Angela Harriell Opens Up About ‘The Love Show: Sex Magic’ Fest

I’m giving this post another five minutes, then it’s off to the beach for one last roast. Miami beach is sunny and stupid and completely perfect. Reminds me of so many of my exes. I’m heading home to BBurg tonight, hopefully in time for the People Get Ready, Rich Aucoin, Landlady, Raccoon Fighter show at Glasslands Gallery (289 Kent Avenue). Alas, I may be stuck in the sun until too late. Nightclub science has brought me to Miami Beach. An ABSOLUT Miami-sponsored event focuses on the hows, whats, whys, and whos of the Miami Beach club scene, sometimes even dabbling in the whens. I’m going to talk about this tomorrow or Friday when I have more time. Controlling different parts of an evening is an experienced operators approach to night club programming. If they’re coming to you late, you are real hot, but you wont have enough time to make money. Controlling the middle of the night is a good start as that is where the most loot lies. Early is often the easiest to establish as events, and sometimes dinners can be used to consistently bring in an early crowd. Hotel Chantelle has been slammed on Thursdays with Miss Guy, Lily of the Valley, me, and Carol Shark DJing. Now, the promo department is adding Angela Harriell’s "The Love Show: Sex Magic" to the early slot. By all accounts this sexy cabaret, ballet, magic fest will bring all the boys to the bar – and hot gals as well. I asked Angela to tell us all about it.

Tell me about the show’s history and what the public can expect to see.
The Love Show started up about eight years ago as a modern dance show with a little edge. Our very first performance was on an amateur burlesque night at LUXX in Williamsburg (now The Trash Bar). We did a number to Peggy Lee’s "Do Right." We still do that number occasionally, from time to time. Since then, the show has evolved to be everything from kid-friendly to naughty-naughty. We do all styles of dance that feature an eclectic range of music; we do dirty-downtown- theater-dance and swank-glam-champagne stuff. When you see The Love Show, you can expect to see beautiful girls and guys doing excellent dances in fab costumes. What I think you don’t expect is just how funny and theatrical it is. I love a good slow motion fight scene as much as the next gal. I think we surprise people with how developed and detailed the humor and wit is, and we do it all with sexy style. At Hotel Chantelle, you can also expect to be amazed and amused by our charismatic and talented magician/host: The Great Dubini.
 
How did a nice girl like you end up doing this?
When I moved to New York, I knew I wanted to dance. I was brought up with rigorous ballet training (my mother was a ballerina and now a ballet teacher), and I took a real shine to choreography in college. I started auditioning when I got here and was getting discouraged with my inability to get onstage with say, Paul Taylor. And one night (about 8 or 9 years ago), I saw Julie Atlas Muz perform at Galapagos in Williamsburg. It blew my mind. A self-made performer, making the rules for herself, getting to dance and create her own movement and image and, more than anything, move and captivate people while doing her own thing. I decided to start a dance troupe, and that was the beginning.
 
Where are you going with this? Are you a future TV star? Broadway? Vegas? … What’s the plan?
I am trying to bring The Love Show to the point of being a self-sustaining company, with full performances each season (right now, we have one full-length seasonal show ("Nutcracker: Rated R"), while also continuing to branch out with our private party/corporate work. There are so many goals! I’d really like to travel with the company more, and it would be amazing one day to have our own home base to rehearse in, give class, and do small shows.  We occasionally work with The House of Yes, and I’m very inspired by their home.  They really give back to the artist community.  In the end, the goal is always the same: to do what you love while getting paid.
 
What’s a day in the life like? And what goes into preparing for a show like this?
A day in the life involves sitting for hours at the computer, trying to book shows, reach out, do follow-ups, create set lists, email about rehearsals, book rehearsal space, etc. Outside of the necessary busy work is the rehearsal part: creating new numbers or reviewing existing numbers. This part is a lot of fun. The majority of my dancers have been performing in the show for anywhere from two to seven years. We are so close, and very much like a family. It’s one of the best things about having your own company; you get to choose the people you work with.
 
What attracted you to Hotel Chanelle?
When we prepare for the show, we try to make it a different show every time, and really fit it to the theme or venue. I put a set list together, email the troops, get everyone’s schedules, book rehearsal space, rehearse the show, pack the costumes, go to the venue, put on a show! I have a partner who handles putting our press out for me (David F. Slone, Esq., who hosts some of our shows and is also a creative partner), and he takes care of that end for me. What attracted me to Hotel Chantelle was the slick rock vibe and the challenge of putting a show on in a space that is not necessarily a performance space. We are really going to set the show to make it feel like a very intimate and involved experience for the crowd. We love to love and are thrilled to be loving on people all up-close and personal. The space is very cool and we’re excited to put a little passion in people’s pants!

