Over at our post announcing the first phase of Ultra's line-up this year, commenters have been divided. One camp seemed appalled by the new presence of jam-scene-birthed acts like Lotus, Pretty Lights, and the Disco Biscuits. The other camp's reaction can basically be summed up thusly: "FUCK YEAH BISCO!"
If anything was proven by the slightly ravey afterparties for both Phish's local New Year's Eve run and this past January's Jam Cruise, it's that 2010 is the year of "livetronica." Jam band fans long ago discovered that electronic sounds are ripe for experimentation and the sort of mass group ecstasy produced by guitar-music festivals. And dance music fans -- yours truly included -- seem to finally grudgingly accept that experimentation and improvisation isn't just for people in patchwork pants.
Thank the Disco Biscuits for helping to pioneer this long-building crossover. The Philadelphia band first got together in 1995, when the founding members met while attending the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, they've been experimenting with a sound sometimes called "trance fusion," which is something of a misnomer. No, they don't play at Infected Mushroom-style scary BPMs. But what they do accomplish, however, is the creation of dance-style grooves that still leave room for surprises.
The group's new album, Planet Anthem, is due out Mar. 16 on
Diamond Riggs Records, and an initial listen is bound to take some
longtime fans by surprise. Most of the songs here still ride the
trademark Disco Biscuits edge between electronic and live sounds, but
in many cases, that's taken in an almost purely pop direction. Other
tracks, like the disc opener "Loose Change" and "You and I" are
straight-ahead, distorted, driving melodic rock (although studio
effects add a little psychedelia). "Big Wrecking Ball" could be any
Apple commercial indie band's outtake, and other songs flirt with
So yes, these tracks, at least on record, are
more concise than expected, but the band promises in press releases for
the album that they'll still "jam the shit out of them." Here's the new
single "On Time." Wait until about two-thirds to three-quarters of the
way through the track for a guitar solo that indicates where the jam is
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likely to break out.
Disco Biscuits, at the first day of the Ultra Music Festival. Friday, Mar. 26. Bicentennial Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Gates open at 4 p.m. Tickets currently cost $139.95 for a two-day general admission ticket, and $350 for a two-day VIP ticket. Prices will go up, and single-day tickets will be announced. Visit ultramusicfestival.com for updated ticket info.