Friday, September 23, 2011

Amanda Brown

Countless times during the past several years I have considered Pocahaunted to be my favorite band ever. There have been very few duos as mysterious, addictive, or consistently curious as the self-described Olsen Twins of blissed out drone. If you haven't heard them, start at Moccasinging and go all the way through; there's not a bad sound in the lot. They tried on every sound imaginable, but my favorites will always be the far away haunted trails of Rough Magic and the earth-shaking gospel doom of Chains. Seriously, if any band deserves a lavish box set made of feathers, beads, and tapestries- it is them.

Since Pocahaunted, Amanda Brown has been all over the place. Wire magazine cover star, half of Topaz Rags, her solo work as LA Vampires, DJ, and head/curator of not one, but two labels: Not Not Fun and the recently launched 100% Silk. The new label focuses on "45 RPM 12 inch singles of diamond-life dance & bliss-disco & basement luxury grooves by friends and lovers from all over the world." There are 11 releases to date, including the intoxicating Noble Savage by Maria Minerva and the minimal high-rise sound of Let Me See You by Octo Octa. Her lastest release as LA Vampires with Ital, Streetwise, is available now on iTunes and from Not Not Fun.

I recently asked Amanda to send me a list of some of her favorite records, so here is a list of what she's been spinning lately along with her thoughts on them.


1. JOMANDA - The True Meaning (Of Love) (Big Beat)
Not even the poor man's En Vogue, but the poor man's Jade. This cover is like the poster for a Tommy Davidson movie directed by a Wayans brother. The song is unbelievably good though, especially if you sub-out the words 'The True Meaning (Of Love)' for 'The True Meaning (Of House)', which they do on side B.

2. DERUVO - Boy I Need You Now (SBK)
This cover is like a bad trance flyer from the era of Bjork's Homogenic – think CG paintbuckets. Visually it makes no sense. Sonically it only makes sense. The 'Sensitive Mix' is a tearjerker.

3. TYCIE AND WOODY - The Rhythm's Gonna Get You (Elektra)
Props for afro-futurism and the MOST ridiculously spot on title for a dance track, maybe ever. But on first glance this could either be sub-R&B overproduced ballads or sub-Monie Love overproduced rap tracks. Fortunately it's amazing. There's even a Larry Levan remix and two techno/house mixes.

4. DELICIOUS - Stand Up (Calypso)
Looks like a half-assed Deee Lite knockoff. They're Italians though, dressed like uptown Keith Haring art/dance/jazz cats, so obviously something about it is gonna be special.

This is the kind of confusing record you always think is going to be good but never is, but this one actually IS good, every mix. The lyric 'I like you' is dangerously simple-minded genius.

6. MOSAIC III FEAT. ZION - Dance Now (Look/BMG)
Hideous early Photoshop pixelated nonsense. Play the "E-Gasm (Overdose Mix)" – and then throw the jacket under your bed.

7. HOUSE NATION -Everybody (Yo) (Discomagic)
Maybe the most disgusting of the lot. There's cut-out jpegs of pickles and....radishes (??) floating over a blurry photo of indistinct people. But it's awesome, and if you collect dance vinyl you're NOT going to pass on a 12" by 'House Nation' entitled 'Everybody (Yo).' Duh. It's just not gonna happen.

8. S-EXPRESS - Theme From S-Express (Rhythm King)
This looks like a page torn from Raygun Magazine: graphic design excess, letters and text all over the place, weird phrases ("brilliance for a better world," "I got the hots for you," "Oh that's bad! No that's good!"). Worth getting through for the B side track, "The Trip (Microdot House Remix)".

9. STEVIE V - Adventures Of Stevie V (Mercury)
Like a legend from the bygone 'In Living Color' era, you might assume this is just style-less rapping. But he has a definite knack for naming tracks: "Butterflies Are Free," "Body Language," "Hooked On The Groove."

10. SERGE PONSAR - Out In The Night (WB)
The cover is forgettably new wave and on the back Serge looks like a silky Rick James (in a bad way). Skip the A side and jam the B side instrumental dub.

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