I found a folder on my hard drive containing 287 mp3s I had downloaded in December 2008 but never listened to.  I was moving from LA to Vermont and this music must have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Cracking open this dusty batch of blog downloads was a glorious trip back to a time when the electro dance scene was peaking. 

I made this mix out of my top 25:

GeminiRadio – Time Capsule 2008 (continuous mix)

A bunch of this music is just mind-blowingly good.  It’s stylish, fun, and sexy and like nothing else reminds me of the first day of summer break.  It’s experimental, too - there are train sounds and arty disco and measure-shifted spastic drum fills and whole new subgenres that no one ever followed up on. 

This scene collapsed the same way all dance scenes do, evident in the 200+ songs that didn’t make the cut – they’re hyperactive with an unimaginative aesthetic sameness, converging on whatever went best with the trendy drugs of the moment.  The party cool kid vibe makes for an empty diet, which gradually gave way to musicians with a bit more substance like Miike Snow, Caribou, and Yeasayer. 

Track listing and individual tracks after the jump, below.

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Jai Paul - In The Company of Wolves (you can’t buy yet)
This is likely to be one of the most important albums of 2013.  In keeping with years of enigmatic positioning, it was leaked for a day then hastily retrieved.  I managed to snag some of it, which I now share with you until the helicopters start circling.  Introducing the future of indie R&B: heavy, sexy lyrics, restless rhythms, deep synths, and virtuoso songwriting. So itense, so fresh.

NZCA/LINES - Okinawa Channels (buy)
Popcorn percussion, woven synths, and gentle vocals. A slim and clear song like colorful glass.

The Orwells - In My Bed
Lo-fi retro punky rock n’ roll that really nails the swagger.  If this doesn’t make you want to clutch a microphone and belt it out, you were never meant to be a rock star. (That’s okay, though.)

Shakey Graves - The Donor Blues (buy)
His new EP demonstrates some increased range and opens with this heartbreaking 4-track folk in the vein of super early Sebadoh and Beck.

Labyrinth Ear - White Gold
This band has all the sophistication and poise of Phantogram - tense, atmospheric electro fusion. They’re Phantogram’s hot, sinister younger sister.  Get these EPs.

Melody’s Echo Chamber - Crystallized (buy)
Double barrel of Stereolab and Broadcast that you haven’t heard this clearly since the 90’s.  The full album has wide range and nice experimental stretching.

Ela Orleans - Longing
Psychedelic collage of sqelch and beats and staticy organs with spooky, arty vocals like a shy owl.

The Silent League - Yours Truly, 2095 (Memory Tapes Version) (buy)
This is a post Mercury Rev project remixed by a post Hail Social guy, so there’s some awesome pedigree and explains the weird pop combined with sensibly composed, versatile electro.

Standard Fare - Darth Vader (buy)
Completely disarming with a strong sound and a meandering lyrical style, these songs are capable of surprising emotional aikido.  One of my favorite modern indie bands whose albums are completely worth your hours and dollars.

Mock & Toof - Farewell To Wendo
One foot in each of the US, English, and Japanese electronic music scenes, progressive beats and instrumentation, unforgettably brazen lyrics, simultaneously cold and emotional, human and alien.

In your eyes I see the eyes of somebody I knew before.

Slow Club - Two Cousins
Opens as big and frantic as most songs climax, clawing its way out of a desperate trench, big simple sounds, clambering drums, indie rock’s intimacy multiplied by classic rock’s longing and loss.

Dan Croll - From Nowhere (buy)
A little Miike Snow, a little Gotye, a 2012 blog hit, a reminder that it’s time to commence the SXSW research.

Weekend - Hazel (buy)
I haven’t even listened to the new My Bloody Valentine yet but here’s some super classic-sounding 90’s college shoegazer I’ve grown to love.

Vague-à-bonde - Something
Right after that first track ended, the girl pop ghostsoul of Slow Club put down its guitars and ran over to Grimes’s keyboards and now it’s performing this emotionally fraught, building and cresting indie synth pop for you.

Wye Oak - Spiral (buy)
Rush era prog rock, super bleak and aching swirls of thin guitar and circulating sounds trapping you inside your drained and collapsing head.

Jaill - Perfect Ten
Television songs as sung by adolescent Roger Daltrey who woke up in Mick Jagger’s body.

Acid Glasses - My Pale Garden (buy)
Submersible touring a whole underwater kingdom of crazy with your smiling robot pilot.

