By Jolie Klefeker
DFA Records has long been known as one of independent music's most reputable and influential record labels, with one of its cofounders being James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. If you're an LCD fan, you would probably dig a lot of what DFA puts out, but they've got their fingers in many pies — dance-punk just being one of them. This month, DFA sent over two really solid records: CCFX's eponymous debut EP and a fresh record from Dawn People as well. They actually sound nothing alike but they're united through how weird and also good they are. Both of these records have a little something experimental about them, but overall they both fuse genres in a precise and innovative way without sounding too over the top. Both of these are great. Check 'em out, and give DFA a Google if you're looking for more.
CCFX immediately calls to mind The Cure and New Order upon listening. And if that's not a good sign, then I don't know what a good sign is. Featuring Mary Jane Dunphe of punk outfit Vexx and CC Dust, as well as members of Olympia's Trans FX, the EP kicks off with "The One To Wait." Sighing guitars coupled with bright yet unobtrusive synth accents make way for those signature '80s vocals: dynamic, raw and unrestrained. This record is bathed in an expansive, synth pop sound that rests in a lovely contrast with the retro post-punk elements scattered throughout. Atmospheric, dreamy guitars and an upbeat pace set up a refreshing take on dream pop. This record is easy to listen to — it's smooth and pretty and would pair well with driving on a highway late at night.
I'm not claiming to be an expert in anything, but it isn't often that I get sent a record I have a really, really hard time describing. However, when that does happen, like with this record from Dawn People, it usually means I really, really like it. Consisting of Guerrilla Toss' Peter Negroponte and Nick Forte of Raspberry Bulbs, Dawn People had a hopeful beginning. Both musicians are notorious for ignoring or altogether breaking genre labels, so it's to be expected that their new record, "The Star Is Your Future," is all over the place in the best of ways.
Fusing elements of trip-hop, free jazz, funk and kraut rock, this album rockets between noisy and psychedelic in a much more exciting and textural way rather than jarring. The highlights of the record are definitely "Be Cool Tonight," "Never Be Afraid" and "Wishing Ring." Overall, this record is groovy and slaps harder than anything I've heard in a while.
On a really random note, but a note that I cannot contain: Palm have a new single out to promote their upcoming record. It's called "Pearly," and it's ethereal, abstract, weird as all heck and so beautiful. Their unconventional use of midi sounds is unlike anything I've heard before. I really recommend.
You already know what it is: 1190 AM, 98.9 FM or online at radio1190.org. Or stop by the basement of the UMC to volunteer.