Band of the Day

2012.01.24

Rubblebucket

A quirky indie rock mini-orchestra flirting with danceable chaos
Of all the places and all the times, apart from then, I can't believe how could it be you're here with me.
lyrics from Came Out of a Lady

Rubblebucket is an indie rock mini-orchestra based in Brooklyn, New York. The band's eight members use everything from trumpet and trombone to sax and organ in their dancy, rambunctious indie rock hodgepodge. The band first began when band leader Alex Toth met vocalist Kalmia Traver while both were attending the University of Vermont. These two core members recruited the rest of the group, originally called Rubblebucket Orchestra. The band released their debut album Rose's Dream in 2008, following it with extensive touring. Relocating to Brooklyn, New York in 2010, the band underwent further line up changes. Rubblebucket recorded their second full-length album, Omega La La in 2011, recruiting the help of Eric Broucek, the engineer responsible for recording indie dance heavy weights LCD Soundystem, Cut Copy, and Hercules & Love Affair. The album was released in June 2011, and the band supported it with more extensive touring.

How many musicians does it take to make a danceable indie rock album? Usually one, camped out in a bedroom. In Rubblebucket's case? Eight. The Brooklyn based group is practically an orchestra with a horn section of trumpet, trombone, sax, organs and synth, even a n'goni, a West African string instrument. There's a lot to be said for this approach versus the lone producer model; their music has a wild, supercharged energy to it, probably a result of the borderline chaos of getting eight people into a small practice space. The band recently released their sophomore album Omega La La, recorded at the famed DFA studios (LCD Soundsystem territory). As you'd expect from being recorded at DFA, there are strong dance elements to the album, but at the end of the day it's definitely rock and roll. “Came Out Of a Lady” has a festive vibe to it, combining an enthusiastic horn refrain with happily jangling guitar and some cowbell. The up front horns and coming-off-the-rails joy of it makes you think of a college marching band post victory (and post tequila shots). “Silly Father” is less chaotic, but just as much fun. It begins paired down, just bass, drums and Traver's soulful vocals, before pulling out funky, Talking Heads style guitar, call and response vocals and eventually a full on jam with the whole band. Similarly to fellow Brooklynites the Dirty Projectors, it has an off kilter, quirky funk charm to it. Elsewhere on the album, Rubblebucket shows they're not a one-trick pony of high energy jams. Breatherz (Young As Clouds) begins with tranquilly picked electric guitar, sounding like the morning after a long rain, and slowly heats up. The band combines textures seamlessly, Traver's vocals, splatters of horn, grooving synths, they almost the free-flowing feel of jam band by the end, but kept in the concise format of a pop song. Omega La La packs in a whole lot of sound and styles, and does it without a hint of pretension. This is the sound of a group of skilled musicians leveraging the power of bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating.