Toro Y Moi
Mon, October 21
7:00 pm9:30 Club
Toro Y Moi - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Chaz Bear (formerly Bundick) was a musician from birth. Growing up, it was normal to hear music across genres, from Michael Jackson to Elvis Costello to The Specials, in the Bundick household. These influences were quite unique for a biracial kid growing up in South Carolina, contributing to the complexity of Chaz’s self understanding and expression through his own music.
Chaz began playing and recording original compositions in his preteen years, forming multiple indie bands starting in middle school and continuing until his personal project, Toro Y Moi, was signed by Carpark Records in 2009. Before getting signed, he was already an incredibly prolific artist, having released over 10 Toro Y Moi albums on his own (and undoubtedly retaining a vast compendium of unreleased songs). His personal work drew upon a more vast array of influences than did his full band. Early Toro work called upon Chaz’s childhood exposure to 80’s R&B, pop and electronic music, while also evolving with his discoveries of acts like My Bloody Valentine and J Dilla and his burgeoning interest in French house. Just before his graduation from the University of South Carolina, where he earned a degree in graphic design, Chaz caught the attention of music bloggers and record labels with his dreamy, bedroom recordings, eventually compiled into his first album under Carpark Records, Causers of This.
Causers was one of a few albums to kick off the trend of home-recorded, hazy albums relying heavily on samples and production, evoking the feeling of a muggy, Southern summer. While the album did well and broke ground for Chaz’s career as a musician, it resulted in the widespread assumption that Chaz was a one trick pony, able only to write music similar to that of Causers. He immediately made it clear that he is an extremely dynamic musician with the 2011 release of Underneath the Pine, an album recorded between tours that was composed entirely of live instrumentation, moving away from the sample-based aesthetic of Causers. From then on, Chaz released an album every other year (sometimes more frequently), each one a display of his adeptness with different genres. While each album was distinct and sometimes a complete departure from the previous, Chaz’s unique production techniques and melodic sensibilities tie them all together. Whether listening to the psych rock-based What For? or last year’s R&B influenced Boo Boo, it is always clear that it’s a Toro Y Moi album.
The most recent Toro Y Moi album, Outer Peace, was written and recorded in the Bay Area after Chaz’s return from a one year stint in Portland. It is somewhat of a homecoming celebration, filled with features by friends and saturated with a playfulness that had not previously been embraced in past Toro albums. Outer Peace stands in contrast to the more sparse and contemplative Boo Boo, an album recorded while in Portland in relative isolation. With Outer Peace, Chaz showcases his ability to remain on the cutting edge of music’s evolution while not taking himself too seriously. There are contemporary hip hop references mixed in with funk, Eurodance and ambient elements, all interwoven expertly and retaining that quintessential Toro Y Moi aesthetic. Outer Peace is the most recent step along Toro Y Moi’s journey, promising the listener a little slice of insight into the complex and dynamic mind of Chaz Bear.
Classixx - (Set time: 8:15 PM)
Music comes naturally to L.A. duo Classixx, childhood friends who began recording together in 2007, united by their mutual appreciation for shimmering melody, punk rock, disco and French house. When Classixx DJ, they do so with exceptional comprehension, a clear affinity for the music they play. There’s a kinship between the songs they select and their own original works, at once beaming, breezy and wistful, descendent from similarly pop-minded melancholics like Fleetwood Mac, Prince, and Alan Braxe.
Now one of the world’s most universally respected DJ duos, Classixx have headlined everywhere from the famed Paris Social Club to New York’s Webster Hall, touring constantly since releasing their exuberant 2009 single “I’ll Get You,” which featured Lady Gaga songwriter Jeppe. Following their breakout single with acclaimed remixes for Phoenix, Holy Ghost, Mayer Hawthorne, Groove Armada, Yacht, Major Lazer, Gossip and others, for the last two years Classixx have been intent on their debut Hanging Gardens, whittling the LP down from hundreds of sessions to a svelte 12 songs.
Their musical background is substantial. Michael David fronted a major label-signed rock band in high school, and he and one-time Berklee School of Music student Tyler Blake play a wide array of instruments on Hanging Gardens.
“It’s a very gear-heavy record. We pretty much played everything in here on it,” Tyler says, surveying their Venice beach studio, a cottage which houses six or seven guitars, a piano, various analog synths and a drum kit. One of their favorites is an indigenous Central American drum with a fuzzy hot pink mallet, which was used frequently throughout the album. “We used a lot of Prophet ‘08, Voyager, Juno-106, a lot of [Yamaha] DX-7, the Vermona drum synth, we have a LinnDrum, a [Yamaha] CP70, which is a famous stage piano,” Mike adds. “Tyler’s dad has an old American Fender Telecaster that was played a lot, and then my old man, that’s his Ibanez Stratocaster.”
The album begins with nostalgic title track “Hanging Gardens,” a reference to the Seven Wonders of the World, one of which was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The opening song’s reverie continues on haunting collaborations with Active Child on “Long Lost,” Superhumanoids singer Sarah Chernoff on the ethereal “A Stranger Love,” and the coastal, dreamy “A Fax From the Beach.” Hanging Gardens concludes poetically with “Valley Vacation,” a reference to their late-night escape from their old studio, nestled in the seedy heart of L.A.’s porn industry, to their current Venice beach sanctuary.
If the quieter moments of the album are inspired by the beach, then the upbeat tracks are clearly primed for the dance floor, from churning slapper “Relight My Fire” and gleefully catchy Nancy Whang-featuring “All You’re Waiting For,” to the French Touch-inspired anthem “Holding On” sublime chords of “Dominoes” and grooving bass and live drums of “Supernature.”
Classixx excel at cutting impossibly sunny grooves, blithe melodies bred by the coast, coaxed out by the surf, expertly crafted for road trips, pool parties and dance clubs.
“I really think this is a product of the Los Angeles experience,” Mike says. “Which is also part of the reason we called it Hanging Gardens. For some reason that image just reminds me of Los Angeles.” “I feel like most people would agree that it sounds like California,” Tyler concurs. “When we’re working on a song and I look out the window it just seems like the soundtrack of this city. This beach.”
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001