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The OXD Mirror: The Politics of Dancing and New Music by Annie, Plastic Plates and Sam Sparro

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 BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / TAD HAES

The Politics of Dancing...or Why Occupy The Disco?

Before Stonewall happened in 1969, two people of the same sex were not legally allowed to dance together in New York City. You could get busted for engaging in such act, and people often got in trouble with the cops for doing exactly that. But over the years following the Stonewall riots and the consequent repeal of the city’s cabaret law in 1971, dancing would become gay people's most powerful form of protest, and the main tool for expressing who they are. It laid ground for the gay civil rights movement to flourish by connecting the right people across dancefloors. And this social, political and dance revolution would be powered by uptempo black R&B records played by gay DJs at queer and racially diverse places like The Loft, The Gallery, the Paradise Garage and The Saint, which were only to be labelled “disco music” by the mass media towards the end of the '70s decade. The rest is history, and gay culture, civil rights and even the mainstream music industry would change forever.

Disco (and house music later in the '80s) is more than a music genre – it has a history of gathering under one roof people that wouldn't otherwise come together: gay, straight, black, white, rich and poor. It started as a revolutionary gay movement with direct social and political consequences.  Forty years later, disco and house still push boundaries and change concepts by simply inspiring us to dance (and collectively protest) all night long.

Annie feat. Bjarne Melgaard: ‘Russian Kiss’

The politics of dance music are obvious in Annie's latest release, 'Russian Kiss,' a collaboration with fine artist Bjarne Melgaard. Scheduled to coincide with the kick-off of the Sochi Olympics, the song and video are blunt statements against Putin and his gay-hating laws that have been broadly covered by all media channels at this point. Part of the proceeds from the song will go to the gay rights advocacy non-profit All Out. The track is heavily inspired by Lil’ Louis’ 1989 classic hit, 'French Kiss,' with an important twist: the infamous female orgasm break is replaced with a sexy male version. A tweak that could perhaps shake Russian’s authorities suppressed homoerotic feelings?

More new music AFTER THE JUMP...

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The OXD Mirror: New Music by The Mekanism, Bright Light Bright Light, Wolf & Lamb and more

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BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / TAD HAES

As one of the most played artists at the legendary New York City club Paradise Garage during the late '70s and through the '80s, Gwen Guthrie became a familiar voice that echoes through decades in the gay collective unconscious.

In addition to making her own music, she performed backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and Madonna. She was also often remixed by Larry Levan, who made her famous at the Garage scene in the '80s. Thirty years later, young French producer The Mekanism (born Damien Rousell) takes a stab at reviving one of Guthrie's hits, 'Dance Fever,' with an uptempo re-work filled with energy and groove. The track can be downloaded for free here.

More music for your dancing pleasure, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The OXD Mirror: New Music for 1.9.14

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BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / TAD HAES

The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based movement created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tadeu Magalhães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world.

Dan Beaumont: 'Trippy Pumper'

Dan Beaumont is a London-based DJ and occasional producer who just signed with the Classic Music Company label. His hypnotic 80’s-flavored hit 'Trippy Pumper' releases next week. I’m absolutely loving the rolling bass and gentle synths. The accompanying video serves the track very well with its quirky dancers in retro outfits and some funky visual effects as the song evolves.

 

Kartell: ‘Turn Over’

Although unrelated to the French Express crew, Kartell could easily blend in with the talented group of DJs and producers who became so dear amongst the gay audience. Hailing from Paris, Kartell released a new EP this week titled Sapphire, which includes 'Turn Over,' a track reminiscent of the soulful, R&B-inspired arm of the new-disco genre and features sampled vocals from Avant’s 'Separated.' As much as I’ve grown relatively tired of this trend over the past months, something about 'Turn Over' somehow manages to make it sound fresh and interesting.

 

John Talabot: ’08-01’

To celebrate his birthday (which happened yesterday), Catalan producer John Talabot has shared what he called a "demo" track as a free download. The song is conveniently called '08-01' and has many of the features that made Talabot one of the most promising producers coming from Europe: ethereal synths, chill beats, and textural, beautiful melodies.

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The OXD Mirror: Tad's Top Tracks of 2013

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BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / TAD HAES

The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based movement created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tad Hães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world.

