A STATE OF TRANCE 2011
ARMIN VAN BUUREN
It seems like every other week a new Armin van Buuren album arrives in the SSO office — does the Dutch trance DJ ever stop? This latest release from Armin Inc. arrives as he celebrates the 500th episode and 10th birthday of his beloved A State of Trance radio show. Van Buuren sources a hot collection over two discs, mixing up-and-coming songs by Mark Otten, Max Graham, Rex Mundi and Orjan Nilsen with proven favourites by Mark Eteson, Aly & Fila and Beat Service.

PALA
FRIENDLY FIRES
Fresh from their recent triumphant turn at the Good Vibrations festival, UK dance-punk band Friendly Fires turn in their sophomore album, Pala. Building on the promise of their Mercury Prize-nominated 2008 debut, it’s an eclectic, life-affirming collection, with lead single Live Those Days Tonight setting the frenetic pace from the start. There are echoes of other Brit bands from Bloc Party to Franz Ferdinand here, but thankfully, lead singer Ed Macfarlane and co pepper their songs with enough unusual electronic flourishes to stand out from the pack.

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