Demon Queen – Exorcise Tape album review

The LA electronic beat maker Tobacco has teamed up with Zackey Force Funk to make the tight outlandish sounds of Demon Queen. For anyone not familiar with Tobacco’s previous work, the creative sounds he laces into neo-industrial beat driven tracks seem to pull you in multiple directions at the same time, which can be a mind warping experience. Meanwhile, and unlike really any other rapper, Zackey Force Funk relies on his ability to croon, opting for a falsetto and soft-spoken delivery where other rappers typically boast with bravado. Tobacco is known for his work with Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a sort of obsession with analog electronic insturments, such as the vocoder and the Rhodes keyboard. He has also had a productive career as a solo act, releasing two full length albums and three EP’s in less than four years. With both his solo efforts and Demon Queen, he has notably taken a more experimental and slightly more adventurous approach to his music.

Dropping Demon Queen into your player starts off as a bold move on its own. At the first notion of effected vocals which lead us into the galactically heavy, 80’s style synthesizers of “Lamborghini Meltdown,” the adventure is already well underway. The sound is so fresh and futuristic, and crafted with such precision, it becomes infectious. Tobacco’s backing vocals in “Vodka” sounds like robotic, a theme in his solo work as well. Deep sub-synth bass ripple along the low end and Zackey Force Funk’s high pitched croons echo’s bounce along the track. Chuck Steak’s slow rapping guest spot on this track brings a nice new flavor to the mix.

The demonic party continues with hot and ominous bangers like “El Camino 2” and “Swoll Tongue.” The latter of the two featuring an onslaught of high end electronic madness. The breakdown regresses to vocals, keys and an obviously audible click track. Tobacco’s seems to be toying with the ideas, and the winning ones stick, a boldly creative approach not nearly prevalent enough in today’s music. The composition on “Swoll” proves to be very well rounded, with the melodic chorus likened to a valley between the synthetic mountains.

N8 No Face boasts “ten thousand push up’s before my breakfast-es” on the opening the “Demon Practice.” This two minute blast is in your face with no apologies. Playing the Demon Queen hype man, N8 No Face proves to pump up the distorted demonic beats to their fullest potential. “Love Hour Zero” is an excellent break from the madness. A ballad, really, the tune shows the versatility of the group. Effected acoustic guitar twangs over the pumping “80’s exercise tape” beat. The lead is reminiscent of a classic TV show introduction, in the best way possible.

The album’s first “single” is “Rude Boy,” a dynamic story about a dude shooting his gun off in the middle of a ripping party. Interlacing creative sounds own this beat, with an echoing lead creating waves over multiple effected keyboard riffs. N8 No Face comes in to explain the details with clarity. “Bad Route” has no guest spot which means Zackey Force Funk and Tobacco take turns telling the story; Zackey with light and extremely tasteful crooning, and Tobacco with his robot voice , use of samples, and tight, infectious synth leads. “Despise the Lie” is an awesome blast to wrap up the album, rounding out the cast of characters with an excellent guest spot from Isaiah Toothtaker. The song starts with his aggressive line “get these suckers the fuck up off of me.” This tune proves there are no weak tracks in this collection.

Quite possibly the most interesting album released this year, Demon Queen should certainly raise some brows with Exorcise Tape, in addition to confusion amongst innocent bystanders and, ultimately, the energy of the dance floor at the trendiest of underground clubs in LA, New York and elsewhere. Those bold enough to throw this demonic album in their players will be exposed to something completely new and totally wild. The use of guest spots was wise and absolutely enhances the final product. Mastermind Tobacco and compadre Zackey Force Funk should be commended for seeing this project through and approaching it with such open creativity, for what came out of it is devilishly good.

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy album review

The only thing more confusing than the sound of Black Moth Super Rainbow’s new album “Cobra Juicy” is who they are and where the hell they came from.  We do know the band’s founding member Tobacco came from Pittsburgh, PA.  (You know, world famous Tobacco).  He then brought in friends Father Hummingbird, The Seven Fields of Aphelion and Iffernaut, also very common house-hold names. 

