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WE ARE CREEP.
The deliberately stirring Exitmusic is Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church plays on the juxtaposition of sensual, airy melodies and gritty textures, hook-driven pop and vagabond shoegaze. Their forthcoming EP From Silence will be their Secretly Canadian debut, and in June they dropped a track called "The Sea," an instant favorite of Pitchfork and the blogosphere.
Having released seven solo albums in eight years Adam Green is already renowned around the globe as one of music’s most unique and prolific song writing talents.
A New York native, Green was just 17-years old when he recorded and released his first album. As part of the downtown antifolk scene at the end of the nineties he made up one-half of The Moldy Peaches, the acclaimed duo with Kimya Dawson that enjoyed belated mainstream success via the Grammy-winning soundtrack of the 2007 Academy Award-winning movie Juno.
As a skinny and effervescently articulate teenager he was a regular fixture at East Village music clubs. His poignant and idiosyncratic song writing was matched by a contagious excitement and enthusiasm for his craft. Since then, the former troubadour wunderkind has become a notable figure to indie-pop fans around the world, making regular appearances in arts and culture magazines, television shows, music clubs and festivals. In Europe he established himself as a bone fide pop star with chart hits like “Jessica”, “Emily” and “Morning After Midnight”. When The Moldy Peaches belatedly found their place at #1 on the Billboard Charts, via the Juno soundtrack, Green had already enjoyed a string of successful albums under his own name and was deep into the creation of his films and visual art.
Recently his almost eruptive bursts of creativity have led him into the world of movies and visual arts, with writing/producing/directing and acting in The Wrong Ferarri,- a feature length “screwball tragedy” shot entirely on the iPhone and starring Macaulay Culkin, Alia Shawkat, Devendra Banhart, BP Fallon and Sky Ferreira – as well as the staging of four visual art exhibitions in New York City.
While on tour for his album Gemstones in 2005 Green exhibited a series of drawings called Animal Dreams at Loyal Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden. Following his debut NYC art show Teen Tech in 2010 Green became the first artist to show at Dustin Yellin’s Red Hook space, The Intercourse, with his Cartoon And Complaint exhibition. Cartoon And Complaint, inspired by such disparate characters as Garfield and Aladdin, was quickly followed by another solo exhibition, Houseface, at The Hole gallery in downtown NYC in August 2012. Exhibition A will be releasing a print from that show at the end of October 2012. Most recently he has formed an art collective 3MB with Macaulay Culkin and Toby Goodshank. Their first exhibit Leisure Inferno opened at Le Poisson Rouge Gallery in October 2012.
While creating visual art and film has become a fully realized passion for Green, his boundless energy for creative arts has most recently resulted in a brand new musical project. Adam Green & Binki Shapiro’s debut eponymous album will be released in January 2013. The bi-coastal friendship-turned-musical-partnership is one of tender duets, written by the pair in the wake of coincidentally simultaneous romantic disappointments.
Of his now multifaceted career Green, says: “You know how people are always looking for a unifying theory? I was looking for a unifying theory of artistic expression. I was trying to create some kind of fluidity within my music, art, writing. If you listen to my songs, you see they’re kind of cartoonish. I try to make songs like my paintings. When creating my movie, I tried to create more of a song.”
"His music is reminiscent of tender makeout sessions from 1987. Or how I imagine it would be if I hadn't been six at the time," tweets @billbergstrom. And it's true, there's a lushness and warmth to Pfenning's new songs that is nevertheless anything but sleepy – this is intense, sexual, lush-warm music. Not unlike the man himself.
In 2005 Aaron started the group that would first draw him serious attention, Chairlift. After producing an initial full-length (2007's "Daylight Savings") at Elliott Smith's studio in Los Angeles, the band relocated to New York, wrote & co-produced a new batch of songs ("Does You Inspire You" (2008)), and signed to Columbia Records. Chairlift toured everywhere people like bands, playing with such indie jewels as The Killers, Phoenix, Ariel Pink, John Maus, and MGMT. They did Bonnaroo, Lollapallooza, & All Points West, soundtracked an iPod commercial, and received an MTV VMA nomination for "Evident Utensil." After a vigorous two years working the Chairlift record, Aaron shifted his attention to Rewards early this year.
