Tag Archives: UK electronica

Top 18 Albums of 2012: #2 Hot Chip – In Our Heads

In Our Heads represents the moment when everything i want in music comes together in one package. The sublime confluence of rock and electronica. The English techno sound done right. Keyboard mastery and an epic beat. The nerdy singer who rocks like he belongs in a different body and is just plain cool as hell. The sound that pays homage to the 80’s, 90’s and beyond. It’s a band demonstrating that they haven’t fallen off on their 5th studio album. This was the sound i expected from Hot Chip on this go around and they delivered in a major way.

I remember when i first heard this album, i was sitting at my kitchen table and the sheer epicness of In Our Heads’ opening track, ‘Motion Sickness’ was fucking gripping:

What a way to start an album… What a way to come back from your first release in two years. I was hooked. I still am. This is the band that changed the dance rock game with the unforgettable ‘Over and Over’ …flipped it upside down and made it really fucking clear that this shit doesn’t need to be pop. They haven’t dropped off A SINGLE BIT.

There’s a certain pattern to a Hot Chip album that i’ve come to love and they executed it to a tee on In Our Heads. The slow jams you can’t quite shake, like ‘Look At Where We Are’, with the trippy re-verb droplet sound in the background….it’s the song that breaks you down early on the record and takes you away from their infectious dance beats..makes you wanna bring that someone closer…before resuming regularly scheduled dancing; With a classic upbeat love song in ‘These Chains,’ that borrows dubstep, old drum and bass beats and the signature Casio keys subtly placed in the background.

While Hot Chip warms you up with ‘These Chains,’ you’re violently eased (how that’s possible, i don’t know, but they pull it off) into the albums signature dance floor track, ‘Night and Day’:

LOVE the Reggie Watts cameo singing the very 80’s deep robot-o-tronic voice:

Let’s sweat, let’s sweat
Let’s sweat, let’s sweat
Let’s sweat, let’s sweat
Let’s sweat, let’s sweat
(You know I’m thinking about you) — Watts
Night & day & night
(You got me working) — Watts
Night & day & night
(You got me working) — Watts
Night & day & night
(You got me working) — Watts
Night & day & night

But the most spectacular moment on In Our Heads is ‘Flutes’. The most perfectly repetitive track i’ve ever heard. You gotta know your shit to pull this off. It’s flawlessly progressive as Alexis Taylor’s sultry voice guides us through the beat into the impeccable grand finale…..“One day you might realize…………That you will need to open your eyes!”:

After seeing the video, i always feel like the room is spinning around me when i hear this song…and i love that feeling. Of getting lost in a song and just surrendering to the beat for a moment.

Can you tell that i LOVE this band? Full disclosure, i’m a huge fucking fan. (Almost as big of a fan as this girl is.) Largely because they never disappoint me. In fact, they’ve been not disappointing me since The Warning changed the game in 2006. They’re one of the best damn bands on the planet, bar none…and they just put out my 2nd favorite album of 2012.

Hot Chip

Top 18 Albums of 2012 – #11 Disclosure – The Face EP

Press play:

Yea that’s right, it says EP after The Face. This is the first EP to ever make the list.

With that said, Disclosure is loosely classified as “garage-house”, but it’s much more than that. Disclosure is the first group to successfully (key word) capitalize on the groundwork that SBTRKT (My #1 Album of 2011) laid last year. I spoke about how SBTRKT foreshadowed what was to come in music, that THIS was the future….and here comes Disclosure, bursting onto the UK electronic scene, preaching the same gospel and finding more ears in the UK than we could ever imagine in America.

To understand the phenomenon that is electronica in UK, its important to know the inherent differences between the music scenes across the Atlantic ocean from each other. While we’ve got this niche EDM scene blowing up in massive form, electronica is the standard at most clubs in the UK. The underground bass-heavy electronica and garage/dub house scene is alive and well and is an essential seam in the nightlife fabric. Tracks like Disclosure’s ‘Latch’ frequently reach the top UK singles list (#11).

Damn it if that video doesn’t embody how money this shit is. ‘Latch,’ which doesn’t appear on The Face is by far their biggest track and alas, this is where i’ve fooled you. Because The Face’s prowess as a marvelous 4-track collection, simply stands as the most complete work that one of the UK’s most important electronica acts of 2012 put out among other short-form releases this year. The unforgettable ‘What’s in Your Head?’ (at the top of this post), has the staying power of any good dance track. On ‘Boiling,’ Disclosure  incorporates my soft spot for the “girly voice” with Sinead Hartnett’s lush, soulful serenade. The bass is perfect and the effects take a page right out of SBTRKT’s new bible for garage beats.

Disclosure paid close attention to SBTRKT, not just from a musical standpoint, but they even found their own version of the masks, with the digital face outlines you see in the ‘Latch’ video above, as well as on the album cover below; Adding to their marketability and cryptic nature of the tunes. They’ve toured with SBTRKT and Hot Chip this year and gotta be put on your radar, stat.

Peep the 4-track EP, which i’ve embedded with my new favorite Spotify playlist plug-in below) along with the Tenderly/Flow single plus B-side. The ‘Latch’ video is above and your Disclosure crash course is complete! THIS is the positive trend in UK electronica i wanted to see. I hope you like it and I hope there’s more to share down the line…

Disclosure