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If you’re prone to checking out, you may have noticed that Kool & The Gang have but one song in the top 6000: 1980′s “Celebration,” nestled at #3383, between Fuck Buttons’ “Olympians” and Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out).” The Gap Band have three songs on the list; the O’Jays have four. Chic’s absence from the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has been decried as a tragedy for years running; the Gang have been eligible since 1994, but any advocacy on their behalf — they’ve never been nominated — is a murmur. But perhaps more so than any act of their — or any — era, Kool & The Gang entered the canon via their eminently sampleable discography. On their official website, they claim to be “the most sampled band of all time” — I’m not sure if anyone keeps tabs on that sort of thing, but it feels about right. Tone Capone made a couple of horn blats from “Jungle Boogie” even more elephantine on Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It.” The halftime strut of Nas’ “N.Y. State Of Mind” walks on the deep-pocket groove of a live break on “N.T.” The nearly subliminal keys and synth whine on “Summer Madness” are an industry unto themselves, with one or both appearing on classic cuts from Rodney O and Joe Cooley, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Aaliyah, and (most famously) DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Even after clearance issues made sampling a high-priced hobby, Kool & The Gang were still never far from musicians’ fingertips: namechecked by Kevin Barnes and Rogue Wave, covered by My Morning Jacket, haunting (with a host of other funk/disco luminaries) Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

As we settle into winter and the year begins to wind down, there are fewer new releases to talk about a whole lot of old ones to dig through. This week brought in an array of singles suggesting that 2015 has some exciting releases to look forward to. There might even be a new Pusha T album on the way. Check ’em out.

Japanese pop artists rarely come to the US. So when Perfume — the female vocal trio who’ve spent the last decade embodying a unique and amazing techno-pop sound and visual presentation, rising to J-pop prominence in the process — announced that they’d be playing Hammerstein Ballroom (as well as L.A.’s Hollywood Palladium), the response from their US fan base was, basically, hysteria.


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