Music » Critics' Picks


Thursday, June 24; Rocket Bar


Remember trip-hop? The aching, sonorous music was everywhere a few years ago. Owners of trendy bars and makers of car commercials employed the sparse beats and slinky danger of bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead to give themselves a sheen of sophistication. But then sophistication was out again, and people looking for late-night romance music turned back to Radiohead and sad sacks with guitars. And where the hell is Portishead these days?

Well, maybe it's time for a comeback. Ilya certainly seems to think so. They've got all the important signifiers of the genre in place: spooky, sexy and smoky female vocals (this time from the unlikely monikered Blanca Rojas), smooth, threatening melodies and a languorous, sensual beat. It's music to smoke opium to, but don't try that at the Rocket Bar this Thursday. Best to order something powerful, smoke your cigarettes and enjoy a feeling of decadent sophistication. With Ilya's new record, They Died for Beauty, out on EMI, it's just a matter of time before the car commercials latch on and ruin the whole thing again.

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