Montreal electrofunk duo Chromeo have been keeping us in suspense since 2010’s Business Casual, and they’re going to get fans champing at the bit before the next proper album drops, if this two-minute trailer is any indication. On a country road, the pair jump a convertible, action-hero-style, with a white-veiled passenger in the backseat—a woman they both seem to have just married. Thank you, slippery slope!
It’s cold, y’all. I cannot even deal with this right now. New season, new moods.
How To Dress Well – “& It Was U”
Tom Krell’s vision of stripped-down R&B is warm and cold at the same time. “& It Was U” has a purity to it that’s totally unforgettable.
Dirty Projectors – “About To Die”
Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan has received plenty of praise, and for good reason. “About To Die” shifts and twists, delicately revolving around now-trademark female vocal harmonies.
Taken By Trees – “I Want You”
Swedish artist Victoria Bergsman takes wistful sentiment and pushes it into a surprisingly weird place. Her recently released album Other Worlds sees her paying tribute to the sounds of Hawaii unlike you’ve ever heard before.
Interpol – “Next Exit”
Whenever New York starts to feel dreary, it’s time to break out the Interpol.
Dead Man’s Bones – “Pa Pa Power”
Will Ryan Gosling ever rescue me from the hazards of my own life? Will he ever record another album with Dead Man’s Bones? His meme-worthiness may have declined lately, but let’s hope the answer to both is “yes.”
Feist – “Sealion” (Chromeo remix)
Back in the day, Feist’s tribute to the selkie myth received this funked-up remix from fellow Canadians Chromeo.
Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me” (Yelle DJs remix)
The dancefloor becomes a dark place when French favorites Yelle take on this frank synth-pop anthem.
Foals – “Black Gold”
This seems like a good time to revisit all the feelings evoked by Foals’ 2010 album Total Life Forever. Haunting, gorgeous, and tightly held together.
Nico – “These Days”
In case you’ve been thinking about The Royal Tenenbaums recently.
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You know them as the ’80s-obsessed Mutt & Jeff of the 21st century dance floor, two good humored men with equally-suited souls who go by the name of Chromeo. On Tuesday night, the digitally-dynamic duo hit the stage in South Beach, Miami, at the beloved Fillmore Gleason. The occasion: no less than the launch of a 34-date North American tour that ends with a two-night stand at New York’s Terminal 5. The seven-week trek is called “Night Falls.” In theory, it’s being taken to support a dance star-studded remix EP (When the Night Falls). In reality, it’s happening because the time had come for Chromeo to undertake “the biggest most extensive tour in the band’s history.”
So says the hype sheet anyway. Backstage after the fact the lads seem almost blissfully unaware that this is the start of something bigger than ever before. Like many semi-studious types who’ve geeked the beat, there’s a certain reticence to the twosome. Then again, after spending nearly 90 minutes making a rafter-packed house shake to the very marrow of its being, a little understatement is understandable.
When Chromeo hears the suggestion that they’d be the perfect act to play the inauguration of a new Palestinian state, their eyes light-up like children who’ve seen the future and are ready and willing to play.
“We’d do it in a second,” says Dave 1 (nee David Macklovitch), the tall dark and angular one of the two. “Yeah, we’d be there all right,” echoes P-Thugg. “And we’d get them all dancing too.”
Beirut-born P-Thugg (nee Patrick Gemayel) has quipped that Chromeo is “the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” (Thanks Wiki!) But as representative a model as their relationship might be to a troubled world, one gets the impression that having tracks such as “Hot Mess,” blasted over the holy battlefield, would leave the immortal enemies so giddy with glee they’d abandon even the idea of fighting.
Chromeo are most serious when it comes to music. Asked about influences like Cameo, The Dazz Band, and the Time, neither one of the two can hold back a broad smile. That neither had even completed elementary school when the aforementioned were all the rage matters not at all. If anything, that’s the good keen fun of remodeling the soundtrack of childhood.
P-Thugg,who likes to read synth manuals in his spare time, was particularly vociferous about the quality of Hall & Oates’ 1984 Big Bam Boom.
“I don’t think people realized how adventurous that record was,” he said. “They were doing things that no other pop group had done before. It was a radical step. “Much (if not all) of Big Bam Boom‘s experiential largess was because a certain Arthur Baker was twiddling the nobs. P-Thugg is still mystified as to why the producer seemed under-credited for his efforts. “Baker had done “Planet Rock,”” he adds. “And it was he who brought Hall & Oates the sound of the street. I still don’t think he was really given his due.”
