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Sleazy Picks of the Year 2011

After today 2011 will be gone for good. Which is too bad really, as it was quite the year for us here at Sleazy Beats. We got to put out an awesome EP by The Francis Inferno Orchestra, whose profile skyrocketed in 2011 with releases on Melbourne Deepcast, Join the Dots, Kolour and a host of other fine imprints. We released a record with raw and sweaty beatdown tracks by newcomer La Tuerie from Milan, a producer who we'll be hearing more of in 2012 with records on Kolour and Foto. Then came SBR008, 'The Dirty Dancing Sampler', arguably our finest release yet with deep and moody tracks by Modsleep, The Noodleman, Dead Rose Music Company and Lord of The Isles (who's rapidly becoming one of the most interesting and versatile producers out there) . Right in time for the holiday season our 9th record came out, a big four-tracker by TDRMC that seems to be selling rather well at the moment. We also got to release a limited double CD with our friends from Wolf Music and Cosmic Boogie, which sold out really fast (which is quite amazing in this day and age with a million decent mixes on soundcloud and about as many sketchy blogs offering rips of virtually anything). As if that wasn't enough, we also got to play at amazing parties all over the globe (Bergen, Berlin, London, Poznan, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, New York City etc) and got to meet some amazing and like-minded people. Playing a monster back to back set in the Horse and Groom in London definately was one of the absolute highlights of the year for us. While international DJ stardom never gets old, we're still just a bunch of geeks with an unhealthy vinyl addiction that like to ramble on about music. So in between taking care of the kids, grocery shopping and mortgage payments we tried to cover the most exciting slices of plastic we discovered this year. And as the clock is ticking away, we felt like sharing our 'soundtrack' of 2011 with you.

Before we get into that, let's get a few things off our chests about all these 'best of' and end-of-year lists though. More often than not, they're just a marketing tool to push sales in December. As much as we like Juno, we were a bit disappointed to see that they ignored the many releases that sold out over the past twelve months in their 'best of 2011' lists. Another thing we don't like about most lists is that there's usually a fairly strong overpresence of recent releases. Yes, we all know money makes the world go round (again, charts are meant to push sales) and that the shelflife of a 12" record is rather short as it is. Just not THAT short. My main gripe with end of year charts is that larger magazines, shops and blogs all seem to equate 'big' with 'best'. See, Transformers: Dark of The Moon was one of 2011's highest grossing motion pictures but it sure wasn't golden globe material now was it? That's why we decided to do things a little differently this year. We carefully went over every single records we bought, played and charted this year, compiled a monstrosity of a longlist, which then got narrowed down to just 5 tracks. Five tracks that defined 2011 musically for us here at Sleazy Beats. On top of those 5 records, all three of us put together a list of 5 personal favorites. So here we go, twenty records to sum up the year:

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Sleazy Beats All-Time Top 5 for 2011

5. Being Borings - Some Are Here and Some Are Missing
We've been obsessing over this record ever since we first heard snippets of it back a few months ago. It popped up on Juno for a rididulous price so we passed on it at first. Then regret reared its ugly head and we frantically tried to unearth a copy for aeons, but alas, it was nowhere to be found. We finally received two copies at Sleazy Towers just a few days ago straight from Japan (thanks Masuo/Lighthouse Records Tokyo) and we haven't had thechance to play anything else since we put them down on the ol' platters. Produced and arranged by two of Japan's most wicked and crue-l disco overlords Kenji Takimi & Tomoki Kanda, this record is probably the one in our collection that we're most proud to own going into 2012. Both sides are awesome, but the B-side with this tune is a standout cut above the rest. Hard to describe in words but basically it's disgustingly good with fat chuggy drums, dubbed out strings and echoed out sloppy claps just how we like. There even seems to be some muted dolphin or whale sounds in there too, it's just that crazy.



