Last week I caught up with Different Sleep, a Chicago-based producer who first came on my radar with his very like-able, sun-rays-on-my-bed type track “Get Ahead” which obviously stole my heart with the Drake sample. In a happy not-so-coincidence, Different Sleep signed his latest release over to LA-based Friends of Friends, who aside from being teamed by a few particularly awesome people are just generally releasing cool, interesting, and unique material.
The Conflict EP is a definite shift for Different Sleep, and heads in a more moody direction than his previous works – aided by the first time with his own vocals. There’s a predominant sense of heartbreak, but as many of the world’s favorite films have managed to do time and time again, the EP lends itself to a beautiful and dreamlike state. The opening track manages to take a shuffled drum pattern to an effortless, transient place, where Different Sleep’s own vocals appear for the first time. “Slow Things Down” strips the drums away for an achingly wonderful piano-driven piece. Vocals from Dirty Gold on “Cold” put everything into slow motion, and the closer track “Damage” picks up where “Conflict” left off, bringing back the shuffled drums and truncated synths that weave through each ear with a graceful and slight sense of urgency. The EP is as if you were to fall through the various stages of heartbreak with an airy and enlightened sense of being… it rises above anger and aggression to a tender and yet still aching bubble.
You can read my chat with Different Sleep after the jump, where we discuss everything from Justin Bieber to the importance of understanding the music business and why everything from Toronto is better. You can check him out tonight at The Echo with Jerome LOL (who’s premiering his new live setup) and tomorrow when Friends of Friends does their takeover of Low End Theory.
Last year Perera Elsewhere dropped her debut album on FoF Music, a compelling 13-track EP of ‘off-kilter pop’ laden with vocals and minimal production that both seem heavily influenced by a yin and yang of moody and dream-like states. Now the Deluxe edition of her venture has dropped, this one containing all the original tracks as well as a brand new selection of remixes from the likes of Shlohmo, Benjamin Damage, Kyoto, and more. Each track from the album got a revisit, and cleverly enough FoF have put Shlohmo’s remix of “Light Bulb” up for stream on Soundcloud. Considerably more urgent sounding than the original, Shlohmo’s remix takes the track to his signature dark place – this time with a grinding repetition and siren-sounding synths.
On Tuesday Los Angeles based creative genius Jerome LOL released his Deleted/Fool EP on home label Friends of Friends. Having previously released an album on FoF as the now defunct LOL Boys, Jerome’s new EP is his first official solo release. I could throw words around about Jerome being a sort of avant-garde musical and visual curator, or how his aesthetic bleeds originality in its cheeky complexities and colorful simplicities – but that would be selling him short, and missing the point. My lack of ability to really envelop Jerome LOL as an entity is precisely his appeal. The off-kilter balance of this ‘tumblr-era x internet 1.0 x 90′s branding’ visual mish-mash with the delicateness and deeper meaning of Jerome LOLs musical endeavors is in my humble opinion so cleverly curated that I am just consistently in awe. Jerome’s filtering and curating of a dizzying amount of visual and audio influences from everywhere across the spectrum into a concise and branded look and sound is something I’ve always respected. His DJ sets are interesting and fun, his label Body High is a wonderful homage to LA and dance music origins while keeping releases and artists fresh and cool, and his music videos are insanely unique and some of my favorites:
The four-track EP begins with “Deleted,” starts with Jerome’s signature swinging drums, in true-to-form fashion created by an antiquated and distorted piece, the DJX-2. The claps and swing fade as Sara Z’s cool and sensitive vocals come in, with clear cut changes in the cord progressions between each verse carrying the mood. It’s these subtleties in the undertones that reveal the emotional complexities of the track – doubling computer jargon with the destruction of a relationship (“we’re offline, no course of action” “control, escape, command, delete, it’s all in our hands”). The track evolves and grows in almost pop-song format with repeated choruses and verses, a bridge and an outro, which shuts off all the drums just before Sara utters her last line- printing the track in your head.
“Always” continues with the cymbal-heavy, swinging drum patterns, this time lighter in feeling given the faster pattern & more effervescent vocals. The keys in the chorus are touching and warm, and the various inflexions of Sara’s voice on the word “Always” is captivating and soulful. The heavy distortion on the bassline and clanging drums on “Fool” flip the EP from pop-leanings to a much more club/warehouse mindset, until Angelina Lucero’s melancholy and poignant vocals rip you off your shuffling feet and onto the floor. But as the heavy bassline fades, a glockenspiel-sounding bridge comes in before Angelina’s chorus comes in, aided by incredibly pitched-up echoes of her voice carrying each line. The clanging drums and garage moodiness are met by the pitch shifts and “this instrument can never sound sad” use of the glockenspiel – it’s this touch of color in an otherwise entirely depressing track that is a common theme in Jerome’s work. The EP closes with “True”, another considerably moody song from Angelina Lucero’s teethy and slow vocals and sort of rain-down-your-windowpane piano chords that rain so heavily on the track it nearly drowns out her vocals until the very end.
