Photo via Empress Of

Photo via Empress Of


Empress Of is the moniker for LA-to-BK transplant, see Lorely Rodriguez, pills whose birthday I had the pleasure of sharing at the Double Denim showcase last Friday.  (Lorely’s birthday is Oct 19th.  A Libra.)


Rodriguez’s solo project, Empress Of, (born out of solo project, Colorminutes) is an occasionally ethereal, always sultry take on electro dream-pop.  Her work has been compared to the innovative Cocteau Twins and Grimes’ girlish falsetto.  “Hat Trick”   is one of her most shimmering experiments with the 80’s synth-pop beat that pulses through the rest of her Systems EP.  And I am a sucker for a song with tarot card lyrics.  Rider-Waite or go home.  (With my tarot and astro asides, you have now discovered I am a Catland clerk.)


Another gem of Systems is Spanish-sung “Tristeza”; flutters of breath give way to rich vocals bespangled with keyboard interludes.  Listen to the remixes by Pional and El Guincho too.  I caught wind of Empress Of while attending SXSW this past March, but she was already on many people’s good-music-radar.

Due to the airy sweetness of some her songs, I wasn’t expecting the fervor Empress Of had live, throwing her body around, dancin’ around stage.  Lorely’s shows are not boring.  She’s an energetic performer and was having such a good time, Lorely pulled the Birthday Girl card to squeeze a couple extra songs in her set.

You should see her yourself, for during this research I discovered Empress Of also frequents my local deli, Mr. Kiwi, so now my fondness for her is too biased to be credible.

Empress Of will be playing at the Mercury Lounge on November 24th

And Glasslands on November 25th



Photo via Celestial Shore

Photo via Celestial Shore


The Double Denim CMJ thing also showcased Brooklyn-based Celestial Shore.  All the critiques you will read about Celestial Shore will refer to the complex guitar structures that give them their math-rock label and how much Brian Wilson they must have blasted on long drives.  This combination connects disjointed, instrumental fitfulness with Sam Owen’s Pet-Soundsy cooing vocals. While spending time in LA, Celestial Shore recorded their first surfy, “sun-dappled”, and aptly named EP, California Eden.

Celestial might not have the hooks and candy pop gratification you’re used to, Viral Fashioner, but I believe your fifth listen to them will be more rewarding than your first.  I found once the turns in a song became familiar, I could get into the melodies (so many melodies) without my ears feeling jilted around. Their new full album, 10X, continues Celestial Shore’s strength for droning introspective lyrics amidst a beepity-boopity of upward and downward dissonance, charging typical indie-rock emotions with a sense of urgency.

I had been listening to Celestial Shore, but this was my first time seeing them live.  I learned lots of new things that night, such as not to conduct an after-show interview inebriated with my iPhone voice memo app.  They gave me nonsense answers because I was a nonsense interviewer, they grumbled about terrible CMJ venues, and they talked about the cool time they had in Philadelphia recording a song for Shaking Through which should be coming out in the next couple weeks.


Off of “10X” is a Celestial Shore-Empress Of collab, Swimmer’s Sinking Feeling:


Catch their shows at Death by Audio on 11/7 and Shea Stadium on 11/22.


– Morgan Smith

This weekend the exhibit, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”, opened to the public at the Brooklyn Museum and reviews are already in that it’s a hit.  Comparisons are even being made to the Met’s record breaking “Savage Beauty” exhibit of Alexander McQueen’s life’s work.  As is only appropriate, any exciting exhibit opening must have an equally exciting opening party and Gaultier did not disappoint.  The event, sponsored by Lexus, was attended by fashion heavyweights including Karlie Kloss, Coco Rocha, Fern Mallis, Bill Cunningham, designers Calvin Klein, Christian Siriano, and Sophie Theallet, friends Sally Jessy Raphael and Randy Jones, as well as muses Amanda Lepore, Beth Ditto, Susanne Bartsch, Stella Ellis, and Farida Khelfa: a crowd as iconic as the designs.   Guests were able to get a first look at the exhibit, which boasts 140 haute couture and prêt-à-porter pieces; an impressive monograph of the designer’s work.  The night was a celebration of not only the exhibit and its excellent curation but the creative mind behind the fashion-as-art-as-fashion.  “Sidewalk to Catwalk” is set to break its own records as well, scheduled to be the first fashion exhibit to be seen globally in over ten venues.   But let’s not go on, a picture is worth a thousand words and we have some gorgeous ones to do the talking.


Photographs by Andrew Werner.


– Gloria Cavallaro
Blog: Silver Halide
Twitter: @gloriacavallaro