Warm Leatherette, Grace Jones’ career-shifting 1980 release, gives a glimpse of the artist just as her true genius was coming into sharp focus.
On Wednesday, Kiki and Herb: Seeking Asylum! will wrap up its triumphant return at Joe’s Pub here in New York City. These intensely beloved characters, the cabaret noms de plume of Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman, have played all over the world at various points in the past two decades, but for longtime fans like myself, the show is forever tied to a mostly bygone era of downtown New York.
If you were lucky enough to move to New York City in the early 2000s — just around the time that bands like the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were giving downtown a justly deserved kick in the balls — you might have also been lucky enough to see Antony and the Johnsons performing somewhere like the Knitting Factory or the Kitchen. Even moreso than the rock bands of the era, seeing Antony Hegarty (now known simply as ANOHNI) performing in a dingy bar was actually the stuff fabled NYC dreams are made of. To see this mysterious, gender-indeterminate figure with the voice of an angel singing Angelo Badalamenti covers to a room full of queer degenerates such as myself was both inspiring and life-giving: It was the reason people like me came to this city, to rub elbows with the kind of people that simply could not exist anywhere else.
Given all the recent shoegaze reunions—My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive—it makes sense Lush would make a comeback. Rather than simply embark on a nostalgia tour, Lush recorded this 4-song EP.
If the last decade in pop music has taught us anything, it’s that nostalgia can be a double-edged sword. When it goes wrong, it’s about as satisfying as swallowing a mouthful of processed spray cheese. When done right, revisiting the tropes and aesthetics of decades past can go down nicely. M83’s 2011 double album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, fell into the latter camp and—bolstered by its ubiquitous single “Midnight City”—transformed Anthony Gonzalez’s curious 15-year-old project into a soundtrack for Victoria’s Secret commercials and Tom Cruise sci-fi flicks. Surely this shift explains something about the new M83 album, the fascinating and somewhat flummoxing Junk.