Larry Tee On His Favorite Project Yet: New Single ‘Charlie’

You can’t talk about the "good ol’ days" of nightlife without homage to Larry Tee. However, Larry, like myself, likes to be remembered for what he has done and acknowledged for what he is doing in the "now.” Larry and I have worked together many times. Sometimes the relationship has been testy, but it is always respectful. He has constantly redefined nightlife and our culture. I was around when he coined the term “Electroclash” for a genre of music that few knew about then. He helped push artists like RuPaul, Peaches, Fischerspooner, and Scissor Sisters into our vocabulary. He talked about Williamsburg while we were still paying Manhattan rents and listening to boring disc jockeys.

His Love Machine party with his Atlanta clan RuPaul, Lahomma Van Zandt, and Lady Bunny was the precursor to so much of our fabulously forward nightlife. He was pushing Amanda Lepore when she was still sporting a push-up bra. I remember hearing him talk about Princess Superstar when she was Princess "I wanna be a” Star. Larry has always been in front of the action. He has always gone where no man has gone before. So when he says that something’s going to be the next thing… we better listen. He and I were partners in crime at Le Palace de Beaute with Michael Alig before the famous crime(s). He has made a rock star out of Perez Hilton and created W.I.T. This can go on and on but as I said up top, Larry is still making it happen in a huge way and we chatted with him about it.

We met many years ago and worked together often. I have always looked at you as an innovator. Electronic music, RuPaul… talk to me about the things and people you helped push into the public view.
I have always been lucky to befriend people who have big talents, from my friends in Georgia like Michael Stipe and RuPaul, to the Scissor Sisters and Afrojack more recently. I have always loved other peoples’ big ideas and have tried to push them into the spotlight too since it’s exciting to watch. My whole Electroclash period of festivals and touring groups like Peaches, Chicks on Speed, Fischerpooner, etc., was all based around my love of outrageous and often political shows. And lately my work has been hi-jacked by more mainstream stars like Santigold, Shontelle, Steve Aoki, and Princess Superstar with my song "Licky" and Afrojack, MDPC and Roxy Cottontail with my "Let’s Make Nasty" track. As ‘crazy’ gets more mainstream with Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga, my brand has been dragged into the mainstream too, thankfully.

Your single comes out today! Tell me about it and how it started.
The song is called “Charlie” and features 15 dogs in wigs dressed as contemporary artists like Chihuahua Del Rey and Stinky Minaj, designed by Lady Gaga’s hair couture genius, Charlie Le Mindu.

How do you get 100 million views on YouTube? That was the question when I decided to make a video with Charlie Le Mindu. Google-image him for sure. After some research, we realized that if you didn’t have Justin Bieber, Rihanna, or Eminem in your video, you better have children or animals. The song “Charlie” is a collage of sound effects, mad pianos, electro-synth riffs, a 60-year-old subway singer, and hyper-percussion bongo breaks, and so we needed something equally madcap to make the video pop.

So we got Charlie to make wigs for 15 dogs. When we were finished shooting, people kept saying that this dog looked like Lana Del Rey or this one looked like Amy Winehouse so we took the idea further and gave the dogs fake celebrity names like “Chihuahua Del Rey” and “Madogga.” It was one of the most satisfying projects in my life, I tell you.

Do you still DJ? What else do you do with your time now spent in London? Why did you abandon us?
Since I have had so many breakouts on the dance floor and in movies these last couple years, it’s led to a DJ residency at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas which is amazing. I was arm wrestling with Pete Wendt from Fall Out Boy at the pool party I did there last week. In London, Super Techno Party Machine at East Bloc is my residency every Friday/ I have guests like Rolf from the 2 Bears, Severino from Horse Meat Disco, Rueben Wu from Ladytron, Chicks on Speed, supermodel Luke Worrall, Richard Mortimer from Ponystep Magzine, and Carmen Xtravaganza from the house of Xtravagnza. What do these guys have in common? Nothing except if I wanted to put on an amazing party, I would want to have lots of diverse guests and sounds! And some fabulousness! And I still consider New York to be my spiritual home, but it was becoming like Groundhog Day where every day seemed like the one before…London has inspired me to make new things and experiment with new sounds, so I’m super happy.