"Are you 'Rewards' for this bio?" the author wanted to know. "Aaron Pfenning IS Rewards, baby snakes," is what Aaron Pfenning texted back. This is very literally true. Over the last eight months, as Aaron has applied his gentle-yet-assured touch to the crafting of his new album, he has played all of the instruments, produced and engineered all of the recordings. For performances, he has experimented with everything from a solo show to a five-piece (including, yes, a two-piece, three-piece, and four-piece), always anchored by his seductive, leonine stage-presence and utterly unique vocals that swing easily from a croon to a howl.
Brandon Flowers told Entertainment Weekly, "It reminds me of the desert, the way he plays. That's something that I try to capture myself. I'm a little jealous that he does it so effortlessly."
Albert Hammond Jr. (DJ Set)
Albert Hammond, Jr. (born 9 April 1980, in Los Angeles) is a musician and member of the rock band The Strokes.
The son of songwriter Albert Hammond, Albert Jr. was sent to the elite boarding school Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland at the age of 13. While there, he met Julian Casablancas, who would go on to be a fellow band member.
In 1998, Albert met up with Julian in New York City and together they formed a band with Julian's former schoolmates: Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti.
The Strokes today are a successful band, arguably because of their ability to produce albums of great sound and lyrics while overcoming the 'wealthy heirs' stigma.
Albert is currently engaged to Catherine Pierce, one-half of the folk singing group The Pierces. His trademark is wearing formal suits, usually a different one for each show. Albert is usually seen playing an olympian white Fender Stratocaster, or bandmate Nick Valensi's Les Paul Jr. He is usually associated with the "rhythm" guitar portion of the majority of Strokes songs, and most solos are played by Valensi. The solos in which Albert does play are Last Nite, Trying Your Luck, Take It Or Leave It, Under Control, The End Has No End, Ize Of The World, and Vision Of Division. His solos tend to focus largely on more emotional, "bluesy"-type melodical work, and the guitar tends to have a cleaner, softer tone in comparison to Valensi's (with a noteable exception found in Vision Of Division). He often holds the guitar in a high horizontal position, similar to Bob Dylan.
Although vocalist Julian Casablancas is the major contributor to the songwriting process for The Strokes' music, Albert has been known to write a few pieces of his own. He has been credited to writing three mostly instrumental songs (Swiss Beats, Holland, and By The Way) for the bands' 2001 tour video entitled "In Transit". He had also written a song called "Elephant Song", in which Albert used when he was was required to record a song for his Sound 101 class in freshman year, using the school's recording equipment. The song was played at a few shows before the release of their first album. The Strokes was to later rerecord the song as a special giveaway for fanclub members.
Hammond released his debut solo album on October 9th in the UK. Entitled "Yours to Keep," the album features musical guests such as Sean Lennon, Ben Kweller, and even The Strokes' manager Ryan Gentles and lead singer Julian Casablancas. Bassist Josh Lattanzi and drummer Matt Romano serve as the backing band, with Albert the main singer and guitarist. It was produced by former Thin Lizard Dawn vocalist Greg Lattimer at the Electric Ladyland Studios.
Hammond played his first solo dates at the end of October in a few cities including New York City and Philadelphia. He is set to tour the UK and Europe in November and December 2006, and provides support to Incubus on their forthcoming US tour of January/February 2007.
He has no plans to leave The Strokes, and will join them in the studio sometime in Spring 2007 to begin work on album number four. Hammond also has plans for further solo albums.
