Tag: Malibu Ken Aesop Rock and TOBACCO are Malibu Ken

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Returns with a Gauzy Pop Hook-Driven Single

Over the course of this site’s ten-plus year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO. During his two-plus decade music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement, pleasure, and menace as the frontman and creative mastermind of JOVM mainstays Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work with other like-minded artists.

Since the 2016 release of Fec’s fourth TOBACCO album Sweatbox Dynasty, the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: Fec reconvened with the members of Black Moth Super Rainbow to write and record the gauzy fwhich was supported with tours with The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. Last year, Fec produced The Stargazer Lilies’ abrasive and trippy Occabot — and he collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released their critically applauded debut album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured Fec’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen‘s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy.

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s first three singles so far: Hot Wet & Sassy’s second single, “Babysitter,” a collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind and fellow Pennsylvanian Trent Reznor, which was a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet paired with laser hot hi-hats, thumping tumps, scorching synths, gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion and the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s recorded output. The album’s third single “Jinmeknen,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric Quiet Storm-like ballad of sorts centered around glistening synth arpeggios, bouncy beats, Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals and some of the most earnest songwriting of his lengthy — and often extremely weird — career.

“Headless to Headless,” Hot Wet & Sassy’s fourth and latest single clocks in at a little under three minutes and is centered around glistening synth arpeggios,. blown out stuttering beats, brief staccato bursts of forcefully buzzing guitar, Fec’s heavily vocoder’d vocals and some infectious hooks. And while arguably being one of the album’s more gauzier songs, it sounds a bit like a mm murky and downright swampy take on 80s R&B — the drumbeats at point remind me of Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” for some reason. Much like the previously released singles, the track sees the JOVM mainstay playfully refining his overall sound without scrubbing or altering the weird elements that have won him attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Releases a Glistening Pop-Inspired Ballad (Of Sorts)

Best known as TOBACCO, Thomas Fec is a a Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, and throughout his two decade-plus music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured Fec’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen‘s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy.

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

Last month, I wrote about Hot Wet & Sassy’s second single, “Babysitter,” a collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind and fellow Pennsylvanian Trent Reznor — and the song was a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet: hot hi-hats and thumping toms battle against scorching synths and gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion paired with some of the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s career. “This was new for me, but I wanted to write a song that was everything I am and have been, and then like one notch further. Trent was the notch further,” adds Fec.

“Jinmenken,” Hot Wet & Sassy’s latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric Quiet Storm-like ballad of sorts, featuring glistening and twinkling synth arpeggios, bouncy beats, and Fec’s vocoder’ed vocals. Somewhat downcast and woozy, the track is centered around what may arguably be some of the JOVM mainstay’s most earnest songwriting of his lengthy — and often very weird — career. To my ears, the track seems to mischievously nod at 80s synth pop ballads. “It’s me trying to write a Jets song,” Fec says.

The official visualizer is prototypical Tobacco: surreal, hilarious, creepy and dystopian — and in a way that feels familiar.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor Reimagine a Beloved 80s Character in Creepy Visual for “Babysitter”

Thomas Fec, a.k.a TOBACCO is a Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, and throughout his two decade-plus music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work.

2016 saw the release of Fec’s fourth TOBACCO album Sweatbox Dynasty — and since then the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy. TOBACCO reconvened Black Moth Super Rainbow to write and record gauzy 2018’s Panic Blooms, which was supported with tours with The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. Last year saw the JOVM mainstay producing The Stargazer Lilies’ abrasive and trippy Occabot — and he collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released their critically applauded debut album. And additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured the Pittsburgh-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen‘s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy,

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Babysitter” finds Fec teaming up with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind and fellow Pennsylvanian Trent Reznor— and the end result is a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet. In other words:  hot hi-hats, thumping toms battle against scorched synths and gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion. And yet, the song strangely enough manages to have some of the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s career — while clocking in at a radio friendly 2:19. “This was new for me, but I wanted to write a song that was everything I am and have been, and then like one notch further. Trent was the notch further,” adds Fec.