No Ceremony - HURTLOVE
I love the way this song mixes an inarguable, eternal anthematic chord progression with twisted chillwave static and enormous bursts of verbal noise, like being worriedly and crazily in love or maybe near death and talking to ghosts.

No, my first name ain’t baby.

Phèdre - In Decay
Unselfconsciously awkward noise pop to make you feel weird or avant party rock to make you feel beautiful about being weird. Their album is like an upsetting scrapbook of construction paper, crayon, and magazine cutouts.

Tourist - Your Girl (buy)
There’s a bit of Jai Paul to this - smartly tightened and focused reenvisioning of elements of R&B and electro with a certain distance or inhumanity.

Giovanni James – Shining (buy)
I see no reason this poppy soul wouldn’t work splendidly with the NPR crowd (the Reader’s Digest of new music), but <unfinished thought>

Holy Family - Meathooks
They came from Sweden to Montreal with dangerously sharp voices, synths, drums, and ideas.  This is about as close as you can come to The Knife in spirit while being totally different in sound.

Hermetic - Portlandish (Jay Arner Remix) (buy)
Hermetic is a great but very rock band, kinda 90’s post hardcore indie or something.  This remix preserves lots of that uplifting corporal humanity, encasing it in the amber of its plodding electronic recomposition.

Electric Guest - American Daydream (buy)
Like a super pop and slick Black Keys, all cool style and extra production and publicity photos on sunny LA streets and a whiff of weed in the studio.

John Talabot - Destiny
It’s fascinating how he breathes humanity and light into this shifty, intellectual rhythmic insistence by using his mechanically dry voice.

Madi Diaz - Trust Fall (Jensen Sportag Remix) (buy)
That airy Miami Vice production, sassy sexy 1986 guitar stabs, a sweet Sheila E / Janet Jackson singer, this is a smart, soulful update and tribute in so many ways.

Kids Without Instruments - Stardust (buy)
Okay these really are super young college kids without instruments but it’s best not to look into that too deeply.  Think of them as the friendlier Sleigh Bells or Crystal Castles and just enjoy the hyper, structured, edgy, very modern pop for what it is.  It almost Tweets itself.

Hot As Sun - Come Come (Tokyo Police Club Remix) (buy)
I could see no relation between the original and this dark, heavy, somber collage of sounds leaping around the central voice like naked dancers around a bonfire, but that’s just another reason to love Tokyo Police Club.  Ed: Just figured out it was a different song, but I don’t want to talk about it.

Caribou - The Dauphin (buy)
If you’re like me and Caribou is basically your favorite band, then trust me, you’ve got nothing better to do with your time right now than click that “buy” link (kind of a misnomer) and stream the entire Tour CD 2010.

Nothing can account for reasons why I’d be so mean.

Sky Ferreira – Everything Is Embarrassing (buy)
An update of those big, simple Salt N Peppa beats with Debbie Gibson’s sugary singing, only when did she get so sad, spiraling down into some sexy heartbroken abyss… oh, because Blood Orange wrote this track for her, and he’s a fucking champ and a half.

Whitey – Brief and Bright
Holy cow, Hot Chip had a baby with Django Django.  Love those polyrhythms and manly tenor harmonies, and maybe the end result is a touch cellophane, but whatever, it’s still brilliant.

Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know (buy)
If you drew a line all the way from Death Cab to Bloc Party, it’d cross through these guys, who have a gentle cerebral thing despite their consistent crafting of timeless, punchy rock the remixers can’t stop remixing.  I’ve listened to this track dozens of times and it still works.

Fredo Viola – Vache Qui Rit
Like doing a crossword puzzle in a foreign language in which you don’t even know the characters. His site has awesome art.

Xenia Rubinos – Hair Receding (buy)
Cannon blasts of serrated slabs of keyboard noise and a more dangerously balanced yell than PJ Harvey’s.

Ackeejuice Rockers – Wade In The Water (Moombahsoul Mix) (buy)
Straight up gospel meets straight up downtempo club.  There’s an afterhours dance party out there perfectly stamped with this vibe.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti – Baby (buy)
I’m not normally into the particular 60’s pop sound they reconstruct, but this cover of a late 70’s blue-eyed-soul song I can get into.  It’s sexy, dreamy, and strong.

Vacationer – Trip
I like every track on the satisfying and listenable album, Gone, too varied to represent with one song, a thorough amalgam of disparate elements from let’s say Vampire Weekend, yacht rock, Sublime (!!?!? I dunno!), maybe Arcade Fire, and even stuff like Broadcast’s floral sample patches as heard on this track.

