Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos Opens Up About His Mental Disorder

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In a new Facebook post, Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos opened up about his bipolar disorder and dissasociative psychosis and the pain he felt reading hate comments online that brought him back to the days of being bullied as a child.

In his essay, he recalls performing at the Brooklyn Vegan/ Paste showcase in 2009 and having a psychotic break onstage:

“It was beyond a cry for help — that cry had been ignored, had been dismissed, had been mistaken for the antics of a ‘snowflake,'” he writes.

“And in this immensely defiant, beautiful way, I made it work,” he continues. “I ended up going to a hospital. My suicidality had reached such oversaturating, overwhleming shriek, and no one could understand it, so it was time to go away for a minute. That was later diagnosed as disassociative psychosis.”

He ultimately offers some sage wisdom condemning the hateful culture online anonymity has granted the fan/ celebrity world. “That is what trauma renders, and that is, in effect, in many ways, what trauma is. And most artists go through this every day. And most artists think this is the price. And most audiences believe the same thing. But we are not snowflakes. I am a really strong person. It took me awhile to realize this, but I am.”

Read the full post below:


Classixx Recruits Passion Pit for ‘Safe Inside’ (Listen)

Lifted off their forthcoming album Faraway Reach, DJ duo Classixx shares today a new song, “Safe Inside,” featuring Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos. The track follows collaborations with How to Dress Well and T-Pain, giving further insight into the bright, bouncy sound of their LP, due June 3 via Innovative Leisure.

“Shortly after finishing the instrumental, it occurred to us that Michael would make a great collaborator,” said Classixx’s Michael David about the Passion Pit frontman.  “We connected, flew to NY, and tracked vocals in Michael’s living room over a three day period. We had a ton of fun listening to music and realized that we shared almost identical high school influences.”

Listen, below:

This Week’s LA Happenings: John Allan’s Men’s Club, Graham Elliot at Son of a Gun, and Passion Pit

NOW: After 25 years on the cutting edge of men’s grooming, John Allan’s has finally opened a Men’s Club in Beverly Hills. Located at the Saks Men’s Store, it’s the type of place metrosexuals, homosexuals, and girlfriend’s boyfriends crash for a manly makeover. Here, it’s all about the haircuts (John Allan trained under Jean Louis David back in the day), though the signature service package includes a shoe shine, scalp massage, manicure, and hot towel. Come early for your appointment: there’s a lounge with a pool table, craft beer, and TVs to help you chill the eff out. No offense, buddy, but you could use it.

DETAILS: John Allan’s (9634 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills) is now accepting reservations and memberships. For more information on booking, check out the BlackBook Guides listing.

MONDAY: It’s not often a two-Michelin-starred chef from Chicago cameos in LA. Graham Elliot—who will be appearing on Fox’s Master Chef Season 4 next month—is making a guest appearance at Son of a Gun tonight and tomorrow with a special, five-course tasting menu. Expect innovative dishes like salmon confit, roe & chicharron with everything bagel spaetzle, dill schmear, red onion marmalade, and caper powder. It’s like breakfast in Brooklyn, only fancier.

DETAILS: The tasting menu is $100 per person plus tax, gratuity, and $40 supplement for wine pairings by sommelier Jamie Kluz. For more information on Son of a Gun (8370 W. 3rd St, West Hollywood), check out the listing in BlackBook Guides.

THURSDAY: If you’re not making it to Coachella this week, well, sorry. But you can still catch Passion Pit rocking out at Club Nokia. They’re one of very few Coachella acts to perform in Los Angeles outside of the music festival. Opening act Tanlines has been making waves with their hit "Not the Same."

