TESLA BOY

Russian pop music has undeniably come a long way since its shy development over the last 20 years, and has only just started to make waves within the international consciousness. Enter Tesla Boy, a quintessential Synth-pop/New wave project created in 2008 that was not only spawned from an era of hungry youth in '80s and '90s Moscow that eagerly sought out new and experimental pop music from abroad, but is leading the next generation of Russian electronic artists to take on the global scene with force.

Tesla Boy is charismatic frontman and producer Anton Sedidov, who from an early age learnt to speak the international language of music through his father's old vinyl collection that included Ray Charles, Prince, Stevie Wonder and Blondie. From here, a clear affinity with '80s pop and soul from the US and Britain emerged, and has since played a strong role in crafting the Tesla Boy identity. From their beginnings with the release of debut single Electric Lady and first LP Modern Thrills in 2010, the sounds of Tesla Boy's global influences are immediate, with their acclaimed follow-up single Split, produced to a high level with deep catchy melodies and disco undertones.

Following the standout success of their sparkling debut, 2012 saw the band return to the studio to work on their highly anticipated second album, The Universe Made of Darkness, due to drop May 21, 2013. March saw the band share the first single, 1991 (out now and available to buy here), an infectiously optimistic groove that is an exciting teaser to the finished LP that takes their previous albums' 80's inspired synth sounds to even further heights. Second single 'M.C.H.T.E.' is a bouncy and percussion heavy track with rhythmic, funky bass lines and synths that flicker across the surface. Broken Doll sees the band team up with London crooner Tyson to create a dark, full-bodied and sensual track. As the chorus of the track would suggest, Broken Doll is an invitation to the dance floor, with Tyson's vocals positively electrifying as he asks, "Do you want to dance?"
As only a preview to what is to come, it is obvious Tesla Boy are not to be mistaken with passing club trends that have come out of Russia in previous years. Tesla Boy carry a shiny pop sensibility, combined with sleek and sophisticated production that takes their nostalgic synth sound and punching soul hooks into the new wave era of EDM with global appeal.

NIGHT DRIVE

Although Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon started as frontmen for two different bands, MoTel Aviv and Glasnost, their mutual respect and similar passions brought them together after their respective bands broke up. While supporting artists like Yelle, Digitalism and Neon Indian with their previous acts, Rodney and Brandon worked together on original music, visual concepts and screenplays alike. This creative collaboration left them with the collection of songs from which Night Drive was born.

Night Drive is the type of music you would hear on a car stereo if Giorgio Moroder and Ray Bradbury were driving late at night through a buzzing metropolis. Inspired by bygone era of glamour and excess, kalioscopic neon lights, Studio 54 and Tony Wilson's Hacienda, the band pulls influence from acts such as Brian Eno, New Order, OMD, The Drums and LCD Soundsystem to name a few. Night Drive rides a nu-wave of fast-tempoed, synth-based electronic sounds driven by rich guitar melodies and arresting vocal hooks.

When you're as naturally talented and driven as Carre Callaway is, it's easy to get ahead of yourself. As a young girl growing up in Denver, Colorado, it was always clear that she was going places, and getting there fast. Carre (pronounced "Car-ray") taught herself to play guitar at the age of 13 and began performing in the local folk scene almost immediately afterwards. She had the kind of book smarts to gain so much extra credit at high school that she ended up graduating two years before everyone else her age did. And by the time she was 17, she was opening for Nine Inch Nails at their arena-sized shows for their 2005 With Teeth tour- at Trent Reznor's personal behest.

It might be a stage name but don't be fooled into thinking it's some kind of elaborate faƧade or a fictitious character. In person, she's polite, pleasant and mild-mannered Carre Callaway but on stage, the wild, uncontrollable Queen Kwong emerges and those two contrasting sides of her personality have always been in place since she was young.

It's a duality that you can instantly spot in Queen Kwong's music. Her guitar isn't merely an instrument she plays with her hands, it's something she inhabits with her soul and the resulting shifts between beauty and brutality feel all the more intense because of it. Similarly, her voice has an elastic ability to go straight from a seductive purr to an enraged howl and it's because she sings from the pit of her stomach rather than the back of her throat. What results is dangerously unpredictable blast of rock 'n' roll that sits in the lineage of such primal and visceral acts as The Stooges, Nirvana, early Hole, and even Queens Of The Stone Age. Of course, there are plenty of people who simply buy a couple of fuzz-pedals and use that as justification to name drop these acts as sonic influences, but Queen Kwong uses them as physical ones too.

$13-15

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Rickshaw Stop

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TESLA BOY with NIGHT DRIVE, QUEEN KWONG, plus popscene DJs

Thursday, September 5 · 9:30 PM at Rickshaw Stop