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£4.79

House - Released January 30, 2012 | Southern Fried Records

Distinctions Album du mois Trax
The 2 Bears are Joe Goddard (best known as one-fifth of Hot Chip, but also an active solo artist, producer, and remixer) and Raf Daddy (Raphael Rundell, one of Goddard's cronies in the Greco-Roman Soundsystem DJ squad). Their full-length debut, following (and culling the highlights from) several EPs, is, first of all, a first-rate party record: a fun, frisky, freewheeling romp through several decades of dance music sounds and styles emanating from London, Jamaica (and the Caribbean in general), Chicago, and Detroit, among other places. But it's also something a good deal rarer and more profound: a tremendously heartfelt celebration of music as a force for transformation, togetherness, love, and personal expression. That may sound like so many tired-out House Nation tropes and ostensibly anthemic dancefloor platitudes, but it's a message refocused here through a highly personable delivery -- the deep-voiced Raf Daddy's good-naturedly grizzly pronouncements juxtaposed against Goddard's honeyed hooks and bridges (interestingly, the inverse of his typical vocal interplay with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor) -- enlivened with plenty of humor (check the thumping, drily droll "Bear Hug"), and tempered by a refreshing frankness: the way "Work" flips the house music commonplace "you gotta work!" as both a dancefloor injunction and a treatise on real-world economic striving (including some choice thoughts on the labor of music-making itself); the way the title track's advice to independent-minded listeners ("you've got to follow your own mind and ears") also works more broadly as a message of self-discovery and acceptance. It's there in the words -- the exhortation to "give the music all your loving"; the recurrent catch phrase "music for days and days and days," and perhaps most movingly, "Heart of the Congos" -- the account of one man's personal history with the titular 1977 dub reggae classic, "the sound that keeps us on the ground" (a tale set, naturally enough, to a pumping 2-step garage beat, dotted with talkbox asides and reverb-soaked horn spliffs). But you can also just feel it in the grooves, which are not only unfailingly generous, good-humored, and warm, but also richly colorful, detail-oriented, and steeped in musical history: they're grounded in house but draw from garage, techno, Euro-disco, dancehall, '80s pop, soul, and more with the kind of open-eared, genre-blind mentality that yields winning curiosities like the breezy, country & western calypso-blues of "Time in Mind." With palate-cleansing breathers like that song (a singalong-ready ditty about the prison of a guilty conscience) and the sunny, tropical-tinged chill-out opener "The Birds & the Bees" spaced out among the steady supply of prime-time bangers (the best being the flawless, through-mixed opening string of "Be Strong," "Bear Hug," and "Work," though the closing trio, leading up to the gloriously exultant organs and steel drums of "Church," is nearly as unstoppable), Be Strong is perfectly sequenced for listening as well as dancing. Though you should really be doing both. Either way, you're in exceptionally good hands -- er, make that paws. ~ K. Ross Hoffman
£7.19

Electro - Released October 13, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

After the spellbinding Be Strong which zeroed in on made-in-Chicago house sounds, 2 Bears have brought out a pretty surprising second album. We weren't sure whether the double-act of Joe Goddard (from Hot Chip) and Raphael Rundell alias Raf Daddy (best-known as a DJ with the Ministry of Sound) was just for fun, or some kind of side project. But now we can see that it's getting serious. But the bigger surprise in this second instalment in the adventures of our two British dancefloor teddies is the breathtaking eclecticism of The Night Is Young. Here we find the house DNA and 100% dancefloor vibrations which are characteristic of our two producers; but also some other music, too. Reggae, pop, disco, soul, the stylistic palette is big and broad. Raf Daddy likes to cite the Specials and above all their sort-of successor, the Fun Boy Three, as the major influences on this album. The same goes for the lyrics: the 2 Bears are not only interested in hedonism, and here and there they throw in some politically-engaged lyrics (like the reggae Money Man) and interrogate the burgeoning inner crisis that comes with turning 40... This clear-eyed duo's rainbow stretches even further with two tracks recorded in South Africa with local musicians. But a tourist's superficial, distracted listening won't cut it: The Night Is Young rewards attention and repeated listening. The Night Is Young is a charming and often thrilling album (especially guaranteed hits like Angel (Touch Me) andNot This Time), which is ideal for the dancefloor; and beyond… © MD/Qobuz
£1.39

House - Released November 17, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released March 21, 2010 | Southern Fried Records

£5.59

Dance - Released November 6, 2015 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released August 25, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released June 30, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

£4.79

Miscellaneous - Released May 11, 2015 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released July 18, 2011 | Southern Fried Records

£1.39

House - Released August 21, 2015 | Southern Fried Records

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House - Released December 15, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released April 16, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

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House - Released August 26, 2012 | Southern Fried Records

£1.39

House - Released July 9, 2012 | Southern Fried Records

£3.99

House - Released January 1, 2012 | Southern Fried Records

£1.39

Dance - Released June 15, 2011 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released February 13, 2011 | Southern Fried Records

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Dance - Released January 30, 2011 | Southern Fried Records

£1.99

Dance - Released July 4, 2010 | Southern Fried Records

£1.39

Dance - Released October 13, 2014 | Southern Fried Records

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The 2 Bears in the magazine
  • Hot Chip: Still Hot
    Hot Chip: Still Hot The new single from the British electro-pop maestros
  • The Qobuz Minute #23
    The Qobuz Minute #23 Presented by Barry Moore, The Qobuz Minute sweeps you away to the 4 corners of the musical universe to bring you an eclectic mix of today's brightest talents. Jazz, Electro, Classical, World music ...
  • The 2 Bears: Qobuz Video Interview
    The 2 Bears: Qobuz Video Interview Qobuz meets Joe Goddard (also of electro group Hot Chip) and Raf Rundell to mark the release of The 2 Bears' second album, entitled The Night Is Young and curiously labelled: 'Pop-Hip-House'