Jamie Crewe is Poisonous Relationship, and his excellent new house record is called “Garden of Problems”
Those guys over at Butt Magazine are often on the cusp of great things of all different sorts: fashion, photography, music, writers, etc. They do stellar interviews that, somehow, read like high non-fiction. Yes, sometimes high like they’re done on weed (or poppers), but more like they elevate gay culture and talking about gay culture to a brilliant plateau of intellectual seriousness. And the other day, via Facebook, Poisonous Relationship showed up on my feed. The video (below) for the first track and single, “Men’s Feelings,” is one wild ride of visual imagery.
Jamie Crewe is one fascinating queer. The video’s like a drag Cindy Sherman experiment. While he name-drops neighborhoods of Los Angeles, this peculiar creature hails from London, and he caught up with a Butt writer for a Q&A (where the record’s also streaming in full) last week that is quite illuminating. Very little ink has been spilled on this one, and we’re trying to change that ASAP.
If you love Hercules and Love Affair, this record’s going to tickle you all summer. Let’s be real: Poisonous Relationship is house music, but it’s approachable and doesn’t make you feel like you need to be around strobing lights or on drugs to appreciate it. In the way that records by DJs like DJ Koze or Caribou’s Daphni record did, it blends beats, sparse vocals, weird samples and hypnosis to make rambling, long house tracks go down nice and smooth. “Men’s Feelings” is 10 minutes long on the dot, and after the name-dropping comes in the delightful repetitive chorus: “Men’s feelings / Tell me more about men’s feelings / I wanna know feelings / Tell me more about men’s feelings.” This is entertaining on multiple levels, as a man, because men aren’t supposed to have feelings. Or, the stereotype is that women have more feelings or feel things more potently than men. Which is bullshit. Some women are completely unfeeling, and some men (sure, lots of homosexuals, especially) are brimming and bursting with feelings. And in the video, as he coos this phrase on repeat, shape-shifting from glamorous drag persona to persona, it adds another level. Suddenly, he’s a gay man posing as a straight woman asking honestly for men’s feelings to be explained. It’s a beautiful mind-fuck!
Then, to my delightful surprise, the whole thing’s on Spotify for our listening pleasure. And it’s a great listen. As he says in his Q&A with Zac Bayly:
“What’s with your bongo drum obsession, by the way?
I do have a bit of a bongo obsession, don’t I? On the record, it’s about having this constant throb. The original idea for the record was like, ‘What if I made a house record with no bass frequencies?’ Then bongos and hand-drums were really key in keeping it burbling along, leading you from one song to the next. In the end, I put bass frequencies in because it felt better. But there’s not a proper bassline until like the fifth song or something.”
On the second track, “Nobody,” a delicious sax groove dips its toes into the mix. Then comes “Nite Birds,” one tripped-out chopped vocal that’s brilliantly re-worked, carrying you into the high-pitched percussive groove as eerie sirens waft in the background. Oh yeah, and on “Yellow Poppy,” you can hear Beyonce howling (to Missy) “There ain’t nothin’ out there!” from Missy’s 2002 gem from Under Construction, “Nothing Out There for Me.” BONUS POINTS. He smartly employs elements of tribalism, too; bongos, like he says, are something Crewe’s obsessed with, and we’re not mad. Here’s hoping the Gayborhood DJs start playing and remixing this whole thing pronto; it’ll get em’ major bonus points from Buttheads and house fans alike.
*Photo c/o Butt’s Danny Calvi.
It’s funny how a cover can launch a career. And with Prince Royce, his 2010 version of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” shot him into the stratosphere of superstardom. The 24-year-old Bronx-raised singer, born Geoffrey Royce Rojas, has seen an astonishing amount of success in his first few years out of the gate. Growing up, he was surrounded by the sounds of the Bronx: salsa, reggae and reggaeton, R&B, hip-hop and, especially because of his Dominican family, bachata. And his music is a reflection, a beautiful blend of these influences, making him akin to a Latino Usher.
Royce’s self-titled debut went triple platinum on the strength of his King cover and the charming single “Carazon Sin Cara,” the latter of which he sings in both Spanish and English. Last year’s Phase II, his platinum-selling second LP, shot up the charts on the popularity of “Las Cosas Pequenas” (The Little Things). With merely two albums, he’s already dominated charts, been nominated for some Latin Grammy Awards, issued a frickin’ hits collection (before age 25!) and opened for Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias.
