Friendly Fires vs Azari & iii | Ellie Goulding vs Brackles + mp3

!K7 preps new mix CDs from Friendly Fires and Brackles
(and Apparat, but more on that later)

An ever reliable source for dance sounds that are riding the cusp of popularity, !K7 has helped inform my tastes, virtually since the day I started listening to dance music. Once upon a time, while still partnered with Studio Distribution here in the U.S. it was !K7 that introduced my ears to Kruder & Dorfmeister, Smith & Mighty and host of other artists I still cherish to this day. And while the partnership with Studio went belly up a few years back, it hasn't stopped the German imprint from carrying on, innovating and even diversifying.

The label's DJ-Kicks series is stronger than ever, releasing new mixes at a clip that outpaces the series' inaugural years. Most recently there were contributions from Chromeo, the Juan MacLean, Kode 9 and James Holden with a new installment from Apparat on the way. Aside from that, the label is helping disseminate releases from the Strut label and it seems to keep popping up with new mix series on a weekly basis. One such acquisition sees the label taking the reigns of BUGGEDout! here in the U.S. bringing the latest Suck My Deck release, mixed by Friendly Fires, to the American masses. This I couldn't be more pleased about. Listening to the mix for the first time today, I felt I had to continually remind myself it was a trio of rockers that compiled its contents and not a seasoned DJ—the selection and mix is that impeccable. I know these guys are heavily influenced by dance music and Aeroplane's remix of their cut "Paris" was one of last year's biggest anthems, but they've still outdone themselves. Spanning indie dance, nudisco, euphoric house, booty throwbacks and even "Din Da Da" by George Kranz, it's as epic a mix as I've heard in some time (and I'm fresh off praising DJ Hell's latest for the Body Language series, which you can read about at Time Out Chicago. It seems the art, nuance and variety of the DJ mix is not lost after all).

One of the bonus features of the mix is a collabo with hotly tipped Canadian producers Azari & iii. Sounding exactly like "Skeleton Key" crossed with "Hungry For the Power", "Stay Here" is a total gem. You can download the exclusive track, right now - courtesy of the lovely people at !K7 who I'm showering so much praise upon:

Another new addition to !K7's stable is Cool in the Pool, an London outfit that first caught our eye for it's championing of the nudisco and Balearic sounds through record releases and podcasts. It's partnership with !K7 has taken a slightly different feel—at leat initially—but one that's no less imprinted with it's London stamp. Commissioning renegade dubstep-meets-garage wunderkind Brackles, it's kicking off a new series called Songs for Endless Cities. The mix sees the Rinse FM regular spanning some of the best new artists in "post-dubstep" including Floating Points, Roska and Detroit's Kyle Hall.

On initial listen the mix didn't blow me away. But seeing Brackles deejay for the first time at Big Chill last summer—his set spanned 2-step classics, new bits of U.K. funky and the more soulful side of dubstep—marked a turning point for me in what the cool (in the pool) sound of the U.K. was becoming.

And because we can actually continue to boast new mp3s for our readers, we've even got an up-until-now unreleased U.K. funky remix of Ellie Goulding's "Under the Sheets" and we kind of think it sounds as good as anything Bugz in the Attic did in their hey day. We've shown a little bit of love to Ms. Goulding in our time—you know how we feel about the spritely young chanteuses—and when she looks like a cross between Kristen Bell and Blake Lively (and backs it up with one hell of a voice) it's tough to resist. Check it for yourself.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Brackles Songs for Endless Cities is available now:



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