James Murphy’s shadow still looms large in dance music, and that’s for good reason. Whether it was through his former band LCD Soundsystem or his label DFA Records, Murphy spent the past decade launching the genre into exciting new directions, and now a new vanguard is taking up the banner. New York’s Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel first came under Murphy’s wing in 2004 with their hip-hop group Automato, but the outfit quickly fell apart after just one release. Yet with Murphy’s insistence, the childhood friends kept plugging away, this time with synthesizers and live drums taking the place of scratchy soul samples. Millhiser and Frankel soon started calling themselves Holy Ghost!, and in 2007, the duo released their first single “Hold On.”
After four years of steady touring and building buzz, Holy Ghost! finally released its self-titled debut in 2011. The album solidified the band as one of dance music’s leading lights. And this year, Holy Ghost! struck while the iron was hot, dropping Dynamics to worldwide acclaim this past spring. The record picks up right where the duo left off, combining long, disco-influenced instrumental passages with a penchant for sparkling pop hooks. It’s easy to hear why synth-titans New Order tapped Holy Ghost! as its opening act on its summer tour.
Tonight Holy Ghost! is making its way to Austin as a headlining act, performing at Emo’s East. They’re bringing a sound that’s built on precision but also a dose of humanity–something Murphy would certainly approve of. “Okay” kicks off Dynamics with a bang, detailing the dissolution of a relationship gone sour. But the smart lyrics are something of a bonus–all ears (and feet) will be focused on the signature metallic beat.