CODER Crew's Picks of the Week: Alesso, Mad Decent, Purity Ring and More
Each Friday, the CODE crew will review their favorite dance tracks of the week. Listen to the cuts below, and see what Kerri, Zel, Jacob, Lauren and Elissa have to say.
Purity Ring, “Grammy”
Purity Ring's debut album “Shrines”was unquestionably one of my favorite albums of 2012. Vocalist Megan James' haunting vocals slid perfectly over Corin Roddick's productions, each song offering a vast, ethereal soundscape grounded by dark basslines and hip-hop-inspired drums. Neither James nor Roddick has been shy about their love of hip-hop, even recruiting rapper Danny Brown to spit over a tricked-out remix of their track "Belispeak" in October.
This week -- the Monday after the Grammy Awards, in fact -- Purity Ring dropped a cover version of "Grammy," a 2010 Soulja Boy collaboration with singer-songwriter Ester Dean. The track sounds brighter than much of “Shrines,” marching on with an uplifting, reggae groove. James excels vocally here, her voice losing none of its sweet sheen even when she's melodically rapping Soulja's verses. Somehow, she turns the "Grammy” bridge into an impassioned, lovelorn plea, even though it's actually about a golden statue. Here's hoping there are a few of those in Purity Ring's future. -Lauren
Diamond Age - "The Shoreline" (Pour le Corps)
Dallas musician Diamond Age's new track opens with some frenetic drum machine percussion and ends with some harpsichord. In between is a pulsing (perhaps throbbing) foot-tapper with an almost ambient vocal. The mélange of 808s and synth strings is genre-twisting and encourages repeat plays. That's easier to do here than with the forthcoming double EP cassette on which this track is featured. (Yes, cassette, as in tape, as in a boom box is required.)–Zel
Lady Bee, “Sweet Like Chocolate” (Jeffrees/Mad Decent)
Hear that coquettish voice cooing “Sweet like chocolate / Boy?” That is not Lady Bee. It’s singer Grace Regine. And that’s part of why this up-tempo bouncer gets my nod this week. Bee is an MC-turned-producer, and we need more chicks in the studio. But this is not a charity case. “Chocolate” is a remake of a Shanks and Bigfoot two-step hit from 2000. Think the U.K.’s version of freestyle. And it references Moombah-trap without officially going there, keeping a minimalist tribal-house feel with a dash of the Dutch (fitting because Bee’s from those parts). A perfect Valentine’s week treat. -Kerri
Pev&Kowton, “Raw Code” (Hessle Audio)
The latest offering from Bristol-based dubstep stalwarts Peverelist and Kowton doesn't have a traditional hook, but still finds a way to stick in listeners' brains long after it ends. "Raw Code," the A-side from the producers' fresh Hessle Audio release, is certainly a distinctive track. It waves of hearty low end and grainy synths provide stark relief from percussion bullets that fall like rain. –Elissa
Alesso, “Years” (Hard Rock Sofa mix) (Refune)
Alesso's original mix of "Years" was an uplifting track filled with piano melodies and a mega catchy vocal, but Hard Rock Sofa takes things in a whole new direction. Packing electro synths and an overall darker sound, the Russian producers completely transform the original into something perfect for late nights and early mornings. -Jacob