Last summer, Royce was in town for Jay-Z’s Made in America fest, and panties galore wished to be dropped: The dude’s a real looker. In New York, when he appears in stores or performs, lines form that are blocks long. And it doesn’t hurt that bachata tends to specialize in romance. In fact, the root of the genre is said to be amargue, a term that literally means “bitter/bitter music.” In his video for “El Amor Que Perdimos,” he watches his girl swap spit with another dude, and it definitely hurts. Indeed, Royce’s songs are often about sadness, heartbreak and getting done wrong. And the ladies love it. There will be lots of screaming and singing along on the waterfront tonight. And while you may not speak Spanish, a few songs’ll be in English. And love’s a universal language, papi.
7pm. $32. With Alex Matos. Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden St. elzolphilly.com
Beyonce – “Grown Woman“
YES! A thousand times yes! It wasn’t too long ago that we were fed this wild card from Bey in the form of “Bow Down/I Been On.” But now we get a proper single from what must be her forthcoming next LP. Word is that she’s been performing this one on her Mrs. Carter World Tour (with a baby in her uterus). But the jangly, house-y production with hiccupy bongos, funny little samples and bouncy beat blips is so damn listenable—as in, over and over and over, beginning to end. Song of the summer contender!
Tricky – False Idols
This man is a genius mixed with a god blended with a madman, and the product is entirely his own—meaning nobody does what Tricky does as well as he does. And this one, out next week but streaming on NPR, is probably his best since Maxinquaye. You read that right. He even riffs on “Makes Me Wanna Die” on the track “Nothing’s Changed.” He employs two lady voices, and the result is tripped-out, sensuous R&B and electronic darkness.
Kelly Rowland – “Dirty Laundry“
Oh, man. This is deep. With little fanfare, Ms. Rowland dropped a Soundcloud link of one sad but honest reflection on some dark times she’s been goin’ through—from the “bittersweet” jealousy she felt over the success of her sister Bey to the domestic abuse she’d been silently enduring. It’s not so often that you get a talented pop star spilling her guts in a less-than-glamorous fashion. When it’s actually a gut-wrenching R&B slow jam, it’s really stunning.
It’s here! The record so many rabid fans have been waiting for, their first since the (some would say) relatively ill-received Human After All (2005). And while we’re willing to throw a little shade on the sorta-boring Panda Bear feature, there’s nothing not fun about the Pharrell spot on “Get Lucky.” It’s on sale today and on Spotify, and we’re really looking forward to settling in with this one.
Busta Rhymes – “#Twerkit“
Yup, I guess this is now officially the thing to do. While it seemed terribly annoying when will.i.am tried to pull this kind of shit, we were converted with the outstanding Miguel guest spot on Mariah’s “#Beautiful.” And hopefully Busta’s back with this one, a pretty hot and weird twisted gem from the Busta camp that harkens back to ol’ school Bus-a-Bus times that’re hard, funky, ‘hood and dance-y. This one’s produced by Pharrell and has a very Major Lazer feel to it. NOT MAD. Let’s do this, summer.
Photos c/o PW’s J.R. Blackwell.
Sometimes it’s initimdating for dudes to get something waxed. For ladies, too, I’m sure. And while males may not be brave enough to get anything waxed downtown (ya know, beneath the waist), let me assure you, gentlemen, there is no shame spending a little money to keep your body hair game tight. Back hair is rarely sexy; that’s a pretty confident statement. Now, hold up: There is nothing particularly wrong with a back sweater, and hopefully there are plenty of loving men and women out there who love running their hands through your back pelt, but maybe you want to win them over first before you let your winter coat grow out? Just an idea.
Eviama’s got to be one of the most pleasant, peaceful and easy spaces in Center City to get your body and body hair taken care of properly. With a move to a stunning second floor space at 109 S. 13th Street (between Sansom and Chestnut), they just stepped up their game and poised themselves to be the go-to for all kinds of females and males.
We caught up with Penny Ordway, its founder-owner and the wise and green proprietor of a jaw-dropping new space in Midtown Village via email:
PW: Congrats on the new space! Are you excited about it?
Ordway: Yes! I love the natural light and the garden and love the fact that I could create a healing space as I envisioned; it gives my staff and my clients new inspiration. I’m really excited!
