Super Ballet c/ Model/Actriz ⟡ Dove Armitage [SOLD OUT]

Galeria Zé dos Bois

Model/Actriz ©Lily Frances


Throughout the 1990s, there was in some pop/electronic music a discomfort caused by the end of the century, increased by the millennium change, the so called “Pre-Millennium Tension” that gave title to Tricky’s album. The world didn’t end, in the 2000s the rock coming from the United States, especially New York, sometimes associated with noise or the post-punk/new wave skeleton granted happiness and liberation from what didn’t happen. The pre-millennial anxiety, or tension, was an illusion that passed, that ceased to hold. More than three decades later, the way one is clinging to technology, addiction, and how artificial intelligence is projected is creating other kinds of anxiety, tensions, also linked to an idea of no future, associated with climate change and, it seems, a desire for self-destruction of the human being, whether through capitalism or the essence itself. And, yes, this is a text about Model/Actriz. So, let’s talk about them: their debut album, “Dogsbody” encapsulates this malaise transformed into carpe diem without shit. An album that lives in the moment and wants to die in the moment. Fast and Furious or live fast and die young. Stuff like that, but not to be worn on a t-shirt.

Brooklyn resident quartet made up of Cole Haden (vocals), Jack Wetmore (guitar), Ruben Radlauer (drums) and Aaron Shapiro (bass), who have been around since the middle of the last decade, went through the school that taught many relevant bands in New York at the beginning of the century: they’ve been playing for years (since 2016), editing in discreet formats and now they finally see the light of the world with an album that offers so and so much at the same time. Like the times we live in. Produced by Seth Manchester (Lingua Ignora, Body, Battles), “Dogsbody” turns that aspirational anxiety of the 1990s into a real thing. Today’s anxiety/tension aren’t inspired by a date change, or an unknowable future being projected, they’re real from a world that builds information and ways of communicating at a speed you can’t process. So there is a lot of technology in “Dogsbody”, just as there is sex, an unbridled struggle with the body and with making it win, live, use, and destroy itself. This living on the edge touches the aspirations of the rock of the beginning of the century (one thinks immediately of Liars, but also of Black Dice, Sightings or Wolf Eyes), especially because Haden doesn’t sing, declaims, whispers, and this transforms the experience of listening to Model/Actriz in the transcendent that knows how to live the present. A living of explorations of the sensations of existing, of being a young adult today, without fear of tomorrow. Therefore, live they are also intense, they confront the audience, they make it exist in the experience with them. Because life is a constant explosion. And the music of Model/Actriz explodes at every moment, without any notion of future. Because he might not be here tomorrow and Model/Actriz are here today. AS

Dove Armitage

Dove Armitage, the unclassifiable and unpredictable pop project from songwriter Quincy Larsen, emerged from the ashes of former projects. There are traces of the post-punk band she played bass in after moving to LA, and an avant-garde indie rock band that recalled boundary-pushing groups like Brainiac. The multi-disciplinary artist blended these elements with gleeful, thrilling synth-rock on her new project, Concernless. Over the course of six tracks, Armitage pays homage to the music she grew up blasting. There’s an eye on the past, but this music is built distinctly for the future. In an era in which popular music can be broken down to formulas, clichés, and repeatable ideas, Armitage doubles down on her originality, infusing brilliant pop hooks with bold artistic choices that shock the system. It’s a brave introduction, but after so many years of playing with others, Armitage wanted to make an album wholly in concert with her own vision.

The EP was built around Dove’s favorite instrument, the bass, and each song hones in on the lyrical themes that Armitage says arrived by accident. “I want to befriend the darker parts of me. You hear so much about expelling your demons, but maybe you should focus on befriending them because they’re not going to go away,” she explains. First track “Brittle” rightfully begins with the interplay of synth and bass before shuffling drums and Armitage’s haunting vocals. There’s a sense of mystery during the song’s first verse, but the songwriter’s use of digital vocal effects and hyperpop-inspired aesthetics give the song a raucous, stadium-ready energy. “Let go of my hand a little, your touch makes my bones go brittle,” she sings.

Dove’s philosophy on this EP is to embrace the scary moments and the darkness that exists in each of us. It’s this vulnerability in admitting two sides to herself that eventually led to her alter-ego as Dove Armitage.

“I like these two people. They’re both me and they both reflect my inner workings. I would say Quincy is the bubbly one. Dove is the darker one,” she explains. It was her decision to embrace her darker side and harness this energy in a positive way that infuses so much of Concernless. “I started letting my demons teach me rather than ignoring them because they’re just going to be there and want my attention. I might as well give them attention, but do so in a positive way.”

On the pulsing, electronic-pop track “Glass in Me,” Dove croons over a bouncy bassline and electronic drum kit. She sings of IV drips and ecstasy, of breaking pieces to make them fit. It’s in this latter observation that so much of Concernless’ beauty lies.

Ultimately, the project is a response to Dove’s surroundings, and the struggles that impact her and her community. “I address negativity by acknowledging it, but then figuring out how I can spin it in a positive way. The things we go through as humans, as women, as queer people, suck, but they can make us better, too,” she explains. “How can we acknowledge these experiences without belittling them, to live and thrive regardless of those challenges?” It‘s an all-consuming question, and one Dove Armitage never fully answers on Concernless. That, however, is besides the point. Her bravery in acknowledging them, in understand them, and asking them gives Concernless it’s inspiring, unending power.

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