P-Thugg actually “met Baker once, in London, through a friend.” When told the man behind everyone from Afrika Bambaataa biggest hits to New Order’s “Blue Monday” kept a place on South Beach, he (and Dave 1) were ready for a sitdown. Turns out their idol wasn’t in town though, so everybody settled for the proverbial “maybe next time.”
Someone points out that Dave 1 seems to have nicked more than a few moves from The Time’s Morris Day.
“I’m not admitting anything,” he says, hardly masking an obvious admission. “Let’s just say I’ve always been a fan of his. I just didn’t think it showed.”
As if. From their signature lady legs keyboard stands (which bring to mind Robert Palmer) to the choreographed backing vocalists (which were probably stolen from the “Addicted to Love” one’s old stage set-up), Chromeo has not only always worn what they’ve taken on their proverbial sleeves, they’ve used the fabric of their influences to create a veritable homage. It’s the aural equivalent of stitching together a flag and running it up ever taller poles. Fortunately for them, and for us, Chromeo’s flying the kinda flag we can all be proud to dance under.
Now, about Palestine…
Photos by Jeffrey Delannoy
A mardi gras’ worth of parties are going down in Miami this week for Art Basel, but we can safely say we’ll be helping to throw one of the best and biggest. On Saturday night, Grand Central, in all its lofty, warehouse-y glory, will play host to music’s most beat-obsessed siblings, the Brothers Macklovitch. You don’t want to miss it.
You might know the brothers better for their day jobs. Dave1 is the singing half of Montreal electro-funk duo Chromeo, and his brother, Alain, is better known as A-Trak, scratch guru and founder of Brooklyn-based imprint Fool’s Gold. The event will be the second in the Mr. X series, a new weekly party that kicked off this past Saturday with a rousing set from New York’s very own Japanster, of Le Bain fame. Don’t come expecting your typical South Beach gloss. Grand Central is located in Downtown Miami and comes from the same indie-infatuated hipsters responsible for Poplife. Outdoor patio and bars, plural, sweeten the deal.
Shit pops off at 10pm, and we strongly advise you purchase tickets in advance, as admission will only be guaranteed to ticket holders due to capacity. Also, advance tickets are reduced in price. You can get your tickets here. Be there!
BlackBook met with Montreal-based electrofunk twosome Chromeo at Belvedere Castle in New York’s Central Park yesterday, the day their third album, Business Casual, dropped. Watch as P-Thugg and Dave 1 expound upon their technophobic recording style, their Bushmills ad campaign, the surprising intricacy of their “80s/50s Theory,” and why product placement is replacing record deals.
1. Take Elisabeth Moss on a date — she’s single now, and totally in your league. At the very least you can get the inside scoop on what Pete Campbell’s like in bed.
2. Watch this video, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp, and starring SNL’s Jenny Slate as the voice of a seashell with one eye and shoes. Then watch it again. And again. And again.
3. Go see Chromeo at the Williamsburg Waterfront. Because a) This great venue is being forced to close, and the Chromeo show may be its last, and b) it’s a good spot to photograph “hoopsters” a.k.a. hipsters in retro basketball jerseys.
4. Check out your local farmer’s market before it gets too cold. All the cool kids are cooking kale this summer. Who wants to start the zucchini trend?
5. Play baseball with the helium-filled, “hypercharged” SkyBall. Makes you feel like you’re on steroids!
Chromeo has a new video out for their song “Don’t Turn The Lights On.” The song itself is one of the grooviest electro-jams I’ve heard in a while, and the video, well, it’s even groovier. Lady Gaga might have the sets, the costumes, and the backup dancers, but with this simple yet effective clip, Chromeo proves that all you need is some cheap-yet-ingenious visual trickery to create a dazzling music video.
The best part about it? While Chromeo’s Dave 1 croons, “Don’t turn the lights on,” the lights keep turning on! I’m hooked.
David Macklovitch makes up half of the Montreal-bred, synth pop duo Chromeo, with his counterpart, P-Thugg (a.k.a. Patrick Gemayel). In the music world, he’s known as Dave 1: A dude who’s simultaneously studying for his PhD at Columbia, and getting read to drop an album next summer as a follow-up to 2007’s majorly-hyped album Fancy Footwork. Chromeo is playing one show this fall on October 16th at Irving Plaza to promote the mix they put together for the !K7 Records’ DJ-KiCKS series. And fortunate for Chromeo fanatics who simply cannot wait around until next summer, eager for some new tunes, the single “Night By Night” will be release through Green Label Sound on Wednesday, September 23rd for free download. We caught up with Dave 1 during mandatory study hours while he took a quick break from the books to talk about chicks and muzak (smooth rock, if you will).
