Pollyn celebrate "How Small We Are," play L.A. Zoo alongside Abe Vigoda on Friday night
It's been a banner year for Brian Eno. His latest record, "Drums Between the Bells," has been praised and he co-produced the stellar Seun Kuti record. Moreover, the music he made 30 years ago has remained highly influential with subsequent generations.
Take Los Angeles' Pollyn, who play tonight at the L.A. Zoo alongside Abe Vigoda and Big Search. While their influences run the gamut ('90s trip-hop, new wave, dream pop, Low End Theory and English Bass Music), "How Small We Are," the first single off their forthcoming sophomore full-length "Living in Patterns," takes its propulsive rhythm squarely from Eno's experiments with the Talking Heads.
Admittedly, digging into David Byrne's early work is a well-worn idea. Bands have been doing that since he started burning down houses, but Pollyn are able re-create the band's mesomorphic groove, with liquid guitar lines, MPC beats, and lead singer Genevieve Artadi's ethereal croon.
With animation handled by Jody Barton, the man behind the cover art for Phoenix's "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix," the video for "How Small We Are" finds dancing stick figures grooving to the band's fever rhythms. Nor can you blame them. This is dance music impeccably executed that straddles the boundaries between several genres.
Indeed, outside of Radiohead, you'd be hard pressed to find a group with more impressively idiosyncratic taste. Their stellar debut, 2009's "This Little Night" produced subsequent remix records that included French dubstep producer Débruit, local Low End Theorist Nosaj Thing, grimy hip-hop producer Sid Roams, and Stones Throw-signed funkster James Pants.
The B side of the "How Small We Are" single finds Pollyn covering Portishead's "Mysterons," and the group's second single features a guest appearance from Hempstead, Long Island hardhead Roc Marciano, one of underground rap's most touted and gifted artists.
If you don't see Seun Kuti at the Grand Performances series Friday night, the Zoo is the place to be. Pollyn play at 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Where within the compound they perform is unknown; the band is impossible to fit into any sort of cage.
-- Jeff Weiss