Release Date: Jan 29, 2016
Record label: Loma Vista Recordings
There was a time when Jerome Potter and Sam Griesemer wanted to fit all of Los Angeles into the majestic, soul-drenched dance music they made as DJ Dodger Stadium. They named themselves after one of the city's key landmarks. They made videos depicting LA's unreal sprawl. They even dedicated an album to their hometown's history, citing John Fante's Ask The Dust as the inspiration for their wonderful debut album.
Back when Los Angeles’ DJDS were still DJ Dodger Stadium, the underground super-production duo relied mostly on samples to distill house music’s lifeblood — a melodic yet militaristic adherence to 4/4 time signatures that can be both elegiac and euphoric — on their feverish 2014 debut, Friend of Mine. The only problem with their particular use of samples (other than, y’know, legal roadblocks) is that the songs featuring them aren’t necessarily unique snowflakes: For instance, token belter “Never Win” interpolates the chorus from Love Committee’s 1977 jingle “Cheaters Never Win,” which also runs through Teengirl Fantasy’s burning “Cheaters. ” It’s telling, then, that DJDS’ more personalized follow-up full-length is called Stand Up and Speak.
The first album Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy made together, 2014’s Friend of Mine (released under the name DJ Dodger Stadium), so perfectly replicated not only the sound of vintage house and techno but its particular melancholy-tinged, ecstatic mood that they probably could have passed it off as a long-lost classic if they’d felt like it. So it’s commendable that on their second album, the duo (now going by the slightly less confusing moniker DJDS) decided to chuck the proven formula and try something new. For Stand Up and Speak, the pair have rethought nearly every aspect of their collaboration, from the overall sonic identity all the way down to the way it was recorded.
Life has that strange idea that if you keep telling yourself something, lie or otherwise, you’ll start to believe it. Stand Up and Speak functions with that belief in mind, being both the angel and the devil on one’s shoulder. Instead of pitching something dialogue-rich, DJDS makes the angel of the equation repetitively announce hopes and dreams: the devil—or the perturbed soul, the one viewing the glass as half empty—casts doubt on situations.