Body Language, DWNTWN, yOya, Immigre DJs

Fresh off the success of last year's Social Studies LP—which earned the approval of everyone from NPR to The New York Times to The Guardian, who compared the breakout release to early Madonna, the indie disco of Prelude Records and "CSS doing an impression of Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band"— Body Language is ready to release their sophomore album, "The Grammar LP". Like Social Studies, this sophomore release embodies the band's restless pop experiments with a future-shocked blend of soul and R&B.

Or as multi-instrumentalist/producer Grant Wheeler puts it, "Our world still exists in an indie-disco bubble; we're just pushing the limits of every genre to a point where the bubble's about to pop." As evidenced in "Lose My Head"—a floor-filler that's driven by late '70s funk licks and diamond-encrusted keys to the wobbly synth lines and Motown inspired chorus of "I'm a Mess", versatility and collaboration is the core of Body Language's creative process, which often starts in the home studio Grant shares with singer/fellow producer Matt Young, only to be fleshed out even further with drummer Ian Young and singer/glockenspiel player Angelica Bess.

"Everyone has their part," insists Matt. "In fact, certain people come to our shows to see different performers. I kinda like to think of it as a circus." Body Language's outside projects make that circus even more interesting, from Ian's live drumming for Matthew Dear and Angelica's vocals on Sepalcure's "Outside the Lines", which was featured in the critically acclaimed film 'Black Swan' to Grant and Matt's co-production/writing credits for such rising artists as Passion Pit, Machinedrum and Vacationer; a recurring collaborator Matt Young describes as "like Body Language if you stripped the R&B and soul parts out, took it down 30 BPM, and gave it a Mai Tai on the beach."

Body Language has long proven they are more than just a synth dance band. Live they keep you on the dancefloor and word of mouth spreads fast as they are now known to sell out most NYC venues. They have played shows with Sia, Janelle Monae and The Hood Internet. Their most recent tour with Vacationer was a blow out that included a sell out performance at New York's Brooklyn Bowl. With spring and summer dates lined up and numerous DJ sets sprinkled in the pipeline the band is sure to turn it up in 2013.

DWNTWN

The world of pop music is littered with stories of awkward beginnings, but in the case of Los Angeles synth pop outfit DWNTWN, the meeting of founding members Jamie Leffler and Robert Cepeda takes uncomfortable beginnings to a whole new level. “I was dating Robert’s brother,” explains Leffler. “And then when he and I broke up I pretty much immediately started a band with Robert.” The band, which initially started as a heartbroken lark back in 2010, eventually became a full-time pursuit. Over the course of four years Leffler and Cepeda went from recording twee folk experiments into their iPhones to making resplendent indie-pop that sounds as warm and intoxicating as the city they both call home. They first made waves after appearing on two different Kitsune compilations—“See My Eyes” appeared on Kistune America and “Move Me” (a collab with Giraffage and Jhameel) on Kitsune America 2. Both tracks subsequently charted at #2 on Hype Machine. Eventually expanding from a duo to playing live as a four-piece—releasing a handful of singles and two excellent EPs (Cowboys and The Red Room) in the process—the band have grown from shy bedroom recordists and reluctant performers into a formidable pop outfit (logging time on the road with the likes of Capital Cities and Gold Fields). On the band’s new EP, the self-titled DWNTWN, their music comes into even sharper focus—heartfelt daydreams distilled into pitch-perfect 3-minute confections. The kind of music made for late-night makeouts, winsome self-reflection, or better yet—endless sun-filled drives with the top down.
“The way we write music has developed a lot over the years,” say Leffler. “We always begin with a melody and an acoustic guitar, so the songs—at their core—are very inspired by folk music that we love, stuff like The Carter Family and Johnny Cash. What changes them into something else is the way Robert builds on them, layering instruments and electronics. Our process is trial and error, but mostly it’s try everything. This new EP is kind of evidence of that. On earlier releases essentially everything was electronic, but this time we’ve brought in all these live instruments—more guitars and drums and piano.”

