album review: purple sneakers djs, we mix you dance vol. 2
The ever-popular indie-djs Purple Sneakers have released a follow up to their first mix up We Mix You Dance, with (creatively enough) We Mix You Dance: Vol 2. The song selections on the two-disc compilation reads much like the highest song play count on my ipod, so any attempt at masking my excitement would have been futile at best. With the likes of Miike Snow, Local Natives, The Chemical Brothers, and a strong Australian presence embodied in Washington, Art vs Science, Little Red and Cloud Control, the song selections reads like a best of Triple J (of the 22 songs on Disc One alone, it features eight songs in the Hottest 100 of 2010 as well as 14 artists who appeared in the countdown). Being a regular staple on the Australian festival circuit, as well as acting as key headlining acts in popular clubs around the country, it was inevitable that I would be intrigued to hear what the Sydney boys would bring to this celebration of indie music.
Disc One – Can Dance:
Disc One is appropriately named in this compilation as ‘Can Dance’. Opening with Cloud Control which seamlessly blends into Tame Impala, it’s evident from the beginning that the strength of this disc lies within the variety of song selection, and the skill with which it integrates songs with notably different beats and time signatures. The transitions from song to song are well done, however, there is minimal mixing on most of the songs for a dance compilation cd. It is notably upbeat, more suitable for a road trip to a beach. However, with songs by Two Door Cinema Club, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, and some bands which are less conventionally associated with dance, such as Mumford and Sons and The Temper Trap, the Purple Sneakers DJs uphold the dictum that ‘less is more’, allowing the strength of the songs to support their own merit. Can Dance is punctuated by a number of remixes; Rock It by Little Red is done particularly well, invoking the dance music formula which is so often heard on other compilations. You can be forgiven for cringing if you hear Magic Fountain by Art Vs Science, or We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool Vrs Dcup, which may possibly be the only limitation that can be found within Disc One. However, given the undeniable success of the songs in the past year, it would have been unforgivable to not include them on the compilation.
Disc Two – Can’t Dance:
Disc Two, despite being named Can’t Dance, is the more archetypal dance mix compilation. The opening songs are marginally shorter than those featured on Disc One, with PhDJ taking more time working on the transitions in between songs. The opening of Disc Two is notably quicker, and suddenly slow downs with the inclusion of Active Child’s When Your Love is Safe. The Classix remix of Active Child’s song appears to draw from Miike Snow (Sans Soleil). The surprising reduction of tempo in the centre of Can’t Dance continues with another unconventional dance music inclusion of The National’s Bloodbuzz Ohio. However, the song selection on Can’t Dance are distinctly newer than the songs featured on Disc One. For a compilation, I have always personally preferred those that would introduce me to new bands. At first glance, Disc Two appears to be a showcase of this year’s Laneway Festival with the inclusion of Deer Hunter, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, !!!, Local Natives and Warpaint. From the opening, which promised to be an upbeat, high tempo, entertaining mix, it instead is more appropriate to be appreciated in isolation, listening to the CD for its interpretation of relatively new songs.
Of the two discs, the strength evidently lies in Disc One with Can Dance. It is an exemplary showcase of the best indie music of 2010 and would be ideal for those new to the genre, with its exceptional song selection and the minimal lulls in the transitions between songs. However, Disc Two in Can’t Dance is excellent in its own right, providing an intriguing and alternative interpretation of songs to Can Dance.