Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of its almost seven-year history, you’ve likely come across a number of posts on the Brooklyn-based Afro-pop/dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket. Currently comprised of founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion), Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax, baritone sax), Adam Dotson (trombone, vocals and percussion), David Cole (drums) and Ian Hersey (guitar), the Brooklyn-based act can actually trace their origins to when Traver and Toth met while playing in a Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Quickly bonding over being horn players, a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop and an uncannily preternatural connection, the duo relocated to Boston in 2006, where they did fairly respectable things to survive — Traver spent time as a nude model for art classes, while Toth spent time hustling $50 a performance marching band gigs. And while being broke as shit in Boston, the duo began Rubblebucket.
Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, the members of Afro pop/indie pop act emerged into the national scene with the release of their critically applauded 2011 album Omega La La and an established reputation for a rather relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous live sets which at various times had included puppets, bandmembers jumping into the crowd and leading dance circles and dance trains with the audience. By early 2012, the band had made their first nationally televised appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. And over the past few years, the band has been pretty busy as they’ve released a handful of critically applauded EPs and their sophomore full-length Survival Sounds. And while their touring schedule had slowed down a bit, Toth and Traver also a brief period of time touring as backing guests for follow JOVM mainstay act Superhuman Happiness, a collaboration that goes back to when Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo and company opened for Rubblebucket for a handful of shows up in Burlington, VT. Interestingly, during that time Rubblebucket’s recorded output has revealed a band that has gradually crafted and then cemented a signature sound while also subtly expanding upon it; in fact, on their Save Charlie EP the band retained their genre-blurring sound that possessed elements of funk, pop, psychedelia and Afrobbeat with a populist sensibility but at points you’ll hear elements of boom-bap hip hop and electro pop. But perhaps just as important, in that same period of time, Traver has slowly emerged as a frontperson.
If U C My Enemies, the band’s forthcoming EP is slated for a January 20, 2017 release through So Sensation Records, and from the EP’s first single “Donna” the band has further refined their sound — while they retain Traver and Toth’s enormous, swaggering horn lines, the band employed the use of swirling electronics, distorted vocal samples around Traver’s ethereal and coquettish cooing. The EP’s latest single, EP title track “If U C My Enemies” continues along a similar vein as Traver and Toth’s enormous horn lines are paired with sinuous and funky bass and guitar chords, swirling electronics, twinkling synths and a soaring, anthemic hook — and while being a bit more mid-tempo song in comparison to its preceding single, the latest single is arguably the most muscular and forceful song they’ve released to date.
The band will be embarking on a late Fall/Winter tour to support the new effort throughout parts of the Midwest, New England and Northeast. If you’re around any of these cities, you should catch them — their sets are fun and you will spend the night dancing and signing along with them. Tour dates below.
Dec 01 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Dec 02 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop 1st Ward
Dec 03 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Founders Brewing Co.
Dec 05 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
Dec 06 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward
Dec 07 – Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
Dec 08 – Buffalo, NY @ Studio at Waiting Room
Dec 09 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater
Dec 10 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
Dec 29 – Rochester, NY @ Anthology
Dec 30 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway Arts
Dec 31 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway Arts
Jan 19 – Providence, RI @ Fete
Jan 20 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
Jan 21 – Fairfield, CT @ The Warehouse
Jan 26 – Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Jan 27 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
Jan 28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer