Lo-ghost burst on to the Cape Town musical periphery just short of a year ago, with an “arrestingly beautiful dance-centric music video” for their debut single, ‘Ghost in a Blood Machine’. Shannon Devy and Evan Strauss paired up to create Lo-ghost, who’ve since been playing regularly – organising most of their own shows. Picking up traction and momentum as an alt-pop duo – a genre currently not yet fully explored in Cape Town – the two multi-instrumentalists use their music and lyrics to address both social and personal struggles through emotive, cathartic writing and performance. An excellent example of this dynamic can be seen in their May performance of ‘Ashes’ at Popsicle Studios in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Having completed their debut album, There’s blood in my body and it sounds like this:, Lo-ghost launched ‘Night Sounds’: a 15-episode podcast series in anticipation of the album release.
“In each episode, we take apart a song from the album, discussing the technical and musical aspects of the production, engineering and performance, as well as the themes and experiences that informed the songwriting.”
New episodes are released every Tuesday and Friday from their website until 14 July, which is the date they have set for the album launch. The event should prove to be a truly special occasion, with artists like Felix Laband, Angel-Ho and K-$ on the line-up as well.
We all want to know exactly what our favourite musicians are bumping to get a sense of where the magic (partly) comes from. The Booth is a taste of all that. This edition investigates Lo-ghost’s playlist, sharing 5 tracks that they’re into, in no particular order:
Arcade Fire – ‘Creature Comfort’
“Saying God, make me famous/ If you can’t, just make it painless.”
Arcade Fire has always made me feel some kind of way. “Creature Comfort” is the second single coming off their forthcoming album, “Everything Now”, and it’s just ballistic – a neurotic, screeching quasi-disco romp that totally blisses me out. What I have always loved about Arcade Fire is their exceptional level of craft and cleverness when it comes to their arrangements and the way they move the listener through their songs. They’re just so damn clever, and I adore their sound. Really looking forward to the rest of this album.
Perfume Genius – ‘Slip Away’
Mike Hadreas is cooking with some fresh ingredients here. I can’t puzzle out some of his sounds, and that always hooks me in. I fell in love with Perfume Genius the moment I heard “Hood”, and “Slip Away” has all the elements that I think makes their work so special. He has this incredible way of pulling you into an intimacy of some kind. I love the tension between explosive release and shaking restraint. He blows the song up and then pulls it right back in, in the most exquisitely satisfying way. That percussion track! What the hell is going on there? Is that a harpsichord? It’s such beautiful chaos. I resonate hard with the lyrical content. Sonically and lyrically, this track is queer, through and through. Incredible.
Francis and the Lights (feat. Chance the Rapper) – ‘May I Have This Dance’
I thought “Farewell, Starlite!” was one of the best-crafted albums I heard last year. ‘May I Have This Dance’ is definitely one of the standout tracks and the addition of Chance the Rapper’s verse sung to his daughter is just the cherry on top. The video is phenomenal (in true Francis fashion) and serves as a follow up to ‘Friends’ – Shan and I are such huge fans of a good dance video!
Brian Eno – ‘And Then So Clear’
I remain ever-amazed by the touch of Brian Eno.‘And Then So Clear’ is a little further back in the discography (2005); but stands as an exquisite piece of music and there seldom passes a week without a listen. We try to keep many of his studio philosophies top of mind and his approach to writing has been a big influence on me. 26+ studio albums released and, in my opinion, he just keeps getting more exciting.
Shannon & Evan:
Todrick Hall (feat. RuPaul) – ‘Low’
YES. PLEASE. We can hardly cope with this level of sass. It’s the best. WHAT a banger. It’s been on repeat in the Lo-ghost rehearsal space for the past few months. RuPaul is incredible – and we cannot get enough.
Take a listen to the first episode of Lo-ghost’s ‘Night Sounds’ below, and be sure not to miss their debut album launch at Manila Bar in Cape Town on Friday 14 July.