Thanks a lot, Samsung. The human brain is now obsolete thanks to your neat new Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. But maybe I’ll find a new use for my gray matter, because last night I attended the New York launch party for the futuristic device, which was hosted by a chipper Ashlee Simpson at Marquee nightclub in Chelsea, and I left pondering just how clairvoyant a tiny, shiny little gizmo can be.
As I’m ushered into Marquee, I feel as though I’ve caught Gloria Swanson without her makeup on. The lights are bright, the wooden floor is clean, and there’s not a spilled drink or dropped straw in sight. Suddenly the lights dim and everything becomes blue, save for Simpson’s shiny red leather shorts. An army of leggy, blue-sheathed girls flit about the room, setting out cocktail menus and powering up the Samsung Galaxy S IIIs displayed on every table. Throughout the party, guests use the S-beam feature to order cocktails (you've seen the commercial with the guy holding two phones back-to-back and transferring a photo), and play with the countless other intuitive features.
I’m waved in to the back VIP room, where the AC blows and the champagne flows, to chat with New York duo Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel of the popular synth-pop band Holy Ghost!, who will be the entertainment for the evening. The long-haired Millhiser and clean-cut Frankel met at age 6 and have been music partners ever since.
Originally part of the hip-hop group Automato, which broke up when their rapper stopped rapping, Millhiser and Frankel turned their beat-making skills into the dynamic duo that is Holy Ghost!, named after one of their favorite songs by the Bar-Kays. They may look like just another couple of synth-wielding hooligans from the ‘Burg, but they’re set apart by their nostalgic approach to music. Their sound takes cues from ‘80s pop and ‘70s disco, and Millhiser says his dream venue to play would be Shea Stadium, the old Mets stomping ground, which was demolished in 2009. But fear not retro-philes, they can usually be found DJing at Le Baron in Chinatown. “It’s like an underground party,” says Frankel, “a dark room with a smoke machine.”
Their eponymous album was released by DFA Records last April and they’ve just finished two years of touring, partially with their recently dismantled lablemates, LCD Sound System.
“We are in the studio writing another record,” says Frankel, “so we probably won’t start touring until the end of this year. And the album will come out next year maybe.”
When asked which band, dead or alive, they would tour with if given the chance, Frankel paused for a moment, before saying, “LCD Sound System,” with a laugh.
“Dead!” chimes Millhiser. “It’ll be a reunion tour. They’ll be opening for us. At Shea Stadium.” Then he mutters, “Fuck you, Shea Stadium.”