Though previous installments of Signal to Noise have focused on selections from local DJs, this week our column takes a minute to get a little introspective. Here are five just-released (or soon to be released) tracks we've recently discovered that we like, and that we think have potential. So read on -- there's a good chance that you'll soon be hearing some of these songs on forward-thinking local dancefloors.
"Sometimes You Just Know," by Pollyn
We first heard this track during Harvey's DJ set at Public Works back in November. It made the rounds on the blogosphere, and now it's finally on its way to release with an exclusive Moodymann remix. Pollyn's delicate singing, coupled with a backdrop of tight guitar and sparse percussion, bring to mind late '80s R&B, cosmic disco, and less electronic Italo sounds.
"Inspector Norse," by Todd Terje
The Norwegian disco master is back with a brand-new track in the vein of last year's "Ragysh." For his latest, Terje enlisted the help of the sexy and esoteric Arp 2600 modular synthesizer. The resulting product is an optimistic dance cut that seems to distill the joyful essence of going out in its six minutes. Brilliant arpeggios and tubular leads crash together to create a peak moment that easily ranks as one of Terje's best.
"Tell Me Why (Brennan Green Mix)," by Art Department
Following up on the success of The Drawing Board, its 2011 debut LP, comes the latest single from Toronto group Art Department, "Touch You Gently." Yet while this lead track is sure to get a fair amount of play, we're more partial to Brennan Green's remix of "Tell Me Why," the slick Balearic-tinged b-side. Green's version takes the Drawing Board album cut and changes the vibe by throwing in careening pianos over the original's dub-like bassline. It's a bizarre hybrid, one that overpowers the overwrought gloom of Kenny Glasgow's vocals and ends up combining NYC cool with the new sound of Toronto.
"The Downstroke," by PBR Streetgang
Lee Foss and Jamie Jones' Hot Creations label has featured prominently in this column from the start. Now, it's back with PBR Streetgang's latest. Called "The Downstroke," this track is a funky affair that takes the low-tuned basslines of tech house and combines them with a raucous disco loop and vicious spoken word that recalls the genius of George Clinton. Expect this one to get heavy play. Don't believe us? Just take a look at what it's doing to dancefloors in Europe.
"Hootin and Tootin," by Beat Pharmacy
What would this list be without a track for the late-night set? Beat Pharmacy is the alias of Brendon Moeller (a.k.a. Echologist), a man who's been producing tracks for a long time on labels such as Echochord and Francois K.'s Deep Space Media. Now he's back on New York's Throne of Blood imprint with a brand-new EP. The entire release explores familiar territory for Moeller with four tracks of dubbed-out house. "Hootin' and Tootin'" is our favorite. With spooky organs and a cheesy saxophone riff, it's the kind of jam that will keep dancers on their toes at three in the morning.