Tag: Rubblebucket

Rue Snider is a Brooklyn-based folk singer/songwriter, who since his debut in 2012 has developed a reputation for writing material with an unvarnished honesty, a relentless touring schedule of more than 100 shows a year, opening for the likes of Lydia Loveless, Squirrel Nut Zippers‘ Tom Maxwell, Superhuman Happiness, Benjamin Scheuer, Blue Healer, Donna Missal and The Silos‘ Walter Salas-Humara, and for collaborating with the likes of Jon Estes, who’s played with Ruby Amanfu and Steelism, Rubblebucket‘s David Cole, Derrek C. Philips and others. Adding to a growing profile, “Speak My Mind,” the EP title track of his most recent Andrija Tokic-produced EP, Speak My Mind was featured as song 80 of the politically charged, 1,000 Days, 1,000 Songs project.

Interestingly, Snider was impressed by Brooklyn-based producer and electronic music artist Brothertiger‘s re-imainging of Tears for FearsSongs from the Big Chair and asked  him to remix the EP’s sole love song, “Moving Me,” and Brothertiger turns the sparsely arranged, singer/songwriter ballad into a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired track featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths and big, gated reverb-based beats over which Snider’s plaintive vocals float ethereally — and while further cementing the Brooklyn-based producer’s reputation for a sound that’s reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Washed Out and Moonbabies, Brothertigter retains the song’s swooning Romanticism and honesty.

 

 

 

 

 

The new single releasing November 3 is called “Moving Me (Brothertiger Remix).” The original version was part of a very political EP. We took the one love song from that package and had Brothertiger give it a chill wave makeover. Brothertiger’s reimagining of “Songs From the Big Chair” by Tears for Fears is what made us want to work with him.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Classic Sci-Fi and Horror Movie-Inspired Visuals for Rubblebucket’s “If U C My Enemies”

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 the Afro pop/indie pop/dance 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 included puppets and 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 latest EP was released earlier this year though 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.

Directed, shot and edited by Ian Perlman, the recently released music video for “If U C My Enemies” draws from classic sci-fi and horror films as it follows a mysterious, faceless, frightening creature of the night, who takes each band member’s soul to an alternate plane because of the time they spent staring at their phones instead of actually interacting with people. And the video ends with the members of the band goofing off, chatting and actually spending time getting to know each other — without their phones. Perhaps it’s a cautionary time for our age, huh?

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the bulk of its almost 7 year history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based trombone-led dub quintet Super Hi-Fi. Led by its founding member, composer and bassist Ezra Gale and featuring Rick Parker (trombone), Alex Asher (trombone), Jon Lipscomb (guitar) and Madhu Siddappa, the Brooklyn-based trombone-led dub quintet can trace their origins back when the then-San Francisco-based Gale relocated to Brooklyn. Upon his arrival to the East Coast, Gale had been collaborating with Quoc Pham in Sound Liberation Front when he Gale was asked to get a band together for their then-month Afro-Dub Sessions Party in Williamsburg. And much like the Dig Deeper Soul Party and DJ Turmix’s Boogaloo Party, the Afro-Dub Sessions Party would feature some of dub’s top-tier producers and DJs including Victor RicePrince PoloSubatomic Sound System, the Beverley Road All-Stars and others spinning tunes — and then collaborating with a live band, fronted by Gale.

Initially, when Super Hi-Fi was founded, the intent was to translate some of the improvisatory mixing process of dub music to the live show; however with a short period of time, Gale and company had begun writing their own original material, most of which wound up comprising their critically applauded 2012 full-length debut Dub to the Bone. Building upon a growing profile, the band toured with national touring acts including JOVM mainstays RubblebucketBeats Antique and John Brown’s Body, and then followed that with the release of Yule Analog, Vol 1. and Yule Analog, Vol. 2. 

With the release of Super Hi-Fi Plays Nirvana last year, the Brooklyn-based dub quintet continued to push the boundaries of reggae and dub by paying tribute to Nirvana. And the band did so while creating their own take on the iconic Seattle-based trio’s material with renowned dub producers, Sao Paulo, Brazil‘s Victor Rice; Venice, Italy‘s Doctor Sub; and Brooklyn’s Prince Polo — all of whom are frequent collaborators with the band — assisting to further bend and morph the band’s sound in trippy and psychedelic ways, which help take familiar and oft-played material into a bold, new territory while retaining fundamental elements of the original material.

Record Store Day  (April 22, 2017)  will see the release of the “I’m Only Sleeping”/”Hole In My Life” 7 inch and accompanying digital EP. The A side of the 7 inch finds Super Hi-Fi tackling The Beatles “I’m Only Sleeping,” and much like their take on Nirvana, Super Hi-Fi’s cooly strutting rendition of the beloved Beatles tune, finds the band retaining the original’s melody while effortlessly meshing elements of psychedelia, reverb full, groove  and bass-heavy dub and the wild-improvisation of free jazz, all within the passage of a few bars. A number of reggae bands have taken on the Beatles — in fact, there was  a lengthy 3 or 4 disc compilation featuring South American and Latin American reggae bands covering the Beatles; but no one sounds quite like them and no one completely reworks material into something so alien yet familiar either. The B side is a a wild and slow-burning take on The Police‘s “Hole In My Life” that begins with a furious, feedback and noisy, Jimi Hendrix-like opening that distorts the original’s opening. And while retaining the original’s melody, the band finds a groove and expands upon it in a spacious arrangement that allow the musicians to freely riff upon the melody in what may arguably be the most jazz-leaning bit of dub they’ve released to date, before ending with a coda that mischievously nods at The Beatles’ “Fixing A Hole,” which interestingly enough manages to be in a similar key.

