As far as feel-good, party-ready music is considered, there’s nothing that gets me moving, jumping, hyping, dancing, shaking, and having WAY too much of a good time quite like the UK Elctro-pop outfit Hot Chip. They’ve really done some big things this decade with their releases Coming on strong, The Warning, Made in the Dark, and One Life Stand. Each album was somehow more sonically complex while becoming more widely accessible. If you’re not familiar with Hot Chip, but for some reason, wish to continue reading this post, check out the video for Hot Chip’s Ready for the Floor, one of their singles from Made in the Dark. It’s a great video for an incredible song, and it also gives you a taste of the characteristic sound of Hot Chip. All electronic artists and bands uses sounds, bleeps, bloops, glitches, effects, and all that “noise” to make “music”, but few can match the musicianship of Hot Chip. In fact, most people who aren’t fans of electronic music usually say they prefer to watch or listen to someone “playing” real instruments. I can tell you that after seeing Hot Chip live (in what was hand down, the best live show I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen hundreds of live acts) they are all indeed great musicians. A Hot Chip show is like a mix between a dance party, rock show, and Blue Man Group performance as each of the musicians moves around the stage playing riffs and rhythms on a lot of different instruments in an amalgamation of give and take exploration that rivals even the great jam bands of our time and times past. During one song, the lead singer (Alexis Taylor) played a scale on keyboard that he set to a loop, and then proceeded to play a syncopated beat on conga drums using moraccas as drum mallets. I wonder how they remember to do everything they have to do to make their live songs sound like a mix of recorded tracks on a cue.
Enough of me singing the praises of Hot Chip. If you listen to them, you’ll either come around, or you won’t. The main purpose of this post is to highlight the new musical ventures of two of the other members of Hot Chip (not Alexis Taylor). Hot Chip has not broken up or taken a break, quite the opposite actually: they’ve also got a new album coming out this year. Rather, there is so much creative energy flowing out of each of the members of the band that they need to find other outlets for their talent. Al Doyle, lead guitarist for Hot Chip and guitarist on the last LCD Soundsystem album fronts a group called New Build. Joe Goddard, the big, hairy guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist for Hot Chip works with another large hairy man to create music for The 2 Bears: clever name don’t ya think!
This track is from the upcoming New Build release. The album isn’t even out yet, but as you can see on the SoundCloud page, that hasn’t stopped others from remixing this track already. I bet the UK DJ scene is a pretty exciting place to be because it seems like everyone is collaborating and remixing one another’s work, even before the work is released! From this little preview, I’m willing to bet that this side project is going to be similar to Hot Chip’s more guitar-driven and mellow tracks. Kind of a smooth JazzHipHopPopRock fusion sound that sounds like everything else and nothing else at the same time. Deadmaus synth strings, New Age vocals, Brian Eno atmospherics, Club-rocking dance beats, some guitars in there sometimes. It sounds like everything that’s been done before, but somehow new. You can hear more New Build tracks at a link I followed from their Facebook page. Some of their songs remind me of Bowie circa Let’s Dance, which is a good thing. I can’t wait for the full album to be released.
I can’t tell how strange the 2 Bears video for Bear Hug is. When I watch it, I don’t feel quite right: like watching a dog shit on the sidewalk next to a perfectly good patch of grass. But kind of in a good way. It also reminds me of my first time watching Napolean Dynamite: I kind of just feel like I’m missing something. Maybe because they’re British. Regardless, I can imagine a future wherein Bear Hug is a late-night Club hit that decides who is going home with who and who is too f-ed up to still be dancing. If New Build is the mellow, jazzier side of Hot Chip, then The 2 Bears is the harder, club/dance side. While their full-length album should be released soon, you can get a free download of their 4-track EP from electro-maniacs.net. Be Strong is the kind of club track that would fit just as well coming over the speakers of an H&M store as it would coming out of the PA’s and woofers at your favorite club. Follow the Bear is the type of House/Techno song that you see in movie scenes where everyone is blown out of their mind on ecstasy and/or ketamine, except the refrain line is almost laugh out loud funny, “just follow the bear.” It’s safe to say I am going to be getting this album and playing it at parties where I want to look cool.
When I heard Hot Chip was coming out with a new album, I felt that kind of excited jitter that I’m sure Justin Bieber fans feel whenever he announces his latest lunchbox or footed-pajamas. However, I think I’m even more excited to find out about these two new groups that exists because of Hot Chip’s now international success. Not satisfied with being members of the biggest Electro-pop band going, the members of Hot Chip had to go and form two more groups. It’s almost like the guys sat down and decided to create a new genre by flooding the scene with examples all at once. If New Build and The 2 Bears gain even a quarter of the following of Hot Chip, even if that following is located almost exclusively within the UK, then critics may soon look to Hot Chip as the next Supergroup of electronic music (watch out Gorillaz, here come The 2 Bears!).