The cross-continental collaboration between Phonte (Little Brother) and Dutch producer Nicolay results in a beautifully engaging project known as Foreign Exchange. Filtered samples loom large among the electric, soul-powered beats. Simultaneously, Phonte (and others) deliver honest, consciousness-laden lyrics that glide over the infectious production.
Although some of his more pop-centric dance hits were questionable, when you consider compositions like "1.618" here, BT is most definitely a sound innovator. His lofty and cinematic electronica will echo throughout the halls of techno fame decades from now when he's remembered as an artist who beautifully pushed the envelope.
This Malkmusian N.Y. foursome calls itself "the finest band ever named after a local weatherman," and that's certainly true, but they're much more than that. They're torchbearers for a time we now call "the early-'90s," when slackerdom was the thing, Dando was king, and beer was still for breakfast.
Since Mark Farina's glory days in the late '90s there has been no house music success story like Kaskade's. A Utah native and a Mormon, Ryan Raddon began converting his Salt Lake peers into dance-music lovers before moving to California and working A&R for Om Records, who eventually signed him. Several chart-topping albums later Raddon is the king of romantic vocal house.
Eschewing the danceable beats favored by many of its post-punk brethren, while opting instead for more ominous and insistent rhythms, is what makes the Standard visceral and engaging. Add some wily, percussive guitars and Tim Putman's tense, shaky vocals, and the result is dark and complex--intimate, yet ready to burst.