“We never wanted to be a boy/girl duo, we always wanted to be a band which over time has changed the way we sound,” says Cepeda. “Thinking about the way we can play this music live actually affected the way we write.”
The four songs on the DWNTWN EP—the follow up to 2012’s self-released The Red Room—represent a quantum leap forward for the band and present a lovely soft-focus statement of intent. The EP’s first single, “Til Tomorrow” (whose recently-premiered video features the band playing songs, taking shots, and building literal houses of cards in what a appears to be an empty LA bar) is the sort of jangly, pop gem that wouldn’t sound out of place on an old Phoenix or St. Etienne record. Breezy but far from slight, the tracks on DWNTWN manage to weave music a much broader sonic palette. “Missing You,”—a song that addresses the passing of Leffler’s grandfather--is one of the only songs in recent memory to make the marriage of synths, handclaps, and a banjo sound like the most natural thing in the world.  Elsewhere, tracks like “Skins” and “Blankets” employ the kind of seamless production and breathless vocals (not to mention heavenly synth-scapes that could have drifted off of a long-long Tangerine Dream single) that make DWNTWN a truly sanguine listening experience—feather light electro-pop melodies with just the right amount of emotional kick.

While the tracks on DWNTWN represent a musical leap forward for the band, they also boast a sizable emotional leap as well. No longer content to focus primarily on romantic dramas and “boy and girl problems” in her songs, Leffler’s lyrics on the new EP risk a kind of personal and emotional intimacy never before heard in the band’s music. Nowhere is this more evident than on “Heroine”—a song about the passing of Leffler’s father Howie Epstein, the legendary former bass player of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The track is a kind of emotional reimagining of Leffler’s relationship with her father in which she asks/sings: My father was a man of the road / He drove a lot of nights / And he died alone. The song, which seeks to reconcile what actually happened to her father with what possibly could have been, is among the most wrenching things the band has ever recorded. “My father passed away from a heroin overdose when I was a child,” says Leffler. “I was only a kid when it happened, but at the time I think maybe I was the only person who might have been able to change things, the only person who might have been able to convince him to change. I was just a kid though and I didn’t have the words at that time. This song is kind of my way of addressing that. I want to be able to talk about this part of my life in an honest way, which is something I’ve never really done before.”
Given the expanded scope of DWNTWN—and given the fact that the band recently signed with Jullian Records, a new independent label distributed by Sony RED—it’s easy to imagine that the remainder of 2014 will be a very busy one for DWNTWN. Though Leffler and Cepeda are excited to take their show on the road, Leffler admits that the band is still happiest at home in LA simply working on music. “The more we can be on the road, the better,” says Leffler, “But we are homebodies by nature. Friends are like; You guys should go out more! and I’m always like, We probably should, but we’re inevitably just gonna stay home and work on music. A typical Saturday night out in LA might sound exciting, but more than likely we’re just in our house working on songs and drinking some whiskey.”

Augmenting acoustic pop music with a beat machine isn't revolutionary these days with the likes of artists such as Ellie Goulding propelling the "folk-tronica" genre. However, L.A. band yOya still writes playful songs of chipper guitar riffs boosted by complex rhythms that tug their whimsical lyrics in memorably pleasant directions. Falsetto harmonies from Alex Pfender and Noah Dietterich, who have been friends since their days in Corvallis, Oreg., before studying music together at USC, highlight the solid balance between their folk-rock roots from the past and urban influences from the metropolis they live in now. Their latest album "Nothing to Die" is a collection of intricately textured songs that sometimes recall past material from the Dodos yet also maintain accessible melody for even the biggest Coldplay fan. - Seraphina for Buzzbands LA

Immigre DJs

Immigré is a female DJ duo based in Los Angeles. After meeting in 2010, they connected instantly over their innate love of music, style, and international culture. The two were born abroad and are from families that immigrated to the USA in the 1990's. Val Fleury hails from West Africa and grew up on the East Coast, while JSMN was born and raised in the Middle East, and has spent the latter half of her life on the West Coast. They teamed up in summer 2012 to manifest their passions and experiences on the turntables. Immigré is quickly garnering a reputation as dynamic DJs, finding cutting-edge and exciting ways to openly mix music: indie rock, nu- disco, trap, electro pop, house & more. Their first MiniMix debuted summer 2013 and is available on Soundcloud.

Immigré has performed at clubs, bars, fashion events, and festivals, notably a BET Awards pre-party hosted by Angela Simmons, as well as events for Dangerbird Records, Wasteland Clothing, KXLU Radio, Capitol Music Group, School Night hosted by KCRW, The Roosevelt Hotel, and more. They are currently resident DJs for LA CANVAS Magazine, The LASH in DTLA, and The Short Stop in Echo Park.

$12.00 - $14.00

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Body Language, DWNTWN, yOya, Immigre DJs

Wednesday, September 18 · Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Satellite