Danceable, funky, avant-garde

Groovalicious beats and punk aesthetics make up a new compilation from DFA Records

Keri Carlson

A new compilation offers dance punk that’s actually danceable.

The folks at DFA Records have the record-geek cool to resurrect 1970s no-wave band Liquid Liquid (Grand Master Flash sampled it in “White Lines”) and the high-roller hipness to work with R&B superproducers N.E.R.D.

DFA Records dabbles in long-winded ambient and loud fuzzy noise tracks, but most prominently, the label produces dance music.

With heavy use of pulsating bass lines, cowbells, spiky guitars and handclaps, DFA Records is creating some of the best rhythm-bulky dance punk, a genre that merges techno beats with 1980s new-wave music.

While the label has had success and notoriety with remixing artists such as the M2 video darlings The Rapture, most of DFA Records’ releases have been 12-inch singles and thus limited to only DJs and vinyl nerds.

The first compilation gave a glimpse into what the production team of Tim Goldworthy and James Murphy is all about. But with “DFA Compilation #2,” the label proves it is a force to be reckoned with for its production work.

“DFA Compilation #2” features three CDs (the first compilation offered only one) – two of the CDs gather singles put out by the label, and the third compiles remixes.

As on the first compilation, Murphy’s project, LCD Soundsystem, is the artist to listen for. On “Yeah (Pretentious Mix),” Murphy coolly half sings, “Everybody’s talking about it but nobody’s getting it done” before the track tweaks out in a glorious dance break.

The Rapture’s “Alabama Sunrise” (previously only available in the United Kingdom) is another delicacy and, in fact, one of the band’s best songs. Guitars wind around one another while Luke Jenner mimics their screeches.

“DFA Compilation #2” is a great overview of the DFA Records, but, hopefully, the label won’t rely solely on compilations as its only full-lengths and will start putting out full albums, not just singles.