Queer acts shine on New York remixers’ sophomore surprise
A Touch of Class
“A Touch of Class Still Sucks!”
A Touch of Class Recordings
While the remixes often rule nightclub dance floors, these ancillary booty-shakers are usually confined to B-sides and obscure compilations. In the case of New York-based remixing duo A Touch Of Class, this rule is a shame.
Composed of producers Oliver Stumm and Domie Clausen, ATOC have turned the fine art of the remix into a science, distilling tracks into their groovy essence before cutting them loose with inventive new twists that seem as natural as the original single.
Following up on their 2003 debut, “A Touch of Class Sucks!” the duo roar back onto the scene with a sharp follow-up. “A Touch of Class Still Sucks!” devotes the lion’s share of its time to queer artists.
The disc opens with a Blondie-inspired mix of “Listen Up,” by lezzie-led punk trio The Gossip. The band’s guitar-driven groove subs for the bare-bones approach of the original single, giving the track a smoky groove that suits Beth Ditto’s soulful howls.
On a mix of Scissor Sisters’ “Filthy Gorgeous,” dirty disco is replaced with a tight, lo-fi beat. The cut is a mix of dancey grunge.
Two tracks from queer undergrounders The Ones, “Ultramodern” and “Picture Perfect,” provide the disc’s only blast of techno, with a tight dub edge rounding out The One’s house flavor.
Other standouts include animated re-workings of Le Tigre’s “After Dark” and Erasure’s “Don’t Say You Love Me.”
Though the original tracks featured on “A Touch of Class Still Sucks!” span the horizon, ATOC emerges with a fun signature groove.
In 1997, Greenville, Texas-bred Ben Kweller, pictured, was taking calls from Courtney Love. He was only 14 at the time, but had nine years of guitar experience under his tiny belt. Back then, Kweller was the grunge prodigy who fronted Radish, the six-string-thrashing act that sparked an industry bidding war and was supposed to slaughter kiddie-pop competitors like Hanson. The overnight sensation didn’t quite happen. Now 25, the baby-faced multi-instrumentalist boasts a full decade of experience as well as a loyal following.
In addition to tours supporting Evan Dando and Deathcab For Cutie, Kweller regularly collaborates with other artists. In 2003, he joined pop pianist Ben Folds and Aussie songwriter Ben Lee for a side project called The Bens. The Benjamins released an eponymous EP, toured Australia and contributed a cover of “Wicked Little Town” to the Hedwig & The Angry Inch tribute disc, “Wig in a Box.”
In January, Kweller appeared on the David Letterman Show, accompanying 70s superstars America along with alt-country singer Ryan Adams. Currently on tour in support of his upcoming album, “Penny on the Traintrack,” Kweller returns to familiar stomping grounds joining bluesy quintet Gomez.
Gypsy Ballroom, 2548 Elm Street. Feb. 26. Doors at 7 p.m. $20. 888-512-7469.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 23, 2007