When we think of DFA, we think immediately of founder and former LCD Soundystem frontman James Murphy, along with the label’s big-ticket acts like the Juan Maclean and The Rapture. But behind these indie titans are a number of fantastic 12″ releases that often slip out with little attention. DFA and James Murphy have been a massive influence on me and my blog since “Losing My Edge” first came out. Here I select five of the best songs from the various 12″ releases DFA have put out over the years.
Adam Russell runs the blog Black Plastic.
Factory Floor, “Two Different Ways (Original)”
The most recent track on this list, "Two Different Ways" is a synth-heavy, post-industrial acid trip. I've selected it not only because it's excellent but also because it captures a certain post-punk experimental spirit for which the label is renowned. This is presumably called "Two Different Ways" because the release features two versions, the original and the "Second Way," a self-referential element that harks back to early DFA / LCD Soundsystem release "Yeah", which similarly featured two versions (the "Pretentious Version" and the "Crass Version"). The divide here is similar: The other "second version" is a little subtler but I can't resist the more up-front original.
Black Van, “Yearning”
"Yearning" seems too straight-ahead, in some ways, to be a DFA release. But somehow it came out anyway and I'm very glad it did. There isn't too much that needs to be said about it other than that it is a really well-done piece of Balearic disco. You could call this sunny, uplifting slice of heaven derivative, but only if you have no soul
Benoit & Sergio, â€œFull Grown Manâ€
I'm very excited about Benoit & Sergio. They have had a couple of EPs out on DFA and every track on the EP this is taken from is an absolute gem. While Benoit & Sergio release music on dance labels and in the 12" / EP format typically used by dance music producers this isn't really dance music; it's closer to blissed-out electronic pop. 'Full Grown Man' particularly, at seven-minutes long, shines precisely because it accomplishes so much while seemingly doing so little.
Panthers, “Goblin City (Holy Ghost! Remix)”
Holy Ghost!'s take on Brooklyn hardcore band the Panthers' "Goblin City" is that rare thing - a remix that is better than the original. In fact, it's so good that it is better than anything either Holy Ghost! or the Panthers have accomplished individually. Holy Ghost! probably deserve more of the credit, however, considering that most of the original gets thrown out. What you end up is nothing like a hardcore rock record but actually an aloof urban disco record, boasting a killer combination of the Panthers' guitar solo and the Holy Ghost! synthesised arpeggios.
Still Going, “Spaghetti Circus”
After Still Going dropped the remarkably simple, fantastically catchy "Still Going Theme" no-one thought they would be able to live up to it. And yet somehow they confounded expectations and dropped a follow up that was even better. "Spaghetti Circus" is probably the sexiest, most sunny, soulful house record I've ever heard, sounding like the music is made from pure sweat and sunblock.