DETAILS: Doors open at 8pm. For an exclusive BlackBook interview with Brooklyn-based Tanlines, read the story here. For more information on Club Nokia (800 W. Olympic Blvd, Downtown LA) visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

[Get the scoop first by subscribing to BlackBook Happenings, and browse the BlackBook LA Guide for all the best spots. On the go? Download the free, GPS-enabled BlackBook app for iPhone and Android]

Electronic Pop Duo Javelin Push Their Own Limits

For new fans of Javelin, a quick, comparative listen to the electronic duo’s most recent records may leave them in a dizzying state of sonic confusion. The samples looping throughout 2011’s Canyon Candy were culled from a collection of vintage records that could easily provide the soundtrack for any given Western picture, complete with lap steel licks, jangling guitars, organs, and the cavernous baritone voices of a handful of cowboys. Hi Beams, which drops today, couldn’t be a more drastic foil to the antique static George Langford and Tom Von Buskirk wrestled with and repurposed on Canyon Candy: lead-off track “Light Out” is ready for the dance floor, and “Nnormal,” Hi Beams first single, is a slow jam that rolls with inventive plays on Autotune and hip-hop percussion.

These records sound like they come from two very different bands (let alone two very different epochs), but Canyon Candy and Hi Beams have more in common than one can necessarily glean through their earbuds. “If you listen to the records side by side, it’s so funny,” says Von Buskirk. “Someone tweeted at us, ‘I like the new Javelin single and I’m excited about their new direction, but I’m going to miss the way that you could almost hear the limitations.’” Limitations? “We used to have these arbitrary rules for ourselves,” elaborates Langford. “We set limits for the body of work we could work with and the tools we could use. We sampled records only [on Canyon Candy], and only a certain subgenre of ’40s and ’50s cowboy music—not country, per se. It’s a very specific aesthetic. I guess with Hi Beams, the exercise was to work with the aesthetic of a pop album but not necessarily in the framework of current pop.”

It may not be intentionally poppy, but Hi Beams achieves this of-the-minute modernity effortlessly over the course of its ten tracks. The synth-ed out, built-up breakdowns of “Judgment Night” wouldn’t sound out of place in a DJ set that features Passion Pit and Foster the People (who Langford and Von Buskirk opened for when the “Pumped Up Kicks” chart-toppers spun at a National History Museum’s planetarium party earlier this month) and unlike Canyon Candy’s soundscapes, the new songs give listeners the chance to sing along as their songs include lyrics this time around—and catchy as hell ones at that.

“There were some new areas that we explored with this one, a different approach overall,” says Von Buskirk. “There are more lyrics; there’s more singing. Right when we first made it, we came home from the studio and there was some shock—like, ‘Holy crap, is this what it is?’ That was the biggest surprise with this record for us. It’s similar to if you’ve made a painting, and you’ve made this external thing that you know came from you, but maybe it’s a self-portrait when you look at it, and you’re like, ‘Did I really make that? Is it really me? Am I going to take that out into the world as me?’ We test ourselves in that way sometimes.”

Whether or not they can put a name to these self-portraits in MP3 form or categorize them according to genre isn’t of the utmost importance to Javelin, either. The variety present in their set list—which does include selections from Canyon Candy, despite how foreign “Estevez” and “Colorado Trail” seem when shuffled in with Hi Beams—speaks to this, especially considering the fact that Langford and Von Buskirk perform with little more than an electronic drum kit, a bass, a kazoo and a couple of microphones.

“It’s interesting that genre is still a constant topic, because I feel like people are so much more open to a wider range of music than ever before,” replies Langford, when asked about what genre Javelin identifies with. “I think the internet has a lot to do with that. I also feel like there’s a whole world of electronic live music and performers where it’s totally accepted to just have a table and some stuff and just be a dude standing there. That’s an artist performing live, but there isn’t a lot of energy onstage, and when you bring that to more of a rock audience, that does not fly. When we open for a lot of different kind of bands, we see crowds that understand what we’re doing. You need to find your niche audience that understands both worlds.”

Western soundtracks, EDM, experimental ambient, whatever: as demonstrated by their new record and the album that came before it, it’s clear to see that one can’t expect a forthcoming release from Javelin to sound a certain way. The good news is that it’ll introduce you to sounds you never saw coming—and that, though unclassifiable, their beat will keep you moving. 