Synth-Pop Singer-Songwriter Charli XCX Talks True Romance, Tasting Sweat, & Lena Dunham

Charli XCX is no newbie to the music scene, though her age might indicate otherwise to those not in the know. The 20-year-old Brit, born Charlotte Aitchison but recognized by her hotly debated stage name, has been making people move since she was an adolescent.

At 14, XCX was already on the radar, albeit far from mainstream, discovered on MySpace and invited to play raves at the weekend. An only child, her parents would drive her to and from performances—sometimes staying, watching on like ever-adoring chaperones—then take her to school come Monday. What might have remained a fond memory or a passing phase, however, evolved into a career, with a capital “c,” her warehouse party past giving rise to a girl who knew her pop hooks and dance beats.

The past half-decade has seen her morph from girl to woman, as well as release several solid songs, among them one of her best, “Nuclear Seasons.” At 16 she signed a record deal, catapulting the former club kid from promising act to legitimate artist with a single signature. For the past four years she’s worked towards today, which sees her major label release of True Romance. Her lyrical prowess and knack for catchiness continue to impress with this sweeping and anthemic debut, a 13-track album featuring favorites like “Lock You Up,” “What I Like” and “Cloud Aura.”

XCX, who also co-wrote Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” (which, if you’ll recall, was a huge hit following a particularly entertaining episode of HBO’s Girls) is currently touring Europe and the U.K. with Ellie Goulding, and will touch down in the States come May. New Yorkers can catch her supporting Marina and the Diamonds at Rumsey Playfield on May 29 and alongside Little Daylight on May 31 at Glasslands Gallery.

In the meantime, hear from the hard-hitting goth-pop princess herself. She’s got plenty to say, from her outlook on love (which she’s in, with Ryan Andrews) to her fantasies surrounding calling all the concert shots (think outlandish creative direction as it pertains to set design, à la Girls dreamboat douchebag Booth Jonathan).

You titled the album True Romance. Is this record the embodiment of “true romance,” to you? It’s such a bold statement to make. To say, like, Here it is. This is the definition.
This record is, for me, what true romance is. I’ve been writing the record for the past two to three years, but one song I wrote when I was 16. So, I feel like I’ve been writing this album as I’ve been growing up. Your views on love and life change over time. You experience different relationships, that kind of thing, and I think the record is kind of about that. It’s about love from different angles. Different periods of your life. There’s a bratty breakup song, when you went out with a bad boy. Then there’s a song about falling in epic, amazing, real, true love. And I feel like that’s what happened to me during the process of writing this album. I feel like I’ve fallen in love, massively. I feel like the record looks at how you can be on this love trip, in this dream state, but at the same time you can feel lonely and isolated. I think it’s interesting how schizophrenic love is. And that’s what the record is to me. It’s schizophrenic. It sounds that way. It sounds like love.

Did the title come at the end?
The title came last, actually. It was kind of, like, a reflection. I never wanted to make a concept album and come up with the title track and write songs around the title. I wanted to write the songs as naturally as possible and as naturally as they came to me. It just so happened they were about love. Once I started writing them, I supposed that was an appropriate title.

Makes sense. Can you tell me a bit about being so young coming up in the music scene?  
It was kind of crazy. At the beginning, I was very, very excited about everything. I was 15, signing a record deal. I was so elated by it. So, whenever there were highs and lows—which there definitely were, and still are—I took them really personally. It was a quite traumatic experience making this album, especially when I was younger. It can be emotional making an album, putting all your thoughts and feelings on a CD. I found the industry very difficult. There were so many expectations I thought I had to live up to. I was unsure who I was. I wrote the song “Stay Away” then. I began to find myself and what kind of music I wanted to make. I feel like I’ve changed a lot. I realized I don’t have any criteria I need to meet. I’m just doing my thing. I’m not feeling like I have to please anyone.

Even with the tumult, it had to have been a blast.
It was really fun. When I was younger, I’d go to raves, and that was crazy. Then, I’d go to school on Monday, and that was weird. But, it was cool. I kind of feel like I got sucked into that. I’m glad I left that scene and started making real music on my own.

Oh, yes. You’re talented, your debut’s a gem and, on top of that, you’ve traveled the world touring in support of Coldplay, Santigold, Ellie Goulding. Was it difficult to adjust to the limelight? MySpace and late-night raves are one thing, but stadiums are another thing all together. That’s rock star status.
For me, I can’t think about going on stage as the “limelight.” I think about it as playing my songs for people and losing my mind. When I’m on stage, I feel completely free. I feel completely inspired. I’m not thinking about anything else. I’m getting lost in the moment. It’s like one big trip.

Speaking of trip, do you have a favorite place to play?
I love America. I love L.A. and I love New York. And I haven’t been there yet, but I know I’m going to love Tokyo so much when I go. It sounds so magical.

It does. So, which one: New York or L.A.?
I don’t know. People compare them, but they’re so different. It’s so difficult to compare the two. I feel like L.A., maybe, for me, just because it’s so different from London. Whereas New York is so similar.

