Downtown NYC Festival Adds New Acts

With just under a month to go till the Downtown NYC Festival kicks off on May 10, two-day passes are already sold out, but $75 one-day tickets are still on sale. The event spans great venues including Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Angel Orensanz, Pianos, Cake Shop, Tammany Hall, Element, Capitale, and Rockwood Music Hall—and features some of the hottest emerging bands.

New additions include Andrew Wyatt (of Miike Snow) and hipster-fried R&B pioneer Autre Ne Veut, as well as Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, who is likely worth seeing for the name alone. They will join such performers as Purity Ring, Earl Sweatshirt, d’Eon, Sky Ferreira, Ducktails, Beach Fossils, and the endlessly funky Teengirl Fantasy.

The festival will be hitting some other cities with modified lineups, but you know they won’t be as good. Though who knows? Some magnificent crooner might come aboard in the Vegas leg of the tour.

Autre Ne Veut Gets Glossy Video Treatment

We expressed what turned out to be totally justified excitement back in January about the arrival of Anxiety, the second album from Autre Ne Veut, and in particular the viciously good lead single, “Play By Play.” We now know the album is a nonstop, Whitney Houston-channeling delight, and the first music video for it should solidify Arthur Ashin’s (or his falsetto’s) position at the apex of hipster-fried R&B.

So what do we get? It’s Ashin singing his own song, karaoke-style, except he’s in more of a karaoke dungeon or karaoke clinic than karaoke bar—a few presumably very important businessmen watch the performance, which is increasingly overwhelmed by paranoid imagery and Ashin’s wrenchingly emotional gestures.

It’s all very “who is watching whom?!” in tone, and they shave two minutes off a great song, but what the hell: it’s good clean lines and colors and nice to look at. Plus, when was the last time you saw someone in a music video actually look like they were singing? That could be the most unnerving thing about it.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Autre Ne Veut Plots Tour, Unveils Bangin’ Single

One-man Brooklyn band Autre Ne Veut, otherwise known as Arthur Ashin, knows how to take his time. “Play By Play,” the second single from forthcoming sophomore album Anxiety, for nearly two full minutes doesn’t sound like anything more than oversexualized glissandos and come-ons. Then a pulse develops. Then you’re hooked. It’s billed as a “pop operetta,” and that doesn’t overstate it.

Anxiety is out on February 26, which is when Ashin hits the road with Magical Cloudz for a sultry tour through much of the U.S. and Canada, winding up at SXSW. Here are the dates:

Tues. 2/26/13 – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA
Wed. 2/27/13 – Santo’s – New York, NY
Thurs. 2/28/13 – Le Belmont – Montreal, QC
Fri. 3/1/13 – Wrongbar – Toronto, ON
Sat. 3/2/13 – Schuba’s – Chicago, IL
Mon. 3/4/13 – Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
Thurs. 3/7/13 – Electric Owl – Vancouver, BC
Fri. 3/8/13 – Barboza – Seattle, WA
Sat. 3/9/13 – Bunk Bar – Portland, OR
Mon. 3/11/13 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
Tues. 3/12/13 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
Wed. 3/13-18/13 – SXSW – Austin, TX

Until he swings your way you can jam “Play By Play” and previous single “Counting,” both of which are lyrical downers of a sort but in their white-guy digital R&B mode smack of bedroom caresses and filthy intimacies just the same. Be aware, though—putting any of this music on for an amorous guest is coming on way too strong.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

BlackBook Tracks #24: Prelude To Seasonal Affective Disorder

Is it gloomy today, or what? This week’s picks ended up involving a lot of vaguely melancholic dance music, so I hope you’re into that kind of thing. This is really just a precursor to when it’s February and there’s a blizzard going on and I hate everything and start filling up this column with just covers of the Smiths.

Owlle – “Ticky Ticky”

Rising French artist Owlle doesn’t have many songs released yet, but what’s out shows plenty of potential. Her latest, “Ticky Ticky,” balances her haunting vocals against a danceable beat. Emily Kai Bock (Grimes’ “Oblivion,” Grizzly Bear’s “Yet Again”) directed its striking video.

Ava Luna – “Ice Level”

Would you like to go to a surrealist urban woodsman dinner/costume party? Minimalist funk band Ava Luna invite you to a weird world in the “Ice Level” video.

Team Ghost – “Dead Film Star”

Do you like French electro-rock? I like French electro-rock. Here’s the title track from Dead Film Star, the new EP from ex-M83 man Nicolas Fromageau.

Autre Ne Veut ft. Mykki Blanco – “Counting”

Brooklyn electro-pop maestro Autre Ne Veut will take you to a higher plane. Watch him team up with rapper Mykki Blanco in the solemn video for “Counting.”

Katy B ft. Jessie Ware and Geeneus – “Aaliyah”

Party-loving every-woman Katy B is back, and she’s announced her return with a free EP that dropped today. “Aaliyah” sees her singing with another soulful Londoner, Jessie Ware.

Chromatics – “Ceremony” (New Order cover)

Chromatics add some dramatic flair to the New Order/Joy Division classic in this pleasantly oozy cover.

Phoenix – “Lisztomania”

Phoenix have finally announced a new album, four years after the runaway success of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Party like it’s 2009, vive la fête!

Fort Lean – “Do You Remember”

Overheard at the Brooklyn quintet’s show last night: “I like that the singer can actually sing. You don’t hear that a lot these days.” Frontman Keenan Mitchell shows what he’s made of on this cut from the Change Your Name EP, a charming slice of indie pop-rock that flirts with nostalgia.

Baby Monster – “City Of Lovers”

Dearest Baby Monster, I am so sorry that I did not pay more attention to your City Of Lovers EP earlier this year. Your resonant, chilled-out electro-pop is really quite lovely. xoxo, Katie.