Autumn 2017’s tea dance playlist starts with Arcade Fire, who hits Atlanta this week
By Gregg Shapiro
Arcade Fire has been encouraging us to dance since its first full-length album, 2004’s Funeral. But it wasn’t until 2013;s Reflektor that the band fully embraced its inner dance diva.
Everything Now (Columbia) continues in a similar vein, beginning with the title cut. But don’t be deceived by the exuberant beats and synths. The song is really about out of control consumerism.
In fact, the album is full of messages set to irresistible beats, including “Signs of Life,” “Creature Comfort,” and “Electric Blue.” Now, Everything Now lacks the impact of 2007’s The Neon Bible or 2010’s Grammy-winning The Suburbs, but that doesn’t mean that Arcade Fire has run out of steam. You can see for yourself when the band hits Infinite Energy Center on Sept. 21.
Meanwhile there’s tons of great dance stuff happening this season, and we’re all over it. The creative DJ/production pair Oliver (Vaughn Oliver and Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein) give listeners an idea of what Daft Punk and Air might have sounded like if they were from L.A. and not France, on its debut album Full Circle (Interscope).
Other influences, including acts from the original Casablanca Records roster and Tom Tom Club, go a long way in broadening Oliver’s appeal. An impressive array of guest artists include gay singer Sam Sparro (“Last Forever”), De La Soul (“Heart Attack”), MNDR (“Chemicals”), Elohim (“Wherever We Are”), Leon Else (“Love Like This”), Chromeo (“Go With It”) and Yelle (“Heterotopia”). They all contribute to making Full Circle a well-rounded release.
The members of Vampire Weekend have been busy with solo projects since the band’s 2013 album Modern Vampires of the City. Bass player Chris Baio just released Man of the World (Glassnote) under the moniker Baio. It’s an ear-pleasing pastiche of ‘80s synth pop with plenty of beats for your feet, especially on the title cut, “Out of Tune.” We also love “Philosophy!,” “Sensitive Guy” and “Shame In My Name.” Baio tips his hat to VW on “The Key Is Under The Mat” and “I’m Not Curious”.
The soaring double-disc set Take Flight (I Am Me/BMG) by UK musician and DJ Maya Jane Coles can be enjoyed whether you’re jacking up your heart rate on your feet or bobbing your head from the comfort of your seat. Coles firmly embraces the repetitive house music esthetic to lift listeners to the next level and beyond. This is best exemplified on “Won’t Let You Down,” “Werk,” “Go On and Make It Through,” “A Chemical Affair,” “Keep Me War,” “Stay” and “Lucky Charm.”
Echo Papa (airtrafficcontrollermusic.com) by Air Traffic Controller may only be seven songs long, but the band makes a strong impression in a short amount of time. “Keeping Bees,” for example, is like a pot of honey and worth the sting. “After Party” will have some scrambling for an invitation, and “Doubt” undoubtedly has a dance-worthy beat.
For someone whose bread and butter is high-energy dance music, Calvin Harris takes an unusual detour with the laid-back beats on Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 (Columbia). With the emphasis on bounce and a distinctive lean towards vintage vibe, Harris enlists gay hip-hop star Frank Ocean and Migos (“Slide”), Ariana Grande, Pharrell William and Young Thug (“Heatstroke”), Katy Perry, Pharrell and Big Sean (“Feels”), Future and Khalid (“Rollin’”), Snoop Dogg and John Legend (“Holiday”), Nikki Minaj (“Skrt on Me”) for a set of sunny tunes.
A long time ago, in the `80s, if you were a band and you dressed a certain way, or if your album cover artwork had a specific look, chances are that the listener was assured that your music would sound a particular way. How things have changed! That’s what’s so funny about From The Outside (Capitol/Hi or Hey/Caroline) by Hey Violet.
The members of Hey Violet are definitely poseurs, but they deserve a little credit for making memorable dance music on “Brand New Moves” and “All We Ever Wanted.” They also get points for pretending to be punkish on songs such as “Fuqboi,” “Guys My Age” and “This Is Me Breaking Up With You.”