Co-directed by the JOVM mainstay, along with the seven fields of aphelion, Eanna Holton and Max Almeida and featuring industrial design by Chris Grondi, the recently released video for “Babysitter” stars a beloved 80s movie character — The NeverEnding Story’s Falcor!  — in an unusual role: being a murky, late night creep outside of an extremely suburban home. He’s the babysitter, alright; the sort that would watch you as your sleep from just outside your window. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Teams Up With Trent Reznor on the Menacing and Infectious “Babysitter”

Thomas Fec, a.k.a TOBACCO is a Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, and throughout his two decade-plus music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work. 

2016 saw the release of Fec’s fourth TOBACCO album Sweatbox Dynasty — and since then the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy. TOBACCO reconvened Black Moth Super Rainbow to write and record 2018’s Panic Blooms, which was supported with tours with The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. Last year saw the JOVM mainstay producing The Stargazer Lilies’ abrasive and trippy Occabot — and he collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released their critically applauded debut album. And additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured the Pittsburgh-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen’s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy,

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Babysitter” finds Fec teaming up with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind Trent Reznor — and the end result is a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a  rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet. In other words:  hot hi-hats, thumping toms battle against scorched synths and gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion. And yet, the song strangely enough manages to have some of the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s career. “This was new for me, but I wanted to write a song that was everything I am and have been, and then like one notch further. Trent was the notch further,” adds Fec.

New Video: Aesop Rock Releases a Cinematic Track off “Freedom Finger” Soundtrack

Ian Matthais Bavitz is a Syosset, NY-born, Portland, OR-based emcee and producer, best known as Aesop Rock. Releasing the bulk of his critically applauded, boundary pushing work through El-P’s Definitive Jux Records, the Syosset-born, Portland-based emcee and producer wound up being at the forefront of the underground and alternative hip-hop scenes of the late 90s and early 2000s. Bavitz has also developed a reputation as a highly sought-after collaborator, who has worked in a number of eclectic creative projects including The Weathermen, Hail Mary Mallon with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz, The Uncluded with Kimya Dawson and Two of Every Animal with Cage. Whether as a solo artist or collaborating with others, Aesop Rock is considered one of hip-hop’s most verbose emcees, developing a flow that features dense and abstract wordplay and incredibly complex inner and outer rhyme schemes. 

Now, if you were frequenting this site last year, you may recall that I wrote quite a bit about Aesop Rock’s collaboration with JOVM mainstay TOBACCO, Malibu Ken, a project that released one of the most interesting and forward-thinking hip-hop albums of the year. Since the release of Malibu Ken’s self-titled debut, the acclaimed Syosset-born, Portland-based emcee has been pretty busy: “I was approached by my old friend Travis Millard to make some original music for Freedom Finger — a crazy space-shooter video game he had been developing with Jim Dirschberger and Wide Right Interactive game studio,” Aesop Rock says in press notes. ““I provided some instrumentals that pop up at various points throughout the gameplay. As the game was being rolled out, the idea arose to have me do three more tracks — this time fully fleshed out songs with lyrics inspired by Freedom Finger’s gameplay. These tracks were intended to accompany some brand new levels that would be made available as downloadable content for the game.

We’ve decided to release all of the music I made for Freedom Finger as a 10” vinyl EP available through Rhymesayers Entertainment. This includes the three full-length vocal tracks as well as their instrumentals, and four more bonus beats that loop throughout the game. Some of these tracks also feature additional instrumentation from my friends and frequent collaborators, Grimace Federation. The game is an absolute blast, and I hope you enjoy the music.  <3" "Drums on the Wheel" Music From The Game Freedom Finger's latest single is centered around a brooding and cinematic, RZA-like production featuring a looping and droning guitar sample and tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats -- and it's roomy enough for Aesop Rock's dense bars and mischievous wordplay influenced by the Freedom Finger's gameplay, making the track an unofficial theme song for the game.  Directed by Jim Dirschberger and featuring illustrations by Travis Millard, which were animated by Steven Gong, the recently released video for "Drums on the Wheel" draws from Freedom Finger's gameplay in a way that makes it feel like one of the coolest trailers in the entire world.