Almost exactly a year ago, the lush, churning sounds of an enigmatic NYC duo called MS MR began to float around the Internet. Online searches yielded only a vaguely ’80s-influenced Tumblr page, offering a series of tracks, remixes, collages, photos and videos to build hype around the Candy Bar Creep Show EP, and to bolster a secretive yet defined identity—no names or photos. The group turned out to be two recent Vassar College grads: Lizzy Plapinger, singer and cofounder of boutique label Neon Gold, and her producing mastermind, Max Hershenow.
Earlier this year, the duo finally showed their faces in the chimerical video for “Fantasy,” in which cheerleaders puking glitter accompany MS MR’s best track to date, a dark jam of galloping organs and soulful Florence Welch–like vocals. Since that big reveal, the pair has toured with Jessie Ware; had its chilling “Bones” serve as soundtrack for a Game of Thrones trailer; and met Usher after performing at SXSW. This week, Columbia Records issues the pair’s full-length debut, Second Hand Rapture.
A finely crafted work of dream pop with dark undercurrents and gleaming, up-tempo production, the LP exposes the cracks between organic and computer-generated. “How to make electronic music that sounds as lush and wild and human, but heartfelt? That’s my challenge, and that’s what I’m constantly trying to do,” Hershenow recently told us. Expect him and Plapinger to explore that interplay at the Bowery Ballroom, and take note: MS MR is booked to play Governors Ball this summer, so this will likely be your last chance to see the outfit in such an intimate room.—Marley Lynch