On Lost In New York, the new full-length album from producer/singer-songwriter/DJ Penguin Prison (aka Christopher Glover) the hustle and bustle of the city comes alive. From the vintage glam of NYC’s storied disco heyday, all the way through to the bohemian rhapsody of modern Brooklyn, Lost In New York is a cultural time-capsule dedicated to the greatest city on the planet as told via Glover’s intimate storytelling and personal brand of electropop.
The presence and energy of the city are undeniable on Lost In New York, Glover’s love letter to his home, his muse, and the main character in his album’s story arch. But bubbling beneath the surface of this urban romance is the sense of bewilderment and disorientation that even native New Yorkers sometimes feel.
“I was born and raised in New York, and it’s always been seen as a place for creative misfits to find their place amongst each other,” says Glover. “But I’ve seen it change before my eyes into a playground for the one percent… I sometimes feel lost in the city I was born.”
It’s a theme Glover holds near and dear to his heart and best heard on album track “Calling Out,” the first single off Lost In New York. Written with electronic production duo Oliver, the song features children’s shouts, distorted guitars, and punctuated vintage synths reminiscent of classic Hall & Oates. “The song is about not knowing which direction to go, but somehow always coming back to that one person who has been there for you the whole time,” says Glover. In the case of “Calling Out,” whether person or place, Glover finds solace in song, and his emotion-driven vocals are proof.
In “Show Me The Way,” written with fellow producer RAC, Glover continues the theme. The song’s title and heartfelt lyrics bear it all: “Sometimes I just want someone to tell me where to go and what I should do,” says Glover. Written in one day at RAC’s studio in Portland, the passionate and punchy “Show Me The Way” takes the best elements of electronic, dance, and rock and effortlessly blends them, making listeners dance one minute and jump in the mosh pit the next.
On “Never Gets Old,” a collaboration with electronic act MNDR, Glover celebrates all things vintage and declares his mistrust of blindly following the latest trends. “The brand new thing isn’t always better than what you’ve been using for many years,” says Glover about the track. “This song is dedicated to everything that never goes out of style, that you can do a million times and never get tired of.”
Since the beginning of Penguin Prison, Glover has forged a creative lane all to himself. Without genre boundaries holding him back, the final product is a unique brew of cerebral club music built on rock fervor and punk independence that demonstrates the intelligence often hidden in electronic pop, without taking itself too seriously. His stylistic approach to modern pop has garnered Glover accolades from both mainstream and tastemaker media alike, with Rolling Stone praising his “sleek modern production style,” to Spin dubbing him a “dance-pop savant.”
The storyline of Penguin Prison and Glover’s kaleidoscopic spectrum of sound, then, makes sense. Getting his start in a gospel choir at Professional Performing Arts School alongside fellow choir member Alicia Keys, he then moved on to playing in punk bands in clubs across New York City. His first foray into the world of pop came as a joke via the fake boy band the Smartest People At Bard in his Bard College days, a self-described cross between Backstreet Boys and Beastie Boys. After College, Glover was discovered by living legend Q-Tip of hip-hop architects A Tribe Called Quest after he sent his demo to the rapper. Glover landed a record deal with Interscope Records the following year and recorded an eclectic solo album under his own name that ran the complete gamut of the producer’s songwriting and producing tastes.
It wasn’t until Penguin Prison was born in 2009 that Glover began to make a name for himself, with a particular penchant for remixing. He soon became a go-to source in the remix circuit, offering distinctive reworks at a time when remixes were too often falling victim to the cookie cutter format. To date, he’s produced immaculate, high-profile remixes for the likes of Lana Del Rey, Kylie Minogue, Ellie Goulding, Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, and Miike Snow, just to name a few recent collaborations.
Glover made the final jump into Penguin Prison as its own artist project with his self-titled debut album released on Downtown Records (US)/Stranger Records (UK). Penguin Prison introduced the world to Glover’s songwriting prowess via catchy hooks and classic pop choruses. It was on this album that Glover began to familiarize himself with and expand on the triple-duty roles of producer, performer and songwriter. On Lost In New York, his maturity in these roles shows.
It’s obvious that Glover finds his home in the studio, first and foremost. But onstage, he reaches fever pitch level. He brings Penguin Prison to life through a full live band composed of Glover on guitar and vocals joined by a live drummer, bass player and keyboard player. This lively transition from studio to stage has allowed the Penguin Prison quartet prominent performances across many of today’s biggest music festivals and stages, including Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Fun Fun Fun Fest, TomorrowWorld, Made In America and many more across North and South America and Europe.
The next movement in the Penguin Prison framework, Lost In New York is where Glover finds himself through new and old inspirations and reaches a new artistic phase.