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Review: ‘Kitsuné Maison Compilation 11: The Indie-Dance Issue’

Gildas Loaec, the big boss of iconic label Kitsuné, has hit upon a very winning combination: guitars and electronics.  With Compilation 11, he’s assembled a collection of some of the hottest new indie-dance music.  It’s a type of music that acts as a breath of fresh air to two genres that can get a little repetitive after a while.  Why are so many indie bands into folk and moping?  Why does so much dance music sound the same?  Fortunately, there are indie bands that just reply to those questions with synths and sick beats, clever lyrics and inventive musicianship.

This compilation introduces the listener to hot new indie-dance groups, but also makes for a cohesive album.  There’s a fairly wide range of music here, but the differences are complementary.  Loaec has done a good job providing a taste of the genre.  Kitsuné has a strong international focus, so when they release a compilation, you can be sure that there really will be a little bit of everything.

The compilation opens with “Let’s Go All the Way”, by an unknown, as yet unnamed band.  The vocals are restrained, but the song maintains a tension just beneath the surface that suggests energy waiting to be released.  It’s a good way to begin.

Compilation 11 covers a lot of ground, moving through synth rock, disco-infused pop, garage rock, and pretty much everything in between.  Housse De Racket’s “Roman” starts off with a guitar intro that’s more than a little reminiscent of the Strokes, it quickly moves into synth-laden, upbeat territory, and it’s a very pleasant place to be.  “Greeks”, by Is Tropical (pictured above), is frenetic, slightly mad, and artfully crafted.  Yes, that is a combination that makes sense.  French duo Logo teams up with Swedish duo Icona Pop on “Luvsick”, creating a very catchy fusion of dance, disco, and pop.  Guards heads off in an entirely different direction, with the tough, thoughtful garage rock anthem “Resolution of One.”

The album finishes with Exotica’s “Conte d’Eté (Afrofunk Version).”  It’s got the breathy female vocals of a pop song, balanced by a back-and-forth with an almost spoken male part, and backed by electro synths and a light guitar riff.

These aren’t even half of the songs, but you should have a pretty good idea of what Loaec has in store.  The compilation is set to be released on May 16th.

-James Melville

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