How long were you at the old space (on 16th between Spruce and Locust), and how would you say the business has grown since it began? Do you see the business staying on 13th Street indefinitely?
We first opened 11 years ago. The menu has expanded and so has our pool of talent. More and more people discover us everyday, and now nearly everyone knows what we’re about when we say we’re a green, holistic, sustainable business. How wonderful that these ideas are more mainstream now! Frankly, I made a big financial commitment, so we want to be here a long time to benefit from the investment. So far, clients are telling us the move to this very happening neighborhood has added value. The contrast from bustling street to serene urban oasis is so inviting.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself? How long has Philadelphia been your home, and when did your first impulse for holistic well-being and green consciousness hit you?
Well, I haven’t eaten meat in 39 years or dairy in 19. I love jumping into a river, a pond or an ocean whenever I can. I’m grateful that everyday I, we, get to do transformative work and make people happy. I’ve been in Philadelphia for decades! I received a scholarship to Temple University, and the bribe stuck. As long as I can remember, nature has been a supportive force in my life, part of who I am. The wisdom so abundant in nature is part of us—a good thing to preserve and cultivate.
Has there been one service or specialty that Eviama’s seen as a staple?
Just one? Dr. Hauschka Skincare facials are a must. And too many massage services get top billing: Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy (your backs and legs will thank you), Mothers-In-Waiting Prenatal Massage Best of Philly), Houdini JINI (neck jaw shoulders unchained) and the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy (will balance the gut and improve fertility). We have always had a rockin’ biodynamic and organic offering. But there are new menu items being introduced in June, and they will meet our green standards. Stay tuned!
Can you say a few words about your staff? How do you find them and keep them?
Often a staff member will recommend someone they have trained with—this is a great big win-win. You know we all work on each other, and we want the best for ourselves, and we want all the clients to have a wonderful experience. To keep our ace crew, we’ve really made our schedule to fit the therapists’ life. I love my staff!
On The Record: Talib Kweli, Fitz & The Tantrums, Little Boots, Lady Antebellum, Classixx, And Mikal Cronin
Prisoner of Conscious
Sounds like: A really mixed bag from Kweli’s fifth, and not in a pleasant, mixed-nuts kind of way—all over the place, too many guests, not angry enough.
Free association: Let’s be real: Dude’s almost 40. Maybe his venom’s drying out.
For fans of: Tribe/De La/Nas/Mos Def + Busta/Nelly/Miguel, conscious rap.
Fitz & the Tantrums
More Than Just a Dream
Sounds like: The L.A.-born retro and soul-inspired vehicle for Michael Fitzpatrick’s Stax and Motown worship’s sophomore doesn’t pop like their debut.
Free association: Did that whole retro soul thing already have its moment?
For fans of: Mark Ronson + Mayer Hawthorne, Hall & Oates on speed, trends.
Sounds like: The British electro diva’s second is a surprisingly sultry and complex dance music affair, despite its big producers, yielding nuance and depth.
Free association: Which song’ll burn up dancefloors all summer? It’s hard to pick.
For fans of: Annie + La Roux x LCD Soundsystem, Madonna/Robyn, ecstatic dancing.
Sounds like: Harmless, listenable country pop from the Nashville trio; their fifth may not win them awards like Need You Now did, but it’s still an easy listen.
Free association: This is radio country that makes us hate Taylor Swift more.
For fans of: Sugarland/Rascal Flatts x Miranda Lambert, FM twang, Tennessee.
Sounds like: A delicious debut of electronic dance music from L.A. best buds who clearly love some Italo disco, but also R&B, crafty production and beats.
Free association: Blast this on your way to the beach with windows open ASAP.
For fans of: Nico Jaar + Phoenix x Hot Chip, Erasure/Depeche Mode, sick grooves.
Sounds like: Frickin’ excellent solo Merge debut from the Ty Segall team player full of old-school angst, thoughtful lyrics, a little chaos and plenty of noise.
Free association: Believe the hype! One of the best statements of the year.
For fans of: Weezer x Pearl Jam, Toro y Moi + Nirvana, powerhouse garage noise.
