Today sees the US release of The 2 Bears’ debut album, Be Strong, which is available on vinyl and CD from the DFA store, and digitally via iTunes. In celebration of the full-length release, the Bears are sharing a new mix, “Whatever The Weather,” which premiered on Spinner RPM. The mix features new tracks from DFA labelmates Factory Floor, as well as tracks from Armand Van Helden, Henrik Schwarz, Gino Soccio, Davina and more. You can still snag the first free single from the album, “Work,” via DFA’s Soundcloud too!
A London record through and through, Be Strong ducks and weaves to the myriad sounds of the city, as The 2 Bears pursue the perfect party record. Raf Daddy – aka Raphael Rundell – met Joe Goddard (taking time out from his day job as one fifth of Hot Chip) through a party scene that saw them share deck duties at the legendary Greco-Roman parties. Upon venturing into the studio in an attempt to replicate some of the records that they’d lost themselves in the night before, Raf found himself laying down vocals over Joe’s skipping, bassomatic backing tracks safe in the knowledge that they’d soon be replaced by someone with sweeter, more melodious tones. In the end, it was Raf’s voice that characterized and personalized The 2 Bears.
Over its ten tracks, Be Strong conjures up that elusive spirit of the dancefloor without pretension, and with ultimate precision. It’s a soul record in that it’s from the soul, wearing its imperfections with pride. It’s a dance record in that it’ll get you off your seat. It’s a London record in that it couldn’t have come from any other city in 2011, echoing the glorious schizophrenic sound of a late night cab ride listening to a radio with a mind of its own. With minimal effort and maximum respect from their peers, tracks began to be hammered in clubs and on radio by the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Erol Alkan, Pete Tong and Annie Mac. This summer’s Bear Hug EP cranked things up yet another notch with Chris Moyles giving the track some early morning airings and Elton John and Paul McCartney declaring themselves fans.