â€œA lot of neo-psych bands get the trippiness right, but can’t find that magical mix of tunefulness and sonic invention that makes listeners want to take their trip more than once. On Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s third album, Dandelion Gum, the mysterious Pennsylvania combo builds songs out of scratched fragments of roller-disco, sunshine-pop, and what sounds like intercepted interstellar broadcasts. Songs like â€œJump Into My Mouth And Breathe The Stardustâ€ are dense and fuzzy, with layers of vocoder, shrill synthesizers, and twangy guitar, but they also maintain a basic structural integrity. Even though Dandelion Gum opens with â€œForever Heavy,â€ one of the best mind-bending album-starters since My Bloody Valentine’s â€œOnly Shallow,â€ Black Moth Super Rainbow is effective because it isn’t afraid to let songs float off like brightly colored balloons.â€ — Noel Murray, The Onion
The rural Pennsylvania psych-damaged bubble-gum-pop enigma known as Black Moth Super Rainbow continues to tantalize and melt minds with its stellar third album Dandelion Gum and mesmerizing live shows. And, this September, The Flaming Lips has invited the swoozy quintet to support its U.S. tour. Furthermore, the band will soon announce west coast dates with Aesop Rock for October. What next… a tour with the Rolling Stones? Please see current dates below.
To add extra lysergic to the trip, a bizarre and somewhat eerie home video depicting the band members in their natural environment, traipsing through the woods at night has been posted on the RollingStone.com web site (LINK). The influential magazine’s â€œArtist to Watchâ€ feature on the group describes its sound as â€œAir + Grateful Dead + CIA = Black Moth Super Rainbow.â€ The accompanying video clip shares more in common with the spookiness of the Blair Witch Project than a simple psychedelic rock band’s home video.
Whatever it is that drives the rural group’s aesthetic, it appears to have caught the fancy of many influential writers. David Fricke of Rolling Stone previously cited the band as one of four standout acts that performed at this year’s South By Southwest Festival last March. â€œMusically,â€ Fricke writes, â€œthis bucolic-futurist quintet was a firmly directed trip: pillowy synth chords and day-glo songcraft nailed to Earth by insistent back-beats.â€
Likewise, Jon Pareles of the New York Times raved over Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s live show, writing, â€œits songs are pulsating neo-psychedelia, driving and dizzying, with vamps that keep on building as the keyboard sounds go whizzing, bubbling, zapping and swooping above the beat. Vocals are run through a vocoder for a vintage robotic tone, repeating lines like â€˜I love to be with you,â€™ and â€˜this time we’ll riseâ€™ or â€˜We miss you in the summertime.â€™ Above the band, a screen showed eye-popping video animations: wildly proliferating plants, cartoon people and food in metamorphosis. The band’s albums revolve around stories and concepts–its current one, Dandelion Gum, is a tale of witches in a forest–but onstage, its music was one glorious buzz.â€œ
Similarly, many of the nation’s finest music magazines have affirmed their affinity for the Pittsburgh group, including praise in Spin, Blender, Vice, Pitchfork and many more.
More about Black Moth Super Rainbow:
Black Moth Super Rainbow comes from the woods of Western Pennsylvania. An actual, five-person band not comprised of the expected laptops and sequencers, Black Moth Super Rainbow is a psyche-pop group in early ’70s electronic clothing. Some songs feel like local folklore of witches in the forest filtered through a brightly saturated Japanese candy store. Some are like pagan rituals in a sugarcoated fairyland. Others are like sad thoughts on the happiest days…. all played and lovingly assembled by real people with real hands. Black Moth Super Rainbow lives and makes music in its own lollipop neon folktale world.
Dandelion Gum is a concept record loosely-based on witches who make candy in the forest. Each of its 16 songs represents a different candy-induced freakout in the gooiest and sweetest ways possible. Songs that are built to stick in listeners’ heads for hours meet textures that are impossible to scrape off your teeth. You might not even realize that the sunny melody you’re humming to yourself all day has so many hidden layers behind it — all hummable as well. It’s as accessible of a record as it is abstract, and as bright on the surface as it is moody underneath. Dandelion Gum feels as colorful and sticky as its name suggests.
Recorded over the course of three years, the album is a product of the woods. It is deeply inspired by stories passed down from relatives and ones the band created themselves after long nights in the cabin. The best of those stories, and one that we hope could be true, is of the sisters who refused to leave their shack deep within the forest. The sisters (or witches as they are lovingly referred to in local folklore) were truly scary and it is said they would concoct all kinds of sugary treats for anyone foolish or adventurous enough to wander that deep. Most likely, this is an allegory for drugs and you can come up with whatever seemingly appropriate type of operation those women were running. But the stories of the individuals who made it back home are some of the most twisted stories around. Some are really bright, some are really sad, and some are designed to make you think about life and rainbows and death. Black Moth Super Rainbow wants you to feel that when listening to this record. And then they want you to remember it all day, and try it again tomorrow.
Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s first sad/happy/nostalgia-for-something-that-never-existed record, Falling Through A Field (2003) was three years of four-track and sampler recordings that shows how the band came from an almost folk beginning. Printed initially in a limited quantity of 500, the disc has been out of print since its initial release. A reissue on Graveface is in the works.
The band’s sophomore record, Start A People (2004) was about recreating the sounds of childhood public broadcast television and applying them to the Black Moth Super Rainbow formula. It’s a blissful, hazy, fuzzy record that can make you feel good whether you were a kid in 1982 or not. The concept of Start A People is the face Black Moth Super Rainbow is best known for and a thread that runs through everything they do.
Putting together the live show, the group started developing around this time as the extremely psychedelic pop band it is today. Echoplex freakouts and gong smashes with drums spinning all over the place are part of the repertoire now. Noise plays with melody, and old synths that aren’t used by anyone anymore might help you remember why it can be fun to wiggle or jump or cry.
Black Moth Super Rainbow lives on Graveface Records, and although known as somewhat of an enigma, has come out of the forest in 2006 to play at the request of bands like Of Montreal and The Black Angels. They have released a wild full-length collaborative record with The Octopus Project and are working with such diverse artists as Dreamend, Laura Burhenn (Georgie James), and Anticon’s Passage on their future projects.
â€œIt’s hard to imagine that any other artists are treading ground anywhere near this. Hell, it really doesn’t matter anyways – because if anyone was, it sure as hell couldn’t be as good as this.â€ â€“ Delusions of Adequacy
Black Moth Super Rainbow Live:
w/ The Flaming Lips
07/06 New York, NY Seaport Festival
08/11 Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe Muzik Fest
08/17 Philadelphia, PA Khyber
08/18 Brooklyn, NY Aladdin’s Garden Party
09/07 Chciago, IL Aragon Theater*
09/09 Minneapolis, MN The Myth*
09/12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater*
09/18 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theater*
09/19 Portland, OR Roseland Theater*
09/20 Seattle, WA Paramount Theater*
Dandelion Gum Tracklisting:
01. Forever Heavy
02. Jump Into My Mouth And Breathe The Stardust
03. Melt Me
05. They Live In The Meadow
06. Sun Lips
08. Neon Syrup For The Cemetery Sisters
09. The Afternoon Turns Pink
10. When The Sun Grows On Your Tongue
11. Spinning Cotton Candy In A Shack Made Of Shingles
12. Drippy Eye
13. Lost, Picking Flowers In The Woods
14. Caterpillar House
15. Wall Of Gum
16. Untitled Roadside Demo