The post-9/11 electroclash fad did a lot to help Larry Tee‘s career, transforming him from a fairly obscure New York dance-scene fixture best known for cowriting RuPaul’s “Supermodel” into the capo of a movement that dominated the music media for months. At the same time it also nearly ruined his reputation, both because of his relentlessly entrepreneurial approach—trademarking the word “electroclash,” acting as Svengali to a number of plasticky prefab models-turned-club-chanteuses—and because he was so closely associated with a style that tastemakers got very, very tired of after a couple seasons.
Despite the many valid reasons to bag on Tee, the man had a big hand in bringing indie rockers into dance clubs and dance music out of the raver ghetto, which I’d consider two of the best things to happen to music this decade. And recently he’s surprised a lot of people by creating some of the best material of his career. He’s traded pretty girls singing with maximum ennui about coked-up nightlife excess for pretty girls singing about clapping your butt cheeks (“Clap That Ass”), and the music has similarly lost its frosty detachment in favor of a more directly body-rocking approach, with streaks of Miami bass and Detroit ghettotech that his old stuff only hinted at.
Tee spins tonight at Berlin. If I weren’t halfway across the country I’d be there for sure.