Tobacco talks collaborating with Beck, the possible demise of Black Moth Super Rainbow and unveils exclusive MP3
The world first discovered Black Moth Super Rainbow three years ago, with the release of their third album, “Dandelion Gum,” a supernatural and synaesthetic swirl of drum machines, disorienting vocoders, and sun-splintered Moog synths imitating Mellotrons.
Shortly thereafter, BMSR's Tom Fec dropped his first solo album under his pseudonym, Tobacco, a harder edged and hip-hop skewing affair that revealed the side of him that first got turned onto music via the Beastie Boys’ “So What'cha Want” video. With a style spawned at some murky crossroads of the Beasties, Air’s “Sexy Boy,” Boards of Canada and Beck, Fec’s unprintably titled debut found him collaborating with Aesop Rock and becoming the darling of underground hip-hop bible, Okayplayer.com, making him the token indie icon among the backpack crowd.
But rather than bask in the acclaim or the admiration of his peers (Mike Watt’s fandom is well-documented), the prolific Fec and his Black Moth peers wrangled go-to producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT) and conceived “Eating Us,” a record that upped the band’s cachet and further confirmed that Fec was one of his generation’s most singular songwriting talents. It also drove him a little crazy.
The stigmas of satisfying a full band, press interviewers and simple-minded critics and the rigors of touring life slowly wore him down, making the already-reclusive Fec even more remote. Never suited to the demands of the blog era, he found himself searching for transcendence by returning to his roots — making bedroom music with a big-tent sound. Not “big-tent” in terms of audience potential, but in terms of the bizarro personalities clustered within.
“Maniac Meat,” his sophomore solo record, features song titles like “Lick the Witch,” “Unholy Demon Rhythms” and “Creepy Phone Calls.” Featuring a pair of guest-spots from Beck in “Mellow Gold” mode, the record hits somewhere between the surreal and the sublime — jagged, raw and filled with hellishly catchy melodies.