BomBassic Drops a New Track, and it is Cotton Candy-Colored Fire

It’s been a few months since BomBassic’s last official release, but their summer was a busy one. They played a string of local shows, went on a southeastern tour, and finished up their new album, all on top of the responsibilities of their regular day jobs, their facilitation roles in the Asheville Beat Tape Collective, and lots of badminton.

“Cotton Candy Sunset” is a collaboration between BomBassic and local guitarist/vocalist Tin Foil Hat (Jared Hooker). It begins slowly, an ethereal vocal massage from Hooker leading us carefully to a precipice. It unfolds from there, Brucey B’s frosty keys building a bridge to the kick, this verified house beat (yesss!) reaching beyond their usual soul bass style with fervor and flair. The track waves and winds, sashays and grinds; I feel myself dancing on a crystal rainbow road in the sky, weaving through those cotton candy clouds, diamonds in my hair and hot angel breath on my neck. No, I’m not on drugs right now!

Not ones to rest on their laurels or get too comfortable in any zone, Cpt. HyperDrive and Brucey B continually evolve, applying their insatiable thirsts for knowledge, movement, and growth to their tunes while still maintaining the undeniable integrity of the BomBassic sound. If you didn’t think BomBassic was pretty fucking great before, check again.

Also, the beautiful cover photo you see here was taken by fine AVL photographer Arlie Huffman, the queenly model of which is none other than the exceptional Aubrey Huntley, a very good baby girl friend of mine and actual girlfriend of Cpt. HyperDrive. Keepin’ it reeeeal local here, folks. Homegrown.

BomBassic is currently in negotiations with a potential new label regarding their upcoming album release, titled Acceleration. 2016 is gonna be a joyride year, y’all.

 

Michal Menert & The Pretty Fantastics Are Gonna Be Just That Oct 15

michal menert pf

In my preview piece for Eliot Lipp last week I teased a second Pretty Lights Music label artist coming to Asheville this month. Well, the time is nigh, electroheads! OG Pretty Lights rainbow brother Michal Menert brings his full band to New Mountain tomorrow, October 15.

By full band I mean the five other Pretty Fantastics, an abridged version of the 18-piece “Big Band” he’s played with selectively over the last few months. But six is still a bigger band than most, the drums, guitars, keys, and horns fleshing out Menert’s central beat-dropping. There’s no way it’s not gonna be good. Really good.

What’s even better is the album they’re supporting, released at the end of September, simply titled 1. I’m going to assume that means he plans to make more albums with this group, as he should. 1 still very much touts his signature electro-soul sound, but it’s a slight departure from the heavy hitters of previous works. There’s a soft psychedelia mixed with stuff you could imagine Andre 3000 demoing after smoking some really good hash. My favorite track, “If You Knew,” is a rework of the build-up and breakdown of 2011′s “Lost Pieces.” I loved it even before I heard the wildfire guitar solo ripping through the end. Ahhh, I miss guitar solos. Bring someone you can touch in the dark.

Russ Liquid supports.

I’ve been knocking back cold medicine for a couple days straight, so I’m done being human now so I can be alive at the show. No one give me drugs tomorrow, k thanks. Er…only if they’re really good.

Tickets: $12 advance // $15 door

Doors: 9:00pm

 

 

 

In Plain Sight Brings the House Down (to One World Brewing)

in plain sight

Photo via mountainx.com (2012)

I turn down the hideaway alley to find a line of prospective patrons waiting outside the venue. I’ve never encountered a line here before. I ask the guy ahead of me if they’re at capacity or if this is just a smoker’s circle.

“Yes, we are waiting,” he says in a subtle lilt. Buttoned up and tucked in, I surmise he’s not from around here.

“Guess it’s a busy night,” I say. “In Plain Sight is playing.” He offers a blank stare.

“Local house DJs.”

“Oh! We are from Ukraine. House music is in our blood.” I take this as a good sign for the night.

As I light up a cigarette for the wait, my Ukrainian friends and I are joined by this fetching girl in a ‘90s throwback flower print mini dress. The doorman informs her we are at capacity, news to which she looks genuinely disturbed. Hey honey, it shouldn’t take long, we’re all cool here. It’s when he asks if she is actually one of the band member’s girlfriends, who does have a spot on the list, that she is visibly relieved.

