This year was an incredible year for releases old and new, especially on vinyl. The renaissance of vinyl has been well touted and for us, we never stopped buying it. As a duo DJing in Barcelona (we are called Topless), my husband and I have access to some great record shops as online resources from the UK and Germany to keep us well supplied.
This list is just of the edits and edits that we bought this year that blew our minds! I hope that you enjoy them as well!
Secret Squirrels #4 – Side B
The mysterious Secret Squirrels kept this year rolling with an amazing edit of Diana Ross’s classic “Love Hangover”. It is great warm up the floor with something familiar but totally different. The bass starts up the track and it is sexy as hell. Then the vocals come in with the snares and just wow! Grind on your partner and an end that slinks right into the next track.
KOKO 1985 Edits – Peru
Kornél Kovács as KOKO drops this set of edits from 1985 on the label Puss he founded with DJ HNNY. These are super cute 10″ with a kiss to seal the deal on each of them. There are two on here that are amazing but I love this rework of Depeche Mode’s “Just can’t get enough” because it pulls out the dark synths at the beginning extending a deep mysterious entry. Once the familiar melody hits, you can’t help but start to bounce.
Get Down Edits – Satisfy
Get Down Edits are the Irish duo Daz and Martin who have been release collections of killer edits since 2011. This yeah they collected edits from themselves and other partners in crime for a great EP of 4 edits, more on the digital EP, but this disc is a gem. Shit Hot Soundsystem brings a hot guitar riff and infectious vocal. Try not to dance and smile.
REKchampa – Combine (from The Love Below #3)
The Love Below is an edits only imprint from somethinksounds and in 2013 they released the very well known Cyril Hahn rework of “Say my name”. With number three they bring together some other heavy hitters. The stand out track for me is a rambunctious rework of Jimmy Bo Horten’s “Spank” called “Satisfy”. The double kick and high energy do just that.
Homesick #1 – Ella (Amadei & Zimmer Edit)
This first release in the Homesick series has three great tracks, but for us, we fell in Love with the Amedei and Zimmer re-work of 80’s french pop sugar bomb “Ella”. The hazy synths build up and break into a wave of sexy vocals. It’s a great closing or opening piece and we just love the slow build.
So here we have it- my pick for the best song of 2014. By “best” I’m not really referring to its quality (though its quality is undeniably high), but more in the sense that’s implied with a term like “best friend.” That is, something to which we’ve grown extremely close. And of all the songs that passed through my headphones this year, “Seasons (Waiting on You)” by Future Islands managed to get the closest. It’s partly Samuel T. Herrings chameleon-like voice, shifting from a sweet tenor on the verses to an entirely different beast on the choruses (so much that it could easily be mistaken for another singer), along with the endearingly schlubby look of the band, captured so perfectly in their breakout performance on Letterman this year. But ultimately, it’s the emotional paradox of the song that leaves me so mesmerized- it feels uplifting at the same time it feels melancholic. The result is a track that fully resonates, no matter what the context is; it’s a song that’ll stick with you when things are looking up, or not.
With its elastic synths, four-on-the-floor thump and anthemic chorus, this collaboration between Royksopp and Robyn could easily have drifted into the realm of over-the-top schlock pop. And yet, as with so many tracks featuring Robyn at the helm, there’s an extra layer of emotional intensity that’s absent from much of the dance music that climbs the charts. It’s partly due to the restraint she shows in front of the microphone- even at the song’s peak, when delivering the lines “Don’t care what they say / it hurts so good / I don’t wanna stop / I know I should,” Robyn doesn’t oversell the song. She sounds strong, but vulnerable- an emotional combination we’ve all experienced at some point. Maybe that’s why we can’t help but sing along.
The new Belle and Sebastian LP, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, is yet-to-be released, but the lead single is already out and, much to my pleasant surprise, it’s an all-out eletro-disco tune. Sure, the band has dipped its toes into this territory before (see “Electric Renaissance” from their debut Tigermilk for a less-than-subtle nod to New Order), but never before have Belle & Sebastian sounded so ready to hit the dance floor. The track opens with a filter sweep, lifting like a curtain on a track full of Stuart Murdoch’s signature melodicism, but this time with disco syncopation and synth flourishes in tow. Fingers crossed that we’ll be hearing more like this when the new album drops in January 2015.
Summer started early this year thanks to Duke Dumont’s “I Got U,” which landed on the DJ decks all the way back in January. The pulse of steel drums at the start of the track feel like a warm breeze- just a hint of the heat to come- and by the time Jax Jones’ vocal graces our ears in the first verse, we’ve got the windows wide open, tank top donned, and a rum cocktail in each hand. Then, the beat kicks in and the dance floor’s suddenly packed, bouncing along to this summer anthem, no matter what the calendar says.
This first entry in my list of faves from 2014 could easily be mistaken for a forgotten gem from 25 years before. A Rhythm Nation-era Janet b-side, perhaps? Or maybe a shelved take from some long-lost session at Prince’s Paisley Park? Retro, as we know, can easily come off as cloying nostalgia, or even just plain lazy, but all should be forgiven when the results are this good. New Zealander Kimbra Johnson mines the New Jack Swing-era pretty heavily on “Madhouse,” but by doing it so enthusiastically, and so well, it’s impossible not to get taken in by the sheer joy of it.