Heard of her? Neither had we. But a little birdie told us the London-based "jungle-punk" performer was scheduled to perform at this year's installment of the annual free "Art Loves Music" show, as part of Art Basel Miami Beach. A call to Basel offices found a flustered phone-answerer hemming and hawing on the subject, until she finally admitted they were "in negotiations."
Seems like it's all sewed up on Ebony Bones' end, though, as her MySpace page lists a December 2 date as "RED BULL presents EBONY BONES! - Art Basel MIAMI BEACH." December 2 of this year is a Wednesday, the opening date of the Art Fair, and the night on which "Art Loves Music" is always staged. So put two and two together?
You can be forgiven if you've never heard of Ebony Bones, though she's
huge with the avant-garde Euro fashion set. Her debut album, Bone of My Bones,
isn't yet available in the United States, not even on iTunes. Get ready
for an invasion, of the U.S., though -- it started with some highly bloggable performances at this past SXSW.
Bones is, first off, visually arresting,
looking something like if Cassetteplaya had gone more tribal and exploded on Grace Jones. Yes, she's that awesome.
As far as the music, though she calls herself "jungle-punk," that doesn't really begin to cover it. Actually, pat genre labels don't cut it at all. Songs like "Warrior" are built on sort of no-wavey riffs and rumbling drums and hand claps. "In G.O.D. We Trust (Gold, Oil & Drugs)" starts with an almost dubstep-style reverse-warp bassline, and chanted political lyrics. Then comes "Guess We'll Always Have New York," a relatively straightforward, strummy ballad.
While Ebony Bones seems a lot to take, at first, for square Americans (try staring at her MySpace background for too long), her show should be one of the defining moments of this year's Basel week. The show rarely introduces new artists to American audiences, and this seems like an exciting bit of risk-taking on the bookers' part.
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Here are some Ebony Bones videos that give some idea of what's in store.