Finally, we’ve arrived at the end of
live-music-literally-every-weekend April, as the Kohoutek Music & Arts
Festival is going down on the mounds at Pitzer College tonight and tomorrow, April 25-26.
Like No-Chella a couple weeks ago, Kohoutek features a metric ton of
underground acts of all shapes, sizes, and sounds.
However, unlike No-Chella, Kohoutek’s lineup is
just way too big for me to even attempt covering the whole thing. So to save
space, time, and my sanity, I’ll just admit that there’s a four-act streak on
Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. that’s my clear pick of the lot: inc.,
Milo, Moon Hooch, and Lapalux.
Daniel and Andrew Aged, the Los Angeles-based
brothers who work under the name inc., craft meticulous, atmospheric R&B
that draws as much influence from D’Angelo as it does contemporary southern
trap. Having released 2011’s 3 EP and last year’s exquisite no world
full-length on the venerable 4AD, they’re accidental label-mates with some of
the less inspired acts of the “PBR&B” generation (I’m looking at you,
SOHN), but have no fear. Despite the constant comparisons in the press to
Prince that make me doubt the writer’s having heard either act, these two are
the real deal. Just listen to album cuts “5 days” or “angel.” The sound design
is immaculate and disarming, and the hooks will lodge themselves in your brain
They released a collaborative single with the
quickly rising FKA twigs last month, and Fade to Mind goddess Kelela showed up
at their 4/20 show in Brooklyn last week, so they’re in good company, just like
you’ll be when they hit the stage.
Next up is Milo, the Wisconsin rapper who I really
hope should need no introduction. No, not because he’s famous (though he’s
certainly on his way), but because Claremont’s very own Riley Lake (otherwise
known as Will Mitchell PO ’14) produced two of his incredible releases! Just
check the Lake-produced Things That Happen At Day EP from last year for
a sense of what’s to come.
Milo’s a personal guy, rapping more about becoming
a better dude or feeling insecure than squirting Uzis and getting money. He
references everything from Kierkegaard to the Talking Heads, and it works
beautifully, his “flow” generally coming across as more spoken-word poetry
than most of his contemporaries’ flow come across. If “spiritual successor to MF Doom” means
anything to you, you’re probably already sold. All this happens over spacious,
abstract beats that range from the populist (those Bon Iver and xx samples) to
the properly weird (all the video game sounds I didn’t catch until the fifth
listen). In short, Milo rules.
After Milo comes Moon Hooch, the Brooklyn “cave
music” band that consists of two saxophonists and one drummer. If that
description doesn’t do anything for you, let me try this: If classic house
music could be thought of as a literal house, with its neatly placed drum
machines and soulful samples representing the furnishings, then Moon Hooch are
the guys who come in, flip everything upside down, and light the whole goddamn
thing on fire with saxophone-shaped flamethrowers. And they call it “cave music.” Their tunes are jagged, energetic, and raw, which is all they’ll really need to
kill it tomorrow. On top of that, I can’t think of a single act that really
sounds like them, besides maybe fellow Brooklynites (and saxophone lovers)
Archie Pelago. Even then, Moon Hooch’s distinctly un-electronic approach
Last in this streak is Lapalux, the British producer who’s been involved
with Flying Lotus’ LA-centric Brainfeeder group for years. As you might
imagine, that means he has sonic similarities to Teebs, Nosaj Thing, Shlohmo
and Shigeto, but his knack for syrupy, catchy melodies is rather peerless.
Diffracted, off-kilter pop is his domain, and he’s got it on lock. Listen to
the first single from 2013’s Nostalchic, “Guuurl,” for an example
of his hold on slippery hooks. That’s not to say he can’t get moody and dark,
though. His free download from this year’s Valentine’s Day, “Lonesum Tnite,” is
a dark hollowing out of Elvis’ classic. Lapalux is touring North America
demoing songs from his upcoming album right now, so expect some wild (and
But if it sounds like these acts aren’t for you, don’t worry. From the
bluesy vibes of the California Honeydrops to Orgone’s funk-disco jams and
everything in between, Kohoutek’s got something for everyone. So go ahead and
cancel all your weekend plans, because I’ll see you at the mounds.
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC.