Let’s be honest: the song “Dancing on My Own” from Swedish dance goddess Robyn’s Body Talk Pt. 1 is probably a once-in-a-lifetime slice of pure dance perfection. That’s not to imply that she won’t get your body talking about Body Talk Pt. 2 (Konichiwa/Cherry Tree/Interscope). A more original and instantly gratifying performer than Lady Gaga, Robyn deserves to get her due with this second installment. Kleerup collaboration “In My Eyes” is a visionary track—funky fresh dance-pop at its most persuasive. “Hang with Me” comes closest to capturing the mastery of “Dancing on My Own” and is a showstopper in its own right. “Love Kills” is reminiscent of Robyn’s work with Röyksopp, and a Snoop Dogg guest spot on “U Should Know Better” isn’t as questionable as it could have been.
It’s worth noting that “Dance Yrself Clean,” the opening track on This Is Happening (DFA/Virgin), LCD Soundsystem’s follow-up to the acclaimed Sound of Silver, takes its sweet time in giving you a reason to do what the title suggests. Gradually gaining momentum over the course of its almost nine minutes, it takes more than three minutes before it serves up motion-worthy beats. “One Touch” is all it takes to get a move on, and “I Can Change” changes the pace, but is no less appealing for the dance floor. “Pow Pow” packs a punch, and “Home” is a place to which you will want to return.
After teasing us with their EP, Deluka returns with the full-length You Are the Night (Vel). New track “Snapshot” sounds like they might have been listening to too much Ting Tings or The Sounds, but “Cascade,” from their eponymous EP, is familiar improvement. “Nevada” and “Come Back to Me” take a page from The Killers playbook. “Meanstreak” is an equal to “Cascade” in the way that it insists you dance to it or else. “Waves” goes a bit retro-pop on us before “Morning Comes” and “Capital City” close out the disc in a sweaty sweep.
As unlikely dance sensations go, The Drums are fairly high on the list with their self-titled full-length debut disc on Downtown/Island. Not that the groundwork hadn’t already been laid by vocalist Jonny Pierce and guitarist Adam Kessler in the even more new wave/disco-oriented Elkland. Beginning with the enticing (and virtually unavoidable) “Let’s Go Surfing” (you’ll recognize the whistle immediately), The Drums have made beach music for the club set. You’re sure to find it impossible to keep still when you hear “Me and the Moon,” “Best Friend,” and the New Order-ish “Skippin’ Town” and “Forever and Ever Amen.” Not bad for straight dudes.
For a while there, you couldn’t talk about electronic dance music without mentioning Underworld and The Chemical Brothers. Once they’d found their niche in the early 1990s with their commercial breakthrough Beaucoup Fish, Underworld slowly began to lose their footing. New disc Barking (Cooking Vinyl/Om) may not put them at the top of the heap, but it shows Underworld to be willing to make the effort on cuts such as “Always Loved a Film,” “Scribble,” “Grace,” and “Diamond Jigsaw.”
The Chemical Brothers arrived in the mid-1990s, after Underworld (and others) paved the way for them and proceeded to make their presence felt. However, Further (Astralwerks) is a good name for their new disc, because they couldn’t be further from their heyday if they’d tried. A disappointment any way you dive into it, from the annoying blips that open the album on “Snow” and the nagging neighing on “Horse Power” to the considerable lack of wonder on “Wonders of Deep.”
Even if you haven’t thought about one-hit wonders Marcy Playground (“Sex and Candy”) in a while, it’s clear that others have. Leaving behind their initial musical identity, Indaba Remixes from Wonderland (Capitol) features a baker’s dozen of remixes (by contest-winning fans and others) of a dozen songs from the band’s 2009 Leaving Wonderland . . . In a Fit of Rage disc. Among the best dance-floor opportunities are “Memphis,” “Blackbird,” and “Gin and Money.”
Of Montreal’s False Priest (Polyvinyl) is the best Prince album “The Purple One” never recorded. Funny and sexy, often at the same time, False Priest is an honest-to-goodness good time, from start to finish. Princely excursions such as “Our Riotous Defects,” “I Feel Ya Stutter,” “Godly Intersex,” “Hydra Fancies,” “Like a Tourist,” “Girl Named Hello,” and “You Do Mutilate?” feel both crisply new and remarkably retro, making False Priest the perfect soundtrack for driving around town in your little red Prius.
Gregg Shapiro is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.