I’m positively charged because I just got my new set of headphones in. It may seem strange or blasphemous to those of you who are music aficionados (or who may be bloggers in your own right) but I’ve never been a big fan of headphones. I’ve got a pretty nice sound system in my new Sorento, had an almost-as-good one in my 2010 Civic, and for the rest of my listening needs I utilize my iPhone/Macbook + generic Apple earbuds or my PC’s soundsystem. I just like music. I’m not a music snob. You can read my reviews and realize this quickly. I can’t pinpoint 30 different instruments and the style they were played. Frankly, I don’t care to. I just like to hear good stuff and occasionally write about it.
Conveniently though, my first “decent” (I use that term loosely) pair of headphones arrives in time for me to check out this insane LP by Toys and Tiny Instruments. Anyone with a band name like that, or a title like Thunder Clap Machine on their LP, gets a shot on the Sirens listening schedule. Sometimes, the name is the best part of bands and the music doesn’t live up. Toys and Tiny Instruments delivers – entertaining and intriguing, the myriad of sounds represented on Thunder Clap Machine will have your ears perking up from the beginning til the end of track eleven.
There’s a quote on the Toys and Tiny Instruments bandcamp from Bill Pearis of Brooklyn Vegan – to paraphase he said he booked the band because he wanted bands that made people stop and say, “What’s this?”, and then slowly it dawns on them, “Whoa, this is great.” That was pretty much my exact thought when I received this album. They are definitely in a different place musically than most bands I love, but they have maintained just enough of what you’re familiar with that even with all the outlandish sounds flying around you, you don’t feel intimidated.
Toys and Tiny Instruments are from Brooklyn and roll seven members deep, with an informal instrument line-up of one drummer with a “small” kit wherein the bass drum is a mic’d tambourine, a drummer who plays kitchen junk, Alec on melodica/toy piano, Colin on charango/distorted baritone ukelele, a member on stylophone, and another on “lead” kazoo for solos as well as vocalist/multi-
Interestingly enough, C.M. Duffy who is a member of the Toys and… collective, is also a freelance visual artist and did the album art here (which I absolutely adore). I should have hit him up to work on that new logo for me a few weeks back! Alec Betterley, whom I spoke with from the band, said that, “The group is pretty self-sufficient as we have our own artist, someone who does video (he’s working on one right now for the band) and folks who perform in all sorts of other acts. Toys is a nice place where all of this comes together.” Pretty neat.
I will admit, this may not be for everyone…but it should be. I feel like if you give it a fair shot, you’ll be all over it. In the beginning you might do a little WTF-ing, but soon that will shift to OMG and WTB. If you do WTB, you can do so at bandcamp.
HIGHLIGHTS: “Wicked Twin” (first single off the album, a bit more somber but altogether great), “Positively Charged” (one of my favorite tracks of late, and I say that a lot, but seriously, if you only listen to one…), “My Postcard” (tongue in cheek lyrics meet interesting sounds and a postcard results).