Archive for March, 2011

Closer Look: BOBBY – Groggy

Posted in DJ Jazner with tags , , , , on March 28, 2011 by jazner


LET’S TAKE A closer look at BOBBY’s latest single, “Groggy”, with the help of BOBBY brain Tom Greenberg.

“Groggy” breaks the traditional verse/chorus/verse mold, continually moving forward and pushing the track on through a dark, weary, muggy world that Greenberg notes can be representative of living through a day with Lyme disease, something he was diagnosed with.

“Lyme disease is a big constituent of ideas,” Greenberg states.

“It’s like you try to keep organized but you’re lost, tired, slow moving.  BOBBY’s sick all the time,” he points out, which can be heard in the heaviness of “Groggy” that culminates with a hi-fi Sonic Youth melodic clash fest perhaps personified as someone being at frustration’s end. Powerful stuff.

The track never repeats, weaving in and out of a haze while painting traces of sounds that truly take you on a journey to an unknown world.

The creepy, funky loop that opens the track bounces in your ears, balancing out the beautiful guitar harmonies of Greenberg and Paolo Menuez.

Greenberg’s wispy vocals provide a sense of confusion and tension, adding to the dark layers of “Groggy”.

And does jazner really need to repeat himself about Julian Labat’s insane bass chops?

As honorary roadie-slash-groupie of BOBBY, jazner holds “Groggy”, and all the other tracks, super close to his heart.  He hopes you can let it into yours.



Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2011 by jazner



It’s Dead Outside (Live)

Sore Spores

jazner became BOBBY’s first honorary roadie-slash-groupie during SXSW, attending all three of the group’s performance and fulfilling the most important task of handing Tom Greenberg a flask.  One of jazner‘s oldest and most cherished friends, Greenberg gathered his troops for a special interview that gives a peek inside of BOBBY’s world.

THE ROAD TO Austin was a long one for BOBBY.

With stage legs set after wrapping up their first tour through the East Coast and Midwest opening for the Low Anthem, the six-piece crew packed two station wagons to the brim with equipment and hit the interstate for a 32-hour drive of 2000+ miles from their Montague, Massachusetts home to SXSW.

After 3 gigs, Tom Greenberg, guitarist, singer, and engine of the BOBBY machine, was running on fumes, looking about ready to collapse on the Swan Dive’s stage, until a 77 year old man, whose boundless life experiences and wisdom outnumbered Greenberg’s by 54 years, came up to the artist to personally thank him and let him know that BOBBY’s set put him in heaven.

Bobby at French Legation Museum SXSW 2011

What better way to describe BOBBY, the elusive group comprised of Greenberg, singer Molly Erin Sarle of Mountain Man, guitarist Paolo Menuez, bassist Julian Labat, drummer Martin Zimmermann, and “the glue” Roby Moulton, whose rich tones, complex polyrhythmic song structures, and mesmerizing melodies leave listeners in a speechless state of ethereal bliss.

BOBBY’s debut album drops June 21st off of Partisan Records.  Their current set is comprised of 5 numbers, starting with “Peels”, a Twigz song available here, followed by the single “Sore Spores”, then currently unreleased tracks “Dust Beam” and “Nap Champ”, concluding with their latest single “Groggy”, available for listen above.

Tom Greenberg

The crew rolls deep with tons of effects pedals, various synths and a Rhodes keyboard, giving the set a dreamy feel with undefined edges and a warm phosphorescent glow.

“BOBBY is a schizophrenic being, a swirl of emotions,” Zimmermann tells jazner.

BOBBY utilizes this concept of schizophrenia by challenging traditional forms and song structures with tracks that constantly morph and transform into different but related sonic ideas.  The music is multi-dimensional, the personalities are simultaneously disparate yet connected through the collective imaginary of BOBBY, and the emotional spectrum ranges from euphoria to paranoia.

Greenberg is the heart, keeping the music pumping while fleshing out the bodies of the group’s tracks with his rhythm guitar.  Greenberg and Amelia Meath, who is also with Mountain Man and currently subbing for Sarle as she continues her studies, mesh up seamlessly, each constructing a beautiful harmonic connection that lasts throughout the set.

Labat’s basslines are simply incredible, carrying the low end with intricate chords that push all the right buttons. Just listen to what Labat throws down in the latter half of “Groggy.” It’s dirty enough to make you brush your teeth and wash your clothes.

Moulton sculpts the tracks with critical textures of percussion and synth.

