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  • Writer's pictureTantra Bensko

New Band in Berkeley

I discovered this fledgling Berkeley, California band when I overheard them practicing in a back yard, and I was drawn by their the soulful sound enough to trespass, opening a gate into a back yard and telling them I enjoyed their music. They invited me to watch. Here, I ask them their name. Their Facebook page says about that recorded moment, "If we ever make a documentary about our band, this will def. be the intro." The photo above is a screenshot from that moment.

I returned for their house show, which was sponsored by Queers Making Beers and opened with several comedy acts. Though the quality of that section of the show was spotty, a funny performer was jade Theiault, shown Here enjoying her new robotic arm. The band has been playing around the Bay and are returning to that location May 3rd '18 (Mother's Day, so I hope to bring my son along to hear them, yay) with the same folks supplying their home crafted beer, with tee shirts for sale.

The Forgetmenauts come across as playfully casual, without a website yet, and with only YouTube videos shot outside which don't at all capture the richness of their sound. "Current mood: futurepunk folk sex dirtcore We've got a lot of things going for us – mainly, several stringed instruments, a drummer who's contractually obliged to play shirtless (except when it's cold), and the fact that our practice space is a haunted faery tower. We sing songs about werewolves sometimes. Gutiar/banjo/vocals: Walker Staples Mandolin/vocals: Kit Gripp Bass: Emma Williams Drums: Collin Sullivan."

Consistently complex, startling profound, poetically intense lyrics sung with earnest verve and smiling good nature. Some originals included among the covers. The singers celebrated by proclaiming their love for each other, how they met, bonded, and now are in a band together! Romance, y'all. If that scenario makes you feel warm and fuzzy, read Floating on Secrets when it's released.

Every time the bass goes super growl-low it slays me. An exciting, memorable sound unlike any other I've heard. I asked Emma Williams how she got that particular sound, yet she said it was her first time performing with a distortion pedal.

The voices blend together like they were made for each other, celebrating all the howling lit up and bony dark worlds of the psyche willing to fully live and love. Vulnerability to the dangerous experience of fully inhabiting these animal bodies came across through the lyrics, which were easier to hear than most.

Collin surprised me by telling me he'd only been drumming for a year. (And, when I told him he's got the same first name as the protagonist in my Gothic novel, Encore, he said he lives in across from a house that looks like a castle. That tickled me, because my character risks his life to live across from a castle.)

The band members are a charming cheery lot who integrate the musical elements well. When they're ready, I'm hoping to see them at the Starry Plough where there's dance space. They said that's a goal of theirs too, so looking forward to them with a good sound system and acoustic space that shows off their music.

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