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DJ On A Dime: The Day The Future Met The Past

January 3, 2011

Image from Gilderic @ Flickr

All right! First off, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s 2011 has been off to a fabulous start! We may have fish and birds dying en masse in Arkansas as well a bunch of angry legislators who are resolved to damage the common citizenry, but hey, it’s not all bad. First, if you’re awaiting the apocalypse, you can read about how social networking will carry over into the times when we’re all forcibly LARPing Fallout. I for one am not counting on the end times. It wasn’t after the first millennium, it wasn’t Y2K, and it won’t be now. Why worry when you can kick back and rock out to some past greats and some stars I hope to hear more from this year. It’s all good, it’s all free: this is DJ On A Dime.

On the past side, Fluxblog has the Janet Jackson classic “Escapade.” The song is Janet at her pop star best, and the theme of the getting away with your love on the weekend may provide some consolation to those of us heading back to work or class this week. Matthew Perpetua also sheds some light into the song by comparing it to the Michael Jackson hit “The Way You Make Me Feel” and couching both songs in the context of the Jacksons’ upbringing. Even if you’re not into the Jacksons’ oeuvre, the post is just really good music writing.

Going further back in time, Disco Workout digs into the origins of Detroit techno with the obscure dance cut “Sharevari” or “Shari Vari” (the song has had different spellings over time) by A Number Of Names. I don’t know much about classic techno outside of Cybotron, but I thought this song, both its original and the more current-sounding remix from techno stars Vitalic and The Hacker, holds up pretty well. The original has this dusty exoticism to it and the remix pounds on like an army of robots who figured out the loophole in Asimov’s Three Laws. As a bonus, the post also includes Detroit garage rock icons The Dirtbombs covering the tune and making it into some old school disco funk. Gotta love that singer’s affected accent!

Now let’s look ahead to two artists from whom I hope to hear more in 2011. First off is New Yorker Chris Glover and his band Penguin Prison. On paper, PP come off like Mike Posner with all of the different genre influences, artistic growth in college, and high-range singing voices. Where Posner fits in the radio sounds of today, Glover and co seem to taking the slightly corny electro dance blueprint drafted by bands like Chromeo into more melancholy territory. Still, when this guy belts it’s like “what if Phil Collins fronted Depeche Mode?” I can’t wait to hear this band’s album! Right now you can boogie over RCRD LBL to download the Penguin Prison song “Something I’m Not” along with a boatload of kickass remixes (check out the Royal Palms take on “Golden Train”).

Finally, I really got into the up and coming North Carolina rapper and recent Roc Nation signee J. Cole. Cole has a very effortless but incredibly on beat flow, similar to Will Smith in the late 90s or when Kanye West was considered a new talent and kicked ass in rap battles. The production that’s been attached to some of the free stuff that has come out, especially his Friday Night Lights mixtape (which you can get from Cole’s site), is very laid back and really classes up all the action that’s going on. That doesn’t mean Cole is all chillout though. Go to RCRD LBL for a bass-heavy banger called “Who Dat.”

Again, everyone have a happy 2011! Good luck and take time to indulge a little and love a lot.

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