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Thievery Corporation, Culture of Fear

2011 | Label: ESL Music, Inc.

Although it must pain them to admit it, Thievery Corporation may never shake the martini-swilling, lounge-lazing stigma that’s plagued their LPs for more than a decade. It’s not for lack of effort. Ever since their 2002 album, The Richest Man In Babylon, the D.C. duo have gone to great lengths to graft their socially conscious beliefs onto a crowd-pleasing bed of live loops and globe-trotting sample banks. In a perfect world, they’d be known as conspiracy theorists who happen to have one hell of a record collection; instead, they’re the… more »

CEO, white magic

2010 | Label: Modular

If you didn't know that CEO was the solo project of the Tough Alliance's Eric Berglund, you will as soon as you hear his voice. Berglund's pipes aren't as powerful as he'd probably like, but his response to those limitations is one of the things that makes his singing so distinctive: He frequently pushes his range, straining at the upper limits in a way that makes his music feel all the more urgent and yearning. Like Animal Collective and Delorean, Berglund crafts supple, spongy productions that match… more »

Javelin, No Más

2010 | Label: Luaka Bop

When news broke that Javelin, the emerging button-pushing, sample-colliding Brooklyn duo, had signed to David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, many were left scratching their heads. Luaka Bop — home to releases from International iconoclasts like Tom Ze, Os Mutantes, and Zap Mama — seemed a strange landing place. How, for example, would the tiny indie pay all the licensing fees necessary to recreate something as exuberant and steeped in pop history as Javelin's celebrated 2009 mixtape, Jamz n Jemz?

Turns out sample clearance is a non-issue for Tom Van Buskirk and… more »