Tegan and Sara’s Surprisingly Ravey ‘Heartthrob’

This is the best pop album by identical Canadian twins you’ll hear all day. Obliterating almost any trace of the twee and folkish sound that first propelled them to headliner status, Tegan and Sara on Heartthrob deliver—and I wouldn’t use this word unless I absolutely meant it—an epic dance floor symphony. 

You can stream the full album at any number of music outlets today; the real thing comes out on January 29. Heartthrob’s first single, the typically anthemic “Closer,” has been on repeat for some of us since November or so, but check out the official video, which depicts the karaoke party of your dreams. (Honestly, why is real karaoke never that fun? Maybe it’s me.)

But the hits don’t stop there, and each is bigger, boomier and primary-colors bolder than the previous. Not one track, from power ballad “I Was A Fool” to the glossy chorus of “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend,” suffers from the user-friendly interface: these things are meant to hit all at once, in a pure rush of pleasure. Which makes them all the more addictive.   

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Our Man in Miami: Heartthrob Pumps Into Electric Pickle

Last Saturday night Miami’s Electric Pickle was once again the scene of some real keen spin, and in a town that counts itself a veritable Mecca for all the world’s wiliest DJs, that’s saying something else indeed. In this case the dizzy came courtesy of a racket-maker known as Heartthrob, who joined Ghostly pal Ryan Elliott in a Blkmarket party that served as a kinda homecoming for both ex-pats. I’m exaggerating a bit of course; neither DJ is actually from the MIA, but the two Americans call Berlin home these days.

According to Heartthrob, who’s been based in Berlin for three years now, Germany’s capital is quite accommodating to foreign creatives. “It’s incredibly easy to get a visa in Germany,” he told me in the parking lot adjacent to the Pickle’s packed back patio, where Elliott was hitting his spin. “And after living in Paris for so long without one, it’s nice to not have to worry about paperwork.”

Paperwork isn’t the only pragmatic reason the cat born Jesse Siminski has for basing himself in Berlin; the city also houses the headquarters of his longtime label, M-nus Records, with whom he’s been affiliated for nearly nine years.

“[M-nus chief] Richie [Hawtin] and I met in New York,” he recalls. “Me and my friends Magda and Troy Pierce were making the most of minimal music when he moved into the neighborhood. We’ve been family ever since.”

For a man who maximizes the minimal, being a part of the M-nus family was certainly a career changer. It also put Heartthrob in even closer contact with an international network of artists and agents and other assorted like minds, including Graphite Media head Ben Turner, who handles Hawtin, as well as Rob da Bank, Tom Middleton and some of the biggest names in both brands and festivals. It was Turner who put Siminski on to Miami’s electro-minimalists organicArma, and organicArma who in turn put me on to Siminski.

“Ben played me organicArma’s ‘Love is Not it All’ and asked if I’d like to remix it,” said Siminski. “I told him I’d not only like to–I’d love to!”

That remix, which was featured on the special edition of oA’s Under Duality LP, became a sort of calling card for the Miami band. And since it  was the first (and so far only) time Heartthrob put his wits to a Magic City outfit, it also gave oA some serious street cred. This being the 21st century however, neither band nor remixer had yet to meet. That where yours truly came in.

“Man, that guy is sharp,” said organicArma leader dhArma, after his and Siminski’s pre-set chat. “I could talk to him all night and still not know even a fraction of what he knows about music.”

My plan had been to get Siminski over to oA’s Awarehouse, where both stage and studio await. Unfortunately the rigors of world travel and the very lateness of the evening had Heartthrob a mite weary. But the two soundslingers did click–like proverbial clockwork.

“Jessie will be back. And when he does we’ll have him into Awarehouse” said dhArma. “Meantime he’s gonna send stems so we can open source the original remix. We’ve also scheduled a ‘live’ session between him and me on acoustic drums. I can’t wait!”

Now and future trackings with maximizing Miami minimalists aren’t the only thing Heartthrob has on tap, of course — neither is minimalism.

“I’m about to launch my own label,” said Siminski. “It’s called Isnisnt. Just like that. The first release will be just myself, under my actual name, Jesse Siminski. The second release will be with myself along with Troy Pierce with remix by Nsi. We’re looking for a release in March.”