Desert Gold Shines Celestial at Ace Palm Springs

A RETURN TO MASS JOY

Desert Gold Shines Celestial at Ace Palm Springs

Text by Emma Manheimer

Herald of the return to mass joy, Desert Gold graced Ace Hotel & Swim Club for its 13th run and reminded us of how good the company of strangers feels. How much their kindness matters. We were swept up in the temporal taste of unlikely friendships, forged quickly yet nothing short of indispensable. We tipped our hats to the San Jacintos each morning, and drank up the musky late-spring scent of blooming palo verde jumbled with peppery desert sage and, later in the day, weed and sunscreen. Traditions were restored. We were reminded of the cosmic interconnectedness of it all standing in front of artist Kris Chau’s celestial mural, “The Teachings of Menily,” on the Commune Wall. Chau delicately drafted the work, an ode to the land’s fierce life force, using painted papercut sketches to know its colors and shapes. We danced wildly to shake off the dust.

Kris Chau and her celestial mural, “The Teachings of Menily”.

Chau delicately drafted the work, an ode to the land’s fierce life force, using painted papercut sketches to know its colors and shapes.

The weekends’ resident DJs showered the place with sonic frequencies from top to bottom. Pangea Sound curated a three-day lineup, fusing sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and everywhere in between. Pool people and sunbathers shimmied to celebratory all-vinyl tracklists from Chulita Vinyl Club’s LA crew. We’ve even received reports of a flashing during one of the Club’s DJ sets (apparently accidental). Lovelorn songstress, experimental beatmaker and violinist Sudan Archives enchanted the crowd with the sweep of her strings and warmth of her voice. Esty, dressed in a furry, baby pink, bikini-bedazzled two-piece, brought her sugary melodies and surprising mix of future-warped dembow and electronic alt-pop for an unforgettable live set — keep your eyes right here for more on that.

Bambii channels the sunshine.

The magnetic Sudan Archives and one of her two accompanists on the strings.

The Do-Over brought a superstar spinning lineup to the desert, including Four Color Zack.

LA-based hi-fi-ers In Sheep’s Clothing hauled their most serious speakers and the kind of 45s only crate-diggers know out to the desert for their nightly vinyl Amigo Room showing. It was reverential revelry at its finest. Aussie label Future Classic threw a freaking party in the same space, bringing the likes of Shlohmo and Jim-E Stack to the turntables. The Do-Over closed us twice out on a high note, bringing the legendary energy of their tropical party to the Commune along with an all-star cast of friends including Jubilee, Nigel Three Times, DJ Craze and Four Color Zack. We draped ourselves in the luxury of optimism across two April weekends. And hell, did it fit right.

Leon Bridges stopped by and won best sunglasses.
Future Classic kicked off weekend two with an Amigo Room blowout featuring the sounds of Shlohmo and friends.

All hail Esty.


Legendary NYC Party Turned Label, DFA, Home to LCD Soundsystem, Black Dice + More Celebrate Two Decades of Raucous Releases

20
YEARS
OF
DFA

Legendary NYC Party Turned Label, DFA, Home to LCD Soundsystem, Black Dice + More Celebrate Two Decades of Raucous Releases

Text by Hanson O'Haver

Courtesy DFA Records

The legendary DFA Records started not as a label but as a dance party circa turn-of-the-millenium New York City. Thrown by a group of friends led by music producer James Murphy, Death From Above — as it was then known — was a series of notorious late-night parties thrown in tiny clubs in downtown Manhattan. Eventually the parties got shut down, but they spawned The DFA, a production team.

The DFA produced The Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers," then released it as the first single on DFA Records. That was in March 2002. In the intervening years, DFA Records has released music from dozens of beloved acts, like Black Dice, Hot Chip, Holy Ghost!, Liquid Liquid, and Hercules & Love Affair. LCD Soundsystem, fronted by DFA co-founder James Murphy, became one of the biggest bands in the world, without sacrificing any of what made the group feel like a special NYC secret. So when DFA Records celebrated its 20th anniversary last month with a series of parties and performances, Ace Brooklyn was happy to be part of the fun.

The Lobby played host to 20 Years of Bad Luck, a poster exhibition featuring forgotten gems from the label’s rich archive. “DFA started out not as a record label, but as a sort of community of friends and artists — some musical, some visual, some both, some neither,” DFA General Manager Sam Duke said. Even as the record label took off, DFA has always thought of both elements as equals. Some of its most famous output, like the iconic lightning bolt logo, has been visual.

The idea behind the exhibition came about when DFA moved offices in 2020 and uncovered some lost treasures. Matt Shaw, a visual artist, DJ, and longtime DFA family member, then set out to select some favorites:

LCD Soundsystem
photo by Tristane I. Mesquita

“DFA started out not as a record label, but as a sort of community of friends and artists — some musical, some visual, some both, some neither,”

A POSTER FROM ONE OF THE EARLY DEATH FROM ABOVE PARTIES ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE, 2000, FEATURING JAMES MURPHY'S LCD SOUNDSYSTEM.

TOUR POSTER FEATURING ART FROM THE FIRST LCD SOUNDSYSTEM ALBUM FROM 2005.

AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FIRST THE JUAN MACLEAN’S DEBUT ALBUM, 2005. AFTER THE RAPTURE, THE JUAN MACLEAN’S 12” “BY THE TIME I GET TO VENUS” WAS ONE OF THE FIRST DFA RECORDS RELEASES.

PROMOTIONAL PHOTO THE DAYS OF MARS, AN ALBUM BY DELIA GONZALEZ & LONGTIME LCD SOUNDSYSTEM SYNTHESIZER PLAYER GAVILÁN RAYNA RUSSOM, 2005.

THIS NOSTALGIC HOLY GHOST! POSTER SHOWS THE BAND WITH A FEW DOZEN OF THE LABEL’S CLOSEST FRIENDS. SAM DUKE SAYS THAT IT “REALLY SHOWS WHAT DFA WAS AND SHOULD BE: A GANG OF PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY WHO HUNG OUT TOGETHER, MADE STUFF TOGETHER, AND HAD A REALLY GREAT TIME ALONG THE WAY.”

Creating some of the most memorable tunes of the last two decades (“Losing My Edge,” “All My Friends,” “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House,” — the list goes on…) might be enough for most people, but James Murphy has another side project. Since 2015, he’s run Four Horsemen, the Michelin-starred restaurant that helped introduce Brooklyn (and thus everyone else) to natural wine.

To celebrate 20 years of DFA Records, Ace and Four Horsemen joined forces for a five-night pop-up in the Garden, with a menu curated by Four Horsemen’s Chef Nick Curtola and Wine Director Justin Chearno. To top it off, we threw an all-night bash on March 24 to celebrate the anniversary and how much we all like each other.

Festivities started in the Garden with a special menu of wine and savory plates, then got a little wilder with a party in the Lobby. Matt Shaw and DFA artist Shit Robot DJed, and the rest of us danced all night. We hope you’ll join us next time.