Art Basel's best bands and DJs
Go ahead, lie. You might convince a clueless acquaintance or air-headed first date you're an enlightened and worldly art lover with an underground bunker stuffed full of priceless avant-garde treasures. But we're too wise for that line. We know you're a broke (albeit very cool) individual who simply wants to party.
So this week, when Art Basel Miami Beach and all the satellite fairs invade our scuzzy neon streets, don't try to con us and pretend you're shopping for an investment piece. Just admit you're loitering long enough to sniff out one of those supersecret spots seething with rich dudes, hot models, pseudo-celebrities, awesome music, and cheap booze.
No worries, though, because we're just like you, and we've spent untold hours over the past few weeks compiling a rundown of Basel's best bands and DJs. This Thursday, head to Grand Central for a hipsterrific Twin Shadow and Phantogram doubleheader before shedding some weight with M.A.N.D.Y.'s Philipp Jung and the rest of the Get Physical crew. Then Friday, lose your mind alongside indie noise duo No Age in Wynwood or the Broken Hearts Club Berlin at the Oceanfront Pavilion. And finally, roll deep Saturday when New Times, Ninjasonik, and Shepard Fairey triple-team Fountain Art Fair. As for Sunday, go recover with some barbecue at Bar.
Thursday, December 2
Twin Shadow and Phantogram. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show begins at 10 p.m., and admission is free with RSVP at uptheantics.com/baselantics. 305-377-2277; grandcentralmiami.com. Florida native George Lewis Jr. (AKA Twin Shadow) describes his tuneage as "B-movie pop" and told Rolling Stone he recorded most of his tracks in a lonely hotel room. Meanwhile, electro-rock duo Phantogram calls its music "street beat psych pop." Together, they plan to turn Grand Central into the kind of musical K-hole you'll want to hide in forever. Presented by Toyota Antics and Filter magazine, the event will also feature DJ sets by Prince Terrence and MSB — plus live painting and on-the-spot poster printing. Liana Lozada
Get Physical. Electric Pickle, 41 NW 20th St., Miami. Doors open at 9 p.m. 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com. It's time to work it out, bitches. Slip on your sleeveless hoodies and bike shorts, suck some Red Bull, and stretch like a cheerleader 'cause Get Physical label head and M.A.N.D.Y. member Philipp Jung is back for Basel 2010. Expect Hamburg, Germany's DJ Koze (AKA Adolf Noise, Kosi Annan, Monaco Schranze) to join Jung for the sweat sesh. And for the lazy asses who have missed M.A.N.D.Y.'s annual fitness fests during WMC, here's the lowdown on Get Physical's official program: deep squats, a heavy house soundtrack, and a million people aerobicizing amid lights, lasers, and sweat-slicked floors. S. Pajot
Amanda Blank and Sweatheart. Churchill's, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show begins at 10 p.m. 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Electro-alternative pop beats and female rap vocals aren't normally lumped together. But for the better part of five years, Philadelphia's Amanda Blank has effortlessly combined the two on hipster-approved dance tracks. In 2006, the 20-something party girl was featured on Spank Rock's "Bump" and generated indie-alt blog buzz by getting straight raunchy: "This shit ain't happy/I'm trashy, boastful bitch MC/My rhymes are painful and fresh/My pussy's tastin' the best."
