Archive for Tom Greenberg

Sleepytime BOBBY

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2011 by jazner

HOLDING THE TITLE as reigning “Nap Champ” can be an exhausting task, especially when you’re on a national tour with Thao + Mirah playing shows every night and all you wanna do is cuddle for a quick minute.  But a bare bones BOBBY found a second to lay down an acoustic version of a new track during a tuck in sesh with our friends over at Sleepover Shows.

“Throat Thinging” features the vocal tandem of Tom Greenberg and Paolo Menuez in ways unexplored on their debut album BOBBY.  There is an earthy, autumnal, crinkle leafy feel with rich crunchy wordplay and a smooth guitar flow.  Martin Zimmermann wraps it up at the end of the track with impromptu throat singing that sounds like frogs bumbling on a bayou.

Also included is an alternate version of “Shimmychick” packed with a new ending for your pleasure.  Check it out below.  Cut!

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BOBBY’s Arrival

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2011 by jazner

THE SICK MILK is out of the bottle, curdled and primed to engulf your headphones after NPR premiered BOBBY’s debut eponymous album off Partisan Records on their website, further proving the enormous benefits reaped when tax dollars are invested in the arts and communication.  BOBBY is officially slated to drop June 21st.

In the May 2011 issue of The Wire, Bryan Sheffield wrote an excellent feature on Amanda and Britt Brown, the owners of Not Not Fun, and their insistence on analogue mediums over digital.  Sheffield quotes NNF artist High Wolf, ” ‘With analogue, there is a constraint, but it is liberating'”, then adds, “this concept – freedom through submission, bliss as surrender – is deeply mystical…But more important, the concept is also deeply musical: rapture as being rapt, detained against your will”.

The same must be said for BOBBY, an album that is fully appreciated once the listener lets go and resigns themselves to the deeply complex and diverse compositions at hand.  Each track takes time to fully develop, slowly and deliberately adding layers to polyrhythmic foundations that grow to blossom with vibrant shades and full-bodied emotions.  Stories are told incrementally through the individual tracks, shedding light on different angles and approaches utilized by Tom Greenberg and company that synthesize together to form a complete body of music.

The 12/8 rhythm of “Nap Champ” cradles with its woozy energy, a half asleep lullaby of cushy rhythm guitar and vocals from Greenberg and Molly Erin Sarle that quickly awakens after Martin Zimmermann’s somnolent beat becomes infused with a swinging ride cymbal pattern and Julian Labat’s insane bass skills are unleashed in an array of wicked licks and hyper speed lines.

“It’s Dead Outside”, a holdover from Greenberg’s senior show at Bennington College, initially thrums with a woodsy and warm acoustic guitar and the twinkling starry tinks of a Rhodes keyboard.  There is an unsteady calm, a seemingly stable rhythm that explodes halfway through the track like a firework, illuminating the night sky in a druggy waterfall of laser beam synth, elongated vocals and bellowing drums.

“Ginger (Water Birth)” ranks with “Groggy” as jazner‘s favorite track and is available for download at Stereogum.  Greenberg’s vocals are so full of passion and ache, they pierce through to one’s inner core and fill it with the sweet honey of harmony.  Sarle claims “something’s in the water”, and it could very well be her voice, an effect distorting and chopping her part to imitate a sense of being underwater.  Paired with wonky keys that shimmer and glean, “Ginger (Water Birth)” is a special jam full of emotion that imbues warmth and comfort after each listen.

Not to be forgotten is “Loading Phase”, the second shortest and strictly instrumental track on the album that showcases yet another mind boggling bass part from Labat.  It begins almost innocently and angelic, but soon drops unexpectedly into a snidely, dark and sneaky vibe, with Greenberg’s guitar glowing subtly in the background.

In case the album isn’t enough, BOBBY has a national tour to boot, opening for Thao & Mirah, in which the group has already debuted new material that will be featured on future recordings.  Check out the dates below.

BOBBY has been featured many times on this blog, and it is no secret how special the crew is to jazner.  He is their honorary groupie-slash-roadie, after all.  Please dedicate some time listening to this album in full.  It will not only be recognized as one of the best of 2011, but as a monumental piece that will establish it’s own place in the music canon.

