Old-school funk and indie newcomers: 5 new things you'll hear on The Current airwaves

by Peter Valelly

We've been mixing it up with tons of new music the last couple of weeks on The Current, and here's just a sampling of what's in store as the summer winds down and the fall album release season heats up. Expect to hear some old-school funk from an amazing new compilation that's coming out, plus you'll be introduced to Swiss-German newcomers BOY and hear new music from indie press darlings the xx, famed singer-songwriter Van Morrison and wide-eyed weirdo Dan Deacon.

Various Artists – Songs from Twin Cities Funk & Soul

We're bringing in not one, not two, but three tracks to our airwaves from the astonishing new compilation Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost R&B Grooves from Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979. The collection, out on double vinyl and CD on September 25 via local label Secret Stash, uncovers 21 obscure funk, soul and R&B tracks laid down in local studios in the '60s and '70s. These acts laid the early groundwork for the "Minneapolis sound" pioneered in the '80s by figures like Prince and legendary R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, but they are also all amazing unsung musicians in their own right. Members of these bands have come together as the Twin Cities Funk & Soul All-Stars, and they'll be dropping by the Local Show on September 16 and playing a release party at the Cedar Cultural Center on September 22. Find out more about these and other events slated for "Twin Cities Funk and Soul Week" next month, and watch a video about the compilation:

The xx – "Chained"

One of 2009's breakout acts returns with their sophomore album Coexist on September 11, after a couple years spent on the road and in their hometown of London, absorbing more influences from electronic music, hip-hop and R&B. Still, early singles like "Angels" and "Chained" find the xx mostly sticking to their winning formula — a hushed, lonely pastiche of post-punk and stripped-down indie rock — while adding new layers of lyrical deftness and sonic depth. You'll hear the latter track, a gorgeous duet ruminating on love lost, on The Current starting this week.

BOY – "Little Numbers"

This improbably named duo is made of two women hailing from Switzerland and Germany. BOY debuted last fall with the album Mutual Friends, which has won several European music awards and was rereleased earlier this summer in the UK. With BOY's buzz steadily drifting across the Atlantic and into the States, we've added the indie newcomers' preposterously catchy and endearing tune "Little Numbers" to our airwaves this week.

Van Morrison – "Open The Door"

The singer-songwriter, who rose to fame on the reputation of '60s and '70s classics like Astral Weeks and Moondance, is still going strong, with his new album Born to Sing: No Plan B out on, of all places, legendary jazz label Blue Note. Indeed, the record showcase's Morrison jazzy side: its laidback, improvisatory feel finds the singer contributing some alto sax in addition to his usual vocals, guitar and piano.

Dan Deacon – "True Thrush"

Dan Deacon has been making wide-eyed electronic psychedelia for the better part of a decade now, steadily accruing a loyal fanbase and earning critical adoration along the way. His newest record America finds Deacon creating some of the strangest and and ambitious music of his career. One half of the album is made up of driving electro-indie-pop that's sure to thrilling his older fans and bring in new ones, while the other side is an epic, sweeping experimental suite in four parts that celebrates Deacon's love for the good ol' US of A (yes, really). "True Thrush" is one of the album's brightest, yet weirdest, moments.