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The Best Albums of 2013 (So Far)

35. Italians Do It Better (VA) After Dark 2

Label: Italians Do It Better

Italians Do It Better is the label of producer Johnny Jewel, who's associated with a few acts you may or may not have heard of (Chromatics, Desire), but whose influence you definitely know in the trending of dance music, synth-pop, and even movie scores (e.g. some of the most memorable moments of Drive). Earlier this year, IDIB put out a second compilation of music, the kind of airy, ethereal pop that's equal parts dancefloor-ready and late night driving music, or after-hours post-bar nightcap jams. It's a mixtape lovers' mixtape. It transcends typical label-comp cliches. It's not just that there aren't any throwaway tracks, it's that they're all singles in their own right.

The highlight-among-highlights is Glass Candy's "Warm In The Winter," either the end or the beginning of the best John Hughes movie never made about your life, with cooing vocals over a pulsing breakbeat. In the song's midsection, the group breaks a sonic fourth wall to tell you that you're beautiful, and that they love you. It's absurd, and fun, and brilliant. And yes, IDIB wears their influences like Gosling and that jacket from Drive: It's a hallmark. Think Pino Donnagio, or even more, Giorgio Moroder, someone whose influence arguably produced better results here than on that other Big Electropop Album that came out this year. Which is beside the point. You can score After Dark 2 for free. Summer calls. —Foster Kamer

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