Project Jenny, Project Jan at Pianos
Janet from the excellent Nashville-based indie music site out the other turned me on to Project Jenny, Project Jan... specifically to this insanely infectious dance-party video of their song H-J-I-H. The band—really a duo from Brooklyn; Jeremy Haines doing vocals, Sammy Rubin on laptop and keyboards—effortlessly slip in and out of sounds ranging from techno and pop and hip hop to salsa and big-band swing, but ultimately reside squarely in what Interpol frontman Paul Banks calls the "two dudes who make crazy shit from their home" genre. I've since downloaded several songs from their EP, at least one of which usually makes its way onto my daily on-the-go mixes. Their album XOXOXOXOXO is due to be released August 18, but you can hear a bunch of songs from it now on the band's MySpace page.
So that's the background. The story last night was Project Jenny, Project Jan playing a free show upstairs at Pianos, where I joined about 25 other people sort of dancing but mostly sitting and listening to their lean and exuberant, though often amateurish, 14-song, 30-minute set, which went something like this:
2. Fight Song
3. Dia de los Ninos
7. Zoo Bar
9. Train Track
Rubin's beats are pretty much irresistible, and Haines definitely knows how to belt out a song, but the snarky attitude can get tiresome, the sometimes sophomoric lyrics nearly insufferable. The song Negative, for example, about making homemade pornos, exemplifies all these PJ, PJ tendencies. That said, I look forward to downloading more of their stuff—especially the excellent 320 and Train Track—when it becomes available in August.
Pianos is on Ludlow Street, just South of Stanton. I believe the shows in the lounge upstairs are always free. They also serve food in addition to cheap beer and booze. If you're visiting New York from out of town and are curious as to what, exactly, the so-called "hipster" phenomenon is all about, this is a good place to start.