9/19: Tobacco at the Grog Shop

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With every new record, rural Pennsylvania electronic pioneers Black Moth Super Rainbow grow their cult popularity with stranger, slicker and more beautiful psychedelic pop music. It all makes BMSR frontman Tobacco a little nostalgic for the band’s early days of homemade recordings, tape machines and creaking analog synthesizers. “The latest BMSR album [Eating Us] is like a well thought-out, classy record for my standards, and I don’t think of myself as quite that classy,” he says. “I’ve always thought BMSR was more feel-good, melody kind of music, and that might not have become apparent until Eating Us. So I like having my own stuff that’s a little sicker and more paranoid. But hopefully in a good way.” Eating Us takes the band’s bizarro basement electronic music and polishes it for mainstream acceptance. Last year, Tobacco released a solo album, Fucked Up Friends, and captured BMSR’s signature sound, with that same beautifully sleek new atmosphere — a pure cut of Boards of Canada and Air dipped in otherworldly acid. It’s fantastic stuff, a fog of warm melancholy synthesizers, spacey vocal manipulations and ethereal hip-hop beats. But it’s not the lo-fi experimentation Tobacco is best known for. That’s why he’s now on tour promoting The Allegheny White Fish Tapes, a collection of unreleased cheap home recordings (ghetto-blaster songs, ripped guitar cassettes and fuzzed-out electro melodies) from 1996-1999. It’s raw energy he hopes to recapture in new, fun and fantastic forms in the not-so-distant future. “This was the first stuff I was writing on my four-track in high school,” he says. “I think I kind of rejected it when I was trying to be serious with BMSR, but I don’t really care about that anymore. I like the ideas again, and I feel almost like I’m coming full circle with some of the stuff I have for the next Tobacco record. It was all guitar and tape noise and having fun back then, and I think I lost my way with BMSR because I was in search of something bigger. And I finally feel like I’m at the point where whatever that bigger thing is, it doesn’t matter if it’s not as fun.” Red Falcon Project and Battery Collection open at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show. — Keith Gribbins

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