The heart of DFA thumps to an open high hat's thwack. Mentors to post-punk revivalists the Rapture and Radio 4, the New York label/production team's stature has risen like the Mets' team ERA with each subsequent release. And since the Brooklyn music scene tells us that there's no time like the present to celebrate the recent past, DFA duo James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy have released a handful of vinyl-only tracks from 2002 on CD for the first time. It's enough to make the name-dropping music snob narrator of LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge" sob.
"Losing My Edge" and the Rapture's Gang of Four-inspired anthem "House of Jealous Lovers" are DFA's two biggest hits--at least until their forthcoming collaboration with Britney Spears sees daylight. But as DFA Records Compilation #1 illustrates, those two tracks and the rest of Murphy and Goldsworthy's music are the product of impeccable taste, not a trademark sound. This is not just post-post-punk for the Faint of heart: The label doesn't just freak your ass with disco and punk, it also rubs shoulders with no wave, acid house, and psychedelia, generating tracks as varied as the Boredoms-meets-Contortions squalor of Black Dice's "Cone Toaster" and the Donna Summer beat of Juan Maclean's "You Can't Have It Both Ways."
With the Rapture's long-awaited album Echoes dropping in October on a major label, DFA has the flexibility to play it like they like it--hard, funky, and very green, thank you. Here's the semi-attached string, though: As the units move, DFA's alluring Factory Records-type mystique will likely vaporize. "You've got to give it up/If you want to live it up," Murphy sneers to the electro-punk of LCD's "Give It Up." And he's so right he wishes he were wrong.
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