4. Fantastic Man - Groove With You

We're well aware that this tune is a little bit of a no brainer to include for a 'best of' list for the past year. It was immense. Huge. Gargantuan. Etc. We fell head over heels for it when it droppend and haven't looked back. To top it all off, it's on one of the best labels we can think of, run by two of the nicest guys in the biz. Fantastic Man aka Mic Newman burst on to the scene at the end of last year with a killer cut on Wolf Music's 007 release, and then another, and then solidified himself with this beast. Awesome rolling drums with a bubbly, gurgling bassline and a morphed Maxwell sample sprinkled atop the lot make for a smash hit in our little world. We simply love this track to bits and there's no denyin'. Building and dropping and rising again until: you 'just can't take it any longer', by the time you get to the end you'll know just why this guy is running things in all of Oz along with a couple of other duders (2011 was without a doubt the year of the Melbourne crew). We're confident that 2012 will again see Mic/Mr. Fantastic doing big and bad tings.



3. Stupid Human - Get On Up

Stupid Human's third release was easily one of the biggest records for us this year. 'Get On Up' in particular got a mean rinsing at every party we played. It's pretty much a perfect edit: long extended intro with badass percussion, beefed up drums, long buildup and then bam! enter filthy disco heaven. And with a vocal that goes 'you're so sleazy, when you tease me', you know you have a winner on your hands. Fantastic track by an exquisite edit-maestro.



2. Frank Booker - El Salvador (Cosmic Boogie rmx)
We've been staunch fans of Frank Booker ever since his debut 12" on Untracked a few years ago. Mr. Booker is hardly the most prolific of producers; in 2011 he kept his output limited to two records on Japanese imprint Wonderful Noise and a compilation with Recloose, his audio-partner in crime. Both records on Wonderful Noise were really expensive (they came out while shit really hit the fan in Japan with a tsunami and nuclear meltdown) but also ridiculously good. Frank Booker truly is a master at blending elements of disco and moody deephouse into perfect dancefloor fodder with class and style. Of the two records, El Salvador got the most plays this year from us, a midtempo chugfest sampling an old Average White Band tune to great effect. For this list we went with the Cosmic Boogie remix, but the original is just as good. We're thrilled we get to release a Frank Booker record on our own Sleazy Beats in 2012.



1. Ron Basejam - Get Closer
Ron Basejam's A Life in Headphones was the best record of 2011. Period. If there's one record you should have bought this year, this is it. Five timeless tracks on one record. We raved about it when it first came out so we'll just let the music do the talking.



That's it, the five records that tickled our communal pickle. Below you'll find our personal faves to finish the year on a personal note.

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Kris Percy - 5 Big Guns for 2011


1. Try To Find Me - Needs Ending * Golf Channel
This record has was honestly a bit of a pain in the ass for me this year, as I passed on the damn thing initially then soon after realized it might just be the best track ever, only to realize the thing was sold out worldwide quickfast after only 125 pressings (welcome to the moronic inferno). Done up ever so well by Justin Vandervolgen on his second release on the mighty Golf Channel recordings, 'Needs Ending' takes only a snip of the original track, Jo Jo Zep - 'Losing Game' (cheers Isodisco crew!) but loops the thing and visciously dubs the living hell out of it, creating a relentless balearic headnodder, and brings a tear to the eye all at the same time. A description of this track cannot happen either without mentioning that bassline, one of the best I've ever heard...legendary. SO, I still don't have this in the bag, moral of the story here - don't be an idiot, buy good music when it comes out. Don't sleep or else you'll end up crying in your soup.



2. Double Hill - Wanna Get * Double Standard

Double Hill is/are putting out some of the straight up deepest and moodiest cuts we've heard in a helluva long time. This cut came out by the enigmatic Israeli crew (we only assume it's two guys cause the word 'double' is in their name) in march of 2011, and is the first of two releases now by these guys on the NY label headed by Gadi Mizrahi of W&L. 'Wanna Get' kicks off with an airy feel alongside a thunderous kick and soon glides smoothly and easily into deephouse territory, complete with dusty chimes and all. Really a top workout and an addictive pulsating groove. On the edge of our seats here at sleazy HQ to hear what crackers Double Hill has on offer next year, this past year has seen him releasing some of the most forward thinking stuff we've heard in a good bit. Kudos!



