By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
One man's trash is another man's treasure. When DFA Records' James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy saw New York band the Rapture play a Sub Pop showcase at South by Southwest in Austin three years ago, they were buried on the bill. "Such a waste," says Jonathan Galkin, DFA's third owner. "The band's so good and the label didn't give a shit about them."
But with one highly successful single on DFA under its belt, the band's time in obscurity is thankfully over.
After two years of punk rock grooming and disco brainwashing, the Rapture have emerged as an entirely different unit from the band on Sub Pop. "We wanted to make something that worked on the dancefloor and concentrated on dance music rather than our traditional indie rock audience," says singer Luke Jenner, 27.
The result: "House of Jealous Lovers"which sold a staggering 7500 copies. The bandVito Roccoforte, drums, 27, Matt Safer, bass, 21, and sax player Gabriel Andruzzi, 26evolved into a punk-disco juggernaut, with tightly wound basslines and hooks wired so tense they pop off the vinyl.
Like the other artists on DFA, the Rapture explore the symbiotic relationship between the riotous rock of New York and the slick electro revival overwhelming the clubs. Says Jenner, "I don't know if we really fit in. Hopefully we bridge a couple of communities that don't really go together."
The production finesse of Murphy and English expat Goldsworthy helped morph the Rapture from a raw entity into a bombastic disco-rock hybrid. "We have a big interest in dance music and that is what we kind of bonded over," says Jenner. "We tried things in the studio we had not tried live. It's really changed the way we approach music."
Citing bands like the Happy Mondays and Primal Scream, Jenner hopes the Rapture can close the gap between dance and rock. "We see ourselves in response to a dialogue between New York and England," he says. "If we were going to align ourselves with anything it might be that idea."
Various venues, www.electroclash.com for more info
It will be interesting to see how Larry Tee's self-anointed genre has held up with finicky New York clubbers since the festival's debut last year. Many of the same artists are also playing this go-round, including punk slut Peaches, A.R.E. Weapons, and artsy kitsch trio Chicks on Speed. New additions include indie band Bis, who recently dipped their toes into the electro pool, the cute but rather pointless W.I.T. project, Mount Sims, and Tracy and the Plastics. The opening night party at Webster Hall features Arthur Baker, 2 Many DJs/Soulwax, Erol Arkin, Tommie Sunshine, and Felix Da Housecatwhose album Kittenz and Thee Glitzshould be used as a primer for all the nu-electro artists on how to properly take an old genre and make it new again.
The Roxy, 515 West 18th Street, 645-5156
He is the practical joker of electronic music. Whether Aphex Twin, a/k/a Richard D. James, is spoofing the music industry (in his "Windowlickers" video), or spoofing himself (ditto), his point is always: Don't Take Everything So Goddamn Seriously. Ha. Tell that to a room of techno nerds and IDM audiophiles who embody the sour, dour, straight-faced, straitlaced stereotype. As such, an Aphex Twin performance is as unpredictable and as unreliable as any of the things Mr. James says in interviews (he's a notorious liar). He's even been known to push "play" on a D.A.T. and sit in a chair, grinning demonically as giant, disturbing teddy bears roam the stage. Beats watching the Chemical Brothers mime like balding rock stars.