Vinyl Life: Vinyl Life

RIYL: Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaata, Jungle Brothers

New York trio Vinyl Life is about to make a bunch of former DJs very happy. Their self-titled debut is the most authentic tribute to ’80s dance music that we’ve heard, well, since the ’80s. “Hi Tops” is a miniature Name That Riff, using the keyboard lines from Inner City’s “Big Fun” and Maurice’s “This Is Acid” and merging them into a freestyle freak-out. “Electric Symphony” sounds like a sunnier Dubnobasswithmyheadman-era Underworld, and “Like This” will have Mantronik fans popping in their seats. The rapping is old-school in both delivery (it’s actually on the beat) and subject matter (sex, sex, sex), and most refreshingly, it’s almost entirely profanity-free. The guest rappers on the album’s final two tracks are not as accomodating, but just try not to laugh when one of them pulls an “Instant Club Hit”-type rant at the end of the don’t-be-a-douchebag smackdown “Take It Off.” Bonus points for “Future Beat,” which takes the signature Stock, Aitken & Waterman drum sound – think the opening to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” – and restores its inherent coolness.

The album is even available for download on a donate-what-you-want basis (but unlike Radiohead, you have to pay at least a dollar) at Tape Theory Records’ site. Best dollar you’ll ever spend. (Tape Theory Records 2009)

Vinyl Life MySpace page