunity to expand their criticism of American society and values into a new genre."
Horse Follows Darkness is essentially a modern electronic soundtrack for the Revisionist Western.
The Juan Maclean return to DFA with a stand-alone single, bursting with deep house elastic bounce and electronic pop flourishes, married to the deadpan earnestness of Nancy Whang's vocal delivery."Can You Ever Really Know Somebody" is the kind of slinky song that is easily absorbed and difficult to forget. It is a taste of things to come, as The Juan Maclean prepares a brand new LP for DFA due out in Fall 2017.The remix is courtesy of LA-4A, aka Ambivalent and legally known as American born producer Kevin McHugh. Stripping out the house music and replacing it with a grinding electro-acid template, LA-4A creates a lovely buzzing new bed of music for Nancy Whang's vocals to rest on top of it. This is a remix with wildly successful results and a perfect companion to the original.
Spiked Punch is a new project from 2/3 of Black Dice, Eric Copeland & Aaron Warren.
After the third member Bjorn Copeland relocated to Los Angeles in 2015, Aaron & Eric worked on a Black Dice remix commission for Awesome Tapes From Africa, for artist Aby Ngana Diop. Through this creative process, they hit upon a new sort of inspiration for making music and Spiked Punch was born.
These two tracks were born out of long form improvisations between Eric & Aaron. It is most definitely music born of their environment in Brooklyn - the lo-fi bodega beats seeping out of the dozens of delis, trial and error with early sample chopping, watching YouTube tutorials for help, the eerie comfort of late nite local tv, and a sweltering Brooklyn summer cooled and fueled by Tecate. The duo also emphasizes the music was recorded on an iBook from 2004.
The music Spiked Punch have created is wildly percussive and zig zags around tweaked vocal stabs and dubbed out bass lines. When pressed for more personal descriptors for the music the band responded with this: "Coconut bongos, pineapple kick drums, stolen bike vocals, peanut chew bass-lines".
The CD release of DFA Records Compilation #1 came out in days of yore, when the iTunes store did not exist, when iPods were more coveted than your phone. The only way to hear the first batch of singles DFA released was to seek out the vinyl and lots of people did.
This magical mythical first group of releases from DFA included "House of Jealous Lovers" by The Rapture, "Losing My Edge" & "Give It Up" by LCD Soundsystem. It also included two very different approaches to dance music from The Juan Maclean - "By The Time I Get To Venus" and "You Can't Have It Both Ways", which subtly introduced the world to the vocal powers of Nancy Whang.
Black Dice also released a 12" single, throwing their noise roots behind a 4/4 screech and created one of the most unique singles in the DFA catalog with "Cone Toaster".
The compilation was edited to fit onto one CD, more a sampler than a completist's anthology. In hindsight, it should have been an anthology of the first 5 singles in full but the A sides had enough momentum happening to make the sampler a bonafide success for the label.
The 8.0 review from Pitchfork in 2003 helped cement the DFA label as both the leaders of a new production approach, as well as a collection of artists who could co-exist make music together and please both the discerning DJ and the indie rock enthusiasts.
In the review, the writer Nick Sylvester calls DFA "The Neptunes of the discopunk underground", which maybe seems funny and far-fetched now, but back in 2003 was a compliment and comparison that DFA were very willing to accept. It is now 2016 and both parties continue to work and stay busy and relevant. Success being relative, this compilation represents the humble beginnings of the label and the birth / re-birth of DFA flagship artists The Rapture, The Juan Maclean, LCD Soundsystem & Black Dice.
This is the first time this title has ever been pressed to vinyl.
Flood Dosed was DFA's first release from the incomparable New York-via-Boston Guerilla Toss. Originally released only on cassette and digitally, Flood Dosed is now available on vinyl for the first time. It now includes a bonus vinyl exclusive track "Teacher Speaks" which was recorded in the same sessions as the rest of the EP.
Guerilla Toss have lived by (admitted fan/supporter) Henry Rollins "Get in the Van"-style promotion; touring extensively around the USA, Canada, and Europe since their inception in 2011. They played pigsties, punk houses, liberal arts colleges, and the occasional opening slot for iconic bands such as Mission of Burma, Merzbow, & Black Dice. Recently, the band affixed a Grateful Dead "steal yr face" decal to the bumper of their well-traveled minivan - a signifier of their commitment to unique setlists and unpredictable surprises at each and every performance.
Guerilla Toss have also been prolific recording and releasing multiple releases on vinyl, tape, and CD on respected underground labels labels such as Feeding Tube, John Zorn's TZADIK, NNA Tapes, Infinity Cat and as well as their most recent full-length LP Eraser Stargazer for DFA in the spring of 2016.
Guerilla Toss are set to release their EPs Flood Dosed and Giant Claw VS Guerilla Toss bundled for the first time on Compact Disc on October 14, 2016.
Flood Dosed was DFA's first release from the incomparable New York-via-Boston Guerilla Toss. Guerilla Toss have lived by (admitted fan/supporter) Henry Rollins "Get in the Van"-style promotion; touring extensively around the USA, Canada, and Europe since their inception in 2011. They played pigsties, punk houses, liberal arts colleges, and the occasional opening slot for iconic bands such as Mission of Burma, Merzbow, & Black Dice. Recently, the band affixed a Grateful Dead "steal yr face" decal to the bumper of their well-traveled minivan - a signifier of their commitment to unique setlists and unpredictable surprises at each and every performance. Guerilla Toss have also been prolific recording and releasing multiple releases on vinyl, tape, and CD on respected underground labels such as Feeding Tube, John Zorn's TZADIK, NNA Tapes, Infinity Cat and others.
