Drake, The Prodigy, and more from Chicago-based music blog, Bizzies.
1. Toro Y Moi, Anything In Return (2013)
This is my favorite album of the year thus far. I think it's a major departure from his previous records, this going in a much more Pop direction. Usually it takes me a couple of plays on an album to really get into it, but Anything in Return was such an easy listen on the first go-round. Not to mention the aesthetic, the guy knows what he's doing, especially with the video for "So Many Details". When this single first came out, I pretty much wore it out.
Listen: "So Many Details"
2. Simian Mobile Disco, Live (2013)
Having seen SMD live a few of times in the past, I can say that their show is really something. The way Jas and James work together is amazing and their back and forth is admirable. However, as great as their live shows are, their studio albums always seem to lack that "on the fly" flare, rightfully so. With their Live release, we can finally take that freestyle sort of production on the road with us; to the grocery store, at work, etc. It's cool to hear all of their hits bleed into each other and overlap. On top of all that, I'm thankful that they included their Nike Run theme in the intro, that mix is one of the best mixes ever… Yes, ever.
Listen: "Cerulean (Live)"
3. Kid Color – Pacemaker / Parallels EP (2013)
This selection is a little biased, as I represent Kyle (Kid Color) on a professional level, but being that close to his work it affords me a point of view that most people don't get to see. This EP is really special for us, not only because it's his first, but because it's evident that he's hit his production stride. In my experience, unless you're a "flavor of the month" kind of producer who latches onto whatever style is "hot", it usually takes one a while to figure out their sound, and I think he's finally done this. Since his performance at Lollapalooza 2012, Kyle's been in high-gear. This free EP is an indicator of that.
4. Drake – Take Care (2011)
My love for this album was reinvigorated with the release of Drakes recent "Started From The Bottom" single. This record is really kind of crazy because the ratio of hits to dull moments is like 10:1. Even though "Lord Knows" basically soundtracked my 2011 trip to Paris, I have to go with "Over My Dead Body" to represent this selection. It kicks off the album, but it's still a major sleeper pick among an album full of classics.
Listen: "Over My Dead Body"
5. The Prodigy, The Dirtchamber Sessions, Volume One (1999)
The Prodigy were the group that got me into this whole "Dance music" , so it's only right to mention them in some capacity. Unlike a traditional Prodigy record with Maxim and Keith, The Dirtchamber Sessions was a solo mix tape project by Liam; originally for The Breezeblock, a show on Radio 1. Dirtchamber is amazing because it's like an audible insight into Liam's musical taste, aside from his obvious Punk influences. All together, and I got this figure from Wikipedia, there are 48 tracks all tastefully crafted together. I think by ending the first compilation with The Jimmy Castor Bunch "It's Just Begun", everyone thought there would be subsequent volumes, but as of now it's just the one.
Listen: "Section 8"