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Mr Twin Sister’s (or Twin Sister as they were then known) debut album In Heaven was released in 2011 on Domino after two fine EPs of dream pop music. Featuring a more expansive version of themselves that took in synth pop, new-wave, indie-pop, disco and funk.

Three years later, the band have returned to the independent route under an altered name and with an altered musical outlook. That album’s disparate swatch of styles could be credited to the band’s different tastes. As Dev of the band told me at that time - “One thing all of us agree on is music that will make you move a little bit, that has a groove that unites everything.”

The band were in a car crash last year on tour that put them all in hospital but thankfully, with no critical injuries. They were lucky. The experience has strengthened their friendship, and possibly their music too. On Mr Twin Sister, they are united under the groove.

The eight tracks on the self-titled second album are definitely night-time grooves, which occupy the same mood without jumping around from genre to genre, and as an album it works wonderfully, because Mr Twin Sister have an attention to the small details that stands to them when they delve deep into genres like disco and funk.

It’s there in the opener ‘Sensitive’, where the arpeggiated synths rise to meet a suave suspended rhythm, propelled by minimal bass notes and singer Andrea Estella’s whispery treated vocal. It’s a billowy sophisticated entry point, an effective scene-setter that leads to two of the best songs on the record, the twinkling disco stomp of ‘Rude Boy’ and the propulsive noir-disco of ‘In The House Of Yes’ with real string arrangements and expressive piano adding debonair.

There are callbacks, probably unintentional and possibly heard only by me to two disparate well-known songs: ‘Rude Boy’ has a stirring background noise that sounds like Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s ‘Summertime’ while ‘In The House Of Yes’ actually reminds me of the main melody in the ‘Macarena’. More fun observations than homage.

When not strutting the disco step, the band show they can still do dreamy too. ‘Blush’ is a luscious song that calls back to the band when they were without the “Mr”, as does the vintage-sounding acoustic-lead sparkle of the closing track ‘Crime Scene’.

Estella’s lyrics suit the vibe, their disco-noir sound is escapism and she often seeks to escape. ‘In The House Of Yes’ she locks herself in her room, drinks to a stupor and dances on her own own til her head is on the ground. ‘Rude Boy’ finds her rejecting the advances of an opposite (“I have all the drinks i can handle”), content to exist in the space. “Is there a real me? Or am I just a series of nights,” she sings on ‘Blush’. The thrilling ‘Out Of The Dark’ has her questioning identity too – “I am a woman / But inside I’m a man / And I want to be as gay as I can.” The Johnny Jewel-esque ’12 Angels’ has someone singing about being in drag to reinforce the theme.

Despite the album being united in tone, there’s a sense that Mr Twin Sister aren’t settled. It’s in the artwork which is deliberately unfinished and packaged, it’s in the 37-minute running time and it’s in the new name. The altered band have reset and are heading in their own independent direction and making great music as part of the process.

Buy the album on Bandcamp.

italo

As featured in the Irish Independent’s Insider mag every Thursday. Spotify playlist below.

This week, the Giro D’Italia, one of the most prestigious pro cycling events comes to Ireland starting in Belfast on May 9 and working its way down to Dublin on May 11. So to celebrate this majestic display of strength and endurance to win the pink jersey, I’ve compiled a powerful selection of cheesy yet classic eighties Italian disco hits. Of course, if you want more Italo Disco, there’s a club night for that.

The playlist in tomorrow’s magazine? Pharrell Williams.


1. La Bionda – ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’

Sci-fi squiggly electro pop from 1984 from Milan brothers Carmelo and Michelangelo La Bionda. So catchy, so cool. I bought this on 7″ recently and it’s one of my prized possessions. I first heard it on Annie’s excellent DJ Kicks.

2. Sabrina – ‘Boys’

The most well-known song on the list. I didn’t even cop this was an Italo song until recently because I hadn’t heard it in so long. How many of us realised Sabrina, the girl in the droopy bikini in the music video was Italian? This 1987 song makes more sense now.

3. Ken Laszlo – ‘Hey Hey Guy’

Seven minutes of synth-disco bliss from 1984.