Ginger (Water Birth)

BOBBY TOUR

06/07 – Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bear’s Place
06/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
06/09 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
06/10 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
06/11 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
06/12 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
06/13 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
06/14 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
06/15 – St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
06/16 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
06/18 – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
06/19 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
06/20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
06/21 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
06/22 – Costa Mesa, CA @ Detroit Bar
06/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

Closer Look: BOBBY – Groggy

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

Groggy

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.

BOBBY

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

 

Groggy

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.

Texas Toasted

Posted in DJ Jazner with tags , , , , , , , on March 14, 2011 by jazner

HIATUSXSW PLAYLIST: http://www.youtube.com/p/CF27211AF9A5E090?hl=en_US&fs=1

HAJJ TIME FOR jazner.

SXSW is calling, and jazner is going on a pilgrimage, taking an aeroplane straight to Austin (via layover).

So the posts will be on hold for the week, but once jazner returns, expect interviews with good friend Tom Greenberg of BOBBY, who will be reeking havoc on stage and in the streets, as well as some new groups that piqued interest with their good vibrations throughout the week’s festivities.

Don’t think jazner would leave you empty handed though.  Check the playlist above that highlights the SXSW artists on notice.  There are some extra sprinkles added on top, just cuz he loves you.

Talk to y’all soon!

Update – Bobby Blooms

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by jazner

A FEW WEEKS ago jazner wrote to all his friends in internet land about a very special boy out of Altadena named Tom Greenberg and his percolating project out of Vermont/Massachusetts, BOBBY.

Looks like a certain blog decided to jump on the bandwagon and ride jazner‘s coattails, debuting BOBBY’s new single “Sore Spores” amidst some ‘interesting’ write-ups describing the music as “Appalachian folk”.  Hmm…to each their own.

Blooming like a luscious chanterelle under a moist oak tree after a rainstorm, “Sore Spores” spreads its rhizomagic through the crystalline voice of Molly Sarle (Mountain Man) and the bellowing buzz of Tom G. Molly and Tom’s voice match up like pieces in a puzzle, creating an aural image of harmonic hallucinations that are both ghostly and wonky, but warm all around.

The vibe is kooky, heady, and super silly like a mushroom trip, wobbling on a wicked bass line by Jules and crisp percussion from Martin as this sextet takes your ears on a multi-layered, diversely dimensional carpet ride of cuddles.

BOBBY is hitting the road for an east coast/midwest tour, making stops at The Bowery Ballroom and Chicago’s Lincoln Hall, to name a few, before it blows the suits off the industry’s suits at SXSW.

Don’t be afraid to eat these spores. Check out the single from Partisan Records, and come back for more soon enough!

Sore Spores

Bobby Twigzital

Posted in On Notice with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2011 by jazner

MODERN ANATOMY CLAIMS the human heart has four chambers.  jazner claims one of them is named Tomboy.

In all actuality, there are many names Tomboy has appropriated throughout the years: Tom G., Twigz, Twiglet.  But none is more important than the one he’s sporting today.

Bobby is Tomboy’s newest project repping Partisan Records – and he’s taking it with him to SXSW for a series of concerts that aren’t afraid to go into the Twilight Zone.  Coming out of Massachusetts, Bobby is a six-piece featuring Molly Sarle of Mountain Man that tells the story of an enigmatic Lyme diseased boy who bequeathed his name to the group so his legend would live on.

Although details are sparse and being kept under wraps until the album drops in the near future, you can learn more about Bobby and hear two tracks on their myspace here or Facebook page there.

In the mean time, check out some of Tomboy’s earlier materials when he was with the group, Twigz, from his EP, Dim Picnic.  “Buggy Tide” blares with the tintinnabulation of a rippling waterfall and is a close tie for  jazner‘s personal favorite, competing with the tripped out 90s slacker grunge-like “What Happened Today.”  Our good friend Mr. DJ Altitude Sickness also lends his services for a killer robotic hypnotic bass remix of “Sea Sheets.”

Don’t hesitate to download this gem by Twigz.  But keep your ears to the pavement for Bobby to burst.