Daft Punk

I can hardly believe I’ve gone this long without a Daft Punk post. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are not just legends of electro house, but icons of a musical generation.

While attending a French university, Bangalter and Manuel started a band with Laurent Brancowitz called Darlin’. The members themselves now admit the project was not their best work. A negative review by Melody Maker magazine claimed it was “a bunch of daft punk”. The trio had the last laugh however, as Brancowitz went on to form Phoenix and dominate electropop while the others donned robot helmets and made history.

Daft Punk rose to fame with the single Da Funk off of their debut album, Homework. The single entailed a music video by Spike Jonze for MTV. Shortly after, the duo signed to Virgin records and hired Pedro Winter as their manager. Eight years later, Busy P created the powerhouse French record label, Ed Banger. Daft Punk truly has the Midas touch.

Five studio albums later, the group is now producing the soundtrack to the upcoming Tron Legacy for Disney, which I can assume is the heftiest paycheck the duo has received in a while. That said, I’m sure they enjoyed the challenge of producing a movie score instead of a new album (See: SebastiAN’s OST for Notre Jour Viendre).

Daft Punk are legends of the French house scene. They headline and sell out every stadium they play. In fact, It has become somewhat of a rite of passage for DJs to remix a Daft Punk song with justice to the original (See also: SebastiAN’s Human After All remix).

Cultural context can transform your perception of music. Hopefully the next time you see Daft Punk, you think Daft punk, and not those guys with the robot helmets who made “One more time.”

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Spike Jonze

Spike Jonze is not only one of the most versatile directors in the field, but his attention to minimalist style is unmatched. After all, how many directors do you know with their own stage name?

Jonze kicked off his career by making music videos for MTV back when they had music. He produced “100%” by Sonic Youth, solidifying his position as a directing prodigy. He makes high profile music videos to this day. His credits also include directing Daft Punk, Weezer, the Beastie Boys, R.E.M., Fatboy Slim, and recently Arcade Fire, with his beautiful take on “The Suburbs”.

Jonze is also one of the few people on this planet that can include both Where the Wild Things Are as well as the Jackass trilogy on his resume. Another interesting tidbit: his brother is the high profile DJ Squeak E. Clean, famous for his collaborations with the musical group N.A.S.A.

From super slow motion skateboarding videos with remote explosives, to elaborate costumes for CGI blockbusters, Spike Jonze is a brilliant director and one of the most respected names in the industry.

Crooning for Crookers

Nobody can pull of a combination of cool and classy quite like Crookers. This Italian DJ duo goes by the pseudonyms Bot and Phra. The twosome famously signed to Diplo’s oddball Mad Decent record label not too long ago. I see this as a well-functioning symbiotic relationship. Their unique electro house is catchy enough for the mainstream consumption Mad Decent needs, yet quirky enough to be…well…Mad Decent.

Crookers get common complaints of being repetitive, but personally I find it to be part of their charm. Compared to most straight house music, it’s incredibly varied. And no one can argue against the inventiveness of their baselines.

Both Bot and Phra are not only some of the most prolific DJs, but also the most sought after in all realms of electronic music. They are truly spectacular.

The Big Spill


With exponentially growing advancements in technology, we have more access to information than ever. But moral struggles of how to handle this information remain the same. What happens, for instance, when we have comprehensive access to military secrets? This is why the Afghan War Diary published on the website Wikileaks.com is the most influential story of the year.

In 2006, Australian hacker Julian Assange was named editor in chief of a new website entitled WikiLeaks. The site steadily grew notoriety with each new release of exclusive federal information, culminating in their release of over 91,000 classified U.S. documents from 2004-2009 entitled “Afghan War Diary”.

Should citizens be entitled to explicit details of the military’s actions in the war? The military conceals a significant amount of information in the interest of public safety, though they are guilty of significant war crimes.

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LCD. Easy as 123

The latest musical phenom i’ve stumbled upon is none other than James Murphy, the renaissance man known in the business as LCD Soundsystem. The man could play all of the instrumentals in his band if only he had enough hands. But what’s really spectacular about him is that he can rock them all harder than most everybody.

Most of his songs start out with a grungy, Pavement style couple of verses that bring “lo-fi” back in to your vocab. But just when you think that he’s another ambiguous modern indie artist, his true skills as a producer take over. This guy can hold his own with some of the greatest electronic music producers out there if he had the drive. Clearly what is important to him, however, is creating original music in one of the most distinctly vague genres there is.

Get Your Soulwax…ed?

 

Where to begin? This legendary Belgian DJ duo and their band headline every show they attend. Very few can create sounds as beautifully distant nor as overpoweringly raw in a DJ set, much less with a live band. The Dewaele brothers do just that.

The auxiliary percussion could only be described as janky in the best way possible. In other words, they just totally pull it off. I have no idea how else to describe this to you.

Their ubiquitous remixes add a distinctive and palpable energy to just about any song, and their album Much Against Everyone’s Advice has something that is sure to please ambient indie lovers as much as electronic connoisseurs. You’ll have to hear Soulwax yourself before you can truly understand why they are electronic music gods.

BetatraXx the Alpha Dog

There is nothing inappropriate about Gotta Dance Dirty. Believe it or not, it’s the undisputed largest and most respected blog in the west coast electronic music scene. So to kick off their new management label, they had to find someone spectacular. They had to find one of the craftiest, most cutting edge new DJ’s around. In my mind, they nailed it by signing Tim Nelson, aka BetatraXx.

Formerly Redlight, BetatraXx is the epitome of modern electro-house. Raised on Pro Tools, he is one of the first young DJ’s that hasn’t needed to make an awkward transition from a live band or turntables. Everything you hear from him is raw, unadulterated electronic music.

For the past four years he attended college on the east coast, and needed a fake ID to DJ at some of New York’s biggest clubs. Originally from Santa Barbara, Nelson recently finished up his first west coast tour. Under the new California based GDD label, it shouldn’t be your last chance to see him in the Golden State.

In Gotta Dance Dirty’s recent exclusive interview, he had this to say:
“The West coast is unmatched. Love it out here. And you guys are the center of good music. What more could I want?”
Couldn’t agree more, sir.