Check out Javelin’s upcoming record release show on Friday, March 8 at Glasslands. Doors at 10pm and Hard Nips and Chances with Wolves are opening. $12 adv/$14 doors.

Photo by Tim Griffin.

Follow Hilary Hughes on Twitter.

From The Sex Scene To The Twist Ending: ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ Is Epic

Here are some things you need to know about Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

1.     There’s a sex scene that makes you feel like you took E and a hit of a bong, drank a milkshake, and are discovering human touch for the first time in your life. This song plays the entire time.

2.     Every part involving Bella & Edward’s child Renesmee Cullen melts your heart into a tiny puddle of butter and love.

3.     Out-of-place clothing choices:

– In one scene, Robert Pattinson wears a hoodie that looks like he just cleaned out his garage.

– In one of the last scenes, Kristen Stewart wears a dowdy striped shirt with her hair messily up as if she just mopped up Renesmee’s spilled apple juice.

4.     In the opening scene, this song plays, restoring your faith in the magic of life, synth, and light reggae beats.

5.     There’s a twist ending that will blow your mind and it’s too epic to talk about.

I hope you’re ready…

Passion Pit Plays ‘Saturday Night Live’

If you missed Passion Pit on Saturday Night Live last night, then you missed Michael Angelakos, the most adorable man in the universe, being adorable.

The band performed Take A Walk and Carried Away, two songs off this year’s Gossamer album. I’m happy to see Angelakos has returned and is seemingly feeling better after canceling several tour dates this summer to take care of his mental health. He confessed to Rolling Stone this summer that he has been coping with bipolar disorder since age 17 and had a bout of depression this summer that he took time off to treat.

In addition to being frickin’ adorable and talented, I also highly respect him for being public about his mental illness. When the flipping-out-in-the-tabloids celebrities like Sinead O’Connor (who has publicly confirmed she has bipolar disorder) and Britney Spears (who has never publicly confirmed it, but we all kind of know, don’t we?) are the primary famous examples we see of dealing with mental illness, it looks grim. But Michael Angelakos has been candid about treating his illness, and how its something he has to treat his entire life.

Cheers to him and the rest of Passion Pit for a great performance last night, which you can watch below:  



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BlackBook’s Outside Lands After Party in San Francisco

BlackBook Magazine Teamed up with DFM and Drambuie to host the Outside Lands After Party at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco this past weekend. With DJ sets from Shuttle of Passion Pit and Lights Down Low DJs Richie Panic and Sleazemore, this surely was a night to remember. Fitz and the Tantrums even stopped by to party with the rest of the festivalgoers! 

A Bouncing Ball Goes a Long Way in Passion Pit’s ‘Take a Walk’ Video

Next month, electro-emoters Passion Pit will release their sophomore album, Gossamers. They’ve already dropped a couple of songs from the album, but today, they released the video for "Take a Walk," a bouncy, circus-like jaunt that, quite appropriately, is shot from the perspective of a bouncing ball thrown by singer Michael Angelakos through the streets of Philadelphia. Impossible physics aside, it’s charming and very Big Fish-era Tim Burton, so check it out after the click.

Director David Wilson’s website is filled with other cool stuff, if you’d like to check it out. Gossamers is out on July 24.

Passion Pit Kills New Single at Webbys

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Passion Pit, the Boston-based electro pop group that was perhaps 2009’s most swayed-to band. After the release of that year’s debut LP Manners, the band hit the road and has been relatively low key ever since.

Earlier this month, the Pit released “Take A Walk,” the first single off Gossamer, their second record due out in July. It’s a charmer of a track that shows off the band’s growth while assuring us that what we liked about them so much the first time around is still firmly in place.

Monday night, the band took to the stage at the most important awards show for people with Carpal tunnel syndrome, The Webbys. Looking like a million bucks—which they’ve surely earned by now, what with the Palm Pilot commercials and all—the band played “Walk” and did a damn fine job. Check it out, below.