Are you a run-of-the-mill rock band looking to make a bigger splash? Need that little something extra to stand out from the crowd? Then you need ultra-hip production duo DFA. They’ll sprinkle your tired guitar tracks with a bit of electro wizardry and bob’s-your-uncle, you’re bona fide contenders. That may sound far-fetched, a bit like polishing a turd, but it’s what happened to The Rapture. And The Rapture are now a pretty awesome proposition.
DFA are as intrinsic to the New York punk-funk scene as Stock Aitken and Waterman were to 1980s British chart pop. To attach their name to your record is to guarantee attention, if not success. But, boy, the stuff that comes out of their record label stable is pretty much all worth it.
Their first compilation is a short but sweet affair: four bands, two tracks each. Of course, you’ve got The Rapture. Their monumental scratch-funk classic “House of Jealous Lovers” is twinned with the more sedate 3 am hymn “Silent Morning.” There is also the Aphex Twin-on-acid emissions of Black Dice. But the other two acts really up the ante. The Juan Maclean take the most basic of ingredients, a funky-as-hell bassline, cracking snare drum and sirens, and conjure up the dancefloor majesty of “By The Time I Get To Venus.” Truly, you can’t sit still when this is playing. “You Can’t Have It Both Ways” takes the formula down a darker road.
The real treat here is the inclusion of “Give It Up” and “Losing My Edge” by LCD Soundsystem. James Murphy, one half of DFA, uses this name to put out his singles, previously only on vinyl. The former is a bass-heavy monster, rattling along like a rogue subway train. The latter is based around a single note, but it includes a vocal that bursts the bubble of all that hipster one-upmanship stuff: “I heard that you have a compilation of every good song ever recorded.” Priceless.
You kinda suspect that all those involved in the DFA project have goatee beards, coffee-stained T-shirts and an unhealthy predilection for vinyl. Then again, they may be as sorted as their record, I really don’t know. Either way, I hope they keep making sounds like these.