CSS with DIPLO and BONDE DO ROLE at Mod Club (722 College), Friday (July 14), doors 9 pm. $15. 416-588-4663. Rating: NNNNN
For Brazilian electro-rock dance babes CSS, Ontario liquor laws are going to take some getting used to.
Guitarist Ana Rezende, who sounds genuinely befuddled when I mention the 2 am stoppage, is accustomed to a slightly more lenient stance on late-night partying.
She's from São Paulo, a city that makes Toronto look like a Quaker colony in terms of nightlife.Their bars and clubs don't typically rev up till around 1 am, then usually peak around 4.
However, these puritanical policies could work for CSS, or Cansei de Ser Sexy ("tired of being sexy"), Rezende says. Professionally speaking, that is.
"That's going to be weird," she says over a crackly connection to São Paolo. "We're used to getting drinks 24 hours a day. But this is good because we can't get wasted too much at our shows. Or maybe we just start drinking earlier."
The last time Rezende came to North America, she was on a Disneyworld family vacation, so last calls weren't an issue.
This trip's a bit different. Her band is touring with Philly mixtape maverick Diplo and his label's (Mad Decent) baile funk centerpiece Bonde Do Role, on a bill that will draw plenty of curious indie kids.
But the first order of business on CSS's maiden voyage to America is a few days in Seattle. There they'll meet the nice label folks putting out their ready-to-pounce self-titled debut at Sub Pop Records.
"It's been hard to believe until now," says Rezende of being on SP's storied roster. "My band is on the same label as Sleater-Kinney! This is the same label we all listened to during grunge. I don't know if I've been able to process the information well."
Understandably, it must be a little overwhelming to have faith and support from people they've never met in a country where they've never played. But consider it testimony to the immediate draw of their album, something Diplo, who frequents Brazil like a second home, picked up on while touring South American with MIA.
The six-piece, which includes Adriano Cintra (drums/guitar), Carolina Parra (guitar/drums), Luiza S (guitar/drums/keys), Iracema Trevisan (bass) and Lovefoxxx on the vox, have crafted an unpredictable party album that bursts with youth and abandon while disavowing any pretensions. The songs are pumped full of scattered synth bleeps, fuzzed guitar notes, rock-steady drumming and a collar-poppin' amount of sexual lyricism. Tracks like Artbitch, Musk Is My Hot, Hot Sex and Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above stand out in particular.
"People are less conservative about sex here," understates Rezende, who says singer Lovefoxxx is DFA's number one fan. "It's just natural for us to talk about sex in our music because we talk about it every day. For us, it's a natural thing.
"We're not trying to make music that will change the world. We have more fun that way."
According to Rezende, São Paolo's underground scene is influenced by the same music snobs as in any other cosmo city. She claims that unless you're, say, an impossibly difficult, avant-garde noise unit from Norway, don't expect to be championed. In other words, populism equals death for these prigs.
CSS's success has put them at odds with some of their peers. But with a Sub Pop record deal and a hot tour on the horizon, you can be assured CSS are having the last laugh.
"People take themselves so seriously here," says Rezende. "They don't like us because they only like weird and unpopular. When we signed to Sub Pop, these people were shocked and surprised -- so that was really nice."