I’m A U.S.E.r

A few weeks ago I posted an entry about a band called Chromeo wherein I said that I thought they were pretty cool. Well, they’re alright, but they don’t have the amazing staying power of a first-class act. They’re slightly novel, and that’s about it. However, in the comments of that entry, an old college buddy of mine (doesn’t that make me sound like I’m 40-something?) suggested that I try out a group called United State of Electronica, or U.S.E. for short.


Oh my goodness do I love me some o’ that! Never before have I heard such unbridled energy and celebration in music that hits me where I stand. I’m actually ashamed that this stuff isn’t praise music. I feel it all the way through. Their generous use of the vocoder takes me back to some of Daft Punk’s best stuff (but U.S.E.’s music is, dare I say it, actually better than most anything Daft Punk has ever done). Then on top of that vocoder, you throw in some disco, elements of electronica (of course), some rap, a couple guitars, a couple back-up girls, and an enormous freight-train of dance, and you’re sweating ’till 3am. I’m just amazed. My jaw just dropped open when I heard it. And now I’ve got more love than anyone could ever handle. Here’s something that may shock you: Steph loves them too! She’s usually not into the music I get excited about. Never liked Daft Punk too much with the exception of a couple songs. Wasn’t excited about Chromeo at all. She can’t stand Phish. But in the case of U.S.E. she actually came up to me and, out of context, told me how much she enjoys them. Then she asked me when I would blog about them. That’s very rare.

Oh, and good news! You can hear it right now too! I found a link on their site to Mannheim Worldwide. I don’t know who those guys are, but they’re obviously related to U.S.E. in some way. Perhaps Kruck or someone else can enlighten us as to whatever I’m missing? Is it their record company or something? Anyhow, there’s a page at that site where you can download U.S.E.’s entire album! And it appears to be completely legit! What the heck? It’s even encoded in MP3 at 196 KB/sec, which is pretty high quality. I guess they figure that if you really love their music, you will pull out your wallet with a sense of gratitude instead of obligation. I’m totally OK with that. I’m certainly going to follow through on that transaction.

So go get it (61 MB zip file), feel the happy, and dance around your room. My favorites are… hmm… this is hard. IT IS ON! hooked me originally because of the super-super high energy and the fact that even in the (presumably) non-live recording they’ve added crowd participation sounds. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a group do that in this way. But then Emerald City and Climb the Walls just kept me going. Open Your Eyes is totally great. Night Shift is a really interesting shift in the otherwise all-dance album. Not that it isn’t dance, but they take it down a notch and the drummer raps about how much it sucks to work the night shift. Yeah, he does drums and raps simultaneously in live shows, too. That guy’s got some serious coordination. Anyhow, the only song I really don’t love all that much is Takin’ It All The Way. It’s average for the genre, so it sticks out on the album.

5 Comments

  1. Posted December 11, 2004 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    YEAH BABY! I love Emerald City and It is On! so much that I play them all the time! Thanks for the awesome find! It’s like they picked up where Daft Punk started sucking and reapeating too much. Plus, I dig their combination of singers. The chicks rule for back up singers, they make me want to party with them. W00t!

  2. eddie
    Posted December 13, 2004 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I love how positive feeling it is.

  3. Posted December 13, 2004 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Yeah! I get tired sometimes of bands like Radiohead (even though they’re a truly excellent band) because so much of their music is such a downer. I mean, they’re always sad about something. The state of the world. The emptiness within. Etc. Then you pop in U.S.E., and whoa! Escapist? Maybe. But it’s still feeding my musical sweet tooth.

  4. eddie
    Posted December 13, 2004 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow. When you said “Escapist” I immediately thought you were talking about a book I’m reading now by Michael Chabon called THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY. It’s a really well written piece of fiction. Chabon uses a lot of detail and so many seemingly pointless footnotes that it is as if it’s a real life biography. Anyway, the protagonists, who are Jewish, create a comic book character called the Escapist who fights against Nazis. The first issue cover has the Escapist punching Hitler in the jaw. Chabon style is very playful and has a great way of cliff-hanging each chapter. Anyway, the reason I bring it up is that I’m right in the middle of a big cliff-hanger part and haven’t been able to get back to it and keep thinking about it, so therefore, I immediately thought you were talking about, and had read, my book and that you might like to discuss it which was why I originally clicked on “comments,” and now I am coming to a point in my comment where I reralize I really have no point and simply noting a coincidence. So, there you go. Escapist. Who needs escapism when you have ADD?

  5. Neal
    Posted December 14, 2004 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I concur completely. The album is really fun and light, and as Steph said, avoids the repetitiveness that Daft Punk often falls into. Though really, I was never a huge fan of Daft Punk… just those 4 with anime attached, other songs just didn’t do it for me.

    It Is On! and Emerald City are good Steph, but my personal favorite is La Discoteca. Now THAT is a great get up and go song to play just before my 8 AM class. Gives me enough energy not to fall asleep teaching after staying up too late playing Zelda.

    I wish Vamos A La Playa were better (it’s not as good as the rest, imo), cuz then it could be the theme song when I go surfing, or something. “Vamos a la playa!”