Tag: Rubblebucket

Comprised of producer/trombonist Jeremy Phipps, who grew up playing in New Orleans brass bands, marching bands and traditional jazz groups; and composer/vocals Claire Givens, the daughter of an operatic singer and Baptist music minister and a classically trained pianist and choral teacher, who began singing in the churches of rural Northern Louisiana, the New Orleans-based pop act People Museum can trace their origins to when the duo met in 2016. And as the story goes, they were both eager to start a new musical project that incorporated the feelings and vibes of their hometown in a non-literal, un-ironic way while drawing from their own unique experiences — Phipps has toured with the likes of Solange, AlunaGeorge and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, and Givens’ work continues to draw from classical music.

“Eye 2 Eye,” the latest single off the duo’s forthcoming full-length debut I Dreamt You In Technicolor is centered around a regal horn line, stuttering boom bap-like beats, shimmering synths, Givens’ ethereal vocals and a sinuous hook — and interestingly enough, the song sounds as though it draws from Omega La La-era Rubblebucket, Superhuman Happiness and Hiatus Kaiyote, as it reveals a duo, who have begun to receive attention for  carefully crafted and breezy, left-field pop. As People Museum’s Claire Givens says about the song,  “’Eye 2 Eye’ is about a one-sided relationship where one person is transparent with their feelings, and the other person hides away, restricting their emotions. The relationship could bloom if only the other person could open up and help to create an environment for true understanding of each other.”

 

 

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Throughout the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket. Although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes and iterations, there’s one thing that’s been consistent — founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion) and Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax and baritone sax). Toth and Traver can trace the origins of their collaboration to when they met while playing in  Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Quickly bonding over being horn players, a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop, and their 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 completely broke in Boston, the duo began Rubblebucket.

Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, Toth and Traver, along with a fully-fleshed out band emerged on to the national scene with the release of 2011’s critically applauded sophomore album Omega La La, and an already established reputation for a relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous, dance party-like live sets. Since Omega La La, Rubblebucket’s recorded output has revealed a band that has graduated crafted, then cemented a signature sound — and with their most recent releases, subtly expanding upon it. Simultaneously, Traver fully stepped into the role of the band’s frontperson with a growing self-assuredness.

Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Grand Jury MusicSun Machine, Rubblebucket’s fifth full-length album may arguably be among the most personal that Traver and Toth have ever written as the album’s material is largely inspired by the end of the duo’s longterm romantic relationship and the duo’s deep and lasting connection both personally and creatively but the album also draws from a number of major life-changing events over the past few years — namely Kalmia Traver’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer back in 2013, followed by rounds of surges and chemotherapy treatments; Alex Toth’s decision to get sober after a long struggle with alcoholism; and the couple’s three-year-long attempt at maintaining an open relationship. Reportedly, the end result is something strange, complex and beautiful in its own right, as the material still finds the duo crafting ebullient party jams rooted in a radical mindfulness while also an aching breakup album, imbued not with bitterness and accusation, but with a palpable love, making it the rare album with a truly kind and adult sensibility. Musically and sonically speaking, the album reportedly finds Rubblebucket’s duo tapping back into their jazz training with many moments throughout the album completely driven by improvisation. “There’s a lot of moments on this album that happened from us being in a trance-like zone, and coming up with weird sounds in the middle of recording, sometimes by accident,” Alex Toth says in press notes. But at its core, the duo hope that the album will encourage listeners and fans to see the possibility of transformation in painful experiences. ” When I got cancer and Alex quit drinking, that was the beginning of a huge journey for both of us,” Kalmia Traver says. “So much of that journey has been about giving myself the freedom to exist on my own terms, believing in my ideas instead of self-editing. I think this album represents both of us allowing ourselves that freedom in a totally new way, and hopefully it’ll give people inspiration to be creative in their own lives, and to just soften up a bit too.”

The album’s second single “Lemonade,” was written by Toth, who notes, “As the lyrics came together I realized I was kind of writing the song from Kal’s perspective, singing to me. I didn’t know what project the song was for (my solo record, a friend’s band, a pop star?) but when Kal and I realized Rubblebucket wasn’t ending with our breakup, but gaining new life, this song made perfect sense.” As a result, the song manages to convey a confusing array of emotions — wistful and bittersweet reminiscing over what once was and will never be again; the joy of knowing rare, sweet, frustrating and profound love and always having that connection with someone, even if they may have been an asshole at some point; the realization that the closure that everyone talks about is utterly impossible in this life; and the hope of maybe one day stumbling upon that sort of love again. Sonically, the song meshes swinging jazz, thumping and breezy pop with an aching, old school ballad in a way that’s vivacious and life affirming in a necessary way. We all know that life can be wondrous and heartbreaking — sometimes simultaneously, sometimes independently; but love and music make it all easier in the end.

Traver and Toth are in the middle of a tour to build up buzz, and then to support their new album. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

Tour Dates

7/5: Burlington, VT @ Battery Park (The Point Summer Series)

7/7: Portland, ME @ Thompson’s Point^

7/13: Canandaigua NY @ Lincoln Hill Farms#

8/1: Troy, NY @ WEQX Riverfront Event+

8/2: Dennis, MA @ Cape Cinema+

8/3: Westerly, RI @ Paddy’s Beach Club

8/4: Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes+

9/8: Holyoke, MA @ Gateway City Arts

10/6: Arrington, VA @ The Festy

10/25: Fairfield, CT @ Warehouse

10/26: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

10/27: Washington, DC @ Black Cat

10/29: Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle

10/30: Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge

10/31: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West

11/2: Burnett, TX @ Utopia Fest

11/4: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom

11/6: Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom

11/7: San Francisco, CA @ August Hall

11/9: Seattle, WA @ Neumos

11/10: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom

11/12: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

11/13: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge

11/14: Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre

11/17: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

^ w/ Lake Street Dive

# Star Rover supports

+ And the Kids supports

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.