With the stateside release of "Blue Songs", Hercules and Love Affair's long-awaited sophomore album and first release since its self-titled 2008 debut, the band finally gets new music to fans at home. "Blue Songs" -- which has been out in Europe since January -- will arrive in the United States as a deluxe edition through Moshi Moshi on Aug. 16.
Video: Hercules & Love Affair, "My House"
The lapse between the U.S. and European editions of "Blue Songs" isn't something the disco revivalist, house-influenced group would have preferred.
"It's been a frustrating situation," HLA founder/frontman and New York-based DJ/producer Andy Butler says. "In some ways my management was just way too U.K.- and Euro-centric. It's lame in some ways because all of our fans have heard it, you know?"
To reward patient fans, HLA has included an extra disc in the U.S. edition with seven separate remixes, including ones from Stopmakingme and Tensnake. Two new songs have also been made available for exclusive download through iTunes, including a cover of "Shelter" by the xx.
Video: Hercules & Love Affair, "My House (Tensnake Remix)"
The bonus materials are something that Marie Clausen--director of U.S. operations for K7, the dance-centric Berlin-based label that distributes Moshi Moshi--feels is imperative to the album's U.S. success.
"One of our biggest challenges [is] to create a really unique product to give the U.S. fans something nice so they aren't disappointed that they hadn't been included in the European release," Clausen says.
In addition to Butler, vocalist Kim-Anne Foxman also returns from the first album, but for "Blue Songs", HLA has also added Venezuelan singer Aerea Negrot, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party and vocalist Shaun Wright, who met Butler after introducing himself as a fan following an HLA show in New York in 2008.
Recorded mostly in Vienna with legendary techno producer Patrick Pulsinger, "Blue Songs" is a slightly more subdued effort than its predecessor. Songs like the acoustic ballad "Boy Blue" and Foxman's bare bones remake of Sterling Void's house classic "It's All Right" drew early criticism, something Butler feels was altogether unfounded.
"[HLA] is a vehicle for me to sort of explore," he says. "Not all the things are dancefloor-oriented. It's an opportunity for me to experiment and do my thing and work with others that I think have something special going on, and they help me realize these ideas."
To support the release, the band is hitting major U.S. cities as a part of the Identity Festival, a bill that features Dim Mak's Steve Aoki and "Look at Me Now" co-producer Afrojack.
Festival shows may seem like a giant leap from the dank warehouses most commonly associated with HLA's sound, but Butler says he finds them to be some of the most rewarding.
"It's kind of fun," he says. "I like it personally, because we sort of don't know what to expect. You can get an audience that is lingering from a hard rock band and you have to win them over. And we seem to do a pretty good job of that."