Have any idea what's going on in the above picture? No? Thought not. How about in this video?
Still no? Let me explain.
The band is called Gobble Gobble. I saw them at a warehouse party thrown by the Heart Music Group last week, and they put on single-handedly one of the most epic live shows I've ever seen. Their productions are also really good.
Describing their music is near impossible. I could say it's like putting the Killers through a beat slicer, a distortion pedal, and the "epic trance" preset on a synth. I could also say it's like a Motion City Soundtrack CD skipping after having been dipped in gooey indie goodness and sprinkled with little fragments of 8-bit video game music. Or I could call it indie-electronic-dance-pop-glitch-mindfuck. None of these descriptions would do them justice. So here are some songs that do:
Alabaster Bodyworld - Gobble Gobble [REMOVED...so click the link above to see an AWESOME video of them live!!] Undeniably a pop tune, but the production is incredibly detailed. The whole album is great, their sound ranges from super happy and poppy to a few more contemplative, piano-driven tracks (the beautiful "Ash Fountain" and "Eggs In Carrion"). There's even a few songs that remind me of Baths.
SUPER UPTEMPO!! Not dancing to this was impossible. Sooooo catchy! This came free with the promo EP for this concert, released by the Heart Music Group; lots of other great songs on it, including unreleased stuff by Baths and Teen Daze, cop it here.
Their myspace page carries the slogan: "DIY or CRY." That pretty much captures the essence of their live show. Anything and EVERYTHING is used to make music. An impressive array of synths, mixers, circuit-bent puppets, and other electronic miscellany covers a table center stage, then down in front are a super eclectic drum/percussion set (frying pan included), a second mic with a lot of circuits and more random instruments, and lots of lights and wires.
See the guy in the upper-right-hand corner? In the fairy wings? That's Cecil Frena. He's apparently the guy behind all this awesomeness. And he's from Canada/the Bay Area. Which explains a lot. You'll see.
Well, he came out in those same fairy wings to start the show. He used a circuit-bent frog puppet to make weird noises, then played an intro. Then when the first real song dropped, in came three dudes in masks and skirts, wading through the crowd in a conga line. Like they were his fairy underlings or something. They took up shop in front of the stage, at various stations. One played drums and percussion, one seemed to be a synth-master, and the other had a MIDI controller or something. Though they changed those around a lot. Sometimes they had tambourines. Sometimes they had glowsticks and those plastic tubes that drone when you spin them in the air. And sometimes they would get up on stage and do synchronized dance moves.
Needless to say, the crowd went insane. And these were the same faithful head-nodding hipsters who had been swaying in rhythm to the more downtempo Baths and Teen Daze the whole night. Even Baths was in the mosh pit! That was fucking awesome to watch, he had told the audience to stay for Gobble Gobble after his set, and at first I thought this was just common courtesy, but no. He was totally into it. He was right there in the fucking mosh pit. And can you blame him?
The energy these dudes brought was insane. They make SUPER dancey pop music, but not without a real intelligence, in both their production and their lyrics. Frena's voice might be a bit too emo-pop for some of you, but I still highly recommend their music. At least see them live, it was a life-changer. Here are the dates for their Mobile Rave Infinitour 2010. Something like 160 shows, they're all over the country, JUST FUCKIN DO IT. I can't endorse them any more than that.
This here's Alex B. We've posted on him before. He's a beat music producer based in Colorado, and this podcast he did for XLR8R is pretty much comprised of 100% utter JAMS. So go grab it! He also owns a record label/clothing line/jack-of-all-trades company called Elm and Oak. His album Moments came out a while back, you can buy it here and I seriously suggest you do. Amazing producer, good to see that awesome experimental/hip-hop/electronic shit is coming out of other places than just LA.
I love these people. As already mentioned, the Long Lost are Daedelus and his wife on an indie, multi-instrumental, acoustic electro journey. This song is one of the lighter ones off their ep but the rest of it is absolutely rich and beautiful anyway. But, just listen to this. i like it, a lot. (i identify with the lyrics, too)
I love this man. El Langosta and I saw him play at Low End Theory last wednesday and it was awesome, and now im in love with him. This track is pretty characteristic of some of his style, very all-over but an interesting listen.
So there's this guy. Monsiuer Alper. He's my best friend's roommate at NYU. He also just started a blog. In which he records musicians playing live music. In a bitchin' tent. It's pretty damn awesome. Check it out:
also, new joint from WEDIDIT Collective beasts 0. and eLan. You've heard me rant about how fucking amazing Zeroh is. Twice now, I think. Well, the dude holds up. Brilliant lyricism in generous helpings, plus some fun soulful sung bits in the second half. Also: one awesome, woozy, spacy beat courtesy of eLan. Gotta check this dude's production more, he has a couple of tapes out that I need to get.
So Low End Theory is this weekly event at the Airliner club in Los Angeles. If you follow the LA Beat Scene, you'll probably know what Low End Theory is. For those of you that don't, it happens every Wednesday night, and it's where such experimental electronic beat-masters as Flying Lotus, Daedelus, Take, Shlohmo, Ras G, and (more recently) Baths go to showcase their work and live skills.
