My Midnight Heart
White Prism, Escort (DJ Set)
289 Kent Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
Doors 8:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
My Midnight Heart
MY MIDNIGHT HEART is a sonic exploration of constantly shifting landscapes. The music of Puerto Rican/American singer and songwriter Angélica Allen describes her dreams and nightmares with haunting realism. Through intensely vivid lyrics, lush arrangements, and the ever-changing lilt of her voice, Angélica weaves tales of wandering hearts, and whispered secrets. Though her dreamscapes have drawn comparisons with Kate Bush, Radiohead, Bat For Lashes, and Bjork; My Midnight Heart stands a world apart.
"There was never a 'beginning' for My Midnight Heart", Angélica says, "I had been gigging and writing songs as long as I can remember, but eventually I noticed them shifting and taking a more defined shape--so I decided to let go of the acoustic singer/songwriter thing and start a band." Following the direction of her music, the group--then a trio , began playing under Angélica's first name at NYC's rock bars in 2010 with a massive Noise Pop sound. However, the project came to a halt, when Angélica began touring with the Trans Siberian Orchestra in 2011. "Singing with TSO was difficult honestly", she says, "It was such an intense schedule that I really had to put my music completely aside; let it die for a while."
Although the band started performing again after she returned to New York months later, the project didn't fully resurrect until almost a year after a period of concentrated song writing and experimentation. Previously heavily guitar based and strongly influenced by PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me" and The Kills' "No Wow"; Angélica now turned to echoing pianos, dreamy synths, and parred down, washy vocals. "I began to realize that the songs and the sound weren't really about 'me' anymore." Angélica comments, "They had taken the shape of something darker inside me. I knew couldn't call the band 'Angélica' anymore."
My Midnight Heart takes it's name from the first single "Midnight Heart". "It was the first thing I thought of when someone asked me what I was calling the project--and probably just because it's in the first line of the lyrics." Angélica says, "But now it seems perfect to me." My Midnight Heart is about the dreams and fears hidden deep inside us. Things we hide even from ourselves. "And when you say "My Midnight Heart", it becomes 'yours'. The name forces you to identify with the music. That's what it's all about", Angélica adds, "Empathy."
The first official release from My Midnight Heart, the 4-track EP entitled "Chest of Hearts" is due out November 2012.
Australian-born, Hungarian-bred, Brooklyn-based Johanna Cranitch of White Prism was born into music. Her Hungarian jazz pianist grandfather declared on the day she was born: “This one will be musical.” And so it began.
Her mother enrolled her in the Kodaly school of early childhood music education and her Irish/Australian father brought his love of Gregorian chant and ecclesiastical music to the table, guiding Johanna toward the stage. At nine years old she was singing St Matthew’s Passion at the Sydney Opera House.
She joined Opera Australia’s Childrens’ Chorus and thus began her career in music. Opera first, pop second. From Fleetwood Mac to Kate Bush to Loreena McKennitt to Wham, Johanna’s parents played records that would influence her dreamy pop leanings in the future.
First a more formal study of music. After attending a performance arts high school, Johanna enrolled in a jazz degree program at the Australian Institute of Music, where she graduated with honors. There she developed a love for the vocal stylings of Ella Fitzgerald and Joni Mitchell. She performed across Australia as a jazz vocalist before moving to NYC.
Once in New York, she convinced the head of prestigious Nola Recording Studios to let her intern and she was soon on her way to engineering full time for the likes of Liza Minelli, Hank Jones and Bette Midler. But that was not all she was doing. Over a period of four years at Nola, Johanna had been writing and recording her own songs behind the scenes, after hours. She was always the first one in and the last one out. One day she decided it was time to make her own album and so the cat was out of the bag. Johanna was on her way to becoming an artist in her own right.
She began by singing backup for various projects in NYC and touring extensively with the band Wheatus. By the time she sat down to put together her own debut, she had over three hundred demos to sift through. “Funnily enough, once I decided to make a record, I couldn’t stop writing new songs. I’d been traveling all year, moving around from Europe to Australia to the United States, driving from NY to LA and back again. I was searching for something in my nomadic state and I found it in these songs. I shelved the old demos to make room for the new, so they sit growing cobwebs to this day.”
Wherever those songs might be, the songs that made the final release were well worth the sacrifice. It shimmers and moves between moods of passion, desire, and cooly calculated regret. Here and there allusions to Kate Bush, Bjork and Bat for Lashes give way to the jazz upbringing that started it all for Johanna. Whatever comparisons may be drawn, Northern Lights shines brightly in its own unique atmosphere.
Escort (DJ Set)
ESCORT is big. Literally. Enjoying accolades ranging from the New York Times to Pitchfork, the "disco orchestra" features an incredible cast of musicians including founders/producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balis, and fronted by lead singer Adeline Michle. The band performs in a variety of powerful party line-ups, ranging from a core 5-piece (with Adeline on bass) to a 17-member extravaganza.
Escort burst on to the scene in 2006 with a string of critically acclaimed 12"s that included future classics "Starlight" and "All Through The Night", both DJ staples that get still get plenty of play on dancefloors. As DJs nursed their electro-clash hangover with a seemingly never ending stream of disco edits, Escort stood out, in part, by creating dance music the old fashioned way: with impeccable production, musicianship, and songwriting.
The following several years saw them bring the same uncompromising approach to their live show. In an era where dance music is dominated by samples and computers, Escort took a sprawling ensemble to the stage and developed a reputation as one of New York's most compelling live acts, capable of performing their elaborate recordings note for note. Late last year, Escort released their first taste of the new record: "Cocaine Blues", a loose reinterpretation of the 1976 Dillinger classic that received rave reviews and quickly became an underground sensation, building even more anticipation for what's to come.
Escort's long awaited self-titled debut LP was released January 31, 2012. The entire album is steeped in the venerable tradition of clubland's holy trinity - New York, Chicago, and Detroit - but it seems particularly reminiscent of mutant-pop luminaries such as Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Ian Dury, who somehow managed to translate their sardonic sensibilities to the dance-floor. And by embracing the legacy of these forward-thinking but classic acts, they have yet managed to create something strikingly new.
The LP's opener "Chameleon" is a perfect example: a three-act play about the French serial impostor Frederic Bourdin, set to a beat that's equal parts Thriller and the Tom Tom Club. The tracks, "Make Me Over" and "Why oh Why" seem to explore the lost possibilities of another era, rather than simply trying to re-create it. The 1937 standard "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" is twisted into a lost August Darnell classic. The album also includes the definitive versions of their 12" DJ releases - which have been remixed, remastered, rearranged, and re-recorded specially for the LP - to complete an album with absolutely no filler.
Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears recently described Escort as the "best disco you've ever heard." He just might be right.