“The indie collective's third full-length release, Beacon introduces Dia Luna as main vocalist and co-songwriter of a ten-piece Superhuman Happiness that also includes project leader Stuart Bogie and longtime members Eric Biondo and Sam Levin. Also featuring such noteworthy guests as saxophonist Colin Stetson and Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, the album takes on a somewhat grayer hue than prior releases, particularly their effervescent debut. The group's first album since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it nevertheless retains a certain freewheeling spirit and hopeful tone, hence the title Beacon. The album opens at "Dusk" and ends with "Dawn"; the former is an ambient-leaning quasi-instrumental with a percussive groove colored by distorted voice samples and electronics. The nighttime quickly comes into focus on "Bury Me," a part dance-rock, part disco, commanding second track that commits to "dancing in the ash of yesterday." It features an exuberant tenor saxophone solo by Bogie, while Stetson's (more refined in this case) alto sax makes an appearance on the more sultry, uneasy "Quiet Streets." Midway through the track list, "Release Identity" contrasts mechanical and human elements, including bleeps, bloops, robotic chants, funky guitars, and Luna's warm, smooth vocal line. After a spookier title track, the album winds down with the quiet optimism of "Victory" ("a victory's not so far") and the more rambunctious "Victory, Pt. 2" before closing on the reassuring "Dawn." Beacon isn't without spontaneity, danceable rhythms, and impressive musicality, but its more reflective character acknowledges that it's not always time for celebration, even with a name like Superhuman Happiness.”
The Duchess and the Fox
Every Night (2016)
“Today, Psychedelic Furs/Ryan Adams/Nada Surf/Ramones associate Joe McGinty's most recent project, a nouveau cabaret duo with Andrea Diaz of Superhuman Happiness, comes to fruition. The pair, performing under the name The Duchess and the Fox, release their EP Every Night today, a collection of dark, piano-driven tunes with a distinctly noir feel.
The Duchess and the Fox (Joe McGinty, Andrea Diaz) Release Neo-Noir Cabaret EP Every Night, Streaming on Spotify
The two came together after Andrea Diaz stepped forward at a piano karaoke night. Joe recalls, "I've probably played piano for thousands of singers on my piano karaoke nights. Even after just one song, I knew there was something special about Andrea. I was intrigued when she left her contact information. Soon after... we started writing songs together."
The title track, for which the Casablanca-esque video premiered on Paste, sets the tone with its sweeping, understated drama. Also featured on the EP is the track "St Vitus", following a premiere on Stereogum, inspired by a quick glimpse of the Greenpoint, Brooklyn bar of the same name during a whirlwind night.
The EP is a collection of dark romantic ballads that brings back the feel of a dimly lit, smoky cabaret - an aesthetic and sound that not many are attempting these days. In Andrea's words, it's "a throwback to an era of glamour that Joe and I both appreciate. It's highly sensual piano cabaret music with a solid dose of New York nightlife flavor and grit." The EP is officially streaming on Soundcloud today, and the duo will be playing a release show tonight (February 9) at The Red Room in Manhattan - a perfect setting for the songs to come to life.”
Three Thousand Crowns
The new EP from Three Thousand crowns is the result of the collaboration between singer, Andrea Diaz and brothers Marc, and Stephen Anderson. Fusing disparate elements, the group creates a trip hop sound with violins, drums, piano and voice.