3. Pools - End Of Summer * Spills
This post was initially supposed to be about 'Blue Dream' off the same Pools Ep 1, but at the very last minute I changed my mind and decided to write about this one. Truth be told I love this whole ep more than life itself and honestly find it more or less impossible to pick a fave. When I first heard samples a few months ago my first thought was "what the hell are these tunes" as they honestly seemed so different and special. We still don't know who Pools are, wizards or magicians of some sort I'd imagine. 'End of Summer' glides along effortlessly on the back of a vocal "oooohh" that changes pitch every few bars. Combine this with catchy guitar hook and icy/glassy snares and you have one cracking cut. As I write this, and am listening to the heavy funked-up 'Skate' - the next track on the ep, and I suddenly feel compelled to change my decision again for the favourite cut on the record. In short they're all slamming, I could have
chosen any of them. Buy, play, love.

Pools-The End Of Summer by spls

4. Luv Unlimited 3 - Track 2 * Love Unlimited Vibes
We divulged our everlasting love for the Luv Unlimited crew not long ago on these sleazy pages, and this release in particular. So not to go on to great lengths about something we've covered already, I just wanted to say a few words of love for the Luv. The mood and sheer intensity in this tune from the eerie organ and especially the haunting vocal makes it one of the most proper deep warmup greats of the year for us. Stunningly beautiful, a properly amazing piece of music that any music lover should be more than proud to own. Guaranteed I'll get shivers every time I hear that vocal. Volume 4 should see the light of day anytime now, so be on the lookout.

LUV 03 A by LOVE UNLIMITED VIBES

5. Loud-E - Peppermint * Discoine
Coming in at number 5 is a dark horse, one that no one seemed to be playing much and tbh it doesn't really fit in with our 'traditional' sleazy sound, as it's perhaps more of a disco party rocker...but hell, I reckoned there should be at least one grizzly discosmasher in my list. I quite honestly love everything about it: heavy disco slap bass,strings, catchy chorus, comedic horn hook and especially the saucy French vocal. Had the opportuity to play this on a few big systems this year and believe you me it works a treat on a packed dancefloor.

** sorry, couldn't find a video/soundclip **


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Frantic - The Frantastic Top 5 of 2011

1. Alena - Changes (Ron Basejam rmx)
This is my favorite remix of the year. The ultimate midtempo party rocker, Basejam's mix of 'Changes' is just the most infectious thing to hit wax. I find myself uncontrollably doing the running man every time I put it on, and I honestly mean that in a good way! The loops, elements and instruments on this one just lock together as if they were made for each other. If you don't own this already, go out and find it. There is not a dancefloor around that will be able to resist it.



2. Frank Booker - Tell Them
We blogged about the two mysterious releases on Wonderful Noise the moment these babies surfaced. I hope you took our advice then, because now you will be hard pressed to find copies (and shelling out some serious cash, too). Both releases hold some of the classiest output of 2011. The Cosmic Boogie mix of 'El Salvador' even made our Sleazy top 5 of the year. For me, the cut that did not leave the bag was 'Tell Them'. This is the definition of a chugger. It is the perfect blend of elements, pumping along until you realize it is over...and who said it could be over, you weren't done with it yet! Some deep keys filling out the bottom end, and just the right touch of flourish and drama with the violin work when it is needed. This is original production at its finest. It is just such a well done party track, and easily makes my list.



3. Psychemagik - Wake Up Everybody
This year was clearly a good year for Psychemagik. His "Valley of Paradise" edit of David Crosby's song 'Orleans' is the number one tune on many of the top lists of 2011. But personally, it was the magik he worked on Harold Melvin's 'Wake Up Everybody' that opened up nearly all of my dreamy summertime DJ sets. He kept the intro of the tune intact and looped the best part of the opening keys to a devastatingly good effect. I have played this for young and old and I get the same reaction every time... instant adoration. 1976 has never sounded so sweet.



