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Live Review: Roosevelt with Ela Minus at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC – 3rd June 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 6th June 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Having two great gigs to go to in one night is a good problem to have. Last Saturday, I was able to see Blossoms at relatively new venue Songbyrd Music House in Adams Morgan before jetting back to the U Street corridor. I wanted to catch electronic man of the moment Roosevelt and his band at U Street Music Hall at a late night show. I missed him play DC9 last autumn (long story) and was ever so pleased he was making a return to Washington. Funnily enough, I found out from Blossoms’ frontman Tom Ogden earlier that night that they’d met the Cologne artist at Governor’s Ball in New York the day before, and they knew of him because he’d remixed one of their songs (‘Getaway’). Small world.

Ela Minus is electronic artist and producer Gabriela Jimeno, born in Colombia but now living in Brooklyn. In a black tank top and leggings, she looked relaxed, as if she was about to go to the gym. (Turns out this wasn’t just for fashion, as she got quite a workout on stage and in the crowd, bopping along.) However, the words on her tank top told another story: “Young | Latin | & | Proud”. In these less than enlightened times, the phrase was not so subtle poke at our Commander-in-Chief and his cronies who would love nothing more than to divide us. On pink gaffa tape and in black Sharpie, her mixing desk proclaimed, “bright music for dark times”, which was in strange, almost too perfect synchronicity to the power of popular music Ogden and I had agreed about, how important it is for musicians to keep pushing on and making music for the masses to enjoy during these difficult days. Life might get you down, but it’s been to the credit of dance music to give us the excuse to dance like no one’s watching, sticking it to anyone who dares to silence us.

Ela Minus at U Street Music Hall, 3 June 2017

Both Roosevelt and Ela Minus’ music is the perfect medium to facilitate all of that. As a drummer in a former life, the percussive nature of Ela Minus’ sounds feels well done, not for showmanship but for artistic sake. On record, this provides refreshing contrast to the female electropop artists Jimeno is inevitably compared to Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES and Grimes, thanks to her self-described “(apparently unavoidable) childish voice”. Jimeno’s soundscapes will appeal to the more purist electroheads like myself who didn’t fancy ‘Art Angels’. There’s a childlike innocence to some of her music, too: the bounce of synth notes sounding crisp and fresh is so different from the overblown dance pop productions that make the charts these days. Every Ela Minus show is different, as Jimeno explained in a Red Bull Music Academy interview recently, “I basically plug this [all] in, push play and have fun”.

Ela Minus at U Street Music Hall, 3 June 2017

Those not familiar with electronic music have this impression that these artists’ live performances is boring and buttoned up. I mean, how exciting can a person stood over a laptop for an entire set be? Until you have watched one of these masters at work, fully interfacing with all their gear – invariably a full tabletop of synths, keyboards, drum machines and sequencers with a dizzying array of buttons, switches and dials – you would never know how wrong this assumption is. Gone are the days of artists being tied down to their tables: they prowl around the stage and jump down on the floor to be with their fans. Jimeno, feeding off the sold out crowd’s energy at U Hall, grinned from ear to ear each time she cued up a new number from her “magic suitcase of synthesisers”. Have a listen to ‘Juan Sant’, a track she released earlier this year.

group photo of Roosevelt at U Street Music Hall, 3 June 2017

It’s not often I’m in a venue and think I’m going to witness a riot. However, Roosevelt, the stage name of Marius Lauber, this evening with his band in tow, was this close to causing one, taking the stage over 45 minutes later than scheduled. The more restless gig-goers left in frustration, I guess in search of a party elsewhere; others wondered what was wrong, fearing the worst (incapacitated/drunk band members). However, those who persevered found the group were well worth the wait. Lauber and his crew were all dressed in white down to their trainers, in what appears to be the Roosevelt uniform. My guess is that this is emblematic that the colours of the music should be allowed to speak for themselves, with minimal focus being given to how the players look. It’s a bold statement, especially considering the twenty-something Lauber could easily be a bedroom pinup, with plenty of female admirers in the crowd.

Roosevelt at U Street Music Hall, 3 June 2017

The high octane set that never really let up mixed the old and new, with Lauber’s earlier days as Roosevelt in ‘Elliot’ having aged well when played alongside numbers from his Balearic beat-driven eponymous debut for Greco-Roman last summer. Another older song, ‘Montreal’, shows Lauber’s flair early on for commandeering disco beats and reining them in for a sophisticated result. The downtown funk of ‘Night Moves’ from ‘Roosevelt’ is a natural evolution from there, pulling you in with its infectiousness.

