Review: Class Actress and Penguin Prison at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Posted by The G on December 31, 2011 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

December 30, 2011 was an epic night.  New York based dance pop bands Class Actress and Penguin Prison got New York in a dancing mood as they performed a double bill of greatness at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg.  2011 has seen the meteoric rise to fame for both groups and I am certain that 2012 will see even higher heights for Class Actress and Penguin Prison.

From the second Class Actress hit the stage, an all out dance party ensued as lead singer Elizabeth Harper’s sexy vocals over lush beats got the crowd ready to groove.  Performing songs from her excellent EP “Journal of Ardency” and her full length debut “Rapprocher,” the crowd went wild as we danced to songs like the ultra funky “Keep You,” “Limousine,” “Let Me Take You Out,” and “Careful What You Say.”

Penguin Prison

Penguin Prison

The crowd was ready to groove by the time Penguin Prison took the stage, and like the music of Class Actress, every song played is catchy and knows how to rev the audience up.  Lead singer Chris Glover jumps into the crowd, plays guitar behind his head and delivers the funk.  His set consisted of songs such as the infectious “In The Way,” “Desert Cold,” “Something I’m Not,” “Animal Animal,” “Don’t Fuck With My Money,” and he also performed his excellent remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans.”  2012 is going to be a huge year for Class Actress and Penguin Prison and for those that got to witness this great double bill, all we can say is thanks for a great night!

I’ve been really lucky to see both bands introduce their new material to receptive audiences and it’s so cool to see that in a few short months, the entire venue is singing along to the songs.  It’s only going to get bigger for Class Actress and Penguin Prison and I am so excited for their futures!

If you don’t know the music of Penguin Prison or Class Actress, I suggest you remedy that right now.  Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!

 

A2G’s Top 21 Songs of 2011

Posted by The G on December 12, 2011 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

2011 was a better than normal year for good tunes.  In no particular order, here’s a list of 21 songs that made my world a lot groovier.  I don’t think that all of the tracks were released as singles, and if they were, many of these gems were probably not played in a mainstream way (like the radio).  That’s sad, especially when over-produced pop songs that sound good on ONE LISTEN ONLY are played ad nauseum to the masses while they open their mouths wide for something to suck on.

Jack White

Jack White

Love is Blindness” by Jack White.  This came out of nowhere!  For the 20 year *gulp* anniversary of U2’s epic album “Achtung Baby,” UK Magazine Q enlisted a ton of A-Listers to cover the entire record.  The whole thing is great and features the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Glasvegas and Patti Smith, who all newly recorded covers for this collection.  Jack White’s cover of the final track “Love Is Blindness” is so freakin’ amazing, the first time I heard it, I knew it was immediately on this list.  It’s gut wrenching and though I already loved the original version, this version is even more emotional.

Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz

Superlove” by Lenny Kravitz.  I am a big Lenny Kravitz fan and I’ve been really disappointed with his last 3 studio albums.  So much of his newer material sounds really uninspired, unfortunately.  However, when you hear a track like the 70’s laid back jam “Superlove,” it just proves that Lenny still has “IT.”  Also great from Lenny in 2011 is the funky as hell track “Come On Get It.”

Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost

Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!

Hold My Breath” by Holy Ghost! I actually like every song on Holy Ghost!’s self-titled debut album, but looking at my iPod stats, this is the song that I listened to the most (aside from “Do It Again,” but that song technically came out in 2010).   Holy Ghost! Recently offered a free download of their cover of Ministry’s “I Wanted To Tell Her,” and it’s amazing!   Search the archives and download it for a limited time!

Christopher Owens of Girls

Christopher Owens of Girls

Vomit” by Girls.  This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.  In case you have not heard the song, it has nothing to do with puking, but it’s a gut wrenching song.  Chris Owens’ vocals are so vulnerable as he sings about looking for love.  The song has a nice build up and the climactic ending features backing vocals that would make Pink Floyd proud.  When Owens sings the final lines “Come into my heart,” you will want to beat up the person that broke his heart!  I highly recommend the entire record “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” as it’s epic from start to finish.

Duran Duran

The Man Who Stole A Leopard” by Duran Duran.  Ever wonder what “classic era” Duran Duran would sound like in 2011?  Just pick up their album “All You Need Is Now” to find out the answer!  Mark Ronson, a huge Duran Duran fan, produced their new record and he suggested that Duran Duran don’t try to sound like anyone else – except themselves.  The result is one of their best albums ever and “The Man Who Stole A Leopard” to me sounds like it could be “The Chauffeur 2011.”

