Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: M83 @ Black Cat, 10/28/11

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

I remember when M83 released their breakthrough album Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts back when I was in college. M83 easily fit in my collection with groups like The Postal Service and The Notwist, yet the album had no vocalist to connect it with mankind. The occasional words were only samples; it was like a glimpse at a dystopian future, where maybe people weren’t even around anymore. I could imagine their core member Anthony Gonzalez in his French chateau, sitting at his laptops and keyboards, writing minimalist, electronic soundtracks for lonely bedrooms.

M83 has evolved tremendously since then; while their current music retains its electro roots, it’s all in all more varied, more approachable, more poppy, more epic. Their new material makes for a hell of a live show, too. They sold out two shows at Black Cat on Friday night; I stopped by the late show to see what they had to offer. The show had exactly what I want from live electronic music – infectious beats, atmospheric lighting, and an enthusiastic crowd.
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We Love Music

We Love Music: Crystal Castles @ 9:30 Club, 3/15/11

All images courtesy of Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles is a band I haven’t quite wrapped my head around yet. They’re a duet that plays slightly off-kilter, dark, noisy electronic music. It’s a pretty strange mix of Vegas slot-machine ambience, Gameboy bleeps and bloops, and ghostly vocals. Why do people like this? Maybe because it’s so weird. Or because you can dance to it. But like Apple Jacks, I just like it, and I can’t explain why. Clearly I’m not the only one who feels this way – they sold out the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, just like the last time they came through DC in August.

Crystal Castles put on an impressive live show that perfectly complements their music. Not only did they pick a great setlist, but the entire visual aspect of the show perfectly complemented their songs. Bright LED displays surrounded by darkness added a new layer of mystery to their music. And, oh man, their singer Alice Glass knows how to get a crowd going. We danced, jumped, and clawed our way forward throughout the set.
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