Aww, shucks. So, do you have any down time when you tour?
Never. It’s constant. But, that’s fine. It feels good to play shows and have people come listen to my music. That’s really nice. I mean, it’s weird doing promo every day. You have to talk about yourself all the time, and I don’t really like doing that. It’s just strange. I’m starting to get used to it. It’s all right.

You’re adjusting. How’s tour going so far with Ellie?
It’s fun. The crowds are big. She’s cool. I think I managed to convert her into a platform shoe-lover. She tried on my Buffalo platforms and was like, Oh my god, these are amazing!

How would you compare the experience of performing at big venues versus small?
Playing big venues is always less personal. Like, when I was doing the Coldplay tour, there were, like, seven screens. Only the front, like, five rows can see you up close. But, in a club it’s wild. You can taste everyone’s sweat, which I really like. I feel so much more alive. You can really get in touch with the crowd and make it, like, an apocalyptic, end of the world party. So, I really like that. Obviously, it’s a dream to play in front of as many people as possible, so big stages are good. But, when I have my own massive shows, I want the walls and ceilings and floors to be made of screens. So you’re in a screen box. And it’s, like, my favorite videos and mash-ups of my favorite movies playing. It’d be a mindfuck.

Do you watch Girls?
Yeah! Like that artist [Booth Jonathan]’s thing. Exactly like that, except on a massive scale.

That’s also, as you know, the episode featuring the song you wrote, performed by Icona Pop.
That was really cool. I’m a big Lena Dunham fan. I feel like she’s this sexy, hilarious, fierce super-girl. So, it was really cool seeing her singing that song. It was quite funny.

Is Hannah your favorite character on the show?
I don’t know. I also really like Adam. And I really like Shoshanna. And I love to hate Jessa, because I know so many people like that and they’re so frustrating.

Do you have a lot of super-fans?
I do, actually. They’re all sweet, but they’re crazy. It’s cute, though. They’re all young. They message me all the time. Like, everyday. It freaks me out that my music can mean that much to someone. I didn’t have that. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have had the power to tell them, because I didn’t have Twitter. Now, everyday, you can build up this false relationship in your mind. It’s scary. It’s mad.

I’d agree with that. After all this, the journey so far, what do your parents think?
They’re proud. Whenever I’m in London they’ll come to my show. They’re really supportive. They took me to the raves when I was younger, came with me and were really cool. I’m really thankful for that, actually.

That’s awesome. I imagine a lot of parents wouldn’t be as nurturing when it comes to their young daughter rocking the sometimes seedy rave scene. You also dress pretty provocatively. From where does your aesthetic sensibility derive?
I’m really inspired by movies. The Craft. Clueless. Empire Records. I just love that nineties aesthetic. I like basics, grungy stuff. I’m a big fan of the Spice Girls. Some of their music videos are my favorites. Like, “Say You’ll Be There.” I feel like I came through the third wave of the club kids in London. I was watching Party Monster, finding out who Michael Alig was. Part of me will always be interested in that world. DIY, but high fashion at the same time.

So, do you have a dream collaboration?
I’d love to work with Bjork. She’s incredible. I admire everything she does. Her voice is like butter. So angry but so sweet and beautiful at the same time. I think she’s wonderful.  

Whose music are you really into right now?
Jai Paul. I’ve always been a big fan of his. Kitty Pryde. I think she’s really cute. I love her lyrics. I always listen to the same stuff on repeat. Like, Uffie, Kate Bush, The Cure. Robert Smith is, like, my hero.

Last but not least, what would you be doing if not this?
I’d be crying probably. 

The Reinvigorating Effects of On An On

After a particularly exhausting day I finally had a second to catch my breath. I’m at The Library on the Lower East Side waiting for Chicago trio On An On. The group is making a stop in New York for a slew of appearances and will be playing Mercury Lounge later that evening, which marks their first show in NYC together. Give In, their debut album, has just hit the masses a week prior and already stands to make my end of year list. The album sound-tracked some of the deepest moments I had this winter. Absorbing the album in my room on cold winter nights spent saging myself of the past and prepping for what lay ahead. In between a sip of my Modelo tall boy, On An On’s Nate and Alissa Eiseland and Ryne Estwing arrive and settle in the booth alongside me. 

There are conversations you have with people who are good friends or just people making a brief pit stop that activate something in your brain that makes you feel as though that’s exactly what you needed to hear and experience at that time. Sitting down with the band really allowed me to peel back a layer and gain insight into the inner workings of the road that led On an On to this juncture, as well as reinvigorate my own path.