Jonny Pierce of The Drums

Jonny Pierce of The Drums

If He Likes It Let Him Do It” by The Drums.  This song has a little bit of everything.  It’s got some rock, surf, pop and dance elements to it and the chorus (which features the title of the song) is hauntingly catchy.  I’ve read that The Drums will be taking a dancier direction for their next record (hopefully a’la Jonny Pierce’s other band Elkand), and I am very excited to hear it.

Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke

Lotus Flower” by Radiohead.  Finally a band who knows how to get Lotus Flower right!  This song is an uncommonly catchy Radiohead track.  It didn’t help matters when the video was released and it shows front man Thom Yorke living in the moment and dancing like the world is about to end.  Every time I hear that song now, I can’t help but do the “Lotus Flower” dance.  It’s extra fun when I am in a crowded subway.

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

Blue Jeans (Penguin Prison Remix)” by Lana Del Rey.  This is a rare case when the remix is better than the original song.  The album version has a “noir” feel to it and this version is a club banger!  Lana Del Rey recently debuted many songs in concert from her 2012 release “Born To Die,” and I have a feeling she’s going to be a big star.  Put her on your radar now!

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison

Don’t Fuck With My Money” by Penguin Prison.  Speaking of Penguin Prison, I of course love every song on their debut record, but I’ve listened to the opening track more than all the others. I don’t see how a person wouldn’t fall in love with this song immediately because it’s catchy as hell, just like every song on the album.  I am not even saying these kind things because I appear in the music video for this song, but I can say, that is definitely a highlight of the year too!

Chris Martin of Coldplay

Chris Martin of Coldplay

Up In Flames” by Coldplay.  I appreciate that Coldplay decided to go against the grain and make a pop record for 2011’s “Mylo Xyloto,” but overall, I am not digging the album too much.  I do like the song “Up In Flames” though a lot.  It’s your typical Coldplay ballad, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with them in the first place.

Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib

Come Alive” by Hanni El Khatib.  Hanni El Khatib’s music has a little bit of everything – blues, soul, garage, doo-wop and punk.  I’ve seen him in concert many times and this track is one of my favorites to see performed live. I hope that one day Hanni El Khatib will release a live album because the studio versions of his songs sound a little bit too polished as compared to the raw intensity of his performance.

Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires

Hurting” by Friendly Fires.  Disco!  I love this song!  Over the course of this year, I’ve gone through obsessions with this song where I listened to it over and over and over again.  It was just released as a single, which is great news!  Now the rest of the world can enjoy it as much as I have.

Adele

Adele

Rolling In The Deep” by Adele.  This song was played to death, but I will say one thing – I have never gotten sick of it.  The song is just epic in every way.  From Adele’s amazing voice to the torch song music, the track is flawless.  She sings “We could have had it all,” but this song is proof that she HAS it all!  I find some of her music to be a bit snoozy, but this song is one I can listen to on repeat (and I have) and it’s great and more powerful with every listen.

Katy B 2

Katy B

Why You Always Here” by Katy B.  British newcomer Katy B has made a great dance record with her debut “On A Mission.”  It’s a perfect album to listen to before you go out clubbing for the night.  It was hard to pick a favorite song on the record, but once again, I let my iPod be my guide and I listened to this track the most, edging out “ Hard to Get” and “Lights On.”  As of press time, Katy B. is not that popular in the USA yet, so people – discover her music!  You’ll like it!

Philip Oakey of Human League

Night People” by Human League.  Just when you thought Human League had dropped off the face of the earth, they returned with the 2011 album “Credo.”  The album has its moments, but one of the best ones is the extremely dancey “Night People.”  The melody and lyrics are very catchy and you’ll know exactly what they are talking about when they sing “There is a place that only the night people know.”

Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham

In Our Own Time” by Lindsey Buckingham.  Lindsey Buckingham just gets better with age.  On his latest album “Seeds We Sow,” the songs range from reflective ballads to the rockin’ anthem “In Our Own Time,” which assets, “It wouldn’t make any difference.  We crossed the line.  From the fire we will rise again.  In our own time.”  It’s such an empowering anthem!  It was a toss up between this song and “Stars Are Crazy,” which is a reflective look at questioning yourself.

Madeline Follin of Cults

Abducted” by Cults. I love Cults.  Their music is dreamy pop that recalls the Mamas and Papas crossed with a 50’s soul sound.  “Abducted” starts off with just guitars and when the beat kicks in, it’s a party for your ears.  This song is responsible for many great work outs I’ve had and grooving my ass off while straightening up my apartment.  Thanks Cults!

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Keep You” by Class Actress.  Class Actress works it!  Their music has deep, lush dance beats that fall sonically somewhere between New Order and Madonna.  When you hear Class Actress’ music, you’ll want to set up some strobe lights, set up the smoke machine and dance like nobody’s looking.  I’ve done it and, let me tell you – a highly recommended experience!