Menuez’s guitar dots the soundscape with ringing, colorful illustrations.

And Zimmermann weaves it all together with his web of rhythms, wrapping the pieces up to complete the BOBBY enigma.

PART OF THE enigma is rattled by those who have tried to sum up BOBBY’s sound in terms of a style or genre, which has mainly been folk or rock, partly due to the group’s tour with Low Anthem and the connection to Mountain Man.

But BOBBY is multifaceted, “a network of bacteria,” as Zimmermann describes, full of alternative personalities, deeply rooted philosophies, and a musical passion that resides as far from the conventional as one can be without complete immersion into the Twilight Zone.

Central Presbyterian Church Showcase

It’s not as simple as plugging BOBBY into a genre, because “genres exist to make people feel comfortable, giving a preconceived sense of the music before anyone hears it,” Zimmermann muses.

“People listen to things on a superficial level,” Moulton notes, handing off a scrap of a SXSW genre tree poster that just says ‘wizard rock’ to demonstrate his point. “BOBBY begs not to be categorized.”

“There’s no endpoint nor complete BOBBY,” Menuez concludes.

“It just shows how word of mouth works in the music industry,” Greenberg adds. “It’s a giant game of telephone.  One blog just recycles information from another.  No one has come and asked us,” he adds, until jazner, of course.

DESPITE THE FLEETING origins, blurred definitions, and hazy overtones, jazner can trace  an important phase of the BOBBY telephone game to Bennington College in Vermont, where the majority of the group met while pursuing their undergrad degrees.

Bennington allowed Zimmermann to learn under the guidance of Professor Milford Graves, a legendary jazz drummer and percussionist who has a teaching residency at the school.

“Milford Graves is my biggest drum influence,” Zimmermann divulges. “He taught me the power of polyrhythm and multiple feelings.  You can think of the rhythms as 4 limbs, 4 different people. There’s a lot of interplay,” he concludes, a theme that comes out in the 12/8 meter of  “Nap Champ”.

Mirror nap champs Amelia and Paolo

The power of the 12/8 time signature is its ability to be approached from various angles, whether in triplets, an elongated four beat pattern, or other beat sets, leaving the listener with an extremely layered and finely textured composition that’s diverse, warm and inviting in myriad ways.

Listen to a 12/8 sample from “Dust Beam”, taken at BOBBY’s French Legation Museum set at SXSW here

Bobby Text

AMPLIFYING THE NUANCES of Bobby’s multiple personalities are the illustrations of Keith Smith’s text, Bobby, which tells the story of the artist’s imaginary friend.

“It was a serendipitous discovery,” Moulton explains, adding that the group had already established the BOBBY moniker before encountering Bobby, yet gained an important asset of the group’s consciousness after seeing the text.

Smith, a prominent figure in the book art world, is credited as being one of the first digital artists and zine creators, and gladly gave  BOBBY permission to use pieces of Bobby for their upcoming album.

“BOBBY was loose in our heads, whereas Bobby communicated what we wanted to do. It gives us something to attach to, something visual,” Greenberg relates.

The graphics are old-school and super pixilated, further mystifying the allure of BOBBY with vague shapes and distorted perspectives.

If you can’t tell by now, jazner is counting down the days till BOBBY’s full length drops.  It’s a special project that is very near the heart and  only a few months away from becoming an instant classic. Patience is a virtue.  Snack on  “Groggy” in the meantime.


Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2011 by jazner

TAKE A SLIGHT detour from Austin for a sec and head up the California coast to San Francisco where Paul Salva, producer and owner of the Frite Nite label, dropped his first LP, Complex Housing, on the Friends of Friends label earlier this February.

Complex Housing provides a hybrid variety of house and UK funky somewhat reminiscent of UK DJ Lone that slangs a wicked array of sticky jams and warm blanketing bass that’ll keep you cozy throughout your late night journeys.

The laser Dam-Funk-like synth and heavy dub wonkiness of “Wake Ups” rattles your insides with heart wrenching soulful breaks.

“40 Karats ft. Zachey Force Funk” slows it down for a super sassy and sexy groove perfect for those on the cool down tilt and looking for something a little more snuggy.

The video for “Keys Open Doors” is awesome, and the track highlights Salva’s background with the UK funky drum track, accenting the eighth note and moving beyond the traditional four-on-the-floor structure.

Keep your eyes peeled for Frite Nite parties throughout the Yay Area.  In the mean time, let Complex Housing get your night hyphy.