What did you learn when making this album?
Ryne Estwing: We finally got a taste of a recording experience that was something we might not have known was there before but mostly didn’t, this is what recording should be like, were in the studio it’s organic, sounds are being created in the studio its not all pre written not all demoed out. It was very refreshing, the recording process, as much as you demo things, there should be a lot to explore in the studio.
Nate Eiesland: We learned a new set of values, a big idea, one of the most distinct ways to shift for us. We got a clean slate; got to start a new band, something that we were all really creatively excited by. Getting to make a record was really interesting because at that point you don’t have any loyalties that you have to honor so we got to really explore and experiment in a way that was almost animalistic, it was instantaneous, I like this, I’m gonna do it.

Our values changed, and what we were valuing were moments of vulnerability and honesty, and flaws, and maybe that was something we would have tried to avoid before and when they happened in the studio there was a switch and we realized how much energy was in those moments, and it might be nervous energy and something that was not even close to confidence, but that’s something that’s so much more magnetic, that’s something that jumps out of the speaker and you can link to as listener. And I think that was a huge change for us. We just wanted something that feels really vibrant and human, flawed and magical.
Alissa Eiseland: Just being in the studio, relaxing, exploring and experimenting and not being like oh my god the record button is going and I have to be executing this perfectly because I think that really takes away from the exploratory and the relaxation of being we are all here making music, its better if its a good time versus like "you’re on."

Was there a moment where things shifted for you and that propelled you forward?
AE:This last tour was very impactful for us, we were like hell yeah!
NE: We were just kind of like what’s gonna happen? Maybe what’s happening now could be. We expected much slower of a burn for this, we were not expecting this to be catching on this well. We had this feeling in the studio that was like we love this, when we put out the first single "Ghosts" and there was a really good reception, there was this moment of holy shit people are into what were into!
RE: We were use to the slow burn, for about 8 years being in other bands, we were kind of ready for another slow burn and this wasn’t that at all.
AE: The fact that we kind of have that mentality really grounds us as a band as were doing anything that comes up, any opportunity we are just really grateful.

At any point did you feel weren’t on the right path and questioned what you were doing?
AE:Any questioning that happened was way before our first show even before we really finalized the mixes of our records and prepared our material for live.
NE:It was a new process; we were all drunk off that, it didn’t seem to ever be a question of is this, the right move? It just felt so right. To start a new project, start a new sound, a lot of it fell into place really nicely, and just gave us the encouragement of, this feels really good.

The band is running behind schedule, they want to grab a quick slice of pizza and make it to the venue to check out opening band Field Mouse. Tonight feels as a definite touchstone moment for the group into what is sure to be the next evolution of their lives in many ways. When I swoop into Mercury Lounge, a handful of my friends from different points in my life are there. All of us allowing the universe to carry us forward and tonight, all our points have met. On An On have shown the this greater force that they are willing to put in the work, they have passed the tests and paid their dues. When you put all your energy and passion into doing what you love and have fun doing it, the reward will be met with sweetness and grace.

The band will be playing tonight at Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn. Now go dig deep inside yourself with their first single "Ghosts."

Follow Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez on Twitter

Django Django’s Art Rock Fantasies

It’s been quite a year for London band Django Django. After releasing their self-titled debut album at home to great acclaim in January, they crossed the pond and made their American live debut at Brooklyn’s Glasslands Gallery before the whirlwind of SXSW. Over the course of 2012, the psych-rock quartet racked up over a million YouTube views for the addictive single “Default,” accolades from around the world, and a Mercury prize nomination. They’ve won the approval of everyone from NPR to Ryan Gosling, and it’s well deserved. Django Django is a richly textured sonic journey, the band’s art school background showing through in their willingness to experiment and their trippy videos. They make songs that are genuinely weird and genuinely catchy, influenced by everything from diss rap to visions of Egypt and the wild west.

I talked to singer/guitarist Vincent Neff and keyboardist Tommy Grace during their trip to the U.S. last month about touring, Fox News, and developing a sense of style.

Things have definitely changed for you since the last time you were in Brooklyn. How would you sum it up?
TG:
It’s been just a surreal, fragile rise. It’s been pretty amazing. We released the album in January and then just the audience numbers have gone up and up and up. To be playing at Bowery with a packed out house, I just couldn’t believe it. It’s been really nice.

How does it feel now that the album’s properly out in the US?
VN:
Brilliant. Even just the tour over here is one thing, but getting it released here, it’s brilliant to go into a store and see it, the vinyl sitting there.
TG: It was a real protracted process, wasn’t it? Took a long time just to get a distributor in the US. People can buy it legally now instead.
VN: Loads of people were coming up to me at the Bowery and saying "I got it illegally back in February, but I bought it officially when it came out over here." It’s quite nice to hear people do that and be open about it.