4. Drop Out Orchestra - My World Is Empty Without Dub
Drop Out Orchestra are Sweden's best kept secret, but we want to be sure that this secret gets out! It it hard to revisit a lot of the old classic tunes because they are so ingrained into our consciousness. Here the Orchestra expertly reworks the Motown classic 'My World Is Empty Without You' by The Supremes. All of the swing of the original tune really lies in that accented half-note, and by removing it this hit becomes a slow-motion monster.



5. Modern Artifacts - Do Do Wap Is Strong In Here (Heavy Disco Rework)
2011 was the year of the over-reverent edit. The beatdown and midtempo music that I found myself gravitating towards the most were edits done by musicians that chose to leave the source material mainly intact. I truly appreciate the electronic artists that chopped and sliced with care, respecting the original music. Ashley Beedle is at the top of this game. No artist is too large or revered to avoid his skilled blade. He just tackles some of the most untouchable material. Last year he successfully reworked The Beatles, and who on earth could accomplish that? Well, Ashley Beedle can! This year he rearranges the one and only Curtis Mayfield and man it is a killer. The title really says it all... the do do wap is strong in here! Essential.


Guy's (Monsieur Monod) Personal Picks

1. Sir John - White Elephant (Mark E rmx) * Redux
Since Mark E turned his back on disco and started making (fairly generic sounding) techno, I stopped following his new releases. He's still a phenomenal DJ (got to see his play in Holland this year) but the days of his Jisco edits are definitely over and done with. Mark E's smooth and sultry remix of Sir John's White Elephant on Redux was a most welcome surprise amidst all that tough techno, and one of the highlights of the year for me.



2. Matt Moroder - Shuggie * Little Leaf

Matt Moroder's rework of Shuggie Otis' Aht Uh Mi Hed came out early in 2011 and immediately stuck a chord with me. It's not really clever, nor is it hands in the air peaktime fistpump material. It's a lovely, mellow, moody groover that builds and builds until you finally get to hear Otis' wonderful voice. Lush and overlooked.



3. Koosh & Dane - Jackin the Man * Common Edits
Dane's Common Edit imprint was without a doubt the most exciting new label to see the light of day. The three seven inch releases that came out in 2011, with edits and reworks by Koosh, Bron, Eddie C and Dane himself are the stuff that dreams are made of. Hard to pick a favorite, but this moody, stringy track is simply irresistable.

** sorry, couldn't find a video/soundclip **

4. Tyson Ballard - Little Too Much * Ben Sun remix * Voyeurhythm

Ben Sun had the midas touch this year and this remix is a fine showcase of his knack for the deepest and moodiest grooves. One of those tracks I lusted after for months. There's nothing like finally getting your grubby mits on the 12" when it sees the light of day now is there?

Tyson Ballard - Little Too Much // Ben Sun Dawn's Arrival mix // VR006 by Ben Sun

5. The Glue - A Broken Heart * Untz Untz
I posted a glowing review of The Glue's forthcoming track on Sccucci Manucci (out early 2012) in which I elaborated on the chops and skills of this Norwegian duo, so I'll keep this short: this is awesome and doesn't get old. Good luck trying to find a copy, the Discogs vultures are already charging over 50 quid for it.


Comments

  1. fantastic list fellas! awesome choices one and all.

    kris - jo jo zep! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4esaEQzpRfc

    here's the first of our picks - http://www.isodisco.com/2011/12/31/isodisco-top-ten-of-eleven-pt1/ - bit of sbr lovin included, seein as you're too modest!

    have a fantastic 2012 chaps & big love from your bro's in belfast :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi guys, some amazing picks there, respect!

    ReplyDelete
  3. still some The Glue - A Broken Heart 12" available here

    http://robotbutikken.no/butikk/musikk/die_for_you_a_broken_hear/

    it says Sold Out, but they have some left. the last shop we know of.

    Eirik/Untz Untz Records

    ReplyDelete

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