Roosevelt at U Street Music Hall, 3 June 2017

The lightness of the synth bounce on mid-tempo hit ‘Fever’ was satisfyingly effortless live. The single is currently being used regionally in a tv advert for Hershey Park, no doubt for its hedonistic summer vibe. ‘Belong’ was another live triumph, the driving ‘80s vibe steady and strong. An unexpected treat came in the form of LP ender ‘Close’, the first of two songs of the encore. Performing alone, the slow jam served as a reminder that Lauber is the mastermind of Roosevelt, expertly turning dials and pressing buttons and not rattled by the fact that a full house was watching him. He might not have envisioned Roosevelt becoming a live act, but the horse is already out of the barn as us, the electronic music listening public, are all the better for it. It might take some time for his second album to surface, but we’ll be here. Catch up on all of TGTF’s past coverage on Roosevelt through here.

Roosevelt at U Street Music Hall, 3 June 2017

After the cut: Roosevelt’s set list.

Continue reading Live Review: Roosevelt with Ela Minus at U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC – 3rd June 2017

 

Video of the Moment #2320: Roosevelt

 
By on Friday, 10th March 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Marius Lauber, aka German electronic producer Roosevelt, is a happy camper. He’s on tour this month in the UK with Glass Animals, on the dates listed here. He will no doubt be bringing the bangers from his debut album released last summer on Greco-Roman (UK) and City Slang (US), which I reviewed here last September. Tonight, to usher in the weekend before SXSW 2017, we bring you an endearing video for ‘Moving On’ from his self-titled record. In it, a pair of young lovers go on what looks like a fairground ride…inside a building? Join them by watching the promo below. For more on Roosevelt, here on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4FWJmHfLC0[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #2230: Roosevelt

 
By on Monday, 28th November 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

German electronic producer Marius Lauber, aka Roosevelt, released his self-titled album back this summer. I reviewed the effort on Greco-Roman back here. I’m going to let Lauber explain to him what the song ‘Belong’ from the LP means to him:

‘Belong’ is a ’80s-inspired synth track, where i tried to bring in a slower groove than on the rest of my album. It’s the only song on the record where I didn’t record live drums, solely using drum machines to achieve a colder sound aesthetic. I listened a lot to bands like Human League and Tears For Fears in the making of the song. With the video we wanted to bring the vibe of the album artwork to life, and create a live performance around it. It was important to me to come back to the aesthetic of the album cover – as ‘Belong’ is definitely a key track on the record for me.

Watch the new promo video for ‘Belong’ below. For more on Roosevelt on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCAHULR-_V4[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Roosevelt – Roosevelt

 
By on Wednesday, 7th September 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Roosevelt album cover smFor some people, it takes a long time to find yourself and the music you’re going to present to the world. In Marius Lauber’s case, it took 3 years for his Roosevelt project to truly come to life. Three years may seem like a long time in today’s fast-paced, unforgiving music industry, but in Lauber’s case, the results were well worth the wait. Not unlike musicians in successful indie acts we know and love, Lauber was previously in a series of unsuccessful bands, having learned both guitar and drums. After the young musician relocated to Cologne, one of several German cities with an amazing electronic dance music heritage, newfound inspiration provided the impetus to start his own production work.

Lauber also threw himself into DJaying, landing what would be a seminal moment in his career, a DJ residency at Kompakt’s Total Confusion party alongside the famed indie record label’s heavyweight Superpitcher and co-owner Michael Mayer. There can be nothing more instructive to an electronic musician’s life than to gauge firsthand what works on the dance floor versus what fails spectacularly: “What I really enjoyed about DJing was that you could see the results immediately – there was feedback and interaction from the crowd”. There’s no doubt this handy work experience helped guide the creation of this 12-pack of wholly accessible synthpop gems that make up his confident eponymous debut album.

The positive public response to New Order‘s latest album ‘Music Complete’ last year proves that folks are still itching for someone to recapture the glory days of new wave’s past. While Roosevelt isn’t straight imitating them, he does one better, taking what people loved most about New Order’s biggest hits and making it new. Early singles ‘Colours’ (see promo video below with fell album track ‘Moving On’) and ‘Fever’ have already become live favourites, and it’s not hard to see why. Both songs have a pleasing aesthetic that takes the best of ’80s electropop, then feeding it through the hedonistic filter of sunny, more carefree days.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oilVq8-F4_Q[/youtube]

The result: addictive slices of summery, upbeat electro that can appeal far beyond the pedants of German minimal techno, as well as house music aficionados. The intro of ‘Colours’ sounds remarkably like the start of OMD‘s ‘Messages’, but I choose to view this as a tender homage, as Lauber moves past the early robotic approach of the Merseyside duo and brings in his bubbly, Ibiza-inspired style to the party. The tracks that follow it on this collection, ‘Sea’ and the beguiling instrumental ‘Daytona’, are obvious nods to days spent lazing about on a faraway beach. ‘Night Moves’ and ‘Hold On’ are successful exercises in nu-disco, both with admirable breakdowns. The lyrics on this album are less important in what they’re saying exactly – the nostalgia on lost love, the twilight of a summer too short – versus the mood they’re intended to create. In that way, this album resembles the Mercury Prize-nominated effort by another band owing a debt of gratitude to Kompakt, Friendly Fires.