In 2009, Blank released her first album, I Love You. Meanwhile, she was also working with fellow Philly crew Sweatheart, a self-described "community college rock" outfit "set to rock you — and your hot sister's world." Amanda Blank and Sweatheart will play the first of three Art Basel shows this Thursday at Churchill's. They'll also be at Bar and the Overthrow Castle this Friday and Saturday, respectively. Victor Gonzalez
Friday, December 3
No Age. Fountain Art Fair, 2505 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 7 p.m.; fountainexhibit.com. Weaned on the noisiest '90s indie rock available, Los Angeles gaze-punk duo No Age always sounded like the gnarly stepchild of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. Every song spun from the twin turbines of guitarist Randy Randall and singer-drummer Dean Spunt was thick, churning, and deeply distorted. But with new album Everything in Between, the scuzziness has been given a nice pop sheen. Witness a band (sort of) reborn when No Age explores a softer drone alongside DJ Lauren Flax this Friday. S. Pajot
Broken Hearts Club Berlin. Oceanfront Pavilion at Collins Park, between 21st and 22nd streets, Miami Beach. The party begins at 10 p.m., and admission is free; artbaselmiamibeach.com. If we could live in any other city besides Miami, it'd probably be Berlin. But while we wait on that work visa, we'll have to settle for a popular German dance party. Founded by Ingrid Junker, Niki Pauls, and Conny Opper, Broken Hearts Club Berlin began as a monthly event where "DJs, musicians, artists, and music lovers" gathered for a "raucous fairy-tale mix of rock, sleazy disco, postpunk, burlesque, whorehouse, torch song, neo-wave, raging house, and '80s pop." In other words, the best party ever. Victor Gonzalez
Saturday, December 4
A-Trak and Dave 1. With Blu Jemz. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $25 via fla.vor.us. 305-377-2277; grandcentralmiami.com. If you weren't aware, producer-DJ A-Trak and Chromeo frontman Dave 1 are brothers. We don't mean, like, pals. They're blood-related brothers. Both were born in Montreal, but A-Trak went on to become Kanye West's touring DJ and later a well-known producer. Dave 1, on the other hand, founded Chromeo and took a stab at reinventing '80s New Wave, funk, and electro. The siblings go undercover as the Brothers Macklovitch this Saturday. Jose D. Duran
Theophilus London. Basel Castle at the Overthrow Castle, 41 NW 20th St., Miami. The party begins at 5 p.m., and admission is free; theoverthrow.com. Dude's got the name of a Biblically inclined, 19th-century British inventor. But he's actually Brooklyn's raddest hipster-hopper. With an affinity for the Casio SK-10 sampler, Kraftwerk, and Purple Rain, 22-year-old Theophilus London has built his rep on the back of two heavily buzzed Internet albums — debut Jam! and 2009's follow-up, This Charming Mixtape — not to mention a recent sun-soaked summer collabo, "Flying Overseas," with Beyoncé's sister, Solange Knowles. Plus mofo knows how to dress. Also on the bill: Amanda Blank and Sweatheart, ex-Miami electropopper Jesp (AKA Joseph Espinoza), as well as DJs Heroes + Villains, Tamara Sky, Damaged Goods, Troy Kurtz, and Pirate Stereo. S. Pajot
Aska. Bar, 28 NE 14th St., Miami. The show begins at 10 p.m.; 28ne14st.com. The indie music scene is one big mess of subgenres. Artists draw inspiration from multiple sources — other musicians, literary works, and everything else around them — to create aural worlds of their own. And that's exactly the case with L.A.-based avant-pop act Aska. The classically trained pianist is a lover of all things conceptual. She toured the States and Europe with the Sads, and along with Becky Star of the Decemberists, she composes, arranges, and performs with the all-female, 30-member LA Ladies Choir. In September, she released her first EP, featuring Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, and Nick Dewitt of Pretty Girls Make Graves. Victor Gonzalez
Ninjasonik and Shepard Fairey. Fountain Art Fair, 2505 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 7 p.m.; fountainexhibit.com. When New Times ran through the shortlist of potential partners for our Fountain Art Fair party, we stopped dead at the names Ninjasonik and Shepard Fairey. The former is an indie-rap trio that counts Reverend McFly, Telli Gramz, and DJ Roofeeo among its members. And believe it, people, these ninjas got serious skills. Meanwhile, the latter needs no introduction: He's graphic god and sometime DJ Shepard Freaking Fairey. And as a totally unnecessary bonus, there will be booze, namely the Rums of Puerto Rico, Famosa Beer, and Blu Energy Drink. S. Pajot
Damian Lazarus. Electric Pickle, 41 NW 20th St., Miami. Doors open at 9 p.m. 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com. Clubland can be a wasteland. But former Dazed & Confused music editor, current Crosstown Rebels label exec, and minimal DJ-producer Damian Lazarus is a natural-born opponent of mediocrity, unearned hype, and cash-bloated trash. For the past ten years, he has worked endlessly to improve the state of electronic music, helping to break blog house stars such as Tiga and underground heads such as Seth Troxler. Be there when Lazarus protests excess at the Electric Pickle. No better time than Basel week, right? S. Pajot
Sunday, December 5
The Do-Over. Bar, 28 NE 14th St., Miami. The show begins at 10 p.m.; 28ne14st.com. Los Angeles's Do-Over has been that city's prime summertime barbecue and dance party for six years. The brainchild of Jamie Strong, Chris Haycock, and Aloe Blacc (of "I Need a Dollar" fame), it has consistently brought out big names such as Dâm-Funk and the late DJ AM. Now this West Coast throwdown is heading east, just in time to cure your Art Basel hangover. In true Do-Over fashion, the DJ lineup is being kept secret, though whispers suggest a pretty major invasion. Liana Lozada
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.