4. Eddy Huntington – ‘USSR’

One of my personal favourites on the list because the English singer sounds (and looks) like he wandered into the studio off the set of a kids TV programme.

5. Gary Low – ‘You Are A Danger’

An Italian-born Spanish singer who had a trio of great singles in 83 and 84 including this whistle-featuring tune.

6. Righeira – ‘Vamos A La Playa’

Let’s hit the beach they sing on a 1983 song composed by La Bionda. Rubbery leg dancing encouraged. Plus, the video – OMG.

7. Baby’s Gang – ‘Challenger’

Bombastic and hedonistic, yet with kids singing the hook, this is a classic.

8. Advance – ‘Take Me To The Top’

So laidback and perfect, it’s almost a regular disco track out of New York but this is most definitely of Italy.

9. Ryan Paris – ‘Dolce Vita’

This 1983 corker was number two in Ireland.

10. Giorgio Moroder – ‘Chase’

Who better to soundtrack the propulsive physical hussle of the Giro than the Italian master Giovanni? As featured in the film Midnight Express from 1978.

Listen to the Spotify playlist

escort

New York’s 17-piece disco outfit Escort took inspiration for the U.S. Government shutdown last month with this 44 minute mix of disco tunes, made to dance your cares away. No track IDs, just the message below accompanies the 44 minute mix. They’re playing for Bodytonic on December 8th but it’s not quite sure how many of the 17 will be there.

Gerrymandered grooves for your favorite furloughed federal worker. Includes unreleased disco edits from the Escort fam and an exclusive preview of ‘All Night People’ by Funn City, the first release on Darshan Jesrani’s [Metro Area] brand new Startree imprint.

chromeo

chromeo
“I could be your boyfriend and your counsellor because tonight might damage ya.” sings Chromeo’s Dave 1 on the cheeky ‘Sexy Socialite’, a track which at first tries on a disco-funk bassline before morphing into the kind of synth pulse that Chromeo became known for on their breakout album Fancy Footwork. There’s a lady (the sexy socialite) in question defending herself and some funk jamming outro that takes the track past six minutes. Never change Chromeo.

Their new album White Women also features Ezra Koening, Solange Pat Mahoney to singer Tawatha Agee of Mtume who sang ‘Juicy Fruit’. No release date yet.

Krystal Klear ft. Jenna G – ‘Addiction’ [video]
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Bipolar-SunshineThe best new music/artist picks of the last week. As published in today’s Day & Night Magazine. Follow Day & Night on Twitter and Facebook.

Bipolar Sunshine

Manchester man Adio Marchant has been gaining attention with the three songs from his upcoming Aesthetics EP which have a sweet sensitive edge to the music’s electronic-assisted indie rock slant. It’s a little bit Bloc Party, a little bit TV On The Radio. Good things indeed.

(more…)

Posted on June 21st, 2013

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PY
The best new music/artist picks of the last week. As published in today’s Day & Night Magazine. Follow Day & Night on Twitter and Facebook.

Py

No not that Gangnam bloke. Jade Pybus is a vocalist who released the attention-grabbing mixtape Tripping On Wisdom and has worked with UK dance producers like Throwing Snow, Lapalux and Damu. Her own debut single Polyethers is a lush track that rivals the likes of SBTRKT and Flume in the soulful R&B electronica/ good music stakes.

Posted on June 14th, 2013

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strandbar
strandbar

Let’s hit the beach(bar)! Todd Terje is back with another summer shaker in the form of ‘Strandbar’. The Norwegian producer follows up last year’s summer hit ‘Inspector Norse’ with a track that oozes holiday getaway times with its piano-led funky rhythm and lazer synths for a nine-minute disco workout. There’s also samba and bonus mixes.

escort

escort
The best new music/artist picks of the last week. As published in today’s Day & Night Magazine. Follow Day & Night on Twitter and Facebook.

Escort

Thanks to Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, Disco is having a bit of a revival and that’s no bad thing if it means we get more good time music like Cocaine Blues from 17-piece Brooklyn band Escort. Their album has just got reissue status. Don’t expect a tour anytime soon though.