Music Park: Pleasure Curses @ DC9 — 3/12/15

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Jahn Alexander and Evan Maxwell of the Pleasure Curses

A couple of cool synth aficionados and a sultry blonde sophisticate are leading bands that are quickly becoming DC’s most reliably entertaining double bill.

I’ve taken the opportunity to write about Furniteur, led by Brittany Sims, not long ago, but I haven’t yet had the chance to spotlight duo Jahn Alexander Teetsov and Evan Maxwell Grice of the Pleasure Curses. The two bands, which are labelmates at Prince George Records, have been pairing up for opportunities like opening for New York’s Vérité on Thursday at DC9 and DC groovemaster Outputmessage on Feb. 12 in a POV Live performance at the W Hotel.

The Pleasure Curses have been leading the charge among DC electronic bands for a few years now, refining their concert performances along the way. Last October, they released the single “Burn,” which kicked off their concert at DC9 Thursday. The song is a smoldering tribute to overcoming desire, and vocalist Jahn Alexander delivers the lyrics with smooth aplomb as he sways along to the beat.

Jahn can be expressive and a bit flamboyant in performance, occasionally strolling out into the audience if space allows. The crowd Thursday was packed closely to the stage, so Jahn kept to his space, but he was bobbing and weaving to the lyrics of “Double Digits” nonetheless. Depending on the mood, Jahn can go from dancing up a storm and literally reaching out to touch his audience to drawing his body in almost as if to hug himself while he continues to boogie along.

In the background, Evan Maxwell may be bopping along on the synthesizer or the guitar at any given moment. Although Jahn is more theatrical in performance than Evan, the multi-instrumentalist too takes the occasional turn in the spotlight.

The Pleasure Curses expanded their setlist Thursday with a cover of “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen, quite effectively putting their signature disco-synth spin to a familiar standard. The gents closed with “Bounce Above,” a song nominally about a failure to connect by being in the “right place on the wrong day.” It’s a really great track, and I can’t help but think of the description that blog “Acid Stag” used to describe its release in 2013 as “an absolute hypnotic killer that would fit right at home on the DFA Records roster.” It has the same sort of low-key, unhurried attitude that marked some of the better dance selections from the likes of Holy Ghost! or even the mighty LCD Soundsystem.

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If you haven’t yet seen the Pleasure Curses, the time is now, as they are in good form — and they are still very much accessible. Their next scheduled performance is at the Martin Luther King DC Library (901 G St. NW, DC) on Thursday, April 2. And they are adding shows regularly, whether as a headliner or as the go-to supporting act for synth-driven bands visiting DC. It’s particularly worth your time to catch them if they are sharing the bill again with Furniteur, as you’ll maximize your exposure to some fantastic local music.

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