CSS

In September 2003, a group of friends formed a band in São Paulo. Sharing a mutual love of good times and unwavering interest in all things pop and art, CSS rose to notoriety with the help of a thriving creative community, underground club scene and a dedicated Internet fanbase. Lending their numerous creative talents to their new musical project, the band quickly drew legions of international followers entranced by a universally accessible, albeit original, style.

After signing to Sub Pop, their debut album Cansei de Ser Sexy (Portuguese for "Tired of Being Sexy" – allegedly a reported complaint from Beyoncé Knowles) was released in 2006, and their danceable electro/rock songs scattered with pop culture and sexual innuendo were effortlessly translated from the virtual domain to live performances. CSS became one of the most in-demand live shows from Europe to Japan, and became tour buddies with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Klaxons, Ladytron, and Diplo on an unending world tour.

Constantly on the road, the band remained fixed in the spotlight and their popularity steadily grew. Early on, The New York Times described CSS as, "a gleeful throwback to early-1980s art-school pop," on whose debut album, "smart, insubordinate fun reigns…" The Guardian declared them to be, "an unlikely, brilliantly wrong fusion of Tom Tom Club, dance culture and the Fall" and Under the Radar commented on Cansei de Ser Sexy, "CSS's debut is the real deal: eleven cuts of infectiously syncopated, tuneful post-punk that just may be the summer's perfect soundtrack".

After the flurry of interest surrounding their debut, their second release, the grungey maturity of Donkey didn't disappoint. Released in 2008, Donkey is a smart, street-ready record that displayed a band evolving and stretching their capabilities, and seamlessly captures the frenetic energy of their live shows; the visual and physical coming together of their unique sound which remains the beat at the heart of the collective's output. Utilising glitter bombs, outrageous stagewear and throwing shapes to every corner of the room, CSS's unaffectedly fun live shows never fail to turn even the most static onlookers into fearless movers and shakers.

And we're excited to announce that CSS will be joining V2 for the release of their third record, La Liberación, to be released worldwide through the Cooperative Music network worldwide (excluding Japan and Brazil) on August 29. Their third opus has been recorded in the band's own studio in São Paulo, Brazil and features collaborations with Bobby Gillespie and Ratatat.

Singer Lovefoxxx says "My mantra for this record is 'Rip Shit' and that is what we do on La Liberación". Adriano adds, "People should liberate themselves. When we came to this title we got so high, it made perfect sense with the lyrics and the feeling we were getting. FUCK EVERYTHING. Let's get undressed and listen to CSS. Let's step out of the closet. Let's paint our teeth black."

"I think it's a celebration of our friendship," says Lovefoxxx. "I think that this album has also a "finding your gang" feeling, like the movie "Warriors."

'La Liberación' finds the band at the peak of their powers, pushing past everything that has come before into an exciting new future. This is the album that, as big fans, we've always hoped they would make!

The mysterious New York City-based musical duo MS MR (Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow) emerged to make their imprint on 2012 with "Hurricane," an introspective alt-pop masterpiece heralding the arrival of a new band, a new sound and a new approach to pop. An unofficial video for the track popped up on YouTube in May 2012 and has since garnered more than 1.5 million views. Awarded ‘Best New Track’ on Pitchfork, the duo's single quickly rose to number one on Hype Machine.

“We’re interested in exploring the nature of mixed media and collage,” says Lizzy, “and how music transcends all these various platforms.” Chief among them is MS MR’s lively—if thoroughly mystifying—Tumblr page, which they used unprecedentedly to debut their EP, the critically lauded Candy Bar Creep Show. “Hurricane" joined "Bones," "Dark Doo Wop," and "Ash Tree Lane" on the self-released EP, which they released in the fall of 2012.

Mainstream and underground press on both sides of the Atlantic soon took notice and before long MS MR’s songs were popping up everywhere, including “Bones” on the trailer for Game of Thrones Season 3 and "Hurricane" on catwalks everywhere during Fashion Week. "Prepare to be blown away," predicted the Guardian. KCRW praised the pair's "brilliantly produced cinematic pop" while the NME marveled, "There's a spark of innovation to New York newcomers MS MR that doesn't come so soon with new bands." Soon after the release of their EP, the duo signed a deal with Columbia Records for the worldwide release of their debut album.

