Introspective, horn-filled electro-funk tribe Rubblebucket are going through changes. Mostly of the growing pain variety. One year ago, if you'd told the eight-piece Brooklyn band that they'd be on millions of televisions across the country bouncing around in a performance on the Jimmy Kimmel show, they would've never believed it. After adding that badge of honor on their resume this past July, the band prepared to follow up the surprise success of their debut album Omega La La by opening a new chapter in their idealistic, dance pop sound. Recently piled into the peaceful wilderness of Bear Creek Studio in Seattle, Wash. with producer Ryan Hadlock (the Strokes, Ra Ra Riot), to record their Oversaturated EP exploring trails of synth-laden bliss, technicolor melodies and the age-old idea that pain can indeed be a good thing.
"The was one of the central themes in this new bunch of songs we created," says band leader and trumpet player Alex Toth. "The song Pain From Love, was one of the songs I wrote when I came home for a bit and was surrounded by family and everything was in such a good place, you just start feeling that intense love to the point where it hurts." The song bursts with sunny chords, triumphant brass and harmonious gang vocals spear headed by the fluttering lead vocalist and sax player Kalmia Traver. Sonically, it's the bridge between the band's previous work and some of their newer New Wave-inflected material.
The EP was recorded in short order, just a matter of a few weeks, which Toth says was a challenge that also forced their hand creatively when coming up with ideas and collaborating with Hadlock on ways to develop the aesthetic of their sound. Even with the compressed time schedule, the ability to branch out creatively was ever-present. Toth remembers one particular time where he and several members of the band wound up recording a jam session with all of them playing pianos at the same time.
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With a new EP in hand and a tour with Reptar in full effect--including tonight's show at the Constellation Room, the band continues to focus on its most notable element, their live show. Toth says one thing that adds to the band's arsenal of crazy neon stage props and giant robot heads is a custom light show that goes along with each one of the songs. "In a lot of ways we spent more of our rehearsal time tweaking and modifying the light show than we did actually rehearsing," Toth says. "It's been a lot of work, but developing our live experience is as much a part of our sound as anything else."
Rubblebucket performs tonight at 8 p.m. at the Constellation Room (inside the Observatory) in Santa Ana With Reptar. $13. All ages