There it is.

“Yeah, they said you would be showing up. I’ve been holding a place for you, love.” Door guy continues to cajole her as he swings the metal door open, to the rest of us adding “the perks of being a musician’s girlfriend!” I remain silent but am tickled inside. Yeah, the perks are sexy, but it hits me how the flip side of being intimately involved with a professional musician is a little less glamorous: rigorous practice and touring schedules, knowing when to give a creative opinion and when to shut the fuck up, frustration, jealousy, intermittent neglect. A relationship of this nature requires an ironclad emotional intelligence, and there should be full-on training for it. Bless you, baby girl in the pretty dress.

The irony of this situation is that for the first time in ages I did not bother securing my own guest list spot since I wasn’t sure if I would in fact make it, and the show was free anyway. But tonight I’m totally cool hanging on the other side of it again. I have plenty of cigarettes.

Set in the underground, speakeasy-style, One World Brewing turns up for In Plain Sight. DJs Lucas Ledford, Ezekiel and Nomad in the Dark make up the trio, who switch off on the tables every 20 minutes or so to keep the pulsing rhythm continuously flowing by way of their individual talents. It’s extra satisfying to finally be in front of In Plain Sight, as I tell you what: I’d been mistaking them for some other group I don’t dig for, like, two years. Can you imagine! It was only at a Moog event in June that I realized who they actually are: bringers of straight up, down ‘n dirty house + techno in a local music scene seriously lacking in it. Where the fuck have I been?

The DJ tables are set up against the brewing room, the eerie green glow from which is the only light in this dark corner. The dance party is in full swing, a typical mix of Asheville types bumping and grooving together. I don’t speak to anyone on the floor, though I’m glad they’re all here; in a sea of bodies I am going into forgotten conversation with my own. My heart declares itself upon the foundation of the strong, repetitive, unembellished beat; I close my eyes and blazing visions of color bleed from my core like spilled ink. Streams of fevered sweat are rolling sub rosa down my chest, under the thin layer of my shirt. I can’t tell which beat is the kick and which is my heart.

Halfway through the set, Nomad in the Dark (aka Ephraim Dean) steps out from behind the tables to greet me. “Are you Backstage Sass?” He must have recognized me by the RBTS WIN tank I’ve (seriously) been rocking for two weeks.

“That’s me,” I confirm, my face aglow, my eyes wide. He might think I’m on drugs. I’d might as well be. He thanks me for coming out and further extends his appreciation for my role in the music community, what with my being an outspoken super fan and all. As if my heart wasn’t warm enough right now.

These guys are clearly a friendly bunch. Their popularity is palpable; it seems almost everyone on the dance floor at one time or another steps behind the speakers to talk to them, except me. In Plain Sight, indeed: the kind of group who is fully here, available to and merging so naturally with their audience.

Which leads me to believe we’ll be meeting again. Watch out, fellas, you’ve got my impassioned ass for a fan now too.

Missed IPS this time around? Catch them August 14th at the New Mountain SOL Bar.

RBTS LOVE

Post-show with RBTS WIN and some Junior Astronomers

Post-show with RBTS WIN and some Junior Astronomers

Last Saturday was a particularly potent music night in Asheville. Holy Ghost Tent Revival was covering Beck’s 1999 album Midnite Vultures in its entirety at the Mothlight (fuck!) while Marley Carroll entertained the Christmas theme-loving drunks at the Holiday Liquor & Dance Luau Party. But amongst all this temptation I knew I was on the path to righteousness, for I was seeing RBTS WIN for the first time at Isis.

A simple stage set supported the black-clad trio, who don’t need mind-melting visuals or even color in their clothes to spread their message of universal love, peace, and good times. Imagine that, Asheville!

The rich, soulful quality of Worsham’s vocals matched with the tremendous electronic beatstorm conducted by Bolea and self-possession of guitarist Josh Chassner exemplifies the yin-yang symbiosis that makes this group shine. (I failed to mention Chassner in my preview piece. My folly! He’s awesome.)

