By: Liz Levine
Brooklyn’s Takka Takka are a very indie-seeming band, even in a world where there’s really no good, all-encompassing definition for that label. Gentle, inoffensive, and guitar-driven, the now quintet (after several lineup changes) plays pretty music for folks who want to relax and ponder a summer’s eve or youthful innocence. They excel at taking a specific beat, driving it with a thoughtful vocal melody from talk-singer Gabe Levine, and giving it flavor with a grab-bag of sounds shuffling in and out of the background. Behind the dancing, note-picking guitars of Rene Planchon and Drew Thurlow, one might hear anything from drumstick clicking and fierce maraca to machine-driven buzz and glistening squeaks. They experiment with accompaniment rather than with their main sound, and the end result is airy, sweet, and quite catchy. Having toured with friends and blog-stars Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, their recent release Migration is full of pleasant guitar rock with just the right amount of funkiness.
By: Rei Thompson
The four band members of Chief, Evan Koga, Danny Fujikawa, Michael Fujikawa and Michael Moonves, serve to develop a not-so-common folk sound. The lyrics are refreshingly clean but remain comical in certain places. With this crisp lyrical perspective, the songs emanate a sound that is still relatable to those not familiar with the folk genre. One of their songs, “Nice People,” reminds listeners of a strong anthem to the classic everyday man that reflects well in its title, and another song, “Mighty Proud,” exudes the sound of a mature storytelling about a relationship lost. For any Brits out there looking for a good show, make sure to check out their current tour across the UK this spring. For those in the U.S., keep a look out for their upcoming album to be released next year, which is sure to bring a happy contingent of music listeners to the future musical gifts offered by Chief.
By: Stephanie Konarski
Grand Buffet, an indie rap duo out of Pittsburgh, meld synth-pop inspired beats with winding and rhythmically skilled (but absurd) lyrics. At first listen, their song “Cream Cheese Money” seemed lyrically nonsensical and I had to ask a few times, “What is he talking about?” But while they are sometimes bizarre, Grand Buffet’s songs are also filled with pop culture references, humor and satire. When given a closer listen, some of their lyrics hold meaning verging on very intelligent and even profound. “Dark Autumn” has a slow, slinking beat with rhyming vocals flowing over it that are socio-conscious as well as introspective. The 80’s style synth samples and sputtering drumbeats will, without a doubt, have you moving and swaying. And “Oh My God, You’re Weird” is perfect for those who like sarcastic lyrics that leave you wondering if there is any deeper meaning to this duo.
Or maybe they’re just weird. However, the sternly sarcastic lyrics at the end, “Show some fucking respect” (in reference to our former president), did make me laugh.
By: Chad Saville
The Deprecation Guild is a Brooklyn based electro-pop act who use a vintage Japanese game console (a super Famicom, to be exact) to create a sonic poppy-field of shoegazing bliss. The word on the street is, or at least according to Gothamist, they aren’t all “good looks and a Nintendo,” or something like that. The Deprecation Guild will celebrate the release of their first full-length album entitled “Sky Ghosts” with their first full-length tour next month. But before they pile into a smelly van and hit the road with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, you can catch them February 7 at the Mercury Lounge.
By: Liz Levine
Brooklyn’s Afuche are catchy in a way that’s refreshing and oh so pleasantly infectious. Ruben Sindo Acosta on keys, Zach Ryalls on clarinet and guitar, and Keith Parker on drums play distinct parts that compliment an eclectic overall sound rather than accompany. A fusion of jazz, Afro-Cuban, rock, and countless other distinct styles, the group maintains a striking ear for melody while smoothly bouncing through numbers that display more diversity with each measure. Individual moments grab the attention with their style and groove factor, but never linger long before exploring the next compositional possibility. The band’s members, also including bass and a horn section, exercise obvious amounts of technical skill through the constant transitions in their songs, and continue to impress with their contagious enthusiasm. This is exhibited most aptly by Acosta, who physically emotes almost every note during live performances. A genuine love for all things musical combined with Afuche’s skill promise great things from their forthcoming full-length debut.