Remember when dance music was fun and the artists had some semblance of personality, or at least a persona? Remember when they made big, catchy songs that could almost qualify as hits were it not for the American public’s general distaste for anything resembling dance music not sung by a half-naked pop star? Armand Van Helden, who closely resembles Ali G (wraparound glasses, very carefully shaved facial hair) and is the man behind the brief appearance of a genre called speed garage, is back with a new record, Nympho. As the title suggests, he’s laid off the militant imagery he was playing with back in the late ’90s, and has moved on to a subject he’s more than familiar with: sex. The record features a collection of supremely catch hooks and vocals by vocals by Créme Blush, Spalding Rockwell, Virgin Killer, Jessy Moss, and Tim Holton. While they are not fully realized songs with verses, choruses, and bridges, they have more shape than purely instrumental dance music. And for once there’s nothing derived from the ’80s. He spins at his record release party with special guest appearances from Virgin Killer and others from the record.
Sat @ 10, Spirit, 530 W 27th, 212-268-9477
Drum’n’bass might be dead, but someone’s banking that a few hundred or more people will care enough to fill the large club Spirit. If anyone can draw the formerly dedicated d’n’b heads, it’s Roni Size, one of the genre’s few critically acclaimed darlings, whose late-’90s New Forms album set the standard for jazz-tinged, experimental jungle. He’s playing with Andy C, the heavyweight producer and DJ, who favors the harder and darker side of the tough breakbeats. They are spinning in honor of the weekly party Direct Drive‘s seven-year anniversary. Thu @ 10, Spirit, 530 W 27th, 212-268-9477