Music Hall of Williamsburg
Reptar, Rubblebucket

Reptar

Rubblebucket

Stepdad

Sun, November 18, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$18 advance / $20 day of show

This event is 18 and over

Reptar
Reptar
There are four boys who make up Reptar. They have offered twice as many (if not more) explanations for why they chose to name their band after a Rugrats character. But these days, the Athens, GA based group is sticking to this one: "I first tried to name the band Invisible Boyfriend," giggles singer-guitarist Graham Ulicny. "And everybody goes, 'that is the stupidest name I have ever heard in my life." So why Reptar? "It is the second stupidest band name we have ever heard."

Indeed, there is no pretense behind Reptar, which also includes Andrew McFarland (drums), Ryan Engelberger (Bass), and William Kennedy (analog keyboards). Still, the ability to amuse and arouse their fans is just as important to them as indulging their musical curiosities. This sonic wanderlust extends from African Music to post-punk to psych-pop and converges joyously in songs such as "Blastoff" and "Rainbounce," and it's won them high fives from NPR and NME alike.

Their aesthetic percolates even more vibrantly through their debut LP, Body Faucet, out May 1, 2012 on Vagrant Records. A set of shimmering sing-along anthems produced by Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Washed Out), Body Faucet is propelled by jerky guitars and persistent beats. "The record feels like a big dream with different chapters," says Ryan. "Ghost Bike" captures the space between witnessing a friend's death and surviving it. In "Sebastian" (named after a saint who became a gay icon), it's experiencing, then remembering, a sexual awakening with a close friend. Lyrics and music flow in a liquid form from real places, each song oozing with a different color and substance. "We wanted to capture the thoughts we project on our surroundings and the ideas that flow in and out of us each day," says Graham. Indeed, much of the record deals with exploring and interacting with one's surroundings in new, occasionally frustrating, ways. The album builds with songs such as "New House," expressing a future of possibilities. A centerpiece of sorts, notes Andrew, "it's the most driving song on the record, and it's really empowering live."

If Reptar had a superpower, it'd be the knack for warming up every space they inhabit. "Our music is very physical," says Ryan. "We always try to get people moving." This is wired into the DNA of the band, which honed its chops on house shows and continues to keep them a central part of its life. These shows began three years ago when they moved into a teetering, buttercup yellow abode together. "It was slanted at a 20-degree angle," Ryan explains, "and we'd have shows in the front room." Word spread, and soon they were popping up around at other houses, then clubs.

Reptar even rounded out their stint at last year's SXSW by playing in a friend's backyard. Impressed by this commitment to connect, NME later rhapsodized about that bouncy set performed on a flatbed truck, anointing Reptar one of the "biggest buzzes" at the festival. "Little kids were running around selling cupcakes to drunk people for exorbitant amounts of money," marvels Graham. Reptar, of course, played for free.
Rubblebucket
Rubblebucket
RUBBLEBUCKET: A BIOGRAPHICAL SOMETHING

Rub-ble-buck-et [ru-bul-buck-it] Noun 1. A vessel in which workers collect waste materials on a construction site; We need a rubblebucket for all this rubble. 2. A wild art-pop band from Brooklyn, NY; I'm jonesing for the new Rubblebucket album ‘Survival Sounds’. 3. The condition of having hard nipples, or riding a mean yes wave; He has great Rubblebucket. Verb 4. The act of uncrossing one’s arms and letting loose, while strange, new feelings and sounds flood mind and body, leading to uncontrollable dancing, possible injury and definite sweat; Man, we really put the rubble in the bucket last night.

My experience with Rubblebucket goes way back – to the summer of 1987, when I was born and first met lead singer and baritone saxist Kalmia Traver, then four. Kalmia was already well on her way to being a multi-instrument prodigy (penny whistle, recorder, alphabet burping), and I was already drowning in the ginormous shadow that she cast just by breathing. When she put our brother in a dress, blonde wig and heels, let me put on his lipstick, then forced his elastic micro-limbs into a diva pose, I knew she was a natural performer.