Neonfaith – Escape (buy)
Concrete Blonde meets Phantogram.  Dark and velvety powerful female vocals over an electrorock track that’s alternately heavy and bouncy.

ODESZA – How Did I Get Here (buy)
Delicate girl vocals scrambled and crushed by weighty dub bass and plunky percussion, like a pink rose that’s been beautifully run over by a bike.

Chrome Sparks – Show You My Way
They are famous courtesy a song about marijuana, but I love their contrast between primitive electronica sounds and twisted snippets of human soul that unfold on artful compositions which gradually build in grandiosity.  No one else has quite this aesthetic.

Will you marry for the money, take a lover in the afternoon?

Superhuman Happiness - GMYL

That awkward era of 80’s alternative before alternative got popular enough to be cool, updated for the 90’s.

Humans - Possession
Dudes shouting with casual ferocity, reserved synths, and gradually building, stylish island rhythms.  I feel a little guilty posting this when I haven’t pushed any of the great album Tanlines released last year.

School of Seven Bells - The Night
A lot of the album is thick, bookish, and contemplative, but this upbeat track introduces some welcome breathing room to their balance of intellect and emotion.  Summons the ghost of Belly, Tanya Donelly’s 90’s alt girl radio band, although people tend to ask “Cocteau Twins?” when they hear it.

Corin Tucker Band - Groundhog Day

The other third of Sleater-Kinney has returned to tell us what’s what or at least what should be so in riot grrrl today.

Ghoul - Swimming Pool
A fantastic mutation of art rock and cold sounds somewhere in the spacetime vicinity of Alt-J and Radiohead.  This came out in 2008 and they keep claiming there will be an album.

Haim - Forever

Expertly composed, cheerfully bombastic pop with a flavor of not-quite-dark substance and light gravity reminiscent of Laura Branigan and Belinda Carlile.

Dirty Ghosts - Pretty Face
Aesop Rock gets credits for the beats, but I’ve seen a drummer live, but anyway the point is a smoking hot guitar goddess throws gutter rock riffs and blistering solos and it’s pretty danceable too and I’m still baffled why this isn’t the most popular thing in Merca.

Saskatchewan - Venom
Menacing slow rock a la Corey Hart or Don Henley bred with some sexy chillwave R&B, which is a pretty fucking tight formula when you say it like that.

ice cream shout - tattooed tears

Clean and jaunty DIY casio track under a mopey, tortured singer, heartfelt songwriting stirring a nice pot of sentiment.  Remember White Town?  Less fun / disposable.

Hoodie Allen - No Interruption
As white party rappers go, he’s pretty damn pizza. I’m given to understand he bust the Billboard top 10, but it’s too late to remove from this track now, plus it’s really good.

Inc. - Swear

Still more of that new Prince-style R&B stuff which I still can’t get enough of but also seem to have a limited vocabulary for describing.

Chris Malinchak - So Good To Me
Comes out of the gate like the kind of house techno that’s been pouring ravey sunshine into our ears since ‘94, but it earns special recognition with artfully layered rhythms, chipper and blissy synths, and an overall composition that punches through the cynicism to remind us why some of this stuff was actually super great in the first place.

Pompeya - Untitled

A near-mythical Moscow band that recorded but didn’t really release my favorite album of 2011, some perfect blend of modern disco, breezy 80’s pop, and 10’s chillwave.

Why don’t you turn your radio up?

TOPS – Diamond Look

If the Shangri-Las had releases in 1990 they might sound like this, sweet tooth pop that’s (in their own words) fierce in the heart.  Montreal indie band with a solid and worthwhile album.

Emil & Friends – Royal Oats (Radial Remix)
He’s got quite the magic for coaxing the blasé and everyday into perfect pop gems.  A song that envisions a video of canted camera angles of balcony parties, smiling faces, road trips, string lights, and endless cuts of a bunch of stuff you love about your life without having explicitly noticed yet.

Panama – Magic
A lost 1982 radio hit.  Think Cut Copy meets Big Country opening for Toto.

Wild Belle – It’s Too Late (Snakehips Remix)
Should be required to make a formal declaration to M.I.A. and Santigold about her claim on their territory.  Her first song was catchy but a bit too vacant; this one seems better genomed for nourishment.