Like with all artists that have developed their own signature patterns and sounds, I see the argument from both sides on Jerome’s heavy use of jazzy/swing drums and pop-oriented progressions: on one side it doesn’t have an grand sense of variety, but on the other it’s clearly a sound and vibe that nobody else is really doing. You can identify a Jerome LOL track from just a few seconds of listening, but because of that the tracks can be considered to start sounding the same. I’m personally more drawn to the ‘Deleted’ half of the EP, which to me is an example of the vibe of work I enjoy most from Jerome; the ‘Fool’ half dives much deeper into a darker side of his music which I simply do not grasp as well – I think that’s a side he’s still sonically developing. But I do have to give props to Jerome for really nailing the structure of his tracks.
You can purchase the EP on Bandcamp HERE or on iTunes HERE:
I usually hate pop-ups, but Jerome LOL‘s new video for “Deleted” from his recently released EP on Friends of Friends has me feeling a bit differently about them today. It’s very internet as you’d expect from the social media guru, with lots of crazy animations and funny videos from friends layering all over the screen. Check it out below and purchase the Deleted/Fool EP here.
Finally we get to see some original content from the legend that is Jerome LOL! His brand new EP, Deleted / Fool, on home label Friends of Friends sees its release next month (February 4th to be exact) but today he’s just shared the first single from the EP, featuring the beautiful vocals from Angelina Lucero. Some of you may recognize Lucero from her appearance on Jerome’s previous venture, the Changes LP from LOL Boys.
“Fool” is a developed sense of self from Jerome, an elaboration upon his signature weirdness that places him in a category of producer all his own. Although this is a sort of new sound for Jerome, it’s very much still him. With heavily laden bass drums with skittered snares and chimes rising subtly above them, the track is a heavy clanker with heavy techno leanings, until Lucero’s vocals come in, surprisingly taking things to a simultaneously warmer and haunting place. And in very true-to-form Jerome LOL fashion, he’s got a brand new website up where you can trip out for six minutes with the track. Uh, I think ‘jerry-built’ would be an applicable pun here.
Stream the new track below, and if you want to preorder the whole EP (psst… I listened to it and it’s very good) you can do so by clicking HERE.
If you haven’t caught on by now that I hold LA-based label/collective Friends of Friends very near and dear to my heart, then you’re either slippin or just really don’t care. Well I’m just not OK with either of those. From their work with Boiler Room to cultivating the musical careers of left-field artists like LOL Boys, Groundislava, Shlohmo, Young Adults, and more, FoF have been making a well-deserved name for themselves since their beginning. The FoF-er that I bring to you today goes by the name of Epcot, who is not only part of the Friends of Friends team, but also runs Salva’s label Frite Nite. He came fresh with an exclusive guest mix for us chock full of artists who enjoy coloring outside the lines of house and techno; From Randomer to Sinden, acid to analog, Epcot keeps the vibe alive with an intelligent selection of provoking dance music.
You can stream and download his GDD Exclusive through our Soundcloud below, but be sure to check out Epcot’s and Frite Nite‘s Soundcloud as well. He’s also playing down at the Belly Up Tavern next week with a few other Frite Nite artists, details HERE.
Sometimes I like to think I have a sense of humor. Most of the time I end up just realizing that I have really boisterous opinions and too many platforms with which to express them, but that is neither here nor there.
One of the infinite pleasures of the industry is that the vast majority of DJs and producers are weirdos like me which oft goes fairly unnoticed in regular interviews. Cue my brilliant idea to enhance and embrace this weirdness & just get a bit silly with some of my favorite LOL-worthy artists. So stay tuned for “For the LOLs” to become a more regular thing, cuz if there’s one thing I know Gotta Dance Dirty loves as much as music it’s pure jokes. And whiskey. And stickers on butts. I digress.
My first LOL-erview is with the ever amazing Salva, I’ll leave you to just enjoy the rest after the jump. If you ever have a question you’d like to ask or an artist you’d love for me to chat with, hit @GottaDanceDirty or myself (@lauradambuleff) on Twitter. Stay weird.
2013 has only just begun and Salva is already having a hell of a year. After announcing his primetime slot on BBC Radio 1′s “In New DJs We Trust” (along with the wholly deserving Brodinski), running train on the blogs by dropping a collab with Brenmar “Let Me Bang” and an early preview of “Drop That B”, finishing a quick US tour, and laying down a rowdy set to a massive post-Grammy’s crowd last night at Drai’s, he’s dropping his first EP of the year Odd Furniture… and doing it early.
It seems like a bit of a paradox that one can make earthy connected songs with various technological pieces, but Eskmo seems to have found that exact niche with his new EP Terra. After his previous release Language out on Ancestor back in October, Terra brings a totally new perspective, this time darker, slower, and more “earthy”. It’s a wonderful release filled with emotion and craftily arranged drums and progressions that are both moving and soulful. You can grab the EP over on his website (and name your own price for it too), and read my quick little interview with him after the jump.
Ever since one of LA’s most fascinating labels Friends of Friends did a rambunctious takeover of Boiler Room, they’ve solidified a place in my heart as an enigmatic and refreshing label with unmatched originality. These guys are the weirdos that maybe you’re not supposed to understand, maybe you are, I don’t really know. But it’s cool… whether you “get it” or not… the point is they’re straight up making really cool music in a very new way and they’ve definitely made it work.