Summer may be over, but autumn’s quickly shaping up to be 2011’s most robust concert season. On October 3rd, Seattle’s award-winning Triple Door will be hosting a synth/avant-pop showcase featuring CANT (Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor), Blood Orange (Devonté Hynes aka Lightspeed Champion), and Mirror Mirror.
Though best known as a member of Grizzly Bear, Chris Taylor (aka CANT) has been steadily establishing himself as a musical powerhouse in his own right over the past few years through his production talent and multi-instrumental prowess. Beyond his work with Grizzly Bear on their last three albums, Taylor has also co-produced albums by Dirty Projectors, The Morning Benders, Department of Eagles, and Twin Shadow, amongst others. As if that weren’t enough, in 2009 Taylor co-founded rising label Terrible Records—which has already released material by CANT, Arthur Russell, Twin Shadow, Chairlift, Blood Orange, and more. Be proud, Seattle; Taylor was born here.
Back when he still lived in Seattle, Taylor was a saxaphone-playing jazz devotee with little interest in rock music. Ironically, he moved to New York to study jazz, and ended up not only losing his passion for the genre, but became a rock musician in the process. Before his involvement with Grizzly Bear, Taylor played in a “noise trio with horns” and in psych-grunge band Fast Fourier with Chris Bear (Grizzly Bear’s drummer). While still playing with Fast Fourier, Taylor also became a member of the live band for Grizzly Bear—which was Ed Droste‘s solo project at the time. It wasn’t long before the live band became permanent, and transformed the one-man bedroom act into the vocal-harmonizing, genre-fusing, four-headed beast we know as Grizzly Bear today.
Now, after seven years of hard work with Grizzly Bear and other musicians, Taylor has cultivated his own solo project—CANT. Although there are some similarities between the two, CANT is a distinctly different species from Grizzly Bear. Taylor collaborated with George Lewis Jr. (aka Twin Shadow) for CANT’s debut album, Dreams Come True (fully streaming here), resulting in a sound which mostly lies somewhere between Twin Shadow and Grizzly Bear. The beloved vocal harmonies remain, but CANT opts for synth-driven melodies as a foundation, with sprinklings of guitar and piano mixed in. Ultimately, CANT’s music lives up to the album title as a dreamy blend of electronic, R&B, rock, and pop—and from the looks of it, this is just the beginning of something really fantastic.
Also making its first Seattle appearance will be Devonté Hynes‘ latest solo project, Blood Orange. Probably best known for his work as folk-pop superhero Lightspeed Champion, the 25-year-old was also a member of the short-lived dance punk trio Test Icicles. Like Taylor, Hynes is also incredibly multifaceted. Beyond his own musical projects, Hynes has written and produced songs for The Chemical Brothers, Florence + The Machine, and Theophilus London, to name a few. He’s also an author and comic book creator, and has had several of his comics and short stories published over the past few years. Although he was born in Texas, Hynes has lived most of his life in the UK, where he is much more widely known.
After relocating to New York a few years ago, Hynes set to work on Blood Orange—a marked departure from Lightspeed Champion. Unlike the folk stylings of Lightspeed Champion, Blood Orange takes cues from rock and pop acts the 80s. Blood Orange’s earlier songs, such as those on the Home Recordings mixtape (fully streaming here), are much more akin to the work of CANT and Twin Shadow. Appropriately, Chris Taylor’s Terrible Records released two of these early jams as a part of their 7″ series. Blood Orange’s official debut LP, Coastal Grooves, however, presents something much more deeply rooted in rock as opposed to synth-R&B. Combined, these two faces of Blood Orange are a powerful reminder of just how talented Hynes is—especially at such a young age. This will be Hynes’ first performance in Seattle since 2008 (as Lightspeed Champion).
Supporting these two wonderful Terrible representatives are fellow Brooklynites Mirror Mirror. Since their 2008 debut, The Society for the Advancement of Inflammatory Consciousness, the psych-synthpop duo have become a trio with the addition of a drummer. They released their second LP, Interiors, earlier this year (fully streaming here).
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