Covid cases continue to rise, and as we stay physically distanced from others, we have to do our best to maintain positivity in what, for many, is a dire situation. In addition to our families and friends (and their health), if there's one more thing to treasure this year, it's the music that has been made. Artists have been busy with more time in the studio, and Indie Discotheque has been a hotbed of amazing music to enjoy.
1. Hotel Garuda - Olivia (RAC Mix)
Oftentimes a RAC Mix means a complete departure from the original version of a song, but that’s not the case here. What Andre accomplishes with this Hotel Garuda track is twofold - he applies needed additional emphasis on the vocal performance, and tightens up the instrumentation to give the song a bit more punch for the dancefloor.
2. Royal Blood - Trouble’s Coming
This new one from Royal Blood is totally worth jamming to on the dancefloor, but being a person who typically appreciates tight production, in the case of “Trouble’s Coming,” I’d almost like the track to have a bit of a looser feel with regard to the percussion and guitar elements. Think DFA1979 from way back in the day; danceability with a bit more attitude.
3. Whethan - Sunshine feat. The Knocks
Oh my goodness, what a great song for these times when we are all isolated. We truly are all together while we walk alone, and “Sunshine” brings forward the best of what both Whethan and The Knocks bring to the musical table. There is a true bounce in this track that lifts the spirit.
4. Low Island - Don’t Let the Light In
This track is smooth, and I love the way it layers synthetics over the acoustic percussion foundation. The vocal performance adds more processing and atmosphere than is typical for a Low Island song, reminiscent of what Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs accomplishes vocally.
5. Eagle Eyed Tiger - Siren
I really have to hand it to Eagle Eyed Tiger, this album is diverse and worth a complete listen. From chill synth to the classic alternative dance sounds found in “Siren,” it’s worthy of those strobe lit moments in the dancefloor smoke. The vocal performance maintains a calm that pairs beautifully with the instrumentation.
6. Alfie Templeman - Forever Isn’t Long Enough
Another quickly rising interest of mine is the music of Alfie Templeman. “Forever Isn’t Long Enough” continues a string of indie dance mastery that this artist is displaying consistently. Found here is amazing guitar work, moments of vocal instrumentation, and complex percussion treatments.
7. PVA - Talks
There’s apparent INXS and LCD Soundsystem influence in “Talks,” but the track is at a level of continued progression with unique breaks in the percussion and some impressive organ playing. The track could easily be a 10-minute journey; there’s so much going on here, but PVA manages to pack it all in just over four minutes.
8. Pixies - Hear Me Out
A new Pixies track? Yes! Let’s “Hear Me Out.” The band stays true to form with a traditional 90s alternative dance arrangement. The vocal performance is one to sing along to, and the guitar work is on fire across the duration of the song. This one will withstand the test of time.
9. Blowsom - Belle
The vocal performance in “Belle,” the latest single from Blowsom, is unique in that I hear a noticeable distinction between every note and word sung across the song. It isn’t mechanical, it’s natural, but also very intentional sounding, which plays well with the lighthearted nature of the instrumentation.
10. Avec Sans - Altitude
I struggled with whether or not to include Avec Sans in the list but I’m glad I did. The arrangement varies wildly from minimalist vibraphone and vocal to an all out wall of sound that includes chip tune influences. The tempo is just right, and with the right mood, everyone would go wild to this on the dancefloor.
11. Death By Unga Bunga - Live Until I Die
Aside from the fact that Death By Unga Bunga is an amazing band name, the Norwegian dance rock group’s latest, “Live Until I Die,” is an absolute jam of a song that’s perfect for those uptempo moments when you need to turn the entire dance floor into a mosh pit.
12. Jeen - Idols
“Idols” is one of those songs that brings both nostalgia and atmosphere; Jeen brings a vocal forward that is easy to sing along to. The song has a simplicity to it that maintains itself across the track, but the layering of the guitar and synthetic elements bring a completeness to the familiarity of the arrangement.
13. Structures - Robbery
On its whole, “Robbery” is an attitude in sound that has been done before by a number of other artists, but Structures still manage to bring uniqueness with the theme of money and theft. The chant, “I know we’re all infected” isn’t just commentary on financial greed, but also selfishness.
14. Matthew Leeb - Disco Drugs
The southern twang found in the introductory guitar work of “Disco Drugs” was a bit of a surprise for me, but it works so well. It’s a piano infused track with a relaxed feel (even with that repetitive high pitched sample) that is contrasted by the intensity of Matthew Leeb's vocal performance.
15. Midi Matilda - If You’re Not There
Midi Matilda is underrated. This is a group that consistently releases fantastic indie dance tracks, always beautifully produced, that are worth singing along to out on the dancefloor. “If You’re Not There” is no exception, with amazing layering of vocal, guitar, and synth elements.
Let's listen to it all together: