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.
Here are 12 great albums that are coming out soon. Better save your pennies!
Out March 18
Atlanta’s finest, scuzziest garage rock band is back with its seventh album. It’s co-produced by The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. The video for “Boys in the Wood” has all kinds of homoerotic and drug-fueled forest mayhem.
Out March 18
This trio of sisters spins out serious pop (not pop-inflected goth or whatever) with the kind of easy, a capella style harmonies that come easy to siblings. I like to picture Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, all in their early 20s, singing along to Hanson in their parents’ car together as kids. Then, like, they grew up and moved to L.A. and started making music that references ’80s pop curios like Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. I don’t actually know their real story — I’ll have to investigate this further. For now, I can’t stop listening to their three-song EP, particularly the dancey “Forever.” Get it free here.
White Arrows – “Fireworks of the Sea”
White Arrows have been making it happen for a while now with superb live shows and a handful of released recordings hinting at the cool things they’d be doing down the line — I once called them “Paul Simon in space,” and I can’t really think of anything better than that at the moment to describe their sound, so we’ll just go with that. Their new song, “Fireworks of the Sea,” certainly fits that mold, with swirling synths intimating some digital acid trip over Mickey Schiff’s snaking vocal. Their debut EP hits April 3 from Votiv Music. They’ll be at the Roxy March 27. Listen over at Spin.
Our latest episode of What's In My Bag? features experimental, electronic goth artist Zola Jesus. Her most recent album, Conatus (Sacred Bones), has been on many Amoebites' year end Best Of and Music We Like lists.
Sharing her influences and interests, she picks up music from experimental electronic pioneer Daphne Oram, minimalist modern classical from Luigi Nono, and music from Hermann Nitsch's "Aktions," among other things (like a Gene Simmons KISS doll - wait for it after the credits roll).
If you want more Zola Jesus, she's performing in Los Angeles at the Natural History Museum on Friday, March 2 as part of their First Fridays series, along with another "What's In My Bag?" alum, EMA. That will be one hell of a powerful show! Advanced tickets are already sold out, but you should still be able to line up on the day of the event when they release a few more tickets.
Zola Jesus - What's In My Bag?
Watch and commen on YouTube
Join us on March 2nd from 5-10pm for a live performance from Zola Jesus and EMA, KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Chuck P, and guest lectures from Dr. Mike Brown ("Why Pluto Had to Die") and Doug Pearlstein ("The Evolving Universe").
Find out more HERE!