Well, we all knew the songs back at Glasslands.
VN:
Glasslands was one of the highlights of our year.
TG: Someone’s asked us in an interview, pick out a highlight of being in the band, and I just remember that show was totally brilliant. It was the first time we had played in the US.
VN: We didn’t know what to expect. There was no release here, so we thought we’d run the risk where no one would really know who we are. But it was just totally great. It felt like a little partisan kind of crowd. It was very good fun.
TG: We saw a lot of recognizable faces as well.
VN: At the Bowery we saw loads of faces [that we’d seen before]. It was about 1:30 in the morning as well, that always helps.

So things have definitely changed now that the album’s out here?
VN:
The only thing we could really go on was the New York thing, and then we went on to SXSW after. I kind of followed on Twitter that we were getting some radio play over here and some write-ups and stuff coming through, but that was only really recently. We went to LA and had a sold out venue, Chicago was the same. So it’s totally been amazing, playing these quite small little places but getting a good atmosphere going. The fans have been really good as well.

Now that you’ve been in the US for longer, has there been any sort of culture shock that you didn’t experience before?
VN:
I just get really addicted to television when I come here.
TG: I just dive straight into the burgers. Then I have this sort of relapse, and about a week in, you’re searching for all the salads you can find. You’ve got so much great food in New York, you’re so fortunate.
VN: I think the snack food here is so much better than in London. That corner shop over there doesn’t really look like much, but apparently it does amazing sandwiches. Dave, our drummer got one and he told us about it. We had these sound engineers talking about the sandwiches and saying, "Don’t get the cucumber in that, that Birdman sandwich, because it wrecks the sandwich, don’t mess around with it."
TG: Everyone’s an expert on food in New York. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can be really picky.
VN: [People have lists of] the best chicken shacks, or the best pork ribs, the best Mexican, salads and stuff. And then there’s the TV, I’ve been watching so much TV. It’s like a drug. There’s endless adverts about blenders and workout videos and Fox News, it’s just the funniest…We don’t really have that level of wearing-its-heart-on-its-sleeve news channels. It’s more regulated, more subtle. It’s kind of intoxifying, you just want to watch more of it. We watched a bunch of Yankees games last night. When you don’t really see baseball and football and basketball, you don’t tend to watch it, but when you come over here and it’s everywhere, you get kind of hooked and you start to learn very quickly about who’s doing well. From the last time we were here, for example baseball, they used to wear the tight socks around the bottom. Now, they wear these baggy trousers. We kind of notice these little subtleties.
TG: Just the TV in general, we’re doing this interview and my eyes are going to the screen over there. They’re everywhere. They’re so difficult to avoid, it’s just like omnipotent, as well as all the advertising and billboards. It all seems new to us, because we’re not used to it.

What are some other staples of your touring life?
VN:
In LA, we find a lot of really good diners, we’ve been to the Museum of Modern Art there. Once we get to a venue, we try to take a look around the shops and such. It’s been quite a fast tour and we’ve flown everywhere, so we haven’t seen as much landscape. We’ve felt very much dropped-down, turn around.
TG: We really enjoy Williamsburg, this is a nice neighborhood.
VN: Canada was amazing, I really enjoyed Montreal, we had a really good gig up there. It felt really foreign, even though it’s only a couple hours from Boston, it’s completely French-speaking. All the road signs are in French.
TG: And there’s such enthusiasm for music. Loads of buskers, loads of people just playing guitar out on their balconies. There’s a real appetite for music, and the crowd in Montreal was great.

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?
VN:
Celebrity spottings. We had Owen Wilson sitting at the next table over from us in San Francisco. In LA, the lead actor from Drive was at our gig. I texted my sister back in Ireland, and she was going absolutely mental. She was like, "I’m going to fucking come the next time, for fuck’s sake!", missing out on it. And then we saw Martin Sheen at the airport. We were like, "That guy looks remarkably like Martin Sheen. It is Martin Sheen!"
TG: It’s all terribly glamorous.
VN: And then you’ve got us, four pasty white Scottish/Irish/English [guys].

Back in the spring, you played Chanel’s party for Paris Fashion Week. Have you gotten any more love from the fashion world lately?
TG:
It’s funny, we’ve got two rails of garish clothes back there to try on, we’re shooting a video tomorrow. It’s not exactly a fashion parade.
VN: It’s for the video for "Life’s A Beach." We’re shooting it in Williamsburg. We’ve got it all set up, it should be fun.

Any hints as to what we’re going to see in that?
TG:
It’s going to be watery.
VN: That’s all we can say.
TG: There are going to be big volumes of water in the studio. Pool party.

Your videos are always so memorable.
VN:
The more busy we get, the less time we have to input in them in some ways, but we always try to [get] similar concepts. Dave and Tommy kind of bring through the concepts, but we’ve had to hand them over because we haven’t got time. Like "Default," Dave and Tommy worked pretty much full time on that with this other guy.

How did you come up with the distinctive t-shirts that you wear onstage?
TG:
Dave came up with them, I think he’d just been to Barcelona and was inspired. It’s great fun throwing bleach around on a t-shirt, trying to make something that looks good that seems sort of full of life. We’ve been using them for quite a while, I think we need to change them up.