Teen Mom – I Want To Go Out

An off-balance, downhill slide of careening fuzz guitar punctured by bass stabs, shattering cymbals, and understated crooning, a shrine to restlessness, a reminder never to settle down.

Apollo Cobra – Feel Like It
Party down, good times, overhead clapping, secular-Gospel-for-Williamsburg-loft-parties style indie dance floor packer.

The Cyclist – Visions

Opens like a rusty and complex piece of cutlery and only betrays its clean techno foundations dimly through the patina.

Mickey feat. Billie - Weekend
I think Sweden might sport its own musical ecosystem where the shimmering descendents of Abba still pack the charts.

Baby Monster – Fresh Biscuits
That dorm room shared by the sweet nerdy hipster boys whose Friday night performances in the Commons you had to admit were actually really good.  They had a mini blog hit, City of Lovers, on this same 2011 album.

Rhye – Open
Honey voice like Feist, artful melancholy arrangements, a gentle plea for love not to die.

BEAK> - Mono
Dry, shifty, jumpy, and insistent, would fit right in at Dischord alongside Antelope.

Chvrches – The Mother We Share
The less witchy, more radio-ready good twin to Purity Ring’s evil twin.  Not that it makes them better, but is hard to deny the appeal of this almost Arcade Fire caliber anthem and wish them well as they rocket to fame.

Connan Mockasin – Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkin rework)

I imagine Connan Mockasin as an isolated, angrily disgruntled, gay, skinny art school genius pitching these disorienting avant pop songs when music isn’t even his primary form, he’s really a painter or something, and here remixed into a deep space star expedition or a gorgeous cyborgial blend.

Hello, you can expect a new post every 2 weeks.  I have 3 of them ready to go already.

White Denim – Darlene
A wry, twangy, comfortable ballad from hip Austin rockers who are usually into more jagged fare. What better for concluding the prior mix? 

The Luyas – Your Name’s Mostly Water
Montreal art pop band with a song like spinning and drifting high above a patchwork terrain of foreign nations as viewed through a kaleidoscope.

Coco Morier – Explosions

Slick and peppy electro disco that’s not afraid to get its verses grimy. She’s formerly of Electrocute and writes songs for Britney Spears and whatnot.

Blouse – Into Black
Pensive, elegant girl synth pop ankle deep in midnight blue reverb.

Holy Ghost! – It Gets Dark
This DFA Records (James Murphey’s label) mainstay produces solid dance floor flavors with a variety of ingredients: funk, soul, disco and hipster electro like this.


Each of their songs has a slightly different formula for propping the grotesque awkwardly across the relatively beautiful with a fabulous fuck-it-all attitude.  I assume they are German.

Yellow Ostrich – USA
Their earlier songs sound like little boys folding yellowed, crinkly newspapers into pond-crossing boats, but the latest EP finds grown dudes offering sensible, emotional, and catchy alternative rock arrangements that might make them famous.

Patterns – Sunny Days (Seashore Remix)
When darkest winter overtakes you, close your eyes and imagine driving a yellow corvette along a Miami shoreline highway while Nenah Cherry loops on repeat.

Jessica Pratt – Night Faces

Her producer, Tim Presley, describes the 19 year old prodigy best as “Stevie Nicks singing over David Crosby demos.”  Like opening a dusty trunk to discover the mid-60’s reel-to-reel recordings of the lullabies your mom never sang you when you were a baby.

Yeasayer – Swallowing The Decibels
Everyone is justifiably stoked on their newest album, Fragrant World, but how about check out one of the amazing tracks that was held from Odd Blood only by virtue of not quite fitting the flow?

Daphni – Balladins
Dan Snaith, the creative force behind Caribou, has this dance side project, a damn sight more innovative than most clubs can swallow given the capable and aggressive collisions of techno motifs from across the decades, along with plenty of afrobeat like this.


Young Galaxy - We Have Everything (Adam & The Amethysts Remix)
This remix brings out the song’s epic expanse, where the primordial elements swirl and mingle in the space between every two people, intoning wisdom like some electro Desiderata. 

Brothertiger - Lovers
An old favorite by a criminally under-recognized musician, this song marks the spot where chill wave peaked for me, smooth and slick like a bright yellow latex vest.

Erika Spring - Hidden
Her solo project is sometimes reminiscent of her main band, Au Revoir Simone, but this song comes from a heavier and dreamier place with understated shifts and razor sharp cymbals.

