conceived in Berlin, played in NYC
Leonard Friend (EP Release Show)
In the winter of 2010, frustrated songwriter and multi instrumentalist Alex Feder -- previously known as the frontman of Brooklyn band The XYZ Affair -- nearly gave up on his childhood ambitions and quit music. Instead, he chose to move across the country to Los Angeles and create R&B singer Leonard Friend, a musical altar ego named after his grandfather, who abandoned a promising career as a big band saxophonist when he entered the family's traveling salesman business. The soundtrack for Feder's cross country journey -- Michael Jackson's Dangerous, The Dismemberment Plan's Emergency and I, Usher's Confessions, Phil Collins' Face Value, the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell duets, and the first three records by The Time -- became the roots for his new project, which Feder would officially unveil nearly two years later with the debut EP Lynyrd Frynd.
Home Alone is the passion project of self-proclaimed "agoraphobic with an empathy addiction," Charlie Wood.
In the constant struggle to challenge his own status quo, Wood's prime directive is the attempt to create beautiful music. However, pulling beauty from the void is no easy task, and the drawing board is a frequently recurring character for Home Alone.
While at its core Home Alone is electronic, Wood draws influences from a broader spectrum: "Debussy to Daft Punk." although citing a diverse palette, Home Alone is not overly serious or somber. An underlying theme of self-satire adds a tongue-in-cheek accessibility to the music. Or as Charlie describes it, "four on the floor with lots of emotions."
Slowdance (DJ Set)
Slowdance bring keyboard and guitar and a rhythm section that can flip from a new wave throb to a spaghetti western rumble as easily as it delivers punchy indie-pop, all anchored by vocalist Quay Quinn-Settel's demure cheek and soprano dramatics. She recalled France Gall, and they did Stereolab, because language still counts (even the set-closing cover of New Order's "Consent" was not without its tie to France). Says Quinn-Settel: "I learned how to read in French before learning in English. It's half of me, it wouldn't feel right to sing in English alone. Plus the way the language shapes the mouth changes the timber of my voice, so it's nice to have both."
Other formative reference points Slowdance cite include Blondie, the Raincoats, and '70s synthwave, which help contextualize the tracks here for you to sample (the spaghetti-soaked "Spell," the coy "Sweetness," "Slashed Tires"' airy angst). Those are below, along with a mixtape playlist we asked the band to compile as the perfect primer to the aesthetic of Slowdance. Dig in. - Stereogum