Listen, can you hear that rustling sound? That's the noise of time slipping by as April rapidly approaches. We're firmly into the idea of always having something to celebrate, so what better thing than the end of Lent this Saturday? Congrats, now you can treat yourself to something nice. As usual, we have just the list to help you decide how to mark the passage of this important occasion. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Friday, March 29. 9 p.m. $8-$15
"Eat yourself, eat yourself, eat yourself. When you cannibalize, when you categorize...." The first thing that strikes when listening to the music of Mano Le Tough (aka Niall Mannion) is the vocals. They've helped the Irish-born, Berlin-based producer steal the spotlight for himself at a time when frank lyrical content and vocal delivery are still precious commodities in the world of dance music. In just a short span of time, he's become an in-vogue crooner, a fact further established by the recent release of Changing Days, his pop-dance debut LP.
The discovery of his voice was a recent phenomenon. Mannion got his start in 2009, with the chunky arpeggiations of "Warhorn," a 12-inch single released on Norwegian space disco imprint Internasjonal. Subsequent releases further honed his style towards more lush and emotive melodic soundscapes that, like his current sound, are evocative of lovelorn feelings and lonely head spaces. These tunes, combined with his demonstrated DJ chops -- he's held regular parties in Berlin since he moved there in the mid-'00s -- made him something of an underground figure at the time.
Things all changed with the seemingly innocuous release of "Baby Let's Love" in 2010. That song was a step in a more poppy direction that featured snippets of his voice woven into its moody ambience. Though a small gesture, the touch of humanity his voice brought to the track would prove critical. Its success would inspire Mannion to delve deeper into songcraft with follow-up "In My Arms." It was with that record that he perfected his sound and debuted his boyish vocal style. Listening to its light glockenspiel melody, it's hard not to hear bits of the wistful experimental folk/dance music of Arthur Russell. "My tracks aren't club bangers," Mannion told XLR8R magazine. "I don't necessarily want a massive reaction, like a peak-time 'Woah!' That's not really the point for me.... No one is going to remember [one of my tracks] if it's a banger anyways. If they like the song, they're going to listen at home when they can remember."
He carries a subtler touch in his DJ sets, too -- and this feature has earned him a loyal following in Berlin, where he's a regular fixture at the world famous Panorama Bar (click here for a recent mix). Expect good things when he headlines Monarch this Friday.
Thursday, March 28. 9 p.m. $18
Sounding something like an electronic take on soft rock, Breakbot is an anomaly in the Ed Banger catalog. The producer named Thibaut Berland first appeared on the scene in 2010 with the massively popular feel-good disco track "Baby I'm Yours." Its smooth chorus and lack of abrasive electro clichés helped to redefine the Parisian label away from its punky roots. Today he's still working very much in the same vein, something that ought to be apparent when he performs live this Thursday at Mezzanine for Lights Down Low's latest bash.
Friday, March 29. 9:30 p.m. Free-$10
It's hard to argue with a free party, and it's even harder to argue with a free party featuring a solid roster. This Friday sees the duo of Logan Takahashi and Nicholas Weiss take the turn in the main room at Public Works. Better known as Teengirl Fantasy, their short discography has done a lot to bridge the divide between indie rock culture and the serious strains of four-on-the-floor dance music. Onstage, they're a force to be reckoned with, using old-school sequencers and synthesizers to re-imagine tracks like their soaring sample-house epic "Cheaters." This one's free, provided you RSVP and arrive before midnight.
Saturday, March 30. 9 p.m. $8
Believe it or not, there was a time not too long ago when dance music was non-electronic. No, we're not talking about the disco years, but instead the rhythm and blues shuffle of '60s soul. For the past decade, NYC-based DJ Jonathan Toubin has been touring the United States spreading the gospel of this form via explosive sets played on old-school 7-inch, 45-rpm records. Be sure to get there in time for the dance contest, in which you can enter to win a $100 cash prize.
Saturday, March 30. 10 p.m. $10-$20
Much ado has been made about the loss of Mighty's famous Richard Long Associates sound system. It may be gone, but this Saturday marks the first night with the club's all-new, cutting-edge Avalon by Eastern Acoustic Works Club.Two setup. To kick things off right, the venue is warming things up with a night of music courtesy of Chicago house artists Colette and DJ Heather. Both a part of the OM family, they've got that special kind of old-school touch that ought to get things back up to speed quickly.