Tom Jones is the man on so many levels. His most recent, Spirit in the Room, is a stunning achievement from a 72-year-old stud. His 40th LP of covers—nay, let’s call them interpretations—bears the Welsh superstar turning Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan sings into gut-punching, heart-wrenching exorcisms. It’ll be fascinating to watch this legendary entertainer swagger around the stage on South Street tonight. And Jones has had enough panties thrown at him to stock up a Victoria’s Secret outlet. With good reason: Back in the late ‘60s, when he was giving us “What’s New Pussycat?” and “It’s Not Unusual,” Jones wore tight pants and nearly-unbuttoned shirts. He moved like a maniac, and his ‘fro game was tight, yet felt so natural and effortless.
In the ‘70s, he gave us “She’s a Lady,” and in the ‘80s, he blew Prince’s “Kiss” up into a million pieces. But just about every song he’s ever carried with that smooth, full-throated baritone larynx is compelling. The beauty of that gift he’s carrying around in his neck is that its so capable. You want pop? Bam. A little country? Twang for days. Sad spiritual? Man, that’s dark. Folksy capriciousness? Guess who just bested Joni Mitchell and Donavan.
Jones married his high school sweetheart, but don’t sleep—he’s like the 007 of the British Invasion. He may not tear up the stage like he did on his own TV show or in his endless slew of Vegas shows, but he’s still got that legendary bulge in his throat.
8pm. $50. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
This just popped into our Inbox from the Morgan’s Pier team:
“We can’t believe it’s almost here! Our doors re-open TODAY at 4pm, and the kitchen fires up at 5, with some exciting new additions and some old summer favorites.
Dave P of Making Time will be kicking-off our entertainment season in a BIG way with a FREE DJ set of futuristic sounds for your ears from 10pm-2am! We’ve also got a weekend of incredible DJ’s lined up like Harvard Bass, Liv Spencer + Prince Language. See the full list here and click here to RSVP for FREE admission to this Friday & Saturday’s shows!
Keep the dance vibes going all summer with local DJs every weeknight, and DJs from across the globe every weekend—like Simian Mobile Disco, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Dimitri From Paris.
Throughout the season, our buds over at R5 Productions are pulling out all the stops with FREE shows every Wednesday Night—including some heavy-hitters like Cold Cave, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and We Were Promised Jetpacks—from June 5th-August 28th.
This year, we’ll have a picnic menu, with all items around $10, that’s foodie, vegan, veggie, kid, omnivore—you name it—friendly. This menu is served in our Picnic Area. Although we won’t be taking reservations for this section, with 300 seats, there should be plenty of room for all.
In addition to the picnic options, there’s also a $30 fixed price menu, served exclusively in the elevated Dining Area. Space is limited so we encourage you to make your reservations here.
You can always find our upcoming events, specials and information at MorgansPier.com and for our nightly dinner specials & updates as they happen keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Can’t wait to see you at the Pier!
Man, oh man. We’d been checking in on the site to see what kind of shows and schedule they were booking, but we weren’t expecting this kind of fullness. Not gonna lie: In reading the hours of operation—and by that, we guess, they mainly mean when the kitchen’s open, not how late they’ll be serving drinks—it’s gonna be a service industry summer at the Pier. The picnic menu’s available from 5 to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and only 5 to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Things I can’t wait to put in my mouth from that menu: Smoky Party Wings; honey + chili glaze ($7.50), Blistered Shishito Peppers; ranch dressing + lemon wedge ($7.00), BBQ Pulled Mushroom Buns; house tofu + cucumber salad ($6.50), Really Good Fries; spicy salt + daily aioli (Side $3.00/Basket $7.00), Poached Lobster & Bibb; green goddess + brioche crumbs ($10.00), White Fish Salad Sammie; baby arugula + pickled red onion ($8.00), Slow Roasted Bacon Sammie; pickled cabbage + spicy mustard ($7.50).
Oh, and the talent. A handful of shows that made our eyes bug: a Classixx DJ set on Friday, June 14th ($5.00), a Cold Cave show a few days later on Wednesday, June 19th (free), then a Simian Mobile Disco DJ set on Saturday, the 22nd ($5.00), and OMG a Small Black free show on Wednesday, June 26th, and DAMN a James Murphy DJ set on the weekend of July 4th ($10.00) on Saturday night, the 6th). There’s obviously a ton more booked, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg and the tip that’s closest to May.
Check out this cool lil’ mini-short doc about DFA records to get excited for James Murphy to visit our little pier on Columbus Ave.