Union Transfer


Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi

Wild Belle, Dog Bite

Mon, February 11, 2013

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


This event is all ages

Toro Y Moi
Toro Y Moi
Since his first offerings began making the Internet rounds in 2009, Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick has proven himself to be not just a prolific musician, but a diverse one as well, letting each successive release broaden the scope of the his oeuvre. The funky psych-pop of 2011’s Underneath the Pine evinced an artist who could create similar atmospheres even without the aid of source material and drum machines. His Freaking Out EP, a handful of singles and remixes, and a retrospective box-set plot points all along the producer-songwriter spectrum in which he’s worked since his debut, and his third full-length, Anything In Return, sees him poised directly in the middle of the two.

The product of a move to Berkeley, CA and the subsequent extended separation from loved ones, Anything in Return shows a pervasive sense of peace with Bundick’s tendency to dabble in both sides of the modern music-making spectrum, and he sounds comfortable engaging in intuitive pop production, putting forth the impression of unmediated id. The producer’s hand is prominent—not least in the sampled “yeah”s and “uh”s that give the album a hip-hop-indebted confidence— and many of the songs feature the 4/4 beats and deftly employed effects usually associated with house music. Tracks like “High Living” and “Day One” show a considerably Californian influence, their languid funk redolent of a decidedly West Coast temperament, and elsewhere—not least on lead single, “So Many Details”— the record plays with darker atmospheres than we’re used to hearing from Toro Y Moi. Sounding quite assured in what some may call this songwriter’s return to producer-hood, Anything in Return is Bundick uninhibited by issues of genre, an album that feels like the artist’s essence.
Wild Belle
Wild Belle
Elliot Bergman and his younger sister, Natalie (Belle) Bergman, have recently put the finishing touches on Isles, the first full-length album of music written and performed by the siblings under their collective band name Wild Belle. Recorded with fellow electronics wizard Bill Skibbe at Keyclub Recordings in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Isles premieres, across ten spellbinding new songs, Wild Belle's fully-realized dream-pop-dance music, the combination, says Elliot, "of elemental things and electricity."

When making Isles, Elliot felt a "push for a blend of organic and electronic elements and everything had to be sort of both. We wanted real instruments, things made of wood and metal, and then the modern sensibility of drum machines and synthesizers, balancing those two worlds. Rhythm comes first on all of these songs. Things get written to a rhythmic backing. Natalie writes catchy memorable pop hooks. My job is to find sounds that twist people's ears a little bit."

In early 2012, Elliot and Natalie began a little bit of ear-twisting with "Keep You" (b/w "Take Me Away"), the 12" single which introduced Wild Belle to the world. Released on the group's own Sandhill Sound label, "Keep You" projected a steamy seductive sound, full of heartbreaking mystery both tropical and noir. "Our plan was to put out a series of singles. We liked the idea of being a singles band," Elliot recalls before revealing another inspiration. "Sandhill Sound is named after the sandhill cranes that fly over our house every fall. They make this crazy kind of sound and they fly really high, they fly these exhausting circles upward until they catch thermal winds and coast for miles as they migrate from Northern Canada to Mexico."

Musical tastemakers, on both sides of the Atlantic, heard that mysterious high-flying crazy kind of sound in "Keep You." BBC radio 1 latched on to the sound and the song became a surprise favorite on their playlists. Vogue gave the band its vaunted "Band of the Week" props on their site, and The Chicago Tribune claimed "Wild Belle rules at SXSW" with Greg Kot featuring the band before a hometown show at the Hideout Block party.

Wild Belle's aesthetic roots and aspirations may be found in the Bergman family household, a musical place where Elliot, Natalie and their two other siblings (one now a fashion designer, the other a writer) would sit and "play old-timey songs, hymns and Dylan tunes." Both Natalie and Elliot remember hearing their mother play Joni Mitchell songs during family sing-a-longs. "That was how I became attracted to the guitar. She showed us open tunings and it made me excited to play," says Natalie while Elliot recalls growing up "playing jazz standards with our mom."

