Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Free MP3:Tonstartssbandht - Black Country

A week ago, I received a message from my ex girlfriend advising that I investigate another lo-fi psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn. What followed was a week of obsessive, repetitive listening that alienated both friends and family. I played them while I worked, I sang my own made up version of the indecipherable lyrics to the awesome ‘Black Country’ while in the shower and I even demanded that a bewildered young woman play their new album 'An When' during sex.

Some musicians may be disturbed to learn their music was inducing such behaviour. But Floridian brothers Edwin and Andy White feel such stories better represent their musical intentions than overused genre definitions. “What I’m interested in is the personal experiences individuals have with our songs and live shows,” says Andy, "Stuff like ‘every time I come see you guys play, I get so excited I have to pee.’ Or ‘your music harkens back to a pre-bicameral mind, when memories and ideas were ghosts and gods."

Their childhood in Orlando provides a wealth of shared personal experiences that the brothers draw on for inspiration, “we grew up listening to almost the exact same sounds for 20 years” Edwin reveals. But the brothers White don’t just share blood and musical tastes. They also have a fascination with the soundtracks and alien landscapes of science fiction cinema. Bladerunner is a favourite for both of them, largely due to Vangelis’ score, who Edwin maintains they are both big fans of. The visual elements have been equally inspiring, as Andy elaborates, “The visions of Tokyo in Akira are present in a lot of the work we do. I think Ed dreams as often as I do of living in an enormous ocean of contiguous human settlement and awe-inspiring infrastructure with a familiar and foreign culture, to give us that ungrounded, fresh high that contributes so much to creative visions.”

Some of these awe-inspiring landscapes may be less foreign to us than they are to Andy. He recalls semi-conscious visions of a trip to the UK he made in his youth as a member of The Orlando Deanery Boy Choir, “all those unreal, ornate houses of worship, ancient fortresses, crumbling cemeteries, and the wholly un-Floridian landscape have been a fantastic influence on every creative work I’ve ever realised.” Edwin attributes his brother’s membership of the choir to their ability to construct intensely stirring vocal harmonies on songs like Preston “great ass” imfat.

Tonstartssbandht recognise the need to balance the anthemic choruses, catchy melodies and vocal harmonies of conventional rock music with psychedelic elements to create a multi-textured and unpredictable aural landscape. Edwin knows that people appreciate this dynamic approach, “the audience has always been open to both sides, which is awesome. Thanks guys.”

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 37, October 2009

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