Laptop bedroom producers of the world unite! Tonight, April 13th, The Ruby Suns and Toro Y Moi will be performing at the SLO Art Center at 8:30pm. Ghost Porn will be the opening act.
The Ruby Suns combine psychedelic indie pop with world music influences, drawing inspiration from the travels of the group’s only permanent member, Ryan McPhun. Although born and raised in California, McPhun’s thirst for adventure eventually drew him halfway across the globe, where he ventured into Africa and Thailand before settling in New Zealand. His sophomore album, Fight Softly, arrived this year on the Sub Pop label. Written, performed, and produced by the frontman himself, Fight Softly replaces the tropical flair of 2008’s Sea Lion with synthesizers and digital production. It’s the sound of a man and his computer, and any organic instruments that may have made the final cut are poked, prodded, and processed beyond recognition, resulting in electro-Afro soundscapes that have more in common with Animal Collective than the tribal folk of McPhun’s previous material. Yet despite the gadgetry that went into the album’s production, Fight Softly is still a sunny piece of work, filled with gorgeous pop melodies that are complex but rarely challenging. Like Le Loup’s Family or Yeasayer’s Odd Blood, it’s too different from the album that preceded it to warrant any real comparisons — instead, it serves as a widening of the band’s catalog, a sign that Ryan McPhun can stretch his boundaries without sacrificing the melodies that have consistently rooted his songwriting.
Toro Y Moi
Chaz Bundick started making bedroom recordings under the name Toro y Moi in his native Columbia, SC in 2001. Drawing from a wide-ranging array of influences (Animal Collective, Daft Punk, and J Dilla among them), Bundrick had a couple albums’ worth of material ready for release eight years later. He was slated to release two full-length albums on Car Park Records in 2010: one, a dreamy, indie electronic affair (something like a cross between Panda Bear and Beach House); the other, a jumpy, garage-influenced indie pop effort that nodded to Saturday Looks Good to Me and Guided by Voices. Causers of This is the first of them. Causers of This sounds like a dance-pop mixtape plunged underwater — it’s all smeary synthesizers, chopped-up dance beats, and washes of reverb.Its main appeal is in its subtlety, and there’s real pleasure to be found in all the little sonic tweaks and doodads Bundick has tucked into each track.