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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Hot Chip

Rating: 6.7/10 ?

May 24, 2007
I used to think K7!'s DJ-Kicks was just another pointless series of mixes, flashing the pretentious favorites of hip-as-fuck artist/curators. And while I'm pretty sure that the series is some sort of status indicator, at least I now know that there is some respectable point to the entire thing.

Following DJ-Kicks mixes from German DJ/producer Henrik Schwarz and an obscure-cut extravaganza from Four Tet, five-man UK electronic collective Hot Chip have stepped up to try their hand at the 12-year old tailor-made mix set series. For anyone who hasn't heard the group's music, recent releases Coming On Strong (2005, Astralwerks) and The Warning (2006, DFA/Astralwerks) have been lauded by the artsy/fashionable hipster underground, indie-electronic DJ set, and MTV2 camps alike. So it was anyone's guess as to what the group would pick to put on their mix: obscure dance tracks?...undeniable pop cuts?...grooving funk/soul sample worthy material? Hot Chip's run at DJ-Kicks indulges all these pleasures and more.

I'll be the first to admit that not all of the artists referenced across the 24 tracks included in this mix struck me as familiar. As most other installments of the DJ-Kicks series have run, this is a nearly nonstop blended mix, with breaks coming only after six or seven tracks have been played out in succession. So classics like Positive K's "I Got A Man" become seamlessly melded into one constant dance tempo along with Gramme's lo-fi funk, female scatting vehicle "Like You."

Some of the hottest points, the moments that would induce the most uncontrollable displays of joyful dancing, are the blends of Subway's pulsating synth chords ("Persuasion") and the Detroit techno of Soundhack's "B1"; and Etta James' raw party atmosphere of "In The Basement, Part One," the electro-disco of "On Just Foot" by Black Devil Disco Club, and the more sparse Euro techno of Dominik Eulberg ("Der Buchdrucker"). Also, the familiarity of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle," Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," and Ray Charles' "Mess Around" help to keep even the most uncultured listener somewhat interested.

Later in the sequence, just as in a dance party or DJ mix, the focus shifts away from familiarity and toward maintaining energy. Tracks "Doppelwhipper" (Gabriel Ananda), "You Got Good Ash" (Marek Bois), and "The Stone That The Builder Rejected" (Lanark) are all catchy movers based in electronic subgenres, whether it be techno, house, or spacey psychedelic dance.

While its high points are notable, Hot Chip's DJ-Kicks does have its faults, primarily in the form of oddly chosen tracks and ill-fitting blends. As the overall feel of the mix is more dance-ish than anything, adding Young Leek's rap single "Jiggle It" is both a cacophony and a stretch in style when spliced with the synth melody of "Bizarre Love Triangle." Further, a terrible Roman Flugel remix of Audion's "Just Fucking" is made worse by mixing it with the flamboyant vocals of Noze's "Love Affair." All three cuts sacrifice suitability for obscurity, and here it just doesn't fly.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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