Giant Claw VS Guerilla Toss is the remix/version/reworking of Guerilla Toss' music, a musical creation mixed, manipulated and imagined through the prism of ideas that is Giant Claw (Orange Milk Records). Giant Claw is also known to many as Keith Rankin, an in-demand artist / graphic designer, tied to Guerilla Toss by illustrating the bold LP images from their DFA debut LP Eraser Stargazer, as well as the cover for this very release. Giant Claw takes five prime Guerilla Toss tracks and zaps them with his wild blend of elastic 808 rhythms, merging the crazy R&B vocal sample style he is known for with Kassie's sing/shout rapid-fire poetic delivery. It is a unique formula and it sees Giant Claw find a surprising elements or two or three within all five "versions". The through-line that pulls all tracks together is the faithful analog stems VS MIDI triggered fully digital sounds, all clashing together into a glorious groove.
A busy stage actor and singer already well known in his native Norway for three albums released on Oslo's Fysisk Format, "Echo" marks a pivotal turning point for Bech, and something of a radical sonic departure too. The keys to the seachange lie with Bech's new collaborator, the young underground DJ, producer and beat maker Drippin, known for his work with American rap artists such as LE1F and Cakes Da Killa. As a result, where his previous work was strange, ethereal and otherworldly - completely and utterly unique - "Echo" throbs with a renewed sense of vigour and urgency, without losing any of the idiosyncratic beauty which marked Bech's work out before.
The sound created here is strange and immediate. Stuttering sharp bass kicks combine with clanging 5-alarm snare drums made of glass, orchestra stabs and melancholy piano lines jump in and out of the arrangements. These new elements and ideas are married to the already singular voice of Nils Bech, with "Echo" becoming something new, exciting and 100% Norwegian - homegrown and ready for the world. Just listen to new track "Waiting" for evidence of his truly inimitable vision, as martial drums anchor Bech's floating, weightless vocals, to create something swoonsome, beguiling and defiantly its own creature.
The music comes to full fruition when performed live, as proven at two packed performances at the 2016 By Larm Festival where Nils was joined onstage by both Drippin & Oyvind Mathisen, who also produced, arranged and played on the album alongside Bech. Make sure not to miss the completely original and striking sound of Nils Bech.
He may be ill at ease with the darkroom throb of 21st century clubs, but the house music Crooked Man produces is as weighty, alien, raw and left of-centre as anything you'd get from many a hyped young producer. His instincts, honed through years of DJing, production and dancing in sweaty cellars, remain as sharp as ever.
Richard Barrat aka Parrot aka Crooked Man is the Sheffield based producer who is most famous for being one half of the duo Sweet Exorcist, alongside Cabaret Voltaire founder Richard H Kirk.
Sweet Exorcist were known as the first architects of the bleep techno sound, closely associated with Warp Records, and responsible for releasing the first CD on Warp, in 1991.
The 5 singles and full length self-titled album marks a celebratory musical return for Richard, still making club music - sounding vibrant electric and relevant.
Factory Floor return to DFA with their sonically striking sophomore album, "25 25". What was once a trio is now a duo, with members Gabe Gurnsey and Nik Void holding it down and co-writing and recording the new LP together.
Their debut self-titled album (2013) embraced "industrial, post-punk, disco, acid, avant-garde minimalism, electro, dub and - most crucially - the dancefloor, without being beholden to any one genre". (Pitchfork)
"25 25" certainly does not forego any of these genres. What it adds to it is a new level of intricate detail in the production and mixing, with hyper-attention paid to drums & percussion. Mixing was completed by David Wrench (Caribou, FKA Twigs) was emphasizing their love of classic & modern dub. Nik Void's hypnotic / robotic vocals also take a new-found center stage on many tracks. This artificial and human adding an extra layer of alienation with barely discernible lyrics on top of rock-steady time keeping and the arpeggiated squelching synths Factory Floor became initially known for.
The new EP Crime Cutz is the first new original Holy Ghost! music since the NYC-based duo of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel released their sophomore album 2013's Dynamics. As with most of their catalog, "Crime Cutz" benefits from Holy Ghost!'s insistence on tactile instrumentation with live drums recorded over the track to accelerate its tempo. The duo are quite methodical in their output - shimmering bursts of disco, synth-pop, and lingering grooves - but that doesn't mean Holy Ghost! is not prodigious. Over nearly a decade, they have gone from being DFA's rising sons to triple threats: indefatigable DJs, producers remixing new life into the work of Cut Copy and Katy Perry alike, and inventive musicians who've released countless original singles. They're again adding to their thinking-man's dance repertoire with the vibrant Crime Cutz EP out later this year on DFA Records.
Recorded at Copeland's old practice space in South Williamsburg, Black Bubblegum contains songs with more conventional sounds and songwriting than any of his previous releases. While there are similarities with Copeland's earlier work in the drum patterns, major scales and vocals, Black Bubblegum moves away from his trademark psychedelic dub towards strange and fantastical pop; imagine Arthur Russell going into the studio with the Ramones. Wanting to take a more "hands-on" approach to these recordings, Copeland exchanged sample-driven tech and hardware for keyboards, guitars and effect pedals, creating a new sound that is oddly easy to digest despite its rejection of melody in favour of discord and dissonance.
Eric Copeland has been sound clashing at full volume for over twenty years, first carving out a named for himself as one third of the legendary NY-via-Providence band Black Dice. A wildly prolific solo artist, Copeland has played shit houses, party palaces and seemingly everything in between all over the world.
A long time Brooklyn, resident, Eric recently relocated to where the L Train does not run - Palma de Mallorca, Spain. While maintaining a relatively humble and low key presence in a highly competitive musical world, he has releases a prolific amount of music every year through indie labels such as L.I.E.S., Escho (Iceage), PPM (No Age), Paw Tracks (Animal Collective) and DFA.