I've been in a remarkably good mood lately. Maybe it's the weather. Sunday in New York was just beautiful--comfortingly warm and blindingly sunny, with crystal-blue skies. Plus I just realized yesterday that the name of my local laundromat is the 'Biondo Bubble Spa,' which sounds like the title of a great Italodisco record.
Here are some tunes I've been feelin' on the sweetness and light, pop-tastic front:
Nathan Fake - Charlie's House (Apparat remix) [Border Community]
It's amazing how much remixes can revitalize a mediocre song. I must admit I'm not a big fan of what I've heard of the new Nathan Fake album. The first ten seconds of the original of 'Charlie's House' is cool pitch-shifting Boards of Canada homage, but then it descends into limp, saccharine New Agey cotton candy that amps the wide-eyed wonder thing to ridiculous levels, sort of like what I imagine would happen if E.T. made a trance record. Thankfully, Apparat had the good sense to give the song the spine it so desperately needed, dropping in some heavy, muscular beats and chopping the melody up beyond all recognition to give it structure and rhythmic heft. And hey presto: the droopy original is made over into the bold, glitchy epic it was meant to be. It reminds me a little bit of Jackson's remix of M83's 'Run into Flowers'. Good stuff.
Matmos - Steam and Sequins (for Larry Levan) [Matador]
The upcoming Matmos record, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast (dig the Wittgenstein reference!) is flat-out great. Each track is a loving and bizarre portrait of a different famous figure admired by the duo--from Darby Crash of the Germs to crazy King Ludwig II of Bavaria to this ace Levan tribute. The Levan portrait sidesteps simplistic pastiche and goes straight for the jugular--a five-minute-long psychedelic disco journey that rocks a lean bassline, handclaps, teasing hi-hats, bonkers guitar riffs, an insanely loose horn section, a cowbell-not-cowbell solo, and creepy vocal effects.
Hot Chip - Over and Over (Justus Köhncke remix) [EMI]
I've never gotten a chance to see Hot Chip live, though I hear they're great. I like the singer's voice--he sounds like he's actually making an effort to carry a tune, unlike most of the crappy 'indie-dance' bands out there. Beautiful remix that turns up the poignancy levels that were mostly hidden in the stormin' original through overlaying snippets of the vocals ("repetition repetition repetition repetition") on top of a tight electro-housey beat and--get this--sad and lovely pads of synth that someone pointed out to me sounds like a 1989 Danish pop hit by Laid Back (get it?) titled 'Bakerman.' Cool chiming sounds at around 3:47 that sounds a little like the tinkly sound at the beginning of 'Hot on the Heels of Love.' The best part of the song is the call-and-response bit near the end, which repeats the guitar riff, follows it with the line "I've started thinking I knew what I had to do" and then follows it with the nonsensical answer back "Tell you" (?) for a trippy, funky gospel-esque effect, which is laid on top of those sad synth pads. Love it. I haven't yet heard the Naum Gabo remix, but that sounds like it will be amazing as well.
Mystery Jets - The Boy Who Ran Away (Riton Re-Dub) 
Terrible indie-rock song made wonderful and disco by French producer extraordinaire Riton. Sometimes when I'm feeling really optimistic, I dream that at the heart of every mediocre, lame rock song, there's a monster dance hit just yearning to get out, that could be teased out with just the right edits and re-edits. This is why I like remixes better than originals, because at the heart of the remix is an idealistic assumption that appeals to me--that things can always be made groovier or different or more interesting, and that everything can be better.