Wake Ups

40 Karats ft. Zachey Force Funk

Keys Open Doors

Phantom Tails

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by jazner

THE AUSTIN GRIME starts to show on the streets and be felt in the body in the waning days of SXSW, which made jazner‘s discovery of Minneapolis quartet Phantom Tails at the Beauty Bar’s March 19th day party (seen above) all the more apropos.

Wailing with crusty garage intensity, Phantom Tails knocks you out with cringing guitar and blistering drums. Their album, Sounds Of The Hunchback Whale, rocks with a punk grittiness to it that’ll leave you scrubbing the dirt from your ears after a listen.

“It’s an old gravel road leading to a desolate casino town,” Sergio Hernandez, who plays keys it he group, tells jazner. “Picture a futuristic cowboy with a ray gun.”

“A post-apocalyptic future,” Dave Dorman, who plays bass, corrects.

The track “Light Of The World” covers the soundscape with the soot of a burning industrial fire, thumping with animalistic energy. “All Good Things” is a headbanging freakfest of ear shredding amplitude, with “Jade” rounding off the gritty edges and sending the album off with a downtempo cool-out jam.

For Phantom Tails, the land of 10,000 lakes provides a perfect location to channel their inner musical ferocity.

“Minneapolis is a solid breeding ground for music,” Dorman points out.  “It’s got everything you’d want, and we like to incorporate everything from the more experimental to rockabilly to the avant-garde.”

Give Sounds Of The Hunchback Whale a listen below and watch out West Coasters for a potential summer tour.





DJ jazner’s Jam of the Day

Posted in DJ Jazner with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by jazner

THE WINDISH AGENCY was a good place to be in general during SXSW.  There were great vibes, awesome artists, and lots of rare Miami amber.  Had to be there.

So when jazner waltzed in March 18th and saw Mount Kimbie, he finally caved in and bought Crooks & Lovers and immediately tuned into “Would Know”.

With a slowed down 2-step rhythm, “Would Know” transforms as the track develops.  The first part has a Burial like trudge to it  like walking in the muck, only to be picked up in the latter half by a bass-heavy dub groove that’s rich and full-toned, with a final anti-climatic buildup that challenges audience’s preconceived notions of electronic song structures and takes you on an alternative path.  It’s like that.

The video’s got all you need, arts and crafts, snugs and cuds, the works.  Tune on and turn it up!

Grizzel Toe

Posted in Cruz Music with tags , , , on March 24, 2011 by jazner

REPORTED jazner SIGHTING in Good Times again, this week featuring Raya Heffernan and Peter Wallner of Grizzel Toe, a two-piece Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine inspired feed-back loving DIY ragers out of Santa Cruz.

Read the piece here, if you feel inclined.

If not, peep “Transitional Brain Pain Syndrome” below. Or check out their myspace for additional tracks (hint: “Alien Love” is a real good one).


Young Man

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by jazner

PURE HAPPENSTANCE LED jazner to Illinois boy Colin Caulfield and his project, Young Man. Tucked in the backyard stage of Klub Krucial under a blazing SXSW Austin sun, jazner withstood the heat and stumbled on the group, falling into a trance induced by dreamy reverb and swirling guitars that rehydrated a tune-thirsty dude fishing for his groove.

Caulfield was gracious enough to lend out a copy of Boy, a 7 song concept EP about growing up, composed solely by Caulfield himself in 2010 off Frenchkiss Records. There are traces of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch strewn throughout the album, with hypnotic rhythms, ghostly vocals, humming bass and psychedelic guitars layered atop and within one another to form a complex soundscape that will leave a tingle in the ears.

“Up So Fast” thumps through a churning rhythm that drops with a tribal, low-end heavy drum pattern, only to switch it up halfway with a sandy beach fueled gleeful jam. “Hands” also highlights the EP with its guttural, mesmerizing lo-fi energy.

The cherry on top, Caulfield divulged, was that fellow Chicago musician John McEntire, well known for his drumming and production skills as well as his involvement with Tortoise and The Sea And Cake, took a major interest in Young Man and is in the process of producing their upcoming full-length. You know that gets jazner excited. The album would be with a four-piece ensemble, with 3 guitars and drums, although one guitar is put through an effect which makes it sound super bassy.  Don’t fret.

Below is the album in full, which is the suggested way to peer into the world of Young Man.  But if you’re short on time check out the choice select.  Enjoy!

Boy Full-Length

Up So Fast