Their schedule for last Wednesday just said "Very Special Guest." This was my first time going (I wanted to attend the show a week before featuring Asura and Jonwayne, but I couldn't), so I wasn't sure whether I wanted to take a chance with whoever this was. But my friend Jeremy did a little facebook stalking, and the facebook profile of one Steven Ellison said he intended to play the Airliner on Wednesday. For those of you who weren't aware, that man also goes by the moniker Flying Lotus.
So Jeremy and I flipped a shit and made our plans. Prophet Zachariah, of the anti-pretentious music/film blog The Boy And Colors, was also in attendance. And man, was it a night.
So we walk in the door in the middle of Take's set. Take is one of my favorite beat music producers, his most recent record Only Mountain was incredible. Aside from programming some of the most innovative, non-repetitive drum patterns I've ever heard, he's a synth master; his production style just saturates you with them, from these thick, heavy bass sounds to all the little high-pitched blips and arpeggios riding on top of the mix. And on the legendary Low End soundsystem, all of it (especially the bass) just came to life.
I've posted this gem before but I felt it was appropriate for this review. Also it might be my favorite Take track.
By the way, there's a reason they call it "Low End Theory." Those subwoofers are on another level. This is bass that you can feel pouring into your ears like hot wax at the same time as you're feeling it rattle your ribcage. And not in an unpleasant way, it's really quite awesome. Even though it sometimes would eclipse other elements of the song playing, I have a feeling that's the point of seeing music in such a venue.
But yeah, Take's set (or what we caught of it) was fucking fantastic. Couldn't see much of it because the place was PACKED, but damn did we hear it. We got better positions for the rest of the acts, though.
Next up were some of Low End Theory's resident DJ's (Nobody, Daddy Kev, The Motherfucking Gaslamp Killer, and D-Styles), who pretty much all played dubstep sets, with some hip-hop in there for good measure. Nobody had the best set aside from Take and Flylo, he's a fantastic DJ. The others were definitely awesome too (can't speak for D-Styles cuz we missed his set), except that I think the crowd just got tired of dubstep by the end... Also: Gaslamp Killer was fucking RAW. He has the most fantastic stage presence ever, he pretty much physically acts out the bass sounds, which is really how I think you ought to DJ dubstep. Also he used a fucking iPad as a MIDI controller of some sort, manipulating beats on the fly. Pretty damn awesome, good to see the stupid gadget is good for something... Here's some video of Gaslamp killing it earlier in the evening.
Well, in the middle of Gaslamp's set Flying Lotus started wading through the crowd, and after another 15 or so minutes he'd finished his setup, and the show began. It took that long because he had a live bass player (Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat) and drummer (Ronald Bruner) to set up as well. Researching this post, I just realized the two are brothers. And they are tight as hell.
Thundercat is a fucking fantastic electric bass player with legitimate jazz chops. He riffs like a mofucka, which you can hear on FlyLo's last album, Cosmogramma. Specifically on "Pickled!", though he helped write and sang on "MmmHmm" as well; that's a more downtempo track and one of the more beautiful on the album in my opinion. Ronald Bruner is a jazz drummer of epic proportions. He's played with Austin Peralta, an alumnus of my school who is coincidentally signed to FlyLo's Brainfeeder label. Just watch this if you need proof of his chops.
Well, needless to say they fucking killed. They played in sets of about 10-20 minutes, with little breaks to orient the musicians (the drummer had never sat in with FlyLo before, which didn't even matter because he caught on in seconds, and nailed every pause or break. ah, the power of jazz). Mr. Ellison played about 50% new or unfamiliar material, 40% Cosmogramma, and 10% of his older stuff. Every once and a while he would cut out almost every element of the track that was playing and just let, say, a hihat or keyboard part play while the brothers Bruner just tore it up. Those breakdowns to just live bass and drums were fucking transcendent. Just wow. Brilliant musicians doing what they do best on the fly...it was like watching live jazz. Even when FlyLo was playing a song over the live music, all three of them were interacting and giving and taking and fuck was it awesome.
The best set by far was the fourth one. The rest had been at a hip-hop/dubstep sort of tempo, and then after a break flylo just brought out "Do The Astral Plane." The crowd went insane, and this was in a room about the size of my living room, mind you. And that set just went on in the same vein: he sped up the vocal from "Tea Leaf Dancers" and played it over "Astral Plane," then he kept dropping experimental electro house, banger after banger, and the brothers Bruner just rolled with it, keeping up that same intense jazz energy they'd had the whole night.
On the whole one of the best live shows I've ever been to. Anybody who says that playing electronic music live is essentially just DJing needs to see Flying Lotus. He plays with a live band a lot nowadays. And if you really want to have an epic Wednesday night, go to Low End Theory. The vibe there is amazing. The producers and artists are there to showcase their work, and they're just hanging around during the show so you can freely interact with them. The audience is there to see the work and have a good time, so weed and alcohol consumption, while still extant, is at a really reasonable level. People just seemed very chill and friendly. I think my work here is done. Til' next time, folks...