DUST and Young Male in New York

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  • Nothing Changes is a good barometer of what's happening in the Brooklyn scene—even though it takes place in Manhattan. The Wednesday night residency lives at Home Sweet Home, a shabby dive bar down a flight of stairs in the Lower East Side. Here in this little dungeon for the past three years, harsh noise, art rock and weird techno have gotten to know each other; it's become the nerve center for a new sort of avant-garde. The night mostly books live acts, from Danish post-punk band Lust For Youth to UK techno champ Shifted, as well as local favorites like Via App and Bookworms. Their three-year anniversary party on Wednesday featured live sets from Young Male, of White Material Records, and DUST, a rowdy Bushwick band whose sound touches on industrial and acid house. By the time Young Male turned his gear on at around midnight, the low-ceilinged basement was packed. That everyone had crossed the bridge to Manhattan on a Wednesday was testament to the residency's pulling power. Young Male gave the floor no-bullshit techno. His setup was stripped to the necessities: a mixer, a drum machine and a sampler—maybe one other box, though I couldn't see much over the crowd. His sound was just as stark: dry, automaton drums banged away beneath dissonant synths. Given his label's tongue-in-cheek tag line—"Working man's techno"—it made sense that his set sounded like the inside of a manufacturing plant. DUST's three members stepped up next, with performance artist Greem Jellyfish on the mic, John Barclay on the drum pads and Michael Sherburn manning the machines. I love DUST because they embody my adolescent rave fantasies. Where I grew up, my only reference points were rave scenes in movies and The Matrix soundtrack, which featured Rammstein, The Prodigy and Marilyn Manson. Raving, in my mind, involved goths with weird haircuts slam-dancing in a dimly lit cement room. It was sinister, psychedelic and sexually ambiguous. DUST, for me, is that fantasy brought to life. Whenever I see them perform, I feel as though I'm actually inside one of those movies. Their acid lines, breakbeats and EBM synths scratch the techno-punk itch that I've had since I was 14. Sure, they may lean a little heavy on nostalgia, but they nail the sound so hard that it hits the spot every time.