While we are on the subject…what’s great in London club-wise, for people with…er… different perspectives?
London always has new hot spots popping up that are worth a try. Destroy Cluture raves are amazing featuring the Boy London DJ Team, Alis Pelleschi, the post-rave fashion goddess, and Sean Bass, the graphics genius behind the DISNEY bastardizations. Hot Boy Dancing Spot is just what you would expect: BUTT magazine come to life.

 

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Tiana Reeves Makes ‘Money,’ Heads To London, & Talks About Sex

Tiana Reeves a fixture on the NYC scene, an imp, a problem child, has been missing. As it turns out (and we all know she can turn it out), she has been spending her time back and forth between London and Toronto. Our world has been a little darker, a little quieter, a bit boring, and definitely bland since she has been gone. Now she comes at us again with a track, a single, a song… "Money (That’s What I Want)," written by Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford. It was Motown’s first hit, and later was covered by many others including The Beatles and The Flying Lizards.

Tiana’s take on it is available on iTunes and it’s very good. As I listened to it last night, my house of snarky snarks commented that it was good and attributed its wonderfulness to all sorts of fabulous others before I told them it was Tiana. Tiana is, of course, fabulous and unconventional and her track reflects a thorough understanding of the meaning of "Money". I chatted with her last night.

You are spending your time between London and Toronto. Why these places… and why not much here?
Well, I’ve been in NYC for 20 years, and as much as I always will love NYC and all my friends there, I feel like i need to move on to something different. I am not the kind of person that could live in one city for the rest of their lives…..but that’s just me! I know I will go back to NYC to visit, but living in NYC that part of my life is done.

What was it like working with the amazing Amy Sacco?
Amy and I had a great relationship ….we where friends, and even tho our friendship was odd to some people, we always got each other even if people on the outside never really got the whole dynamic of it. We made it work! My time spent at Bungalow was amazing …many memories of celebrities and fun nights were left behind when the doors where closed….

You are a transexual who is found more often in the straight(er) parties and clubs. How did you find acceptance, and how do you deal with the fools who dont get it?
Well, my primary audience in Toronto is definitely gay (I love the gays), but yes, in NYC and London it is definitely more straight, and usually I am very well accepted… but for the few douche bags that don’t get it, I usually tell them to get with the fucking program. It’s 2013. Get with it, honey! for the few fools that don’t get it after that ,well…….let’s just say, they will never forget me.

Is Toronto accepting of you?
Yes, very much so! I feel that Canada is very accepting of transexuals and is very, very gay friendly and sooooo forward in their thinking, with laws toward acceptance in all aspects of gay life! Of course ,you do have this side of Toronto that is a bit backwards and set in their ways, but I always find a way to make them like me 😉

How vibrant is the scene in London?
The scene in London is very vibrant but its unlike any other …but i suppose every city has a different scene ,but London has all these nights and events that are hidden in so many nooks and crannies and also you do have to be part of the IN crowd to really experience the best of London’s night scene!

How do you use your sexuality to earn a living and get what you want? Is it easy to attract the moths to your candle?
Well being a transexual for soooo many years means that sexuality and appeal has always been a very big part of my life.  It’s helped me in getting what I want and, especially now, when getting into the music industry, your appeal is everything. So I guess all prior experiences were a crash course in what was to come!

You covered "Money." Tell me about this musical foray and why you chose that particular song? You aren’t by any means a Fying Lizard.
Well, I always loved that song, so when Ruben, my producer, asked me what I wanted to do as a musical track and genre, I said, "How about doing a remake of this song ?" and he replied with a lot of enthusiasm and was instrumental in pushing me to do this song and be confident about it. 

Also, I think that society is finally ready to see transexuals involved in the music industry. I, for one, am so ready to be part of it and am very happy to see that my single "MONEY (That’s What I Want)" is taking off so fast and has so many positive reviews! Hey, it’s finally available on iTunes and Amazon ….who knew!?

What is wrong with NY? What is right about NY?
For me, I just feel like NYC has lost its edge ….I  remember when I moved to NYC in 1989 and then worked for Peter Gatien; NYC was amazing and so edgy!  But then I saw the city becoming more and more middle America and gentrified.

On the other hand, NYC will aways be a strong, amazing city that is capable of reinventing itself. Even though its edge is no longer in your face, you will always be able to find this "je ne said quoi" about NYC and you will constantly have an influx of new "blood" that is desperate to make its mark as the new club personality or "it" factor and this …..is what makes it fabulous!