In the beginning of 2013 MS MR released “Fantasy,” the first track off of their upcoming album Secondhand Rapture. For the full-length Lizzy and Max initially wrote and recorded all the tracks in Max’s home studio in Brooklyn. Composed over the course of a year and produced by Max, the duo then brought in Tom Elmhirst (Adele, Amy Winehouse), to mix the full-length and add some additional production at the legendary Electric Lady Studios. “It was a big leap from the glorified closet where we recorded our demos to our first real studio," says Max, "but it was an amazing opportunity for us to augment the tracks with some live instrumentation and to work with Tom, one of our musical heroes.”

Secondhand Rapture is an intriguing aural Jenga that combines humbled ballads (“Dark Doo Wop”), experimental epics (“Head is not My Home”), and pure pop belters ("Think of You") alike. It expands on what Candy Bar Creep Show sketched out, seamlessly referencing everything from ’80s new wave to ’90s pop, doo-wop to country. “We both listen to a lot of different music from all different genres and time periods,” says Lizzy. “We wanted to create an environment that was cinematic and grandiose but also self-aware and playful. It wasn't until we finished writing that we found the sonic threads that tied certain tracks together. These ultimately became the album.”

"We both realized we found an emotional narrative more through the music and melodies than the lyrics," says Max, "so the album title was inspired more by the environment we wrote in than lyrical themes." Secondhand Rapture touches on the pair's relationship to media and the weather: "'Secondhand' refers to the mediated way in which we relate to each other and the world around us," says Lizzy, "We're fascinated by how technology gives us access to a vast new universe that feels incredibly intimate despite being once removed." For both, "rapture" felt like an accurate description of this feeling, euphoric with a dark underbelly, and was a nod to the climactic unrest of 2012, which they found inspiring.

It’s a stroke of serendipity that Lizzy and Max are even making music together. They may giggle uncontrollably and complete each other’s thoughts, but these Vassar alums hardly knew each other during college. Lizzy was a media-studies major, releasing records under her burgeoning imprint Neon Gold. (She’s gone on to release records by artists such as Passion Pit and Ellie Goulding.) Max was an urban-studies major with a concentration in modern dance, and started composing music for his choreographies. It wasn't until after graduation that they connected - Max was studying at the Martha Graham School for Dance and was looking for a singer to collaborate with while Lizzy needed an unbiased sounding board for the songs she was starting to write in private. “There was an element of throwing caution to the wind. Send someone an email, hope for the best," explains Max.

They connected in person three months later in December 2010. To find their footing as collaborators, they recorded a sweeping cover of Patrick Wolf’s “Time of My Life." Curious to see where else the music could take them, they decided to try their hands at composing some original material. This led to the swelling, mercurial tune we know now as “Bones.” “It definitely set a tone for the band,” says Lizzy. “In person, we’re quite upbeat and bubbly, but the music allowed us to tap into the most extreme elements of our personality.” Max adds, "From the beginning we knew we had a really unique musical chemistry. We continued to write as much as possible and didn't really think of ourselves as a band until we'd collected a body of material."

"We wrote in secret around both of our day jobs so our intensely personal friendship developed alongside our musical relationship, as we wrote the album,” says Max. Their collaborations evolved into a inter-reliant process: “We share the earliest kernel of an idea and extensively cross edit each other so that our process becomes completely intertwined.”

Translating the recorded tracks to a live stage was a challenge the duo hadn't considered while writing, but support tours with Marina and the Diamonds, GROUPLOVE, and Jessie Ware gave them time to develop into an act the Village Voice called "intoxicating" and voted one of the best shows of the summer. MS MR will be touring extensively throughout 2013, playing headline shows and many festivals around the world including Glastonbury in the UK, Lollapolloza in Chicago, and Splendour in the Grass in Australia.

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CSS with MS MR, io echo

Sunday, June 16 · Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Independent

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