What are you up to today? I’m at Columbia University, studying at the library. I’m working on my dissertation for a PhD in French Literature.
When are you delivering your dissertation? Hopefully in December, but at the latest in May.
How are you enjoying it? Good, good, it’s sort of stressful. Anybody who writes a dissertation goes a little crazy so, I think I’m there. I’m feeling a little bit of that but I gotta do it.
How have you been balancing working on your PhD and your music career? It’s been hard over the last couple of years, but by now I’m used to it and I’ve always done music stuff on the side. It’s gotten a bit harder but I just do one or the other and that’s pretty much it. Now, I’m working on the new Chromeo record and we have the !K7 Records’ DJ-KICKS series release and I’m going to do a lot of touring over the weekend so it’s always both.
Are you going to give some previews of your new material during the October 16th DJ-KICKS show at Irving Plaza? I think we’re going to do that the Eagles’ “(I Can’t Tell You Why”) cover that we did on the DJ-KICKS album. And then we’re going to do another song, which is on our next record, and it’s probably going to be the first song that we’re leaking or releasing for free in the fall. I guess it’s like a preview of what our next records going to sound like, I mean, it’s not too far off of the last one. Our influences haven’t been changed dramatically. The new stuff we’ve been working on is maybe a little more like late ‘70s than of just ‘80s. There’s a bit of a ‘70s flavor and maybe a classic rock element here and there but it’s still our recognizable sound. It’s hard to talk about it because we haven’t finished but for us it’s mostly about trying new things.
And what about the subjects of your songs? It’s always chicks. That doesn’t change much.
What should we be expecting in terms of sound? This album is a little more like, Kenny Loggins, with the Kenny Loggins Michael Mcdonald thing. We’ve been listening to a lot of rock bands when they had to do the mandatory disco record, you know. Like when the Rolling Stones did Miss You and when KISS did, I Was Made For Loving You. There’s a hidden clumsiness to those records. They’re just classic rock groups that wanted to get funky because they were being pressured to, and the results were often very endearing. I think that has influenced the new stuff we’ve been working on a little bit.
Have you been pressured to get funkier? No. When we started working on this album, P was really into a smooth rock phase. But really into it. He was going beyond Ken Loggins. His stuff was sounding like, Air Supply or something. It got a little out of control and I was like, “Don’t forget that for most people we’re a dance band so we’ve got to put that element into it.” It’s about balancing it all out.
Have you incorporated any new gadgets? We ended up buying a new keyboard. We’re always kind of refurbishing our synths collection because everything we do is with analog synthesizers and analog drum machines and all this vintage gear so we’re always buying new pieces of equipment that get incorporated into our songs right away.
Stories about songwriting for this album? An interesting thing about this new record is that we load it all, or most of it just on piano or on vocals and then we transform the song into your typical Chromeo song but we’ve been writing them a lot just on the piano. I think that’s a new thing for us.
Are you sick of playing any of the songs from Fancy Footwork? No
You still love all of them? I like them. Every time I play them it just reminds me of how proud I am of what we accomplished on the last record. It’s a modest accomplishment because we didn’t sell that many records but considering where we came from before and how things changed for us, I’m very proud of it. Where do you hang out in New York? I don’t go out that much, but my little brother across the street in Williamsburg, so we hang out in little restaurants in our neighborhood.
Now, I’m going to give you subjects for songs and you have to give them titles. Okay, that’s easy.
The first scenario is that you accidentally buy your girlfriend a vacuum for her birthday and she finds it offensive how you view her role in the household. That song would be called “Suck It Up”.
The second one is you fall in love within the first two miles of a cab ride with the female driver. That would be called “Love and Cab Fare”.
The third one is you buy a pair of jeans, you think they’re amazing, you walk around the store and all the sales people are telling you how great you ass looks but when you bring them home you realize you bought girls jeans. Yeah, that’s tough. That song would be called “In-jean-ue”.
The folks over at Zune are always thinking about synergy and partnerships, and while we normally hate boardroom jargon, this we like. “Piece of Me, Piece of You,” is a short film collaboration between Three Legged Legs, Chromeo, and choreographer Kristin Zipfel. There are puppets and it’s a thriller! Click here to watch.