There’s been a hole in our hearts lately where dance-rock bands of yore used to reside. De Lux fill that hole admirably with immediate, expansive dance rockers that aren’t short on detail or hooks. “Better at Making Time” opens the album subtly, letting its disco bass groove enter four minutes in after giving Sean Guerin’s David Byrne-ish vocals a chance to sink in. “Movements” is a true groover, made up of a bunch of interlocking parts—a simple-yet-effective bassline and guitar lick in lockstep, washy synths and chiming bells—while Guerin’s vocals get wilder and wilder. The duo of multi-instrumentalists Guerin and Isaac Franco let each song breathe and unfold at its own speed, giving it a couple minutes in “I’ve Got to Make a Solid Statement (No More Likes & Ums)” before singing a word so we that Stevie Wonder-style clavinet and spacey effects can soak in. Of course, when they get to it, as on the superb “Love Is a Phase,” the result is a space-disco opus that leaves you head over heels for the band. Though Voyage is stuffed with cool references, they never feel forced or overdone. It feels as though the young band has digested decades of smart party jams and picked the choices parts to make their own thing—though you could compare them to LCD Soundsystem or The Rapture, for instance, on songs like “Make Space,” most of the time De Lux never sound imitative of those bands, as tunes like the interstellar “On the Day” stand completely on their own. It makes Voyage all the more pleasurable, and not at all in a guilty way. Smart disco-punk that makes us dance while satisfying our inner music-snobs? We’ll take it and more, please.
Amoeba is proud to present The Drop: Mary Gauthier at the GRAMMY Museum April 21 at 8 p.m. Doors are at 7:30, and tickets are $20; get them here.
As part of The Drop’s new Americana music series, folk artist Gauthier will appear for an interview, moderated by vice president of The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, Scott Goldman, after which she’ll perform a set of songs.
Mary Gauthier’s throaty, world-weary voice, gothic-country acoustic guitar playing and detailed storytelling have won her praise from the likes of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Though she’s a stoic persona, Gauthier’s music packs an emotional wallop.
Her story goes back to being an adopted child and teenage runaway. Gauthier first found shelter amongst drug addicts and drag queens. Though she eventually came to be a chef with her own restaurant, a crippling heroin addiction threatened her success and led to her arrest.
Now sober, Gauthier traded her chef’s apron for a guitar—she didn’t write her first song until her mid-30s, for all you late bloomers out there—and the six albums she’s released have been critically acclaimed, with 2005’s Mercy Foundling garnering the Americana Music Association's New/Emerging Artist of the Year distinction, and 2011’s The Foundling being named the No. 3 Record of the Year by the Los Angeles Times.
Mac DeMarco wrongly gets called “slacker rock.” At only 23 he’s releasing his third album, and it’s one of the best things we’ve heard all year. The title track is a swaying, gleefully glum blues track, its charming, singalong quality masking some quarterlife crisis (“Always feeling tired, smiling when required/write another year off and kindly resign,” suggesting some darkness behind DeMarco’s goofy grin). “Brother” features DeMarco sumptuously singing while milky guitars dance beneath the surface. It’s one of the loveliest tunes he’s ever produced. Songs like “Goodbye Weekend,” with its woozy, intoxicating guitar line and lovely jazz tones, speak to what a strong songwriter DeMarco has always been beneath it all. And while he’s all the better for ditching some of the affectations he sported on the still-great Rock and Roll Night Club in favor of a streamlined sound he’s dubbed “jizz jazz,” DeMarco can still pull some conceptually striking songs, like “Passing Out the Pieces,” which uses heavily effected harpsichord and booming synth-bass to create miraculous millennial psychedelia, pulling in some of the good ol’ Beatles/Kinks/Beach Boys influence he’s seemed to (probably smartly) avoid showing thus far in his career. Salad Days shows DeMarco to be a classical songwriter with the ability to turn an amiable, if not immediately memorable, voice and intricate yet mangled guitarwork into tunes that pull at you in unexpected, emotional ways. So he can’t be bothered to shower or cut his hair—we wouldn’t have it any other way.
San Francisco drag luminary Peaches Christ and “Rupaul’s Drag Race” winner Jinkx Monsoon will star in the L.A. premiere of original drag show “Return to Grey Gardens” April 5 at Wilshire Ebell Theatre.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Regular tickets are $30 in advance or $35 the day of, while VIP tickets (which grant you a seat in the VIP section, a signed “Great Gardens” program and VIP entrance at the door) are $100 in advance, $105 the day of. Get all tickets here.
TIP: If you sign up for Peaches Christ’s fanclub, you get a code for $2 off tickets. You can sign up here.
The show, which is written and directed by Peaches Christ, parodies the Maysles’ documentary Grey Gardens, about Edith Beale (Little Edie) and her mother (Big Edie), eccentric relatives of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy who bicker and live surreal lives in virtual isolation and let their house fall into disarray. The drag show is set 40 years in the future, documenting the lives of an aging drag mother and her bitter drag daughter who continue to perform for an empty house, delving into their backstories and future.
Guest stars at the show will include actor Thomas Dekker (All About Evil and Gregg Araki’s Kaboom) and L.A. drag star Squeaky Blonde. The show runs 90 minutes, with the Either Edie Costume Contest to follow, hosted by Peaches Christ and judged by Jinkx Monsoon. Audience members are invited to dress up as either Little Edie or Big Edie, so find your best silk scarf and fur coat and join in!
OFF! Collaborate With Shepard Fairey on Record Store Day Cover
Hardcore supergroup/purveyors of awesome minute-long songs OFF! have collaborated with artist Shepard Fairey (who did the Obama “Hope” poster, if you’ve been living under a rock inside a cave on a deserted island) for the cover of their Record Store Day 7” Learn to Obey. True to form, it’s fast, furious and over before you know it. It’s out on RSD, April 19. Read more about how this whole thing came together via Esquire—it should be no surprise that Fairey, who got his start as a street artist from the skateboarding scene, is a hardcore fan.
Antwon – “Rain Song” featuring Lil Ugly Mane, production by Shawn Kemp
Antwon’s goth-rap track “Rain Song” builds its dusky mood over a full minute before he or cohort Lil Ugly Mane deliver a single rhyme. Antwon, who used to be raps about devotion, temptation and increasing paranoia while Shawn Kemp’s cathedralesque production drips all over everything. Antown and co. recreate the feeling of being trapped, whether that’s physically during a rainstorm, or mentally (“He built up a wall to have somewhere to hide but anxiety’s coming from somewhere inside”). Heavy Hearted in Doldrums is due May 6.