Do you have any tips for new bands trying to come up with their own looks?
VN: One earring is always good. One earring and one shiny glove, that’s a good start. Tommy used to wear little seahorse medallions when he was a kid. That should come back, and waistcoats. There’s always a fine line to walk between looking like a complete idiot and looking [good].
TG: You should be afraid to look like an idiot.
VN: No, you shouldn’t be afraid to look like an idiot. If you’ve got conviction, just say, "I’m going to wear it, I don’t care what everybody thinks." That always seems quite good, when someone just walks down the street and they’re not too self-conscious. Just have conviction over it, and ignore the people who snigger at you.

Yeah, because what you have going on is a distinctive look, but you don’t have to ask if it’s working or not.
VN:
Yeah, and the more intricate you get, the more likely you’re going to hit a snag. We used to have this white gaffer tape in different shapes, but invariably I sweat a lot and the gaffer tape would fall off onto my guitar and I would be stuck to my guitar. So make it user-friendly, able to put on easily, able to take off, and make sure it goes with what you’re playing. If it’s just a tambourine, then you’re okay, but if you’re playing intricate solos on a keyboard or a guitar or drum solos…
TG: Don’t wear tassels.

MP3 Premiere: Brooklyn Quartet Darlings’ “Shelley”

Let’s get this out of the way: there are a lot of young people in Brooklyn with guitars. Like, a lot. Seriously. You’ve probably met a few of them! But inevitably, some of them are going to be better at it than others, and Darlings are pretty damn solid. The quartet might seem unassuming, but they’re all the more charming for it.

Here’s “Shelley,” the B-side to their latest 7” release “Pet The Ghost.” Clocking in at just under two and a half minutes, it’s driving and triumphant, the kind of tight garage pop that’s meant to soundtrack the end of summer.

Download “Pet The Ghost”/”Shelley” for free on Bandcamp. Darlings perform tonight at Glasslands Gallery.

BlackBook Tracks #2: Songs From @Sweden

After Jens Lekman and Niki & the Dove came to New York this past weekend, we were inspired to round up some songs from our favorite Swedish artists. Settle down with a plate of internet uterus and some informational reading about Judaism and check out this week’s picks.

Jens Lekman – “Waiting For Kirsten”
No one tells a story like Jens Lekman, who’s equally adept at bringing laughter and tears. This song leans more toward the former, telling the now-notorious story of how the singer-songwriter once tried to meet Kirsten Dunst. Anticipation levels for his forthcoming heartbreak-centric album, I Know What Love Isn’t, are already running high.

 

Peter, Bjorn and John – “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off”
It’s already too hot to come up with a remotely funny joke about the weather. All whistling aside, Peter, Bjorn and John’s 2011 album Gimme Some was highly underrated.

 

Noonie Bao – “Do You Still Care”
If you can look past the “white person experiencing exotic India” video, “Do You Still Care?” sees up-and-comer Noonie Bao delivering an extraordinary performance. Depending on what kind of emotional upheaval you’ve recently gone through, this song represents the stage either before or after “Somebody I Used To Know.”

 

We Are Serenades – “Birds”
Featuring members of Shout Out Louds and Laasko, We Are Serenades find strength in harmonies. Also, strings!

 

Miike Snow – “God Help This Divorce”
Cool down with this crisp track from Miike Snow’s latest, Happy To You.

 

Niki & The Dove – “DJ, Ease My Mind”
The electro-pop group sold out their Northside Festival show last Thursday, and the buzz is only going to continue to skyrocket by the time they return to the US this fall to tour with Twin Shadow. Dance with tears in your eyes!

 

 

Karin Park – “Restless”
Dark like the Knife, but easier to sing along with.

 

Icona Pop – “Nights Like This”
Icona Pop were already featured on last week’s playlist, but we can’t help it if the dance-pop duo makes infectious tunes. They’re also playing their first New York headlining show this Friday at Brooklyn’s Glasslands Gallery. If you didn’t get tickets in time, you can always see a different Swedish band that night.

 

The Hives – “Wait A Minute”
The Hives can always be relied on for a good time, and they’ll be tearing down Terminal 5 on Friday. After going five years since their previous album, they’re back with a vengeance on Lex Hives.

 

Robyn – “Dancing On My Own”
You didn’t think we were going to forget this, did you?

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Williamsburg With the Ladies of Haim

Saturday night was Cinco de Mayo, and I made the long haul to Williamsburg from the confines of Bay Ridge; thanks to the MTA, it took an extra long time to get there. When I finally arrived at Glasslands Gallery, I managed to catch the tail end of Brooklyn-based power-trio Team Spirit. Energetic burly dudes, sweating their asses off while playing some gnarly guitar riffs? Yes please! I’m digging up some goods from them here, and I anticipate that they’re exactly what my summer will sound like. But I was eager to see headliners Haim—some favorites of ours at BlackBook. I mean it when I say that I’ve never seen chicks rock harder.

