There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
The Chemical Brothers (né The Dust Brothers—the band’s name was changed after a lawsuit by the American hiphop producers with the same handle) have nearly unmatched sensibilities in the techno genre. The U.K. duo actually writes songs rather than simply layering linear beats under spacey sounds, and they have a sense of rhythm and melody comparable only to such enduringly eclectic song-oriented epics as Primal Scream’s Screamadelica and Björk’s Debut. This is music that sounds as good at home on the couch as it does on the dance floor at Tracks. “Fuck Up Beats” and “Chemical Beats”—rare, early singles thankfully included on the pair’s Exit Planet Dust—have pathologically funky beats and densely layered bass lines. “Chico’s Groove” is punctuated by spare break beats and phased melody lines, while “Song to the Siren” is Exit‘s most traditional techno track. The only clinker here is “Life Is Sweet,” which features the nasal vocals of Charlatans U.K. frontman Tim Burgess. Other guest artists are more successful: The contributions of “Alive Alone” vocalist Beth Olin prove a fitting coda to this kinetic disc.