Ever found yourself at a club without a clue as to what the DJ is playing? Signal to Noise is a brand new column that looks at the music that's currently being played (or that will be played) in San Francisco's many dance halls. For this week's inaugural edition, we've got a fair representation of the retro-house camp, but also some fine examples from the world of UK garage and hip-hop. Read on and give these tracks a listen.
1. Storm Queen - "It Goes On (Vox)"
The second track by Morgan Geist's (of Metro Area fame) Storm Queen project, "It Goes On" picks up largely where "Look Right Through" left off. The soulful vocals and deep bassline ride a fine line through a dark future-leaning sound, while still maintaining a distinctly retro sensibility. With one foot in the past and one foot in the future, expect this one to light up discerning house dancefloors in the early morning slot.
2. Populette - "Hello Darkness"
A newcomer to the dance music world, NYC's Populette has a relatively small but high quality discography. Its previous releases Mommy and Populace on the Rapture's Throne of Blood imprint were both some of the strongest undeground dance cuts of 2010. "Hello Darkness" from the upcoming EP Lasers are Forever (out November 28, also on Throne of Blood) sees the project in similar territory, albeit with a darker and more atmospheric edge.
3. Joy Orbison & Boddika - "Swims"
So this one's been making the rounds for a little more than a long time now, and nobody knows when it'll see mass release. Still, like Joy Orbison's last ultra-hyped record "Sicko Cell" (a dadaist ode to cocaine and Drake), "Swims" ambiguous release status hasn't stopped it from creeping into the sets of just about every visiting UK garage artist. A unique sound, this one pits Tronco Traxx's vogue classic "Walk For Me" against a manic production sensibility to create one of the best peak-time tracks since Julio Bashmore's "Battle For Middle You."
4. Factory Floor - "Two Different Ways (Original)"
London three-piece Factory Floor is perhaps best known as a practitioner of post-punk and industrial in the classic style (think Joy Division and Throbbing Gristle). Following in that mold is "Two Different Ways," its latest single on New York tastemaker imprint DFA. This cut -- the a-side "original mix "-- sees them channeling the abrasive tone palette of '80s Electronic Body Music through the filter of DFA's leftfield sound.
5. Big Sean - "Dance (A$$) Remix feat. Nicki Minaj"
Switching gears for a moment, here's one that's already making waves in the wild. Taken from Big Sean's debut album, Finally Famous, "Dance (A$$) Remix feat. Nicki Minaj" has all the hallmarks of a club banger: MC Hammer samples, a ridiculous ass-centric flow from Minaj, and an 808 beat that bounces so hard you'd swear it was from New Orleans. Check out the, er, typography in that video.