Before the streaming giants took over with their algorithms and celebrity-curated playlists, independent music blogs ruled music discovery on the internet from the mid to late 2000s. They were seen as cultural curators — the DIY music distributors of the new internet age — offering up free (and often illegal) mp3s from undiscovered artists. Music blogs with a large community following had the capacity to launch a new artist’s career, earning them enough virtual praise to be noticed in the big leagues.
Music blogs in this brief golden age functioned much like a record label’s A&R department, scouting for new artists and releasing them upon a loyal legion of followers. It was perhaps a natural evolution for some of these blogs to become record labels themselves; Hyperdub, Feel My Bicep, Discobelle, and many others began as blogs and eventually made the transition to (literally and figuratively) cutting wax for the very artists they featured. It marked a new era in independent music distribution driven by genuine music fans and fueled by the internet.
French Express was one such music blog, launched in 2008 by Leon Oziel and based in Dallas by way of Toronto. Leon featured nu-disco and funky R&B inspired house, which at the time was a niche dominated by French artists including Lifelike and Fred Falke. His goal was to highlight the emerging DJs and producers in this scene and to inspire American artists to follow suit.
Since its first release in 2010, the French Express label has found itself in the forefront of the very scene it covered as a blog. Perseus (founder Leon himself), Chris Malinchak, Jonas Rathsman, Isaac Tichauer, and Moon Boots make up the label’s formidable lineup. The five international producers have built an impressive hit list of nu-disco, house, and garage tracks that embody the sunny French Express sound.
This week’s DJ Set of the Week is Moon Boots’s set from the French Express Boiler Room takeover last fall. The Chicago producer/DJ’s set is chock full of R&B infused house and nu-disco, with breezy melodies and ethereal vocals that beckon summer sunshine.
This Saturday Moon Boots will brighten up the Good Life basement at Sweet Shop as part of Together. Expect to hear the latest in feel-good funky house and disco from this trusted French Express tastemaker.