The band has been going strong since 2002 releasing 5 full-length albums, “Cobra Juicy” being the last, released just this past October.  BMSR have over a decade of followers who have soaked in their psychedelic, folk-y, synth-pop songs without ever really knowing who this mysterious enigma of a band truly is.

The album before “Cobra Juicy” was released all the way back in 2009, with the members and fans alike expecting the follow up album sometime early January 2012. Tobacco released a statement on his Facebook that he had completed an album for release, but didn’t feel it was up to par with the band’s previous efforts and scrapped it in it’s entirety, hoping to finish and roll out a new album by the end of the year.  With the help of a KickStarter campaign, Tobacco was able to do so. Although he left the abandoned tracks off the record moving forward, he did make them available for fans to hear through the band’s SoundCloud page. It could be agreed by BMSR fans across the board, that the absence of the dropped songs  was not felt in the 11 brilliant tracks the band did select for “Cobra Juicy”.

The album rocks, despite it’s overly produced and synthesized tones.  It feels like a Beck album if Beck was to auto-tune and filter his voice through a computer over and over again until it was barely distinguishable.  With some synth-pop musicians  having a tendency of sounding a bit “Weird Science” circa 1985, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s sound is fresh and relevant.  These mystery men (maybe women) have captured the best parts of synth, pop, dance and psychedelia infusing it in another  solid alternative album.

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW SIGNS WITH WAXPLOITATION

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW SIGNS WITH WAXPLOITATION

In a pairing that seems predestined, the almost indescribable Black Moth Super Rainbow has signed to Waxploitation. Tobacco, a key member of Black Moth Super Rainbow, will also work with Waxploitation on his forthcoming solo project.

Waxploitation is a record label, management company and music publisher also known for its commitment to humanitarian causes.

It”s not clearly fixed which of the three or four hats Waxploitation will wear at any given moment with BMSR, but chaos is underrated. “To us it”s more important to simply be down with an artist and lend support in all aspects of their vision, rather than limit our role to a one-dimensional category” says a spokesperson for Waxploitation.

Black Moth Super Rainbow has gained notice for its sleek, disorienting music, anchored by acoustic synthesizer hooks and a passion for summer. Rolling Stone has called “it mind-blowing, interstellar psychedelic pop. Think Air, but peppier, Bright Black Morning Light but freakier.” Pitchfork gushes, “most of the time, you can’t understand a thing being said, but here, that’s not a problem: The meaning of the music comes through regardless.”

“We work with just a few artists, but once in a while something comes along and we know we can”t live without it. Black Moth Super Rainbow was an addiction too good to pass up.” says a spokesperson for Waxploitation.

Established in 1996, Waxploitation serves innovative artists by a variety of means. As a management company, it provides a home for a diverse host of creative, uncompromising acts including Danger Mouse and Gnarls Barkley. Its most recent release as a label is Causes 1, a Darfur benefit compilation featuring unreleased tracks from Animal Collective, Death Cab for Cutie, the Cure and others. As a publisher, Waxploitation represents a powerful catalog, including Young MC”s “Bust a Move” and Tone Loc”s “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina.”

Black Moth Super Rainbow to tour with Flaming Lips in September, Aesop Rock in October

“A 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 “Jump Into My Mouth And Breathe The Stardust” 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 “Forever Heavy,” one of the best mind-bending album-starters since My Bloody Valentine’s “Only Shallow,” Black Moth Super Rainbow is effective because it isn’t afraid to let songs float off like brightly colored balloons.” — 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 “Artist to Watch” feature on the group describes its sound as “Air + Grateful Dead + CIA = Black Moth Super Rainbow.” 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. “Musically,” Fricke writes, “this bucolic-futurist quintet was a firmly directed trip: pillowy synth chords and day-glo songcraft nailed to Earth by insistent back-beats.”

Likewise, Jon Pareles of the New York Times raved over Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s live show, writing, “its 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 ‘I love to be with you,’ and ‘this time we’ll rise’ or ‘We miss you in the summertime.’ 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.“

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.

“It’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.” – 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
04. Lollipopsichord
05. They Live In The Meadow
06. Sun Lips
07. Rollerdisco
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