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine

Breaking Down” by Florence and the Machine.  I really like this song!  It sounds like it belongs in a movie soundtrack as it is quirky and whimsical, but the lyrics are about having a meltdown and falling apart.  Florence is massively entertaining in concert and I look forward to seeing her perform her new album “Ceremonials” live.

Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums

Moneygrabber” by Fitz and the Tantrums.  Fitz and the Tantrums have had quite a year.  They began 2011 by playing small venues and before the end of the year, they blew up and are playing to much larger audiences.  Their song “Moneygrabber” was offered as a free download at the beginning of the year and I grabbed it!  The song is soulful and has a full band sound which makes me appreciate real music by real musicians in an era of bedroom assembled recordings.

Morris Day of the Original 7ven

 “Strawberry Lake” by The Original 7ven.  For some lame reason, Prince decided The Time could not use their name, so they rechristened themselves The Original 7ven.  The Original 7ven proved that grooving is the best revenge and out-funked anything Prince has done in years with their song “Strawberry Lake.”  It brings us back to the glory days of when music was full of jamming, crowd shout-outs and funk in your face!  That’s what time it is!
What were your favorites?

Now Available: Debut Albums by Class Actress and Penguin Prison

Posted by The G on October 18, 2011 under GNN | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Today is a great day for music!  Debut albums from Class Actress and Penguin Prison are being released today, October 18, 2011!

Class Actress’ record is called “Rapprocher” and Penguin Prison’s record is self titled.  If you need a cure for the troubled times we live in, both Penguin Prison and Class Actress will help you get your groove on and dance your cares away.  Pass it on!

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison

 

Review: Class Actress and Metronomy at Pier 54

Posted by The G on July 29, 2011 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

What better way is there to cool off in the middle of another hot New York summer than by seeing some great dance music performed live on the pier – and for free?!  New York’s Class Actress and England’s Metronomy performed as part of the River to River free concert series in Manhattan at Pier 54 on July 28, 2011.  Long time readers of the site know that I am in love with Class Actress.  Their music is electro/dance with fat beats and features sexy vocals from Elizabeth Harper.  Usually when I’ve seen Class Actress perform, it’s in a dark performance space setting the mood for you to dance like nobody’s looking while you hear great songs such as “Journal of Ardency,” “Let Me Take You Out” and “Careful What You Say.”  Seeing them on the Pier while it was still daylight was just as great, and for once, I got to see the crowd loving the set as much as I did.

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Class Actress is releasing their full length debut CD “Rapprocher” on Ocotober 18, 2011 and to whet your appetite, our friends over at RCRD LBL have a free download of the lead single “Keep You,” which will set the tone for what I am sure will be a great album. They performed a few tracks off “Rapprocher” tonight and if you liked their debut EP “Journal of Ardency,” you will not be disappointed with their new material.

Joseph Mount of Metronomy

Joseph Mount of Metronomy

After Class Actress dominated, Britain’s Metronomy played their first New York show in 3 years.  The band has added a drummer to their lineup since they were here last.  Their sound is dance/pop and in addition to their 3 studio albums, they’ve remixed artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Lykke Li, Klaxons, Goldfrapp and U2.  Class Actress got the crowd ready to party and when Metronomy hit the stage, the entire pier was a great big dance party.  Their latest album “The English Riviera” is nominated for the ultra prestigious Mercury Prize and they played tracks such as “the Bay,” “She Wants” and “The Look.”   If you are in the Los Angeles area on July 30, 2011, Metronomy will be playing at the Echoplex.  Go see them and get your groove on!  You’ll have a blast like we did in New York.

Metronomy

Metronomy

Class Actress to Release Debut Album

Posted by The G on June 27, 2011 under GNN | Be the First to Comment

Photo by G.

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress

Great news!  The electro-pop group Class Actress will be releasing their debut album “Rapprocher” on October 18, 2011.  I’ve seen Class Actress perform several times and I love them.  Although lead singer Elizabeth Harper is often referred to as “Brooklyn’s own Madonna,” you’ll also hear elements of New Order and each track will have you dancing like nobody is looking.  “Rapprocher” will not feature any of the songs off the band’s debut EP “Journal of Ardency,” and all those songs are highly recommended listening, so you should definitely track that EP down (from Itunes, for example).  The tracklist for “Rapprocher” (which means “to come closer” in French) is:

01 Keep You
02 Love Me Like You Used To
03 Weekend
04 Prove Me Wrong
05 Need to Know
06 Limousine
07 All the Saints
08 Bienvenue
09 Missed
10 Hangin’ On
11 Let Me In

While we wait patiently for October 18 to arrive, you can download the new track “Keep You” on Pitchfork’s official site.

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