by Gnarls Barkley
The more I listen to "Run," the sooner the song seems finished. Not the record, the song—by the 1:50 mark, the verses and choruses' work is done, leaving the last minute to repetition. I love repetition, as the records below demonstrate, so this isn't a problem. "Run" is more frenetic than the singles from St. Elsewhere, but it's obvious who made it the second the song begins—the duo have their formula down, but they're still playing with it instead of letting it fence them in. What's interesting is how close their new-wave nods are to prefunk '60s show R&B; on an Apollo-bound revue, "Run" would amp things up three-quarters of the way in, then the house band would cool things out with an instrumental before the headliner came on. The Barkley backlash is inevitable, of course, but who even pays attention anymore? (Besides the 20-dozen people deeply invested in the career of Vampire Weekend, I mean.)
by Invisible Conga People
(Italians Do It Better)
I haven't been much of a fan of Italians Do It Better, the New York label with a heavily Portland, Oregon, roster specializing in neo-Italo disco—the cheap, glassy-synthesizer, early-'80s stuff that's been coming back, to some degree or other, more or less continuously since the '00s began. But this track by a New York duo with the best group name in ages has me hitting repeat a lot, maybe because it isn't very Italo at all. Instead, Justin Simon and Eric Tsai build a gorgeously slow-moving edifice, synthesizers and guitars glancing off one another over steady-pumping bass—both static and ripe. (There are words somewhere, too, but who cares?) Imagine the throbbing psychedelia of Brightback Morning Light tied to a paddlewheel beat and aiming to replicate the beautiful pulsing hum of idealized machinery rather than the drifting of your stoned mind.
by Sascha Dive
Honestly, there's not much to this new 12-inch beyond enormous low-end drops thuggishly punctuating a skip-a-de-doo-dah bass bump, snapping snare, thick high hat, a sustained string tone, and occasional pitched-down vocals (recently one of dance music's most oddly prevalent motifs). Yet the track is formally perfect—it bubbles, surges, and never seems to stop moving forward even though it's essentially doing the exact same thing over and over again. Annihilating, not quite; insinuating is more like it—but in the right context, it's still pretty deadly.