Eight years older than Natalie, Elliot was the family trailblazer when it came to Bergmans in bands, first playing in high school outfits with names like The Creepers before heading off to Ann Arbor, where, while attending the University of Michigan, he founded and fronted NOMO, an Afro-beat-inspired funky instrumental party band that's built a ten-year touring history, a four album catalog and its own loyal fanbase.
From the time she was 16, Natalie, who'd been writing her own songs for years, would travel with NOMO, playing percussion, twirling a tambourine, singing backup, selling merch. One of the instrumental tracks, a kalimba loop Elliot had created for NOMO, was so appealing to Natalie that she ran the sounds through Garageband, added lyrics and a vocal of her own and made the audio bed for the first Wild Belle recording.

"Natalie is a very strong presence and she kept coming in, churning out these lyrics," Elliot recalls. "It tilted the band's focus." Natalie was taking spotlight turns at NOMO shows with her solo material, which proved popular with audiences, but it soon became apparent that the songs she was writing needed a band all their own. "The songs that I write are not for NOMO," she says simply.

Natalie's songs are candid expressions of her character and experiences. "I started writing songs in high school," she says, "and, in college, I realized I had a knack for that kind of thing. Sometimes, I release emotions onto the paper that I didn't express directly to a person's face. Thankfully songwriting is good therapy. It alleviates so much tension and anything that's not feeling good within yourself. It's a good way to get over somebody."

According to Natalie, some of the songs on Isles were written "three or four years ago" while others were written during the album's recording and production process. When writing, she simmers in the myriad of musical influences of her upbringing--"Bill Withers, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Paul Simon's Graceland, a wide array of musician that were played in the house and in the car on trips to church... I got turned on to reggae at a young age by Bob Marley, his pre-Rock Steady stuff, doo-wop from Jamaica was on a different level."

When Elliot went off to college, he passed along his musical tastes and collection to seventh grade Natalie, who got an early taste for jazz, Pharaoh Sanders, Miles Davis and John Coltrane before tapping into the African music--Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey, Green Arrow Band and Hallelujah Chicken Run--that the siblings found so inspiring. "I had access to a lot of music growing up between my parents and Elliot and then myself exploring," says Natalie. "I am heavily influenced by many different types of music."

Natalie admits that "when we started recording the record, that's when we really started trying to write the music together." "Love Like This," the last track written for the album features an organ part written in the studio while the group was mixing "Keep You." "I took a break and recorded that on my phone," Elliot says. "We wrote down some lyrics and recorded that in a night, basically."

Elliot is an obsessive keyboard enthusiast and "huge Harry Partch fan" who builds his own instruments, among them the "metal tongues," all-electric variants on the African thumb-piano constructed from "reclaimed industrial materials." Elliot's kalimbas may be heard across Isles, making subtle appearances in "It's Too Late," "Twisted," "Happy Home," and "Take Me Away," intimating chimes or ethereal loops. "There's a collection of half-broken Casios that lives in our van," Elliot admits, but finds support this preoccupation, "Natalie is always tucking another one in before each tour."

According to Natalie, "Elliot is the master of bringing IT to life. Beyond his phenomenal musicianship skills, his role in the studio is being a great producer."

"Natalie and I have an interesting collaborative," Elliot observes. "We are so close and we grew up together working on music in all these different ways. It's funny we are on the same page about almost everything, from sounds to phrasing to instruments we're drawn to. We don't even really have to talk about most things. We know how each other would like something."

"I'm just so excited to release the record," Natalie, inviting everyone to visit Isles, an irresistible destination album. "It's a fun record. We're proud of it."
Dog Bite
Dog Bite
"Dog Bite is the brainchild of Atlanta's 22 year old Phil Jones, a project of sun-baked anthems caught the ears of London's Young Turks Records (The XX, Wavves, Gang Gang Dance, Holy Fuck). For the past two years Dog Bite has been releasing a steady stream of creepy psychedelic/folk pop songs, gaining praise from taste-maker media outlets like Pitckfork and Fader.

Now, Jones has enlisted some of Atlanta's finest to transform Dog Bite into a real rock n' roll force: Will Fussell of Mood Rings, Stephen Lusce of Red Sea, Woody Shortridge of Balkans, and Cameron Gardner of Washed Out. Finally, Dog Bite will be a fully realized live sound.

Dog Bite combines all your hopes and dreams, fuses them with grapes and butterflies, and then lays them out on a tray with sliced oranges.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123