What NYC clubs do Londoners ask you about?
Well, when it comes to me, they always ask agout the clubs they know I used to be associated with, but mostly are fascinated with the legendary clubs that are now no longer such as Limelight, Tunnel, Club USA , Palladium… but recently XL has been asked about because it’s pretty much the big game in town 🙂 But now, since they know I live in Toronto part-time, they do ask a lot about the new club scene in Toronto!

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BlackBook Premiere: Journey Across NYC With Golden Suits’ New ‘Swimming In ‘99’ Video

When a person endures in one year a rat infestation, a break-up, and a barren bank account, you’re tempted to say, “yeah, yeah, so what?” But when it happens to a musician? Well, the whole tumultuous 365 days are rolled into a 10-song solo album featuring a new, surprisingly sunny tune you play on repeat, whose video resembles a watch commercial. Such is the case with BlackBook‘s exclusive lyric video premiere of the song “Swimming In ‘99” from next month’s release of Fred Nicolaus’s new, namesake album.

As a 13-year member of the folk-electronic duo Department Of Eagles, Nicolaus sets out on his own under the band name Golden Suits, and, in the new video from the eponymous album, brings us along on his journey across New York, from the corner bodega to a fortune teller, with each spot chronicled in Google Maps.

Why the two watches? Each is a bookend of the year that inspired the album, with one bought at its beginning, and the other at its end.

World, say hello to “Swimming In ’99.”

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Catch An Interactive Sigur Ròs Concert Online This Afternoon

Icelandic post-rock legends Sigur Ròs released their latest album, kveikur, this week. It is, no joke, their best in years. Their fanbase agreed vociferously, taking to a revamped page of the band’s website to stream the new music early and react in real time, posting rapturous Instagrams, Vines, Tweets, and videos with the hashtag #kveikur as they enjoyed their first listen. Today, something even cooler is going down.

At 2:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, aim your web browser at sigur-ros.co.uk/kveikurlive360, and prepare yourself for a genuine treat. Sigur Ròs will be playing “a selection of songs from the record live during a special 360-degree interactive webcast from Dresden, Germany.” What this means is that “fans will be able to take control of the 360-degree cameras that will be placed around the stage,” zooming around the event however they please.

Pretty nifty, no? I wouldn’t mind remotely taking control of a camera in Dresden, Germany, even if I were just filming a parking lot. But with Sigur Ròs yowling their epic dark fairytale ballads, it’ll be more like you’re filming your own overpriced concert DVD. Hey, if Martin Scorsese can do it … right? To tide you over, here’s “Ísjaki,” a definite album highlight.

 

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Get An Art History Lesson With Okkervil River’s ‘It Was My Season’

Don’t get too excited—while this may be the season we all associate with boogie boards and poolside margaritas, for Okkervil River’s Will Sheff, summer is the time for heated self-loathing and steamy despair. The first single, "It Was My Season," from the band’s next album, The Silver Gymnasium, has arrived, along with a charmingly simple video.

Sheff himself sets up the visual:

"In 1916 the painter Maxfield Parrish—part of a small-town New Hampshire art colony that included such famous writers and artists as August St. Gaudens and Emma Lazarus—designed and painted a stage set for a local play entitled “The Woodland Princess.” The set consisted of several layers and depicted a typical New England forest scene with a lake and distinctive rolling hills in the background, and it was designed so it could be lit to simulate the light of dawn, early morning, full afternoon sun, and dusk. Since then the set has remained in the Plainfield Town Hall at the center of Plainfield, New Hampshire, the town that encloses the little village of Meriden where I grew up.

Over the span of “It Was My Season,” we see the course of a fully artificial day—24 hours of changing light in five minutes. The subjectivity of time is clearly an ongoing theme for Sheff and company, as The Silver Gymnasium’s songs take place in 1986 New Hampshire. “We’re dumb, we’re dead / Shut up about it now,” go the typically merciless lyrics here. Here’s hoping this band doesn’t shut up for years to come."

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Take A Beach Trip With Hibou’s Slick ‘Sunder’

Some tracks not only beg to be played in the car: not just in a car racing down the open road to the ocean, but in a convertible racing down the open road to the ocean with its top down and the wind streaming through your hair. That’s Hibou’s “Sunder” all over.