Haim’s median age is a mere 23, and they’ve only released a three-song EP, which you can download here. Sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana (aka Baby Haim) played to a sold-out crowd of 300 fans. I looked around the room and noticed the crowd was predominately male. A bunch of dudes coming to see babes rock on a Saturday night? Enough said. Slaying it with their hits “Go Slow” and “Better Off,” it wasn’t long before a mosh pit erupted. It was a hodgepodge of good-looking people singing, clapping, and stomping, all in a show of love. Was it the power of the supermoon? With the celestial wonder at its full peak, Haim’s set ended with their infamous heart-pumping drum circle before exiting stage right. The crowd, filled with evident fans, chanted for an encore before eventually realizing that the ladies weren’t returning. It does, however, go to show that this sister trio is a powerhouse leaving you wanting more with every melody. I see only huge things for these girls and you can bet we’ll be there reporting their rise.           

Right before midnight, the streets filled with a whole mess of humans liquored up on Jose Cuervo ready to get into whatever the universe had in store for them (which was probably more tequila). Me? I prepped myself for the long trek back to the depths of south Brooklyn, feverishly trying to figure out how I was going to start a kick-ass girl band. Anyone?

Dumps, Dives, & Holes: Alex Gray of Sun Araw to play 285 Kent

Tonight there’s an exciting experimental noise show at 285 Kent, the DIY venue in Williamsburg. While the noise genre is pretty obscure and can be generally misconstrued as inaccessible, it should really be seen as an amalgamation of all music. It’s futuristic in its integration, and the ways in which it is produced and performed are interesting. This is especially the case tonight, with live performances from Heat Wave, Ohbliv, Pilgrim, and North American and DJ sets by Zona, Bessed Of, and Witch Doctor. Expect a mash of electronic, hip hop, noise, scratching, and guitar.

Headliner Heat Wave is a solo project of the versatile and prolific musician Alex Gray. Though being in the band Sun Araw, who toured with Animal Collective last year, is probably Gray’s most notable project to date, he also has solo projects Deep Magic and Heat Wave, as well as a label called Deep Tapes where he releases awesome cassettes of other unique rising musicians.  I sat down with him last night after his DJ set at Zebulon Café to talk about tonight’s show and what the Californian plans on doing while in New York.

So you’re from California…
Ya!

What’s the scene like out there versus the scene here?
Well, I don’t really know the scene out here too well, but it’s very nice in Los Angeles. It’s mellow. It’s very nice.

Tell me about your record label.
It’s called Deep Tapes and Heat Rave. I just put out cassette tapes and stuff. Like, other people’s music… like Rob [Magill]!

His stuff is really fantastic. So, tell me about your bands.
Well, I’m in that band Sun Araw, playing guitar and stuff. And then tomorrow we’re playing a show, which is going to be Heat Wave, one of my solo projects. It’s just a nasty reinterpretation of cultural artifacts of every stupid culture that exists, just combining them into one fucking crap.

Alright…
Yep! (laughs)

What can people expect from the show?
There’s going to be a lot of beats and a lot of really good DJing by my friend Andre [Prozorov] and his friends. I’m going to play a lot of really harsh beats…

So you’re just DJing?
No, I’m playing as Heat Wave tomorrow. I have this other project called Deep Magic which is ambient, relaxation. It’s for my family and my friends, an ode to our ancestry as human beings, sort of primal sounds that make people feel nice and things like that. Then Heat Wave is the other side of my personality, where I just wanna get wasted and fuck stuff up.  So yah… just come to the show and get fucked up! Everyone should just come and get really drunk and high, whatever you like to do. Ohbliv is also playing the show and he’s really good; he’s from Richmond, Virginia and he does chopped-up soul beats, and stuff like that – beats that just sound really beautiful. It’s going to be sick. We’re gonna play some sick hip hop stuff. Some dirty, dark sampled hip hop shit.

How long are you here for?
I’m here until Wednesday, so, a week.

Are you doing anything else cool while you’re here?
Yeah, Sun Araw’s playing Unsound Festival which is at Le Poisson Rouge on Friday the 20th, 4/20. And then on 4/22 we’re DJing at Glasslands Gallery, which is going to be Sun Araw vs. Heat Wave. We do DJ sets that are collabs; he spins tracks and I fuck them up and filter them. We’re also here with the E Guys. So our crew is the E Guys right now. We got me, we got Cameron from Sun Araw, we got Mark McGuire from Emeralds, Road Chief, we got mother fuckin’ Tony Lowe, who plays in Skeletons amongst some other projects and his DJ name is Rainstick, we got Spencer Clark from The Skaters. That’s our DJ crew that we’re going to be rollin’ this whole time. So, look up your shit on your internet, people!

