New York’s post rock/experimental collective You Bred Raptors? – expertly comprised of Peat Rains, Bryan Wilson, and KC Solaris – is coming in hot with the premiere of the first track off their upcoming album International Genetics, a song titled “Bayonette”. Beginning with a catchy beat provided by strings that eventually swallows its listener in a beautiful, robust sound, this song sits at mid-tempo, providing an undeniable rock flare with its layered composition. In honor of the release of “Bayonette”, the guys of You Bred Raptors? have made a playlist exclusively for Impose, with a little bit of background on it all. Check out the new track, then scroll below to get your hands on this fun mix!
Playing in the subway for a living has introduced us to a wide variety of demographics. Other than your normal straphangers and tourists, you’ll meet a lot of NYC musicians. There is rarely a busking day that comes and goes without someone asking if we need a singer. Every interview we do inevitably has a question about why we never chose to include vocals in our music. I don’t mind the question. I just find it odd that it’s so out of the ordinary today. While singing can be argued as the original instrument, we had a great renaissance without it. It’s ironic because some of my favorite bands have vocals like Queen and Primus. But I’ll always cringe when I hear songs without subtlety or anything abstract. Vocals pigeonhole a song and leave little up for interpretation. When I write a song, I want the narrative, title, arc and cohesion to have focus but not be too narrow. On the other hand, songs without vocals don’t have to be incidental music. We hear them in film scores and it helps create an atmosphere worth exploring. That’s what our music (hopefully) does.
We have heard from MANY record labels, A&R people, management and booking agencies that they don’t deal with instrumental bands. They said it’s not worth their time and they can’t upstream us. It’s disheartening to be told that our songs would sell better if we sang about vapid shit like drinking, clubbing or fucking. The mass consumer is lazy and needs to be inundated with exposition and an easy storyline to follow. Mainstream music is designed to be quick and digestible. But my point is that instrumental music doesn’t have to be super proggy or complicated in order to be interesting. Our songs follow similar patterns of some pop music. But we write narrative lines with 8 string bass, cello or glockenspiels where vocals might be instead. I’ve included a list of songs that have just an emotional punch and also showcase some old-school instrument playing talent.
We try to showcase this same aesthetic on tour. We’ll be doing a 21 city run starting in a couple weeks for the release of our new album. Come and out support those coloring outside the lines.
1. Detektivbyrån – Om Du Mö Varg
This Swedish band is in my top 3. They have since disbanded and had members form another band called Wintergatan (famous for the viral hit “Marble Machine”) which is just as good but won’t ever hold the same place in my heart. This band inspired me to busk and is a huge influence on my songwriting. Mostly made up of acoustic instruments (accordion, vibraphone, glockenspiel, drums and toy piano), they often get mistaken for the whimsical French maestro of the Amelie soundtrack, Yann Tiersen. It’s beautifully crafted and executed music, each song different from the last. I usually have to guess what a song is about, and even more so now since their titles are mostly in Swedish.
2. Russian Circles – Harper Lewis
This band is also a huge reason why I’m doing what I do today. Ironically, what I love most about this band is the guitars. Mike Sullivan’s incredible songwriting, coupled with his tasteful tapping, looping and pedal footwork shows accessories are there to add to your music and not be the source of it. I remember going to see Minus the Bear on a whim with my brother while he lived in DC in 2006. We were both only casual fans but I was down for the weekend and we just picked a concert to see. Russian Circles were the first of three support bands and I had never heard of them. They played for four songs for a total of about twenty minutes. They had no microphone. At the end of the set, the drummer Dave leaned down into his snare mic and said the first and last words of their performance “We’re Russian Circles from Chicago, Illinois.” And that was FUCKING IT. I was blown away. We left after the next band took the stage. I think they were called the Velvet Teen and they sucked. But even if they were amazing and even if Minus the Bear somehow came out and played the best show of their lives, nothing, and I mean nothing, could have topped what I had just seen. And to see a band grind that long, always set up their own equipment and run their own merch. Well, it’s inspiring as a working musician.
