Crystal Castles (Photo courtesy The Windish Agency)
Fans of Toronto electronic outfit Crystal Castles let out a collective gasp when Alice Glass left the group to go solo in 2014. But producer Ethan Kath shrugged and suggested he always intended to collaborate with singers other than Alice, and he promptly recruited Edith Frances as the new Crystal Castles frontwoman.
On August 19, the electronic duo released a fourth Crystal Castles studio album, Amnesty (I) via Casablanca Records. Admirers of the band are likely to find it very reassuring as it hits all of the upbeat glitchy notes you would expect from Crystal Castles and Edith’s washed out vocals on songs such as “Concrete” dovetail nicely with the noise.
Watch the official music video for “Concrete” by Crystal Castles on YouTube:
In support of the new album, Crystal Castles hit the road on Tuesday, Sept. 6 in Carrboro, NC, and perform in a show at the Black Cat on Saturday, Oct. 8. It’s already sold out.
Other singles from the new album – “Frail” and “Deicide” — hit #1 on The Hype Machine, suggesting a reinvigoration of the Crystal Castles mythos. NME ranked the band’s self-titled debut album in 2008 at #39 in its list of Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade. In 2010, the second Crystal Castles album, (II), gave us the memorable “Not in Love,” which featured vocals by Robert Smith of The Cure. And in 2012, the third album (III) was the #1 album of the year on The Hype Machine.
The show is sold out!
Saturday, Oct. 8
Dash Berlin (Photo courtesy Armada Music)
Since breaking through with “Til the Sky Falls Down” in 2007, Dash Berlin has been a man on the move! He’s become a mainstay in the Armada Music roster, signed by Armin Van Buuren himself, and consequently went on to win a number of top DJ awards, including honors from DJ Mag.
Well, Dash Berlin (aka DJ Jeffrey Sutorius) has been busy making new music recently, and the Dutchman comes back to DC to spin some trance, progressive house, and more with a stop at Echostage on Friday, August 19. (That’s tomorrow!)
Listen to “Without the Sun,” a new single from Dash Berlin & Luca Perra on Soundcloud:
Get ready to dance to some uplifting dance music from a DJ master of the craft. Joining Dash Berlin is Pierce Fulton, an American prodigy in electro house and downtempo electronica.
Tickets are available online.
w/ Pierce Fulton
Friday, August 19
Broods (Photo courtesy The Windish Agency)
Brother and sister musical duo Broods have come a long way in a short time! Hailing from New Zealand, Georgia and Caleb Nott released their debut album in 2014 and then toured extensively. Now they’ve returned with a second album, Conscious, and they are performing at the 9:30 Club on Monday, August 1.
The sophomore album, released June 24 via Capitol Records, boasts a few key collaborations, including a guest appearance by Tove Lo on “Freak of Nature” and co-writing from fellow New Zealander Lorde on “Heartlines,” the upcoming next single from the record.
The first single, released in April, is “Free,” a pounding R&B-tinged synth track. Watch the official music video for “Free” by Broods on YouTube:
Broods recorded the new album in Los Angeles and New Zealand with production assistance from Joel Little (Lorde, Ellie Goulding, Jarryd James) as well as Alex Hope (Troye Sivan) and Captain Cuts (Halsey, Tove Lo).
Speaking of Jarryd James, the Australian alt-R&B singer is opening for Broods on this tour! Last month, he released a new single called “1000x,” which features a guest appearance by Broods! Give it a listen on Soundcloud, and turn up early to see Jarryd:
Tickets are available online.
w/ Jarryd James
Monday, August 1
Technophobia perform at the Black Cat on Sunday, July 17. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Dark electronic duo Technophobia swept up a bustling crowd and then scattered them in a swirling synth smackdown on Sunday night during a record release party at the Black Cat.
Now available, the Technophobia debut LP, Flicker Out, is a 10-song album that covers quite a lot of ground. My personal favorites on the album are songs like “The Principle” with its soaring vocals and crashing synths. (I keep anticipating the song to break out in Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” but that’s because it has that sort of catchy interplay between vocals and instruments.)
Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange performs at Motorco Park in Durham, NC, on Thursday, May 19.
As I disembarked a shuttle to downtown Durham outside The Carolina Theatre, the sounds of a protest against North Carolina’s House Bill 2 greeted me last Thursday. A group on the corner shouted out against a new law they saw as discriminatory against sexual identity.
As I peered up and down the street, a growing yet small southern city unfolded before me. I wasn’t in DC any longer.
Moogfest, the premier music festival dedicated to the synthesizer, moved across North Carolina to a new home in Durham this year for four days of performances, classes, talks, and exhibits over May 19-22, 2016, and it drew me there largely to cover many of its concert performances. But it’s impossible to ignore the time and place of such a festival, particularly when the Moogfest organizers themselves protested the passage of HB 2 and particularly when the attendees for the “festival of the future” are as diverse as those descending upon Durham.
Benjamin John Power of Blanck Mass (Photo by Alex De Mora)
Benjamin John Power of Blanck Mass had a busy year last year! Blanck Mass released a full-length album, Dumb Flesh, in May and followed that up with an EP, The Great Confuso, in November.
Blanck Mass originally eyed a U.S. tour in the midst of that but now rescheduled with a stop at DC9 on Tuesday, March 8.
The Great Confuso is 33 minutes of non-stop electronic music with the title track running in three parts over 18 minutes. “The Great Confuso” (Pt. I, II & III) features guest vocals from industrial legend Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. The other three songs on the EP are remixes from Dumb Flesh, including “Dead Format,” “Detritus,” and “No Lite” by Dalhous, Konx-Om-Pax, and Geneses P-Orridge respectively.
Listen to “The Great Confuso (Pt. I)” by Blanck Mass on Soundcloud:
Resident Advisor hailed Dumb Flesh as “Wagnerian blitzkrieg pop — a flaming meteor, an apocalyptic aftershock, a towering wall of sound.” It sounds to me like something you should hear live!
DC noisepunk trio Br’er open for Blanck Mass. Tickets are available online.
Tuesday, March 8
Jules Hale of Den-Mate (Photo courtesy Babe City Records)
Young musicians Mourn from Spain were set to play DC9 last summer but their opening act dropped off the bill.
DC9 put out the call for any band ready to fill the spot that day, and Den-Mate, the local dreampop quartet fronted by Jules Hale, jumped into the mix. The band impressed in their no-notice performance (on July 13, 2015)! Jules sings with a bluesy sometimes otherworldly voice, and she has a ton of energy, which she works off by jumping around during a show. The band bring an occasionally bright/occasionally foreboding vibe to rich lyrics.
Watch Den-Mate perform “DC Junkie” live at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center on Nov. 5, 2015:
Den-Mate released a self-titled demo album in 2013, and Babe City Records is publishing a remixed version of that album this week. To mark the occasion, Den-Mate are playing an album release show on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Black Cat.
You can listen to the demo version of that first album on Soundcloud (below) or better yet purchase the new version of the album from Babe City online.
DC punk trio Witch Coast and Baltimore experimental pop musician Sitcom (aka Jake Lazovick) open for Den-Mate. Tickets are available online.
w/ Sitcom and Witch Coast
Thursday, Feb. 25