Thanks to technology, I’m writing this post while on a flight to Amsterdam, The Netherlands with the eventual destination being Dordrecht, The Netherlands for a few days for meetings related to my day job. JOVM will be continuing as normal or close to normal as possible — although some of my posts will be at unusual times back home in the States thanks in part to the 6 hour time difference. Once I’m done with the business portion of my trip, there will be a few days hanging out in Amsterdam, which I’ll blog about at some point; after all, I wouldn’t be a blogger worth a damn if I didn’t bring my camera with me, right? But on to the business at hand — music, followed by music.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout its almost seven-year history, you’ve come across a number of posts on 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 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 as the story goes, the duo of Toth and Traver began the band while being broke as shit in Boston. (Somehow that sounds like a song title, doesn’t it?)
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. 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 in between slower touring periods, both Toth and Traver spent some time touring as special guests with fellow 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 in Burlington, VT. Interestingly during the same period of time, Rubblebucket’s recorded output revealed a band that gradually crafted and then cemented their own signature sound — while subtly expanding upon it. Their Save Charlie EP revealed a band that retained their genre-blurring sound but while also possessing elements of boom-bap hip-hop and electro pop. Additionally, as I noticed, Traver began increasingly emerging as a true frontperson.
The band’s soon-to-be released EP If U C My Enemies 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 — Traver and Toth’s enormous and swaggering horn lines are still there but they’re paired with swirling electronics, a distorted vocal sample and Traver’s coquettish cooing. “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 in comparison to its preceding single, that song may have arguably been the most muscular and forceful song that they had released to date. Of course, building upon the buzz around the EP, the band recently released If U C My Enemies latest single “Not Cut Out For This,” a single that seems a bit like a return to form as sonically, it’s reminiscent of the material off Omega La La — twinkling and atmospheric synths are paired with propulsive, boom bap-like drums, a sinuous bass line and Traver’s sultry cooing. And while being a party song — sort of — the song reveals a much more deliberate, thoughtful nature.
The band is in the middle of touring to support the new effort. Check out the remaining tour dates below.
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