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      Class Actress, Penguin Prison in Philadelphia

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      May 17, 2012

      Thursday   9:00 PM

      1201 N Frankford Avenue
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125

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      Class Actress, Penguin Prison

      Class Actress

      Elizabeth Harper, a former drama major from Los Angeles, had been writing delicate, wistful songs of longing and detachment for several years when she met musician & psychoanalyst-in-training Mark Richardson in 2009 and asked him to remix one of her tracks. Their creative chemistry was instantaneous – Mark’s production style was cerebral but sensual, relying heavily on vintage synths and drum machines, and influenced by ‘80s bands like Human League and Depeche Mode while still conscious of modern club sounds steeped in hip hop and house. It perfectly complemented the melancholy undertone in Harper’s songs and revealed in them an urge towards ecstatic abandon. Along with multi-instrumentalist/engineer Scott Rosenthal, the two formed Class Actress and recorded the debut EP Journal of Ardency, which was released to much acclaim by Chris Taylor’s (of Grizzly Bear) Terrible Records in 2010. In the year since, Class Actress toured the US, Europe and South America, Mark worked towards attaining his PHD, and the band completed a new full-length record, entitled Rapprocher, which is French for “to come close to.” The record is the soundtrack for a tragic love affair conducted in European discos and New York nightclubs, via smart phone disconnection and jet-lag disorientation, from within the dull opacity of luxurious hotel rooms and anti-anxiety medication. It’s the story of a relationship that’s yearning to go another round. Harper’s secrets and Richardson’s beats liberate the listener and freedom reigns on the dance floor. This is sensual music about tragic romance and the eternal longing for what you can’t have. Where Journal was the secret diary, Rapprocher is the love letter. The pleasure and sorrow of romantic connection are inescapably entwined in Harper’s lyrics, while the smooth, cool surfaces of Richardson’s production conjure an eternal after-hours nightlife that Harper inhabits fearlessly, displaying a provocative, wounded raw sexuality that some reviewers have compared to early Madonna. Class Actress is: Guilty Pleasure. NSA dance music. Casual Encounters. Stalker Pop. Depeche Mode meets early Madonna and Five Star as heard on the radio in the leather backseat of a cab.

      Penguin Prison

      Even if you never find out what a Penguin Prison is, there’s no denying Chris Glover aka Penguin Prison has made a brilliant record. If you’re a fan of New York disco, as accessible as it is angular, all burbling bass lines, resonant rhythms, shimmering synths and heavenly melodies, then you’ll love the new Penguin Prison album. Imagine, if you will, Chic produced by James Murphy, or a collaboration between Prince and The Human League. It is some measure of Penguin Prison’s skills in the studio, on vocals and in terms of songwriting, that such illusory marvels have been achieved on this superb self-titled collection, that some critics have gone as far as to hail it a modern day Off The Wall masterpiece. “It’s not a concept album about Michael,” says Prison, or maybe we should call him Penguin, of his all-time hero “But it’s definitely been influenced by him.” To say he was an early starter would be an understatement. From the age of 10 he was singing in the local gospel choir. When he was 11, he got an agent and began recording jingles. By 12, he had learned to play guitar and was into punk rock, the American variety – bands such as Green Day, NOFX and Bad Religion. He even performed as a teen at the legendary CBGBs with his band The Museum. Chris became Penguin Prison at the start of 2009. It wasn’t long before he earned a reputation as remixer du jour for the likes of Marina and the Diamonds, Goldfrapp and Passion Pit. He agrees that he conferred NY kudos especially on the British artists, and admits his favorite remix was for Jamiroquai, adding that the secret to a good remix is “to throw everything away from the original track and start from scratch”. It was inevitable that Chris would then make music of his own, which he began in late 2009. You can hear the spectacular results on the debut Penguin Prison album, which sounds to all intents and purposes like a Greatest Hits collection, so chock-full it is of catchy hooks and classic pop choruses. There is Multi-Millionaire, which is about “being rich even if you’ve got no money” and one titled Don’t Fuck With My Money that features Jackson-style percussive gasps and a lyric that pushes the envelope. “I was worried it was too crazy – ‘Can I really say that?’ People said leave it in, so I did. “All my lyrics are sarcastic but serious as well,” he adds. “So I’m really saying ‘don’t fuck with my money’! Because if you try to, it’s not going to be good…”

      Cost: 13.00 to 15.00

      Categories: Concerts & Tour Dates

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