Blood Orange (DJ Set)
Life moves pretty fast, and Devonte Hynes keeps busy. The ten tracks on Coastal Grooves cement his triumphant solo return this summer – as Blood Orange – to the world of popular music. Here, in an already long and bogglingly varied career, is the most exciting selection of songs that this celebrated polymath has ever assembled. Dev moves pretty fast, and Blood Orange gets busy. Following the huge acclaim for his previous incarnation, the Houston-born, Essex-raised, 25 year-old indie bratpack posterboy Artist Formerly Known as Lightspeed Champion has completely lost his voice and crashed out of the scene spectacularly. He’s taken time out, had major surgery, not spoken a word for two months, disbanded his band, played in a bunch of new ones, re-learned to talk, re-learned to sing, struck out solo and lived and loved in London, New York and Los Angeles (mostly New York). Throughout these Fast Times at Devonte High, one thing has remained constant: he’s been writing an absolute shitload of amazing songs. Though he’s increasingly in demand as a songwriter and producer, it’s one-man DIY project Blood Orange that has grown to be his one true love. “You’re always your own best critic,” says Dev, “so if you like it, then you must be doing something right. It took me a long time to get to this point, and now that I’ve got here, I’m really kind of relaxed about it all. I’m so content with the music I’ve done, because I know I like it, and I’m down with it.” It is difficult not to be down with the sultry and infectious teen-dreamy pop sound of Dev’s new direction in writing. Blood Orange songs are subtly layered, stripped-down, bedroomy-sounding electronic compositions. They thread a heartstring-tugging line from the angst and urgency of new wave, through eighties power-pop, to the bounce and sex of American swing and R&B. There’s a palpable new obsession with oriental melodies, much technical electric guitar shredding, and on top of it all, Dev’s gobsmacking new vocal style. He’s gone from ‘guy-singing-in-a-band’ to ‘virtuoso-soul-crooner-who-sounds-like-Prince’s-edgier-little-sister.’ The result is intoxicating and addictive; a moody and atmospheric pop alchemy that’s as at home on the nightclub dancefloor as it is on the nightbus comedown. Over a year ago, when Blood Orange was still in its infancy, Dev was referring to it as his “slightly disco Chris Isaak oriental thing.” That’s basically what it still is.
After the manic experimental noise of the Test-Icicles and the eloquent alt-folk of Lightspeed Champion, Dev’s new sound is the result of an overt attempt to finally just please himself. “As long ago as three years back,” he explains; “around the time I’d finished writing the last Lightspeed album, I was working on these songs that I’d just make into mixes for myself. They were things I would make to listen to when I was out riding my bike or on my skateboard or whatever. I didn’t play them to anyone for ages, and I came to realize that for the first time ever, really, I was trying to write the kind of music that I actually wanted to hear.” This revelation about the music’s intention came to Dev around the same time that he started making a name for himself as a songwriter-for-hire. As well as producing and writing for renowned up-and-comer Theophilis London, he’s penned hits for a gloriously diverse spectrum of artists that covers everyone from The Chemical Brothers to the cast of Saturday Night Live. Writing with Florence + The Machine, X-Factor’s Diana Vickers and Beyonce’s little sister Solange Knowles, however, forced Dev’s writing to put itself through a kind of ideological sex change. Now, he proudly announces, he sings, thinks and writes like a girl. “The stories on the new record are nearly all told from female perspectives,” he points out; “…and I was really trying to make my voice sound properly androgynous. I think lot of that came from writing all those songs for girls, and having to make that girlish register become natural to me. Slowly, eventually; it has done. I’m at a point now where every single song I write; I’m thinking about a girl singing it. It comes natural to me now.” From its transgender coverstar to the subject matter of the songs, a kind of romantic fogginess about gender hangs like a haze over much of Coastal Grooves. “Every song is a story” says Dev; “And I always knew what I wanted these stories to be about. It’s an album about escapism, and running away, and the idea of freedom. There’s a lot of people running away in these songs. A big influence was Octavia Laurent; the transgender model from New York in the eighties. She died two years ago from cancer and HIV. I was thinking about her a lot, writing this record, and the idea of having this one place that you can go to and really be yourself.” It was actually whilst researching Octavia that Dev came across pictures from Sally’s Hideaway, a club in Times Square from 1990-93. Dev messaged the site contact and began a conversation with the photographer, Brian Lance, who had taken these photos and had also appeared in one of the films that inspired Blood Orange, Paris Is Burning. Brian’s photos now adorn the album and single sleeves for the Blood Orange campaign. So what do transgender models in eighties New York have to do with this Essex boy who did most of his growing up in the