Because as much as summer is about relaxing with swooners like Washed Out, there’s also a propulsive element, no? The need to ride roller coasters on the boardwalk and race into ridiculous romances. Well, propulsion’s not a problem for Hibou, aka 19-year-old(!) Peter Michel, who was formerly the drummer for the diabolically catchy Craft Spells.

“Sunder” sounds not unlike Michel’s old band, or Wild Nothing, for that matter—chillwave more interested in hanging onto indie-guitar-pop influences than going fully electronic, but always fresh-faced, with bright, clean lines. Dunes, Hubou’s debut EP, is out tomorrow: better rent that convertible today.  

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Voyage Through Innerspace With The Video For Ablebody’s ‘Sally Hot Jazz’

On any given morning, my inbox is fully of a lot of quite pretty new music. But after a while, beauty for its own sake gets a trifle monotonous. Anyone can build a dreamy, inoffensive synth wash: the question is where you go from there. Ablebody, the solo project of Christoph Hoccheim, has a pretty good idea.

Hoccheim has played guitar for shoegaze-pop outfits The Depreciation Guild and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but where those groups rely on fairly straightforward melody to animate most songs, Ablebody is interested in continuing to mutate the hooks in surprising ways. As one commenter had it: “Sally Hot Jazz,” from the All My Everybody EP, is “so harmonically off-balance. It really stretches your ears.”

Indeed, the harmonic shift around the 1:50 mark is the closest anyone has come (this year) to understanding what it is that makes Kevin Shields’ compositions for My Bloody Valentine so cool—you’ll want to go back again and again to feel out the strangeness of that groove. The video is a nice throwback as well: simple but trippy enough to get the job done. Get your Friday chill on with the entire EP, streaming below.

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Don’t Sleep On The Ballet’s ‘I Blame Society’

I bought my first actual CD in forever at NYC Popfest at The Bell House on Saturday night, from a band I didn’t even see, because I loved (but lost) the previous album (which isn’t even on iTunes? terrible), and to all appearances, many of the amazing songs Flowers played are yet unreleased, and The Bats killed, but I have everything they’ve ever done already. Great call, me: I Blame Society by The Ballet, officially out on June 10, is a perfect summer pop record.

Ages ago—or in 2009, same difference—Pitchfork compared the first single from Bear Life, “Chinatown,” to one of the more upbeat numbers in The Magnetic Fields repertoire. That ear for melody and talent for totally assured, pitch-perfect vocals certainly holds across both albums, and titles like “Cruel Path” and “Difficult Situations” should alert you to the winningly dry and direct lyrics.

The standout, however, is a hopelessly blunt question: “Is Anybody Out There?” Dropping in where chillwave and shoegaze merge for a pink swell of cascading guitar and synth pads, the track just so happens to boast a superbly fitted music video—I think that’s where I’m getting the “pink” description from. Bear Life may be a chore to track down, but unlike its predecessor, I Blame Society is on Spotify, so you no longer have any excuse not to become as obsessed with The Ballet as I am.

 

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Boards Of Canada Reveal Deadly Serious New Song

We had a feeling that Tomorrow’s Harvest, the hotly anticipated new album from Scottish electronic duo Boards of Canada, would be a dark affair—they’ve released strange snippets of creepy ambiance in a secretive, puzzle-ish way—and now “Reach For The Dead,” initially broadcast in Japan, confirms it. Almost by title alone. Below, hear the band’s first new music in seven years, set to a vivid short film by Neil Krug.

The visuals, like the song, attain a weird beauty that’s in part dependent upon a crucial absence: there are no people to see in these barren landscapes, and no vocals to hear in this sun-blasted desert of sound. It would seem BoC has gone more minimal than usual this time out: for the first half of this you get the impression you’re listening to an unusually subdued John Carpenter track. When the synth arpeggios and drums drop in, it’s more like John Carpenter end credits.

In other words, yes, it’s a bit spooky. It also seems to have quickly ignited a debate about who can claim responsibility for this type of moody set piece: over on YouTube they’re arguing about whether this rips off middle-era Radiohead. For reference, BoC’s Music Has the Right to Children was 1998, and Kid A the year 2000, so we’re pretty sure Thom Yorke was influenced by them rather than vice versa. Either way, an arresting new piece that promises to be but a part of a larger and masterful suite.  

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