Record Label: Because Music
Entirely written, played and produced by Metronomy himself, Summer 08 finds the multi-instrumentalist reflecting on his experiences around the time that Metronomy first landed a major breakthrough with Nights Out - the guilt of missing key moments in loved ones' lives and the confused mania of finding himself a critical darling. It's a concept that's been gestating ever since, but the opportunities and challenges that resulted in the expansive, ambitious and Mercury Prize-nominated The English Riviera and the Motown-inspired Love Letters understandably took precedence. "I wanted to make another record with the naivety of Nights Out: ten tracks, straight up, upbeat. Write another banger, then another, and don't really think about it."
Summer 08 is a mature, eclectic pop record in the vein of OutKast, David Bowie and Daft Punk. Recorded in Black Box Studios in France with mixing courtesy of Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie) and Neal Pogue (OutKast), it's the most daring and creative Metronomy album. The album's first single "Old Skool" is a cowbell-clattered cocaine pop belter that glimpses '00s London from the backseat of an Addison Lee. It descends into a chaotic scratch frenzy courtesy of Beastie Boys' turntablist and Mount's childhood hero Mix Master Mike. As for the lyrics: "I was living in East London in 2008 and felt like all this stuff was happening in the West end. It's nonsense really, but I felt it was this privileged end of town, all the musicians there had wealthy parents and were living in Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill. So that song's about being totally idiotic and just jealous." "Night Owl" is even more immediate as its disco-groove - at once laidback, then nervously on edge - captures the ambience of a downbeat soul lost in the nocturnal summer swelter of the capital. Elsewhere, there's warbling festival anthem-in-the-making "Miami Logic", which sounds like "Word Up" as performed by Devo; an early East-Coast hip-hop rough ride called "16 Beat" about a love affair between man and drum machine; and a brilliant moment of Bowie worship titled "Mick Slow". It's the album's duet with Swedish superstar Robyn, "Hang Me Out To Dry", mixed by Erol Alkan, that's the songwriter's favorite though.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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