nineties? A bit like transgender models, there’s more to this than first appears on the surface: “I was living in New York,” Dev recalls, “…and I just kept thinking about how, at a certain point in the eighties it was really hard to be black, let alone gay and black, let alone transgender, gay and black. And I felt that kind of prejudice growing up, straight and black Romford. I mean I felt the effects of gay prejudice, against me directly, even though I’m straight. I grew up with people being homophobic to me, just because of the stuff I was into and how I looked. It’s weird, because I was into sports, and I played on the football and basketball teams, but I was also playing cello in the school orchestra, and I was in the Chess Club. I was into hip hop, and knew the words to every rap song out, but I was also heavily into Marylin Manson. That just didn’t really ever fly in Romford at the time. It didn’t go down well.” To be honest, asking about Dev’s influences is like opening a can of worms about the size of an aircraft carrier. He’s a truly obsessive geek for music, and knows what he likes – and exactly what he likes – with an intimacy that veers into the arena of just plain weird. This album, he says, was most acutely inspired by “Cyndi Lauper…but a really specific period of her music, around the time of her second record, when she was co-writing songs with the rock guitarist Rick Derringer” and “Chris Isaak, Billy Idol, and the Belgian singer F.R. David.” Coastal Grooves also displays a heavy interest in distinctly oriental-sounding melodies. Dev recalls an epiphanic moment on his first visit to Tokyo, when the simple melody of a train system announcement tripped his synesthesia and blew his mind completely. “After that I started really delving in deep into more traditional eastern melodies – melodies that you don’t really hear too much in everyday western culture – and really trying to figure out what’s more pleasing to listen to. I’m a huge fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto, who’s in Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi: they were both a huge influence on the album. There’s ideas from traditional oriental music all the way through. I just want to go for the most satisfying melodies now. More than anything, I want Blood Orange to be really satisfying to listen to.” Blood Orange is definitely really satisfying to listen to. Devonte has got his groove back and hit his writing stride. His new one-man live show has been honed to near-perfection in the dive bars of New York City, and it is currently blowing minds all over the world. It consists of just a backing track and our Dev (new trademark hat: backwards baseball cap) shredding his Stratocaster like Prince and singing and dancing like a heartbroken gangster of love. He has sexed his whole shtick up, and it works a treat. “It was a real gradual change,” remembers Dev; “I just kept booking shows in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, and it’s funny because now I’m known to all my friends as the guy who won’t tell them that he’s playing shows. I’d just book the shows and turn up by myself and play them. But it was the only way I could practice! I’ve never had a practice space in my entire life. For the longest time I honestly just used to show up in a random bar, on a random night, on my own with just my laptop and my guitar.” Young and free and out there on his own, the young Devonte Hynes has made a truly cutting-edge album of perfectly beautiful songs. Coastal Grooves sounds old, it sounds new, it sounds like nothing that anyone else has ever done before. It’s black and proud. It kills dancefloors. It breaks hearts. “I’m pretty sure that the next album I do is going to be a Blood Orange one…” says Dev (reassuringly!), “I’ve already got it finished, and I have to say – and am honestly never the person say this kind of thing normally – it is actually fucking awesome.” We believe him.
Certain Creatures (DJ Set)
Oliver Chapoy’s (ex-Warm Ghost) Certain Creatures project provides two tracks of equally gritty, arguably dance tunes perfectly suited for headphone hauntings or Halloween raves. Narrated by Ike Yard (Stuart Argabright, a.k.a. Black Rain), “Sparkle” composes the 12-inch’s A-side with a nightmarish hallucination of urban throb and ambulatory paranoia. The track is effectively split into two parts, with the first half’s amorphous din shrouds the space with disorienting intent, leaving the second half to remove the blindfold, find it’s own way and make sense of it all. Luckily, Chapoy’s refined take on impulsive yet careful synth experimentation charts a litter-strewn path paved with ephemeral static and sub-bass foundation. In this light, Chapoy and Argabright are the modernized Suicide, translating the deranged focus and grotesque beauty of the legendary NYC no wave duo into the modern era. Impossibly deep low-ends riddle the path with world collapsing scope, recalling Raime’s or Emptyset’s speaker-destroying expansions without the posturing. Argabright’s frazzled mutterings play out like a burnt-out wayfarer, dropping insights like bits of fabric from a tattered, hobo-chic shroud but with an air of class nonetheless. B-side “Bosch” wastes no time launching its spaciously careening blitz of post acid thrash and guitar trash accompaniment. - Bobby Power // Decoder Magazine