As one would rightly expect on a great dance album, the bass lines are grand and the percussive beats bright. The songs on this strong LP also ooze effortlessly from one to another and regardless of mood, proof of a dance producer who knows what he’s doing. The effects Lauber employs are never too heavy-handed or too geeked out, the usual turnoffs for non-dance music fans. There’s a nice balance, too, between slow, dreamy ballads (albeit with gorgeous big beats) and heart-pumping dance floor fillers, proving the young artist’s songwriting versatility.

There are plenty of ways to overthink bedroom songwriting and production, and I’m sure it was more complicated for Lauber to come up with the songs for this album than it actually sounds. But that’s just it. Back in the ’80s, no-one had heard of Ableton, Cubase or Pro Tools and unless you’re a musician and you need to use them, pay them no mind. This isn’t rocket science. Roosevelt has only one mission in life, and it’s to get you on the dance floor. Close your eyes, give in and savour every moment Lauber has given us.

8.5/10

‘Roosevelt’, the debut album from electronic artist/producer Marius Lauber, is out now on Greco-Roman (the UK) and City Slang (America). Lauber will perform a DJ set at Bestival this Thursday and appear in Frankfurt on the 18th of September before he begins a world tour in Los Angeles on the 20th. We posted the tour dates to the tail end of this tour, culminating in a series of dates in the UK in November, but go here to see the full list of his live dates this year. Our ever-increasing back catalogue of posts on Roosevelt (I hope, as time wears on), including my past review of album single ‘Fever’, will be found through this link.

 

Roosevelt / November 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 6th September 2016 at 9:00 am
 

German electronic artist and producer Marius Lauber, who performs under the stage name Roosevelt, will be finishing up his world tour this autumn with a series of live dates in the UK. He’ll be out on the road in America starting the 20th of September in Los Angeles to begin the tour in promotion of his self-titled debut album, which was released in mid-August. Tickets to the below dates in Britain in November are on sale now. To get a taste of what his live set with band is like, check out the video at the bottom of this post of his brilliant single ‘Colours’, filmed at German open air event Appletree Garden Festival back in July.

For a full listing on Lauber’s live dates in the coming weeks, click here.‘Roosevelt’ the LP is out now on the part-Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) owned left-field electronic label Greco-Roman in the UK and Europe and on City Slang in America. Read my review of earlier album single ‘Fever’ through this link.

Tuesday 22nd November 2016 – Brighton Green Door Store
Wednesday 23rd November 2016 – London XOYO
Friday 25th November 2016 – Glasgow Broadcast
Saturday 26th November 2016 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Sunday 27th November 2016 – Manchester Night and Day

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKK2-BhuNYk[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Roosevelt – Fever

 
By on Thursday, 14th July 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

If you’re an avid fan of Glass Animals, German electronic musician and producer Marius Lauber may ring a bell. Two years ago, he remixed the Oxford band’s single and ‘Zaba’ album track ‘Pools’. If you’re a fan of EDM, the odds are even better that to some point in the recent past, his awe-inspiring beats have passed through your ears. Better known in cyberspace under his stage name Roosevelt – no relation to the past American presidents, I don’t think? – the man from Cologne is getting ready for his very own close-up. His self-titled debut album is due out in mid-August, and following the previously released ‘Colours’, he has unveiled another fantastic banger to preview his new record.

A hallmark of Roosevelt’s wholly engaging ‘Pools’ remix are its fanciful, lighter than air synths. Smartly, ‘Fever’ takes full advantage of several different layers of synth, all with a similar joyful bounciness. Honestly, if this had been a purely instrumental track, I would have been totally happy, as Lauber has a great command of what it takes to write a catchy melody. The leading notes of the song are pure sunlight, peerless. It’s the true essence of summer, distilled down into just over 4 minutes, housed within an electronic party piece.

While the lyrics to ‘Fever’ are relatively simplistic and obvious (“fading back into the night / no, nothing’s gonna hold us down”, “bring back the fever again / don’t lose the fever again”), that’s okay in a song for summer like this. They’ve been designed to continue the song’s overarching feeling of euphoria, by painting us a picture of nostalgia of all those good times we’ve had. We all want to go back to those times, don’t we? Walking off into a tropical sunset with Roosevelt’s dulcet beats in ‘Fever’, you won’t be led astray.

8.5/10

‘Fever’ will be released on the 15th of July on Greco-Roman / City Slang Records. Roosevelt’s eponymous debut album will follow on the 19th of August.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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