3. RATATAT – Nostrand
This band is close to my depth in the electronica music scene. It was at least my first foray as I decided to lift my lifetime ban on anything music related that had a USB port. I went to visit California during college. The record label I was signed to had recently declared bankruptcy and dropped all its artists. I was once again on my own and trying to network and be serious. I contacted Jean Baudin, a very well known bass player in the ERB (extended range bass) community. He was playing a show with some other heavy hitters and in my dinky MySpace message, I asked if he wanted to meet up. To my surprise, he said yes and carted my friends to his place to hang out after the show. He put on RATATAT in the car as we crossed the Golden Gate bridge. I’ll remember it because he was one of my bass playing idols at the time and when he agreed to not only let me introduce myself, but to let us into his world, it was just very surreal. Sitting in the front seat with the music on, smelling the sea breeze, about to graduate college and move to NYC on my own. The music just gave me a warm, temporary comfort. This is a two piece band from Brooklyn that bucked the rules, did what they wanted but still wrote accessible and interesting music. Sadly, this was also one of the worst concert experiences ever. But I don’t blame them. Somewhere along the Alternate 1985 Hell Valley Timeline, the fraternity bro culture found this band and decided to go in droves to their shows. The whole thing smelled like cheap beer and AXE Bodyspray.
4. Shooglenifty – A Fistful of Euro
Chalk this up to my Scottish heritage or my parents being hippies. We were inundated with celtic and bluegrass music growing up. I rebelled against it at some point and found punk rock. Then, the universe was an asshole and I found myself acknowledging that my parents were right. My parents would always bring home new music and I remember this CD was on when I was visiting from college. And this song just drilled its way into my head. I loved it. It was celtic but it wasn’t a sappy air or ballad. It was a fusion of funk and dance and traditional. This band paid homage to the roots while shaking off the archaic and dogmatic rules that music of its kind suffers from. They came to the US for a handful of dates shortly after that and I wrangled the whole family into a trip. They played in a small theater in bum-fuck Pennsylvania. They haven’t been back to the US since because of the difficulty of making it financially viable and dealing with immigration issues. So, I’ll just have to move to Scotland to finally open for them.
5. Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine
EITS have given me hope beyond hope that our style of music can make it. I know they would have enjoyed a modicum of success as a post rock band based on their talent and drive alone. But watching the sleeper hit “Friday Night Lights” explode onto the American consciousness in the early 2000’s made this genre something to be reckoned with. Lots of boring copycat music followed. And while Explosions came after first wave bands like Tortoise and Mogwai, they breathed new life into the idea that a film scored didn’t need a 110 piece orchestra. An array of reverb, volume and chorus pedals and a clean guitar could evoke the same emotion as the most properly executed movement from an orchestra. I also love this band’s workhorse mentality. No guitar techs, no encores and no bullshit between songs. Four extremely nice, albeit a bit awkward, gentlemen from Texas that appreciated the position they were in. Like I said, it’s what any of us writing and performing for a living can hope for.
6. The Cactus Channel – Emmanuel Ciccolini
I don’t even know where I found this band. Probably my brother, whom has done all of our graphic design since forever, but also an accomplished music writer in his own regard. I don’t know what impresses me more about this band… The fact that it’s made up of entirely under twenty year olds (at the time of this recording) or the fact that a band can stay together with ten fucking people all around the time of entering college. Godspeed, you Aussie maniacs. Not to mention that this incredibly energetic and fun throwback music should be the soundtrack to every car chase scene to every exploitation film in the 1970s. That or some really intense porn.
7. Symmetry – Over the Edge
My brother also turned me onto this band to try to entice me the dark side of electronica music. He said it sounds like a video game if all video games were outlawed in a dystopian 1980s. It has a hint of the old-school John Carpenter as well as current soundtracks like Drive or Stranger Things. My problem with most electronica is that live shows are usually relegated to background music. And with everything digitally programmed, the human element all but vanishes. But I’ll get off my soapbox here and imagine what a cool visual this would make being coupled with a climactic scene from film.
8. Hans Zimmer – Ashes to Ashes
If there’s a reason we’re swimming upstream here, it’s to eventually be able to score film. While my cellist is obsessed with John Williams and I’m more in the Howard Shore camp, we can both steadily agree on the genius of Hans Zimmer. His versatility is staggering and his ability to integrate himself into whatever setting is nothing short of frustrating for the rest of us trying to emulate. Take “Black Hawk Down” for instance. An entertaining film with a fairly forgettable and thin plot made absolutely immersive by the soundtrack. Incorporating the tones, affects, timbre and chordal structures from the source country and interweaving it with a rhythm of western cultures as some sort of backdoor allegory is just astonishing. I’m a nerd for this shit.
