Show Spotlight: Crumb @ Black Cat, 11/20/19
Today, Ben spotlight's tomorrow night's Crumb show at the Black Cat.
“Bombastic explosions of joy:” Crumb brings indiejazz psychedelia to Black Cat on Nov. 20.
Call it the Tame Impala effect: there’s a modern audience for zoned-out psychedelia in 2019.
Listeners looking for aural kicks can mine a rich vein of hazy indie bands custom-made for dilated journeys to the center of the mind. There’s the 70s AM gold-via-80s-lo-fi pop stylings of Mild High Club, the smoky disco vibe of Chas Bundick’s Toro y Moi, the spaced-out death jams of Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
And, of course, there’s Crumb, the Brooklyn-based quartet with kaleidoscopic tunes readymade for a date with a good set of headphones, a couple gummies, and your favorite bean bag chair.
Crumb comes to our cannabis-friendly nation’s capital on Wednesday, Nov. 20 for a show at Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW). Miami garage-funk outfit Divino Nino and Chesapeake, Va.’s own Shormey will open.
Crumb’s particular brand of head music is pleasantly weird, full of staggering bass beats, arpeggiated guitar, leisurely synth, and sleepy soul drums. Listening to Crumb’s first full-length record, 2019’s Jinx, is like a stoned, late winter weekend afternoon set to music — blunted, sunny, a little languid but somehow completely magical.
There are spooky breakouts reminiscent of Hypnophobia-era Jacco Gardner and crystalline melodies that could have been swiped from Melody Prochet’s Melody's Echo Chamber project (and in the case of the title track from Crumb’s Jinx album, the intro may or may not have actually been swiped from Prochet’s “You Won’t Be Missing That Part of Me”).
Crumb has (semi-) local roots, in that its earliest work was released on Richmond’s Citrus City Records. Jinx, however, was released independently, a move driven by “the new, weird frontier, in terms of how people access music,” according to bassist Jesse Brotter.
“It’s given us the power to grow organically and not outpace ourselves,” Brotter told Vice.com. “We’ve been able to fund this (album) solely based off of people listening to our music, but I feel like we’re just as on the outside looking in as anyone, because it’s not formulaic.”
Crumb’s growth over the past three-plus years has been powered by a strong online community, from Reddit to Bandcamp to YouTube, where the band’s propensity for surreal videos attracted an audience of nearly 85,000 subscribers. Crumb’s 2018 single “Locket” garnered over 11 million views alone.
“That kind of blastoff internet exposure gave us a kind of momentum but more importantly, we reached so many amazing people through it,” singer/guitarist/songwriter Lila Ramani told Impose Magazine. “The personal responses that we’ve received from fans all over the world really inspired us to push as a band. We feel supported, and that means so much to us.”
Jinx, recorded on the heels of a frightening car accident in Canada, reflects the trauma of that incident as well as the general difficulty of being young artists living and creating in one of the biggest, most expensive cities in the world. Even so, there’s a wry sense of joy that floats throughout, and the warm embrace of jazz, Latin rhythms, and ambient styles that helped Crumb’s earlier work stand out from a million other internet bands.
But are they any good live? Third Coast’s Julian Ramirez was genuinely enamored when he reviewed the band’s recent performance at Thalia Hall in Chicago.
“Crumb is everything you’d want from an indie rock band,” Ramirez wrote, “with moments of beautiful clarity...that come off like bombastic explosions of joy.”
The Crumb performance at Black Cat is one of the band’s final shows on the current tour, so catch them now or else you may have to wait a while for your next chance. Doors are 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20.