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French Kicks, Close to Modern (STIFLE)
Startime International Records (home of the Walkmen and Brendan Benson) and the magazine Fader recently joined together to form STIFLE, a new label dedicated to enlivening dance music by combining artists of different genres. It's hard to tell what that idea's really about, considering that dance music already draws from a multitude of styles and has itself broken down into innumerable sub-genres. Judging by the label's first release -- Close to Modern by the French Kicks -- the ideas about bringing middling acts together to further the cause of mediocrity. This new disc contains four remixes of the title piece and "When You Heard You" from their full-length One Time Bells. The inclusion of the fifth track could only be ascribed to five being a nicer number than four, as it sounds as out-of-place and unnecessary as it is. Eucho provides two soporific mixes before we get to DJ Smash's "Mobileglobal Vocal Mix", the only track worth listening to on the disc. Unfortunately, it's most notable attribute is that it's better than the rest of Close to Modern. It's a disappointing way to start a label, so let's hope that the forthcoming releases have more to offer.