Favorite moments:

1. Whatever Bolea did to make “Stay Wavy” go to 11

2. Drunk chicks up front trying to touch them (yay groupies)

3. “Death Magic” ALL OF IT ALWAYS

 

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Some new songz in there, y’all

I missed first act EmE by a hair, but the second band, Charlotte-based Junior Astronomers, was a lot of fun. The four-piece brought some solid Strokes-influenced indie rock to the party, something the AVL scene pretends to have forgotten about. I’ll speak more on them later when they invite me to a show of their own. You hear that, fellas?

And meanwhile…

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A new band tee deserves a trip to the Bywater

 

…I’m having a ball with my new RBTS WIN tank top. The cut is perfect! Ladies, git it!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Martin L Gore!

Photo via modefan.com

Photo via modefan.com

Today we celebrate Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode’s 53rd birthday! Wowee!

Any excuse to honor this man, really. As the chief songwriter of the first synth band to bring electronic music onto the global stage (and 30 years on still selling out arenas worldwide), all the while having managed to avoid pretension and all other forms of musician douchebaggery, Martin deserves all his cake and to eat it wherever he likes.

Happy birthday, Mr. Gore. We totally fucking love you!

Here’s one of his signature songs, “Home.” 1998 was a bit of a weird time because lead singer Dave Gahan had just gotten out of rehab, but Martin sounds great and everyone’s all better now. Enjoy!

Marley Carroll in a Hammock Haven: An Intoxicating Mix at Highland Brewing

Photo by J Smilanic

Photo by J Smilanic

For a company that specializes in laying your ass out in outrageously comfortable hammocks, Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) knows a lot about parties. The festivities at Highland Brewing last Friday proved that.

As part of Highland’s (apparently months-long) 20th anniversary celebration, the brewery and ENO teamed up to host the July 11-12 events, parties to punctuate Night Flight, a four-mile race that benefits the Asheville Parks & Greenways Foundation. Now, I don’t know about any of that because I don’t run unless it’s to catch a plane or a concert, but yeah, I’m always down for hammocks + drinks + music. So when I pulled into the parking lot and the sprawling ENO Lotus Lounge unveiled itself before me, I knew I was exactly where I belonged.

The grassy area behind the brewery is just pleasant as can be. There’s an outdoor bar on one end of the field serving a handful of choice Highland beers, but silly Sally that I am, I go for the faceless white wine. The Lotus Lounge stretches its petals out, hammocks of every color strung between them; the kids dart under and around them like ants disturbed from their magnetic march, crawling over each other to snag any available part of parachute material as if it were all covered in honey. Anyone and everyone I want to see in this moment is here. I smoke mad cigs in processing how lovely it all is; the midsummer air is still thick and hot as the sun slips toward the horizon. A forest surrounds us.

Of course, my attention quickly falls on the guy in the DJ booth at the center of the lotus: local producer Marley Carroll. His familiar dark blond head bobs up and down to his beat, which for the time being is not much more than a general funk/pop playlist to please the masses. But I’m excited for what’s to come because I’ve just recently seen him at the Asheville Music Hall 4th of July show. And in combination with fellow locals BomBassic and Canadian producer Elaquent, it’s the hottest Asheville electronic show I’ve attended maybe ever.

As the night wears on and the kids exhaust themselves and their parents, Marley’s set moves deeper into his true style. I am posted under a lotus petal in front of him, dancing madly in the psychedelic lights, meeting his eyes from time to time because, I admit, I am way turned on. He begins to peel off originals and remixes, his transitions seamless, his (literally award-winning) scratching expertly sensitive.

Marley’s flawless fusion of heavy house beats and minimal, liquefied glitch makes his particular sound remarkably original and lush. Densely-packed layers of sound operate off one another, some stomping, some tapping, some swimming in open water. My body moves all the while, celebrating every molecule of this moment with ultimate conviction.

So, I just bought his album SingsYou can look forward to that review because it’s, oh, only blowing me away.

Big-ups to Highland Brewing, ENO, and Marley Carroll for the satisfaction. You will all be seeing me again. Bwahaha.