Kalmia met Alex Toth (band leader, trumpeter, guy, brother-from-another-mother, Jersey) in a latin jazz combo in Burlington, VT. I’m assuming she also dressed him in drag, because he liked her and they became friends, painting the town with their loud horn playing. In 2006, they moved to Boston, where they did respectable things for money. Kalmia nude modeled for art classes, and Alex was hustling marching band gigs at $50 a pop, for which he was required to wear a black shirt and march around for six hours at a time OR NO PAY NO WATER NO DINNER. It was like that scene in Oliver Twist. Naturally, out of this hot, tarry, magical, broke-ass time, Rubblebucket emerged like a huge, slippery, post-afrobeat baby. Alex had met trombonist Adam Dotson at one of these marching gigs, and the three began composing and playing the first songs in Rubblebucket’s repertoire. Soon, they were joined by three more friends – guitarist Ian Hersey, drummer Dave Cole, and 15-seater van Puppy – and started taking the Rubblebucket show on the road.

The first time I heard Rubblebucket perform live, two things happened: I realized this was the coolest thing on earth, like the lovechild of a unicorn and the Tom Tom Club, and I asked them if I could sell their merchandise at shows. You know what they say – those who can't do, sell merch. Night after night, standing behind that table of CDs, thongs and beer cozies, while Rubblebucket transformed the crowd from a skeptical wall of people into one big, happy, silly, jiving, open-hearted mass was an unforgettable experience. Their music does that – it just does. You can’t know it until you see it. And everyone who sees it, knows it. Like Paste, who said it best: “music that will make anyone with a pulse dance.” (I’ll annotate this by extending it to you pulse-less readers. You, zombie. I know you’re out there.) The Rubblebucket condition has spread, melting cares in its way. It barges in like an escaped rhino and triggers everyone, everywhere, to let loose and feel. Arm-crossing be damned!

I’ve been to many Rubblebucket shows. But it wasn’t until I was mid-crowd in NYC’s Bowery Ballroom and heard a guy in front of me say to his friend “the singer looks so hot tonight” (but? Gross? That’s my sister?) that I knew Rubblebucket had made it. The experts will tell you that, actually, this was when they released their 2011 album Omega La La, with its headlining tracks “Came Out of Lady” and “Silly Fathers,” and reached a whole new, larger audience. Or, when they flew out to LA to play on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and got free pizza and Alex almost puked backstage. Or, when their song “Came out of a Lady” appeared in the movie Drinking Buddies, and I was suddenly one giant leap closer to meeting Anna Kendrick (that’s when I knew I had made it). Or, when their green rooms started stocking guacamole. Or, when their 2012 and 2013 EPs Oversaturated and Save Charlie introduced fans to the next and the next evolution of Rubblebucket, and more and more people fell in love. Now, much to my drool and dire impatience, the band is hovering on the knife’s edge of their next highly anticipated album release, Survival Sounds (Communion Records, Aug. 2014). Prepare yourself, universe.

Rubblebucket is many things and nothing at all; it’s a mindset, a legend, a feeling, a mystery; a mischievous, playful, boundary-smashing blast of sound that you can sit still and wonder at, or turn off your mind and move wildly to. Or both at the same time. As Kalmia said, when she handed me one of her now-famous peanut butter, cheddar cheese, cabbage, honey tacos, “This is the weirdest, most delicious thing you will ever taste.” And if you won’t take it on my authority, take it on the authority of a small, but reputable publication called Rolling Stone, reporting from Bonnaroo: “Rubblebucket revved up like an indie-rock Miami Sound Machine, dancers, horns and all.” And if you won’t take it on Rolling Stone’s authority, cleave to the words of guitarist Ian: “Our music is like being at a raging party, but in the center of it, there’s this beautiful painting that you’re staring at, trying to wrap your mind around.” Or the words of our dad, Tim Traver: “Kids these days.”

- Mollie Traver
Stepdad
Stepdad
Stepdad is an American electronic/pop band based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The group consists of ultramark, Ryan McCarthy, Alex Fives, Jeremy Malvin, and Nathan K.[1] Their sound has been described as "8-bit power pop"
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/