Friends - Home
Manifest!, Friends’ long awaited full length, unambiguously wins Best 2012 Summer Party Album.  These highly varied, ultra-catchy songs expertly draw from the best girl pop of the past four decades, ranging in tone from bombastic and sexy to disarmingly intimate, with surprisingly insightful lyrics about relationships.  Total crush inducing.image

Alt-J - Something Good
A new arty band getting tons of attention with sinister, delicate, smart compositions and a creepy male voice.  A not-so-urgently suicidal Xiu Xiu.

Kavinsky - Nightcall (Breakbot Remix)
Oh no you got your Breakbot in my Drive soundtrack!

Charli XCX - Valentine
One of my absolute favorite singles of 2012, it’s balls out teenybopper with a touch of sensible adult cynicism, though not quite enough to keep it out of ‘guilty pleasure’ categorization.  Charli XCX is still relatively unknown but  a first class pop diva in the making, normally delivering a mix between goth and radio pop.

Kool Music - Running Back To Everyone
A murky underwater dreamscape where you can warm up next to the crackling tape hiss.

Liars - No.1 Against The Rush
Brooding and mathy, somewhere between a grim dance party and an angry love letter, Wixiw, the new album by Liars, is solid and consistent, a rocky energy of men, guitars, and synthesizers.

Digits - Lost Dream
If you love Junior Boys, get your itch scratched with Digits, who also happens to be the nicest and most humble musician worthy of being paid for his album.

Lianne La Havas - Forget
She’s normally a kind of jazz / folk singer-songwriter elevated far beyond appearances at your local Starbucks, but this song is straight R&B with some dark pop instrumentation that just now made me go listen to Amy Winehouse.

Tom Vek - Aroused
No sooner had I started spreading the legend of Tom Vek who opted not to put out his second album rather than have it fail to live up to the breathtaking standard set by 2005’s We Have Sound then he in fact released that second album, Leisure Seizure.  Bold, angular tracks cut through by his decisive lyrics, an upending achievement of rhythm, invention, and humanity.

Look I know this is some Top 40 ultra emo shit, but it’s so fucking good I can’t even begin to fault it, so just pump your fists and cut your forearms and get into it.

Silver Swans - Secrets (Letting Up Despite Great Faults Remix)
Lush dead vocals sliding between the slats of coldly structured pop, a radio song from a frozen planet.

Collarbones - Missing
Goddamn I love this new post-Prince R&B stuff.

Hey, let’s listen to some new music.

Breton - Governing Correctly
Sharp, scruffy, and cruelly sexy.  Desperate yelling, shifty beats, and cinematic soundscapes. Big strains of Tom Vek (!!) plus a touch of Bloc Party. 

Black Light Dinner Party - Older Together
Perfectly refined and shadowy electro pop by a secret cabal of wonder producers.

Hotel Mexico - Dear Les Friends
Spacey, lilting, high speed, gloriously avant disco-y pop something from Japan.

XXYYXX - About You
Ferociously bass heavy electronic dreams to float into the galaxies to, reputedly by a 16 year old.

The British Expeditionary Force - Cogs and Chemicals
Layers of lush sonics sliding past drums and guitar, all wrapped around solid and unfamiliar songwriting with soft vocal harmonies. A new style of rock music.

Kuhrye-oo - Soul Handsome
This is that kooky guy who was dancing for Grimes at Fun Fun Fest 2011.  His own music is powerful and scrambled but never sloppy, like Aphex Twin remixing Books.

Emil And Friends - Downed Economy
Hip and fabulous dude pop with plenty enough pleasing weirdness and capable constructions.

Sandro Perri - Love & Light
Arthur Russel-esque beautiful non-songs with breezy yacht rock production.

Chandeliers - In The Octagon

Chandeliers - New Times
I love bands that can rock off-genre, fist pumping, glassy, electronic bangers and dirty, lo-fi, mumbling thought experiments in the same breath.  Or at least consecutive breaths.

Voltaire Twins - Animalia
If you set out to combine The Knife and Arcade Fire, you better be at least this capable of delivering.

Junip - Without You
The only thing cooler than being both Swedish and Argentinean with two z’s in your name is the soft and defined voice of Jose Gonzalez. As much as I’m moved by his intimate acoustic guitar stuff, I love this droney project full of big echoes and fuzz that sounds like licking a nice electric wire.

Jai Paul - Jasmine
This man is probably going to reinvent Prince.  After wailing and gnashing our teeth in agony over the extended wait since he teased us with the track BTSTU, we’re finally graced with… another awesome single.