The “I’m Only Sleeping”/”Hole In My Life” 7 inch will further cement the Brooklyn-based quintet’s reputation for a unique sound — and for tackling familiar and beloved material and boldly coming up with a wildly creative, imaginative reworks and reimaginings.

 

Featuring Superhuman Happiness‘ founding members Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo, along with Andrea Diaz (a.k.a. Dia Luna); producer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Hersey, a former member of Rubblebucket; and Brain Bisordi (percussion), the Brooklyn-based experimental pop act TOUCH/FEEL can trace its origins to when Superhuman Happiness’ primary trio, had convened to write material for what they thought would be the band’s third full-length effort. And as the trio explains in press notes, while they had already begun to be known for crafting a sound based around bright and mischievous harmonies and driving, funky polyrhythms, the newer material turned out to be the complete inverse, as the material took on much darker melodies and harmonies with slower, heavier rhythms. The lyrics they began writing with that new sound focused on death, destruction and transformation as being a necessary part of the cycle of existence, drawing some thematic influence from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tarot, re-runs of Unsolved Mysteries and the renewed sense of urgency that countless folks across the country felt after this past Presidential election. The project’s founding trio of Bogie, Biondo and Diaz then enlisted Ian Hersey and Byran Bisordi to join their new project, as the founding trio felt that both Hersey and Bisordi helped bring a rough edge to the proceedings that makes the music feel raw and alive, “and more like chamber music in the sense that we are playing to each other, and striving to engage each other like a string quartet would — without backing tracks or whatever to regulate the music to a clock.”

The project draws from a wild variety of influences including early Peter Gabriel, Sade, the Kronos Quartet, Fela Kuti and Kraftwerk, sonically as you’ll hear on the project’s debut single “ASHES/GOLD,” Diaz’s husky crooning ethereally floats over a slick production featuring processed drums, analog synths, filtered bass guitar, saxophone, flute and trumpet — and while still bearing a resemblance to the sound that won them attention with Superhuman Happiness, the track is a mid tempo track, full of  plaintive, unresolved longing and ambiguous and murky emotions.

From what I understand live, the material is meant to take the audience through 9 specific movements, much like a chamber music group balancing composition and improvisation and incorporating dancers and a degree of performance art. TOUCH/FEEL’s first live set is on March 4, 2017 at National Sawdust — and based on what the band describes, it sound be a spectacle.

 

 

New Video: The Frenetic Visuals for Alexander F’s “Call Me Pretty”

Best known as a co-founding member and co-primary songwriter of renowned indie dance pop/indie funk act and JOVM mainstay Rubblebucket, Alex Toth’s side project, Alexander F, which features Steve Marion, Dandy McDowell. Christian Peslak and Noah Rubin as part of the project’s touring band, along with contributions from Kimbra is a decided change in sonic direction for him. Reeling emotionally after the suicides of a couple of musician friends and struggling with living as recovering alcoholic, Toth went to an eleven day, Buddhist, silent meditation retreat in Quebec. And as the story goes, during the retreat, a handful of Buddhist-themed experimental punk songs exploded in Toth’s head — and as a jazz-trained musician, it was a rather unexpected revelation. Now, if you had been frequenting this site towards the end of last year, you may recall that I wrote about “Swimmers,” off Alexander F’s self-titled debut, and from that single Toth and company revealed that his newest project would specialize in infectiously anthemic, frenetic and stompingly boisterous, pop-leaning take on punk rock — while in the case of that particular single, a mischievous take on the concept of prenatal memory in which the song’s narrator imagines how it must have been to be sperm swimming towards an egg to fertilize it.

The self-titled album’s third and latest single “Call Me Pretty” is a decidedly off-kilter yet rousingly anthemic track featuring guest vocals from Kimbra that sonically seems to owe a debt to New Wave and punk rock, with a neurotic and frenetic energy at its core — and in some way, to my ears at least, the song seems like what I’d imagine if Talking Heads randomly decided to cover A Flock of Seagulls. (In the alternative facts universe, indeed, right?) Lyrically, the song evokes the cripplingly neurotic self-doubt, shame and confusion of the song’s narrator, who despite his every effort, has begun to realize that he can’t run from himself — or his own foolish mistakes. And in someway his only hope is that his friends and lovers will ignore him and his perceived ugliness and unworthiness by “shutting their eyes and calling him pretty.”

The recently released music video for the song employs a relatively simple concept as it captures Toth and his backing band playing with a frenetic, unhinged energy — while nodding at the fact that being defiantly, proudly weird and loving music and art, and participating in music and art are the best way to resist.

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.

TOUR DATES
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

Live Footage: Sylvan Esso Performs “Radio” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Comprised of Mountain Man’s Amelia Heath (vocals, synths) and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn (synths, programming, production) electro pop duo Sylvan Esso dominated the blogosphere two years ago — and in turn, became a JOVM mainstay for a sound that paired Heath’s coquettish vocals with a slick and somewhat sparse production featuring propulsive and undulating grooves, shimmering synths and big, tweeter and woofer beats that frequently made the material on their self titled debut sound as though it drew from the likes of Rubblebucket, Beacon and others.

Heath and Sanborn will be releasing their forthcoming sophomore full-length effort later this year, and the album’s latest single “Radio” has long been a staple of their live shows and a fan favorite. The song may arguably be the most brash song they’ve released while being a refinement and expansion of the sound that first caught attention as Heath’s sultry vocals are paired with a slickly propulsive and dance floor-friendly production consisting of layers of cascading synths, wobbling low end and stuttering drum programming. And as a result the song sounds as though it were nodding at Soft Metals‘ swooning and sensual Lenses and Giorgio Moroder.

Check out some live footage of the duo performing “Radio” on The Tonight Show Staring Jimmy Fallon. From watching it, it should give you a sense of what their live sets would be live, as they perform in front of an enormous countdown clock.