VoyageRegular price Sale price $12.99 Save $0.00
L.A.'s De Lux are a post-disco dance-punk DIY duo that sound like they could have come out of 1979 or 1982 just as easily as 2013. Founders and multi-instrumentalists Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco didn’t meet so much as simply appear to each other, sometime before high school ended and after learning to correctly fall off skateboards began. Even at age 18, however, it was the kind of connection that had been years in the making.
Sean had been writing songs since he was 15 and had spent recent years recording and re-recording his own songs. And Isaac had been on a strict diet of classic and obscure disco and boogie music since he too was 15, figuring out the original source of hip-hop’s greatest samples thanks to an older brother with a DJ sideline and an enviable collection. They both were after the same thing in music—the groove, they say, where the bass and the beat align in a perfect way that makes you want a song to go on forever. They were even in a band together, but it wasn’t De Lux. But you can hear the exact moment De Lux became a band when you listen to “Better At Making Time,” the song they built from Isaac’s out-of-nowhere bassline just before practice for that other band was supposed to start: “Sean was like, ‘You should record that!’” says Isaac, “and I was like, ‘What, really?’”
From lead track “Better At Making Time,” De Lux roars through Psychedelic Furs or Duran Duran-style pop (“Love Is A Phase”), delivers shouts and whispers like James Murphy at his most frantic (“Make Space”), sinks into Eno-esque moments of bliss (“On The Day”) and rockets through the agit-funk David Byrne-style rave-up finale “Sometimes Your Friends Are Not Your Friends.” And this is all from the first-take—they never re-record, says Sean. If they don’t perfectly catch that beat as it happens, they let it go. That’s probably why Voyage sounds as wild and alive as it does. Just like on that surprise recording “Better Making Time,” you’re not hearing a band come together. And just like how they met, you’re hearing a band appear.
ART DIRECTION BY TOFER CHIN
GenerationRegular price Sale price $14.98 Save $0.00
CD Packaging is a 4 Panel Digipack.
Double LP Packaging is a Gatefold Jacket w/ a Custom Printed Inner Sleeve & Digital Download Card.
Artwork by Tofer Chin.
On their full-length 2014 debut Voyage, L.A duo De Lux learned how to take their influences and create a sound all their own—a beyond-their-years synthesis of post-punk, disco, funk and of course synthesizer wizardry, drawing inspiration from the same combination of agitation and exhilaration that helped LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads deliver some of the most danceable social commentary ever. And now that they’ve found their sound, De Lux are creating a story to go with it on their new album Generation: “All of these things that they put us through,” sings co-founder and multi-instru- mentalist Sean Guerin, “I’m writing it down / I’m writing it down.”
They first started writing Generation in the kind of uncommitted instances that happen so rarely once a new band puts out its first album. Once Voyage was released, De Lux found themselves playing and interviewing and touring and remixing—“All fun!” says Sean—but they had to fight to find time to write. A random Instagram of work-in-progress song “It’s A Combination” was the tipping point, when Sean and co-founder Isaac Franco realized they’d been rough-drafting for a year: “Let’s finish it now,” they decided, and that’s the exact moment when Generation officially started.
They returned to the L.A. practice space where they wrote and recorded Voyage, this time with new instruments—like the little-known but sought-after synthesizer guitar beloved of King Crimson’s Adrian Belew—and new inspira- tions, chief among them punk peformance artist Karen Finley, whose 1987 debut album Sean discovered at a Seattle record store simply because it looked promising. Her infamously uncensored lyrics made him realize there was more he could sing about, too: “You admire the ambition behind her saying whatever she wants,” he says.
So if Generation is a darker album than Voyage—and it’s inherited plenty of the modern urban anxiety of David Byrne—that’s because it’s a fearlessly honest and candid album, too. In fact, call it a millennial documentary. In Generation’s eleven songs, De Lux chart the distance between childhood and adulthood, nostalgia and aspiration and dream and reality, all with unflinching autobiographical detail. (And with a secret nod to the Pokemon theme, too.) Says Sean: “When I write lyrics, I try and be as specific as possible. We think about if someone listens to us in 30 years: ‘Oh, that’s what was going on at that time.’”
The result is a sort of Less Than Zero for the post-Social Network era. Think of it as a nighttime freeway drive that starts with the propulsive “L.A. Threshold” and rides the borderline between feel-good rhythm and artfully sophisticated sentiment. “There’s dark moments, but it’s still fun,” explains Sean. “The first album was just more innocent.” There’s new space in De Lux’s sense of rhythm and groove, says Isaac, for Sean to say what he needs to say: “The song gives him the freedom to be himself.”
