Hello, faithful Shimmy Shake reader. It's Jeff M, the Human 808. The proprietor of The Shimmy Shake (herein Master Shake) invited me to contribute to this blog a while back, rambling on about getting more people involved, opening it up to new ideas. Frankly, he sounded like Ralph Nader, with all that "voices and choices" nonsense.
But I'm not here just to razz Master Shake – instead, my purpose today is to tell you I can't stop listening to Friendly Fires' self-titled debut album. And for as much new music as I listen to, I only found out about this album after it popped up on a couple Best of 2008 lists.
Friendly Fires are a loveable band of Brits doing their level best to get your butt on the dance floor. According to their wikipedia page, their principal influences are Prince and the German techno label Kompakt, which might give you a hint about their sound. On tracks like "In the Hospital," FF summon the bouncy percussion of Talking Heads' "Crosseyed and Painless" (I'm going with homage over out-and-out ripoff), adding an edgy Gang of Four-ish guitar and an infectious vocal performance that keeps bringing me (sexily) back to Justin Timberlake. And when that funky "Superstitious" keyboard figure introduces the second verse, well, you're a goner. Stop fighting and dance already!
Another album on endless repeat on my iPod is Wale's Mixtape About Nothing. Yes, I only found out about Wale a month ago. Yes, I saw he got written up in Wired Magazine. And YES, I know that discovering new music in Wired means your techno-geek Dad has been bored with it for 6 months. BUT I DON'T CARE, this mixtape is too good for me to be worrying about being last to the party. And what a party it is – wicked freestyles, Seinfeld samples, a really hilarious skit ("The Untz Untz"), and oh yeah, production by so-hot-right-now Mark Ronson. Throughout, Wale straddles D.C. and Maryland (Largo, represent) with touches of both Go-Go (see: every other track) and Baltimore Club ("The Bmore Club Slam"). This is a guy to watch out for in 2009. Or so I read in Entertainment Weekly.