Angela Harriell Opens Up About ‘The Love Show: Sex Magic’ Fest

I’m giving this post another five minutes, then it’s off to the beach for one last roast. Miami beach is sunny and stupid and completely perfect. Reminds me of so many of my exes. I’m heading home to BBurg tonight, hopefully in time for the People Get Ready, Rich Aucoin, Landlady, Raccoon Fighter show at Glasslands Gallery (289 Kent Avenue). Alas, I may be stuck in the sun until too late. Nightclub science has brought me to Miami Beach. An ABSOLUT Miami-sponsored event focuses on the hows, whats, whys, and whos of the Miami Beach club scene, sometimes even dabbling in the whens. I’m going to talk about this tomorrow or Friday when I have more time. Controlling different parts of an evening is an experienced operators approach to night club programming. If they’re coming to you late, you are real hot, but you wont have enough time to make money. Controlling the middle of the night is a good start as that is where the most loot lies. Early is often the easiest to establish as events, and sometimes dinners can be used to consistently bring in an early crowd. Hotel Chantelle has been slammed on Thursdays with Miss Guy, Lily of the Valley, me, and Carol Shark DJing. Now, the promo department is adding Angela Harriell’s "The Love Show: Sex Magic" to the early slot. By all accounts this sexy cabaret, ballet, magic fest will bring all the boys to the bar – and hot gals as well. I asked Angela to tell us all about it.

Tell me about the show’s history and what the public can expect to see.
The Love Show started up about eight years ago as a modern dance show with a little edge. Our very first performance was on an amateur burlesque night at LUXX in Williamsburg (now The Trash Bar). We did a number to Peggy Lee’s "Do Right." We still do that number occasionally, from time to time. Since then, the show has evolved to be everything from kid-friendly to naughty-naughty. We do all styles of dance that feature an eclectic range of music; we do dirty-downtown- theater-dance and swank-glam-champagne stuff. When you see The Love Show, you can expect to see beautiful girls and guys doing excellent dances in fab costumes. What I think you don’t expect is just how funny and theatrical it is. I love a good slow motion fight scene as much as the next gal. I think we surprise people with how developed and detailed the humor and wit is, and we do it all with sexy style. At Hotel Chantelle, you can also expect to be amazed and amused by our charismatic and talented magician/host: The Great Dubini.
 
How did a nice girl like you end up doing this?
When I moved to New York, I knew I wanted to dance. I was brought up with rigorous ballet training (my mother was a ballerina and now a ballet teacher), and I took a real shine to choreography in college. I started auditioning when I got here and was getting discouraged with my inability to get onstage with say, Paul Taylor. And one night (about 8 or 9 years ago), I saw Julie Atlas Muz perform at Galapagos in Williamsburg. It blew my mind. A self-made performer, making the rules for herself, getting to dance and create her own movement and image and, more than anything, move and captivate people while doing her own thing. I decided to start a dance troupe, and that was the beginning.
 
Where are you going with this? Are you a future TV star? Broadway? Vegas? … What’s the plan?
I am trying to bring The Love Show to the point of being a self-sustaining company, with full performances each season (right now, we have one full-length seasonal show ("Nutcracker: Rated R"), while also continuing to branch out with our private party/corporate work. There are so many goals! I’d really like to travel with the company more, and it would be amazing one day to have our own home base to rehearse in, give class, and do small shows.  We occasionally work with The House of Yes, and I’m very inspired by their home.  They really give back to the artist community.  In the end, the goal is always the same: to do what you love while getting paid.
 
What’s a day in the life like? And what goes into preparing for a show like this?
A day in the life involves sitting for hours at the computer, trying to book shows, reach out, do follow-ups, create set lists, email about rehearsals, book rehearsal space, etc. Outside of the necessary busy work is the rehearsal part: creating new numbers or reviewing existing numbers. This part is a lot of fun. The majority of my dancers have been performing in the show for anywhere from two to seven years. We are so close, and very much like a family. It’s one of the best things about having your own company; you get to choose the people you work with.
 
What attracted you to Hotel Chanelle?
When we prepare for the show, we try to make it a different show every time, and really fit it to the theme or venue. I put a set list together, email the troops, get everyone’s schedules, book rehearsal space, rehearse the show, pack the costumes, go to the venue, put on a show! I have a partner who handles putting our press out for me (David F. Slone, Esq., who hosts some of our shows and is also a creative partner), and he takes care of that end for me. What attracted me to Hotel Chantelle was the slick rock vibe and the challenge of putting a show on in a space that is not necessarily a performance space. We are really going to set the show to make it feel like a very intimate and involved experience for the crowd. We love to love and are thrilled to be loving on people all up-close and personal. The space is very cool and we’re excited to put a little passion in people’s pants!