Archive | November, 2012

on deck: kishi bashi, “151a”

29 Nov

In a rare move for me, I’m going to keep this super brief. Ultimately, I just want to tell you guys about a show for which I just purchased tickets, and the awesome music that drove me to drop those bucks.

The show in question is for Kishi Bashi, formerly of Of Montreal fame. I’ve been an Of Montreal fan for a long time (though not quite a fanatic, as many people are). Thus, I started following Kishi Bashi when he toured with the troupe of musicians that made up the circus act that is an Of Montreal show- he was the violin protege that often stole the show. Kishi Bashi always stood out from the group, and I don’t think any Of Montreal fans are surprised to see him killing it in his solo career.

As much as I like Of Montreal, after listening to Kishi Bashi’s debut solo effort 151a, I can’t help but jump for joy that he decided to leave the group. In short, I’m in love. His roots as a classically trained musician show through in the complexity of the songs, but he also incorporates so many other genres and song structures (jazz, swing, loop-heavy indie pop, etc) into a weird-but-it-works smorgasbord. Comparisons to Andrew Bird and Animal Collective are well-deserved.

To understand the true craftsmanship involved in this album, look no further than his performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series. NPR’s intro states, “K Ishibashi is a master of building his music from the ground up, from live violin loops to layered singing to beatboxing, in order to create pocket symphonies steeped in classical music and 21st-century pop. He brings that ingenuity and songcraft to the Tiny Desk at the NPR Music offices.”

This is high praise from NPR, and the stripped down format of the concert really brings that testimony home.

Check out the Tiny Desk performance, or start with the clip below. Then, snag tickets to see him at the 930 Club in February. Why is February so far away?

Kishi Bashi, “Bright Whites”


two bars, three stars: benoit & sergio, new ships EP

15 Nov

Friends, I am ecstatic to inform you that I’ve added a new electronic act to my “DC DJ” repertoire. Don’t get me wrong, I love jamming out to some Volta Bureau, Fatback mixes, Dave Nada moombahton madness, etc- but every once in awhile, it’s great to broaden your horizons and find some new homegrown talent that excites you. This was my experience with Benoit & Sergio last week.

Benoit & Sergio is short for Benjamin “Sergio” Myers and and Benoit Simon, a duo that have played together sporadically for several years. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when Myers had a psuedo-midlife crisis and took off to Europe to pursue DJ-ing full time, that things got serious.

Since then, the two thrust themselves first into releasing 12″s and singles, along with busting out their turntables at clubs in Ibiza, Bucharest, and Edinburgh, to name a few. Their renewed vigor culminated in the release of a solid EP, New Ships, this past month. And-lucky for us- the duo have returned to our district to finish their full album (to be released in 2013) in a hometown studio.

There’s a lot to like about Benoit & Sergio’s vibe. For one, their EP title is a T.S. Eliot reference (big ups from this English major). Second, they pull off that brilliant mixture of dark (or ironically dark) lyrics and upbeat instrumentals that is often hard to strike. It recalls bands like New Order, LCD Soundsystem, Crystal Castles who balance this paradox perfectly.

Also, in this age of digitized sounds and live shows that involve nothing but a laptop, I respect that Myers’ includes his own vocals in many tracks. Sure, these vocals might be more like repetitive one-liners than actual lyrics, but I’m excited to see how this might translate in a live performance. On that front, the duo have said they’re interested in including more live-band sounds in their sets, which would only enhance the experience.

Below is two great tracks from the EP, but you should really check out the whole thing- and be on the lookout for the album next year. Oh, and I’ll definitely shout if I see any upcoming local shows- sadly, it appears they’ve played very limited shows in the States for the majority of their short career. Come back to us from Europe, guys- DC wants to see you!