This week I'll be sharing my top 10 tracks from 2013. Josh featured his last week, and Ru will share his in the coming weeks.

 

10. Future Four: 'Into Orbit'

Future Four is an act led by Andy Meecham, the man behind Chicken Lips and The Emperor Machine, who has been featured on this column enough times to need no introduction. As Future Four, Meecham takes a new direction towards a lighter and happier mood, which can be experienced through the incredibly uplifting 'Into Orbit.' In some ways, the track even reminds of me of an Everything But The Girl classic, with the addition of the usual space twist which is so particular to Meecham’s work.

 

9. Dusky: 'Nobody Else'

2013 saw the peak of the late 90’s UK-garage trend through acts like Disclosure, Bicep, and Dusky. The latter was responsible for the huge hit 'Nobody Else,' an ultra-catchy 90’s-inspired house track with dark moments, soulful vocals and enough versatility to move dance floors with all kinds of crowds.

 

8. The Juan Maclean: 'Feel Like Movin’'

The Juan Maclean has consistently put out fantastic releases since its inception, so it comes as no surprise that out of two singles that made the light of day this year by the duo, at least one would be a favorite of mine. The high energy in 'Feel Like Movin’' is unlike of any other track I’ve come across this year, and as Nancy Whang sings "it’s the perfect night to get away," one can’t help but long for another night out dancing.

 

TRACKS #7 THROUGH #1, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The OXD Mirror: New Music for 10.21.13

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BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / TAD HAES

The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based movement created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tad Haes, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world.

 

Charm: 'With You'

Charm's 'With You' features soulful house vocalist Charmaine Baines, who has lent her voice to many other house hits in the past. The familiar-sounding track mixes some well done funk and disco beats to create a lighthearted, yet strong dance song, where Baines' powerful vocals really shine. 'With You' will be out next week on British label Rogue Cat Sounds and will feature a remix by New York producer Eric “Dunks” Duncan (a.k.a. Dr. Dunks).

 

Mickey: 'Walk Away'

Belgian producer Mickey became famous through a more accessible nu-disco sound, following the lead of other fellow producers like The Magician and Aeroplane. It is interesting to see his evolution though with the release of 'Walk Away,' on the more deep house-oriented label Exploited. The new work showcases Mickey in a more mature shape, combining complex layers and chopped female vocals into an uplifting house track.

 

Abstraxion feat. Astrid Engberg: 'Every Night I’m Lying'

Abstraxion is the moniker of 28 year old French musician and DJ Harold Boué, who last week released his debut album Break of Lights on New York label Have A Killer Time records. The LP includes 'Every Night I’m Lying,' a collaboration with singer Astrid Engberg and the result is a textural and melancholic deep house/pop song that starts slow and builds up beautifully over its six minutes. The album can be streamed for free in its entirety over HAKT’s SoundCloud.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The OXD Mirror: New Music for 11.7.13

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BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / TADEU MAGALHÃES

The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based collective created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tadeu Magalhães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world. 

 

Bicep: 'Satisfy'

Belfast's hottest duo Bicep takes a journey through classic house with their upcoming Satisfy EP which releases on November 25th. The 3-track work includes the 80’s-inspired 'Satisfy,' the acid house 'The Final Trip' (my favorite) and the club-banger 'Snackbar.' As usual though, Bicep is able to infuse their signature sounds and treatment and make these tracks sound fresh and contemporary.

 

Rhythm Operator: 'Fiona’s Room'

Calvin James, also known as Rhythm Operator, is a producer based in LA who has great skills in capturing elements from past classics and translating them into new deep house anthems. Following tracks like 'Anytime,' which was featured on Needwant’s great compilation “Traxx: The House That Garage Built” as well as 'Let’s Groove,' Rhythm Operator releases his new EP, Hope, and in a few days it managed to become one of the recent releases I am obsessing about. 'Fiona’s Room' has the right smooth and catchy elements that will get it quickly in many DJ cases. The EP is out now NYC label Let’s Play House.

 

Tom Demac & Will Samson: 'It Grows Again'

A collaboration of two British forces, 'It Grows Again' is the result of Tom Demac’s impeccable production and the beautiful vocal work by folk/ambient singer Will Samson. It is definitely a moodier, softer track than our usual recommendations, and it exemplifies one of the reasons we love house music as it takes on infinite shapes.

 

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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