9. The Nobodys – In Memory Of
I found this song on a skating video called “The Quest for the Holy Rail” back in the late 90’s when I was heavily into that life. Short and sweet, it conveys the sense of finality and satisfaction only a three piece punk band could back then. It was also a fun one to learn by ear and still feel pretty close when it was a little sloppy and out of tune.
10. Operation Ivy – Bankshot
When I rebelled against the folk and jam-band music I had growing up, I found solace in punk rock. Operation Ivy, Rancid, Dead Kennedys and Green Day taught me the speed and dexterity to pull off their songs while playing along. This was the one instrumental song on a loaded twenty-seven track album from Op Ivy. Seated nicely at track nine, this was a super fun and jumpy instrumental performance. My first ‘show’ in front of a crowd was a 8th grade talent show where I played this song. No one had heard of the band obviously and couldn’t tell where I inevitably butchered it. I don’t know what the song is about and I don’t care. It’s still fucking awesome.
11. Vangelis – Dervish D.
Yeah, I don’t know where the love of this song came from. I suppose I had fantasies about the new-age music maestros Yanni and Vangelis having a bitter feud and talking shit about each other to otherwise peaceful crowds. I wanted a East Coast / West Coast gangsta rap battle beef between the two. If I had to pick one synthesizer to rule them all, it would be Vangelis. Not that I don’t love the bushy mustache of Yanni or his fluffy white shirts. But Vangelis wrote Chariots of Fire and scored Blade Runner for fuck’s sake.
12. BIll Conti – Going the Distance
No instrumental is complete without a goddamned montage song. I was in a band for years called “This Place is Haunted” where we would cover video game, television and film themes. I was so excited to arrange this piece. We still cover film and TV music in “You Bred Raptors?” because of my intense love for the genre. No matter who you are, you can’t NOT be pumped hearing a montage song. And while most of you would pick “Gonna Fly Now” as the iconic song from Rocky, or even the training montage from Rocky IV before the fight with Ivan Drago, the best song is “Going the Distance” by far. I can’t tell you much of a musical boner I get to hear the french horn kicking in with a counter melody that is arguably just as rad as the main melody and seamlessly work off each other so well. This is goosebumps inducing no matter how many times I hear it.
13. Victor Wooten – More Love
People ask me all the time if I listen to Wooten and the answer isn’t so easy. I worship the guy’s technique and study it religiously. That said, I can barely get through a whole album. A lot of it based in R&B and long-winded funk and gospel roots. I have seen him in concert so many times and I’m usually disappointed when he has a full band. I love when he’s just up there alone or with just a tasteful drummer. This song is indicative of that. The G string is tuned a step down to an F and the whole song is tapping and percussive with a slight phaser effect on the bass. It’s beautiful and simple. Wooten can be masturbatory at times. And that’s cool! It’s what his fans want but I can’t turn off the part of me that wants to learn and hone the craft obsessively. His rhythm is intimidating and his double thumbing technique, while making it look effortless, makes me want to quit. He’s also the nicest guy in the world if you get to meet him.
14. Metallica – Orion
This is my favorite song from a rather divisive band. The fact of the matter is that Metallica has been a band for almost 40 years. To keep a band together that long takes nothing shy of a miracle. Everyone has their own timeline of when and if Metallica jumped the shark. You can also argue the merits of the percussion section of this band. But when it works, it fucking works. This song was the brain child of the late Cliff Burton and infamous interlude showcases exactly why this song remains special to both the band and fans. It’s also the only ‘cover’ we do as a band. The bookends of this song are reminiscent of most metal music as far as cadence and structure. But this interlude is what makes this song endure. The departure from the norm and the much needed respite to breathe and explore slower tempos and harmonies showcases the true talent of the band: listening. And even if you think Metallica screwed the pooch and went soft. You can’t take away this album, and much less this song. It fucking wails.
Keep up with the band here.