This Week in Music: fun., White Rabbits, Tyga, Beats Antique and More
March forth, audial soldiers.
Upwardly mobile in the ever-expanding indie rock universe, White Rabbits are winning over fans the hard way — forever touring, making every live show a thoroughly memorable one, and crafting songs without regard for convention. After years of touring in a supporting role for bands such as The Walkmen, Spoon and Interpol, White Rabbit now find themselves headlining and taking their sweet time onstage to flaunt their ambidextrous edge. Spoon is the band White Rabbits would seem to take its cues from more than most, and it makes all too much sense when we see Spoon’s Britt Daniel produced White Rabbit’s 2009 album It’s Frightening. Their latest release, Milk Famous, is similarly Spoony, with an oddball-pop sensibility and guitars that seem to take all the right risks.
Some band names are so apt, they’re paralyzing. Such is the case here; not many other words other than “fun” come to mind when trying to describe this ridiculously … fun band (damn!). There’s a certain theatricality to this NYC indie pop band, and comparisons to Freddie Mercury and Queen circle about. They also veer off into moments of punk and weirder, indier flits, but as a whole, it’s fundamentally … shoot…what’s the word? F-…fu- … they’re good.
The next generation of hip-hop to come out of Compton is perhaps best embodied in Tyga, a 22-year-old emcee on the Young Money label (Nicki Minaj, Drake), who somehow made a name for himself on the Bay Area twerk ode “Rack City,” easily the worst song on his otherwise intriguing album Careless World. Tyga is still figuring out some identity issues — i.e. he parrots various hip-hop conventions half the time, and seems artistically inclined at other moments. Having Lil’ Wayne on the album and the cred that comes along with that co-conspiracy is a clue of what Tyga’s all about: mainstream hip-hop on his own terms…kind of.
Sunday marks the end of SFJazz Collective’s 2012 Spring tour, which has taken them to various points east of their hometown venues. The collective typically makes a habit of celebrating the work of its favorite composers, and for this tour they have been spreading the gospel of the great Stevie Wonder. There’s a vaguely funky thread that unravels in the exploration of the American icon’s work, as horns take on added weight and responsibility in these songs. Wonder would have plenty to smile about.
Beats Antique will literally be right at home at the Fox on Friday, when the Oakland trio gets its due billing at the big-time hometown venue. In another way, so too will its brand of world-tribal fusion, which should seem appropriately snug between the trippy Lion Kings façade flanking the Fox stage. The complementary music/venue aesthetic will make for interesting subtext, and there is usually an element of performance art for lyricism’s sake, filling the narrative void left by instrumental music.