Friday, August 07, 2009

Hyperpotamus 08.04.09

On Tuesday, I felt I should be wearing one of those T-shirts that says, “I listen to bands that don’t even exist yet.” After a little pa-rum-pum-pum-pum at the beach with a local drum circle under the full moon, I headed over to the Soda Bar where two indie acts helped me shake the sand off my feet.

Trashcan Fires opened the night with a quirky set. They’re a local band with a pixielike lead named Genevieve on vocals, drums, synth, and my new favorite: an Omnichord, which is an electronic autoharp. (Side note: I used to play one of these as a little girl in the 80s and always wondered, “What the heck is anyone going to ever do with THIS???” Genevieve answered my decades-long question as she rocked their set. Clearly, I had underestimated the power of the Omnichord. But I digress.) The band was playful, with a melancholy undertone. My friend described them by saying, “This band is like if The Cure discovered electronica and Robert Smith had a vagina.” For me, it was more like a combination of “Bjork and Jewel go to the circus.”

Six instruments. Three players. I’m no math major, but the band seemed to equally divide playing the trumpet, omnichord, bass, beat machine, drum kit, and floor tom. Accompanying Genevieve were two guys, one of whom I assume is James, per the band’s myspace, who is also responsible for the band’s lyrics. While I enjoyed their original songs, the highlight for me was when Genevieve sang a stripped-down cover of Riskay’s “Smell Yo Dick.” Sorry, Mom, but the juxtaposition of the explicit lyrics sung oh-so-sweetly is just . . . well . . . hilarious. It reminded me of when Tristan Prettyman did an acoustic cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears.

Sadly, Trashcan Fires does not currently have any upcoming gigs listed or demos for sale.

Hyperpotamus, all the way from Spain, headlined the night. This was one of the most intriguing performers I’ve seen in a while. His a cappella set involves four microphones, a loop station, and no other sounds but his voice. He uses vocal patterns, rhythms, beatbox, lyrics, and downright strange utterances all blended together to sound like a symphony.

Sometimes he would feel a groove and bust out in interpretive dance. And at one point, between songs, a cricket outside distracted him so much he had to start a song three times— one of the times closely mimicking the cricket sounds.

He’s currently on what looks like a West Coast tour, from Mexico up to San Francisco. You can catch him in L.A. on August 8th. And if you're not able to catch him live, his album Largo Bailón (2009) is on sale now.

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