And so Generation is an album about high highs, low lows and the vast space in between. “Center of L.U.B” is a roller-skate jam that starts with a Can-style guitar riff before spinning into an examination of one utility compa- ny employee’s ennui—you knew this wasn’t going to be a love song, right?—while “It’s A Combination” is a brooding Italo disco track and unexpected piano piece “Conditions” is like Harry Nilsson or John Lennon suddenly transplanted to Rough Trade Records. Then there’s the alternately hilarious and harrowing “Oh Man The Future”—a satirical reading on the shape of things to come, propelled by a bass-and-drum rhythm right off one of ESG’s first EPs—to the desolate-yet-funky “When Your Life Feels Like A Loss,” where De Lux dissect just what happens when “you think you’re special/no, you’re not special/you’re just an average guy.”
In other words, Generation isn’t a departure. This is De Lux going deeper, not farther away, and the result is surely the most anthropologically daring dancefloor album of the year. That might seem difficult to pull off, but that’s why they did it, explains Sean: “At some point we realized creativity is just limitless,” he says. “You can do anything. There might be certain people who think, ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’ That’s when you say, ‘Well—I’m doing it!’”
More Disco Songs About LoveRegular price Sale price $12.99 Save $0.00
LP comes with custom inner sleeve & download card.
CD is 4 panel digipack.
After establishing a sound on their debut Voyage and then establishing an identity with the revelatory Generation, L.A. disco-not-disco duo De Lux took a moment to re-center and come back leaner, sharper, clearer and deeper on
their new album More Disco Songs About Love. Now that co-founders Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco know how to play and what to say, they’re ready to just get lost in the music. As the band puts it: “We like to say Voyage was our
baby, Generation was our baby all grown up and More Disco Songs About Love thinks growing up sucks and just wants to party smart.”
They started in 2013 with a happy accident called “Better At Making Time,” the lead track of their 2014 debut Voyage and an unexpected practice-space jam session that crystallized a sound, a philosophy and a future direction all
at once. In that sudden moment DeLux snapped into focus as an outfit matching post-punk sentiment and the-sociopolitical-is-personal perspective to joyfully indulgent analog synthesizer soundscapes and a deliriously transportive musical joy. And the press was ready to take the ride, with the Guardian calling Voyage “intricate, witty, inventive, dazzling in its detail” and Billboard celebrating its “lush, eclectic dance music.”
On their 2015 sophomore album Generation—a title activating every sense of
the word—De Lux added a new almost-documentary aspect to their dance music, delivering clearly personal stories of anxiety and hopeful aspiration from the place where IRL L.A. exhaustion collides with a digital city that never sleeps. (As Guerin sang: “All of these things that they put us through / I’m writing it down / I’m writing it down.”) And they were growing up in other ways, too: 2015 saw their first major festival appearance at Bonnaroo, where
they delivered the first of many stand-out big-show performances. Then in 2016, they made a hotly tipped Coachella debut and shared a bill with Arcade
Fire at New York City’s Panorama fest. And then at the end of that summer, they started the very first experiments that would lead to their new album.
Like Voyage, More Disco Songs About Love starts with the song that made
everything clear: “875 Dollars,” a song (in part) about losing the place you’ve always called home. From there it’s a stream-of-consciousness tour through
De Lux’s reality, from the family and friends who helped focus the sound of the album to everyday L.A. experiences, including but not limited to elections, evictions, even porn—although in the context you’d least expect, of course.
New York City dance-punk legend Sal P. of Liquid Liquid—who did a De Lux remix on their first-ever release—takes featured vocals on the relentless “Smarter Harder Darker” and the Pop Group’s maniacal Mark Stewart pushes
“Stratosphere Girl” into interstellar overdrive. (Plus Guerin’s mother Marie helps out with some very French examination of crepe preferences on “Music Snob,” mutant sibling to Generation’s surreal “Oh Man The Future.”)
And even though the title might seem like some kind of clever reference to something, it’s really just as simple and direct as it seems. The disco is the sound—in the most innovative way, of course—and the love is the sentiment:
“‘875’ is love for a house,” they say. “‘These Are Some Of The Things That I Think About’ is love for thought. ‘Keyboards Cause We're Black and White’ is
our love for a friend. ‘Writing Music For Money, To Write More Music’ is love for music—or money. It's all literal to us but we realize that it might not be for others. We like the idea of giving listeners something to question and wonder
about. But there's love in there.”
Berlin Joe b/w Stranger LoveRegular price $9.99 Save $0.00
8" vinyl. Limited to 300.
De Lux pays homage to Woody Allen with their new track Joe Berlin exclusive for RSD. The B Side is a bugged out cover of Classixx Stranger Love.
It's A Combination (PEAKING LIGHTS Disco Dub)Regular price $9.99 Save $0.00
"Its A Combination" Remix by Solid Air AKA AC of PEAKING LIGHTS.
B-side features the Instrumental & DJ Harrison Remix of "LA Threshold"
Hand stamped 12" limited to 300.