Daphni Jiaolong

As far as side projects go, Caribou's Dan Snaith and his experimental new alias, Daphni, is easily one of the most anticipated of the year. First LP, Jiaolong, is the result of Snaith rediscovering clubs and the sheer energy and unpredictability of the dance floor. Stripped back are the layers and architecture that compose Caribou's musical base. Instead, Jiaolong leans more towards the spontaneous, the tracks having the rough feel of improvisation and the surprising energy of an album designed for a dance floor. One of the best tracks on the LP, opener "Yes, I Know" starts off with an elastic wobble that gives way to soulful brass atop crisp backbeat. "Light" plays with whimsical synths, laser flashes, and rapid-fire snares, while "Springs" is an indeterminate fracas, a cacophonic marathon that gains cohesion at intervals but ultimately moves away in a frenzy. The cohesion the album does offer is its seamless passage to club land, its capacity to get the listener up and moving, and its ability to surprise. (Merge)