King Mono is the band / production duo of Little Shalimar (né Torbitt Schwartz) and Jeremy Wilms. The two met doing time in the rhythm section of the legendary Afrobeat unit Antibalas. In the early 2000s they founded the sophisticated disco soul machine Chin Chin who put out two records on the now defunct Definitive Jux record label. Yearning for an outlet for their more contemporary and quirky electronic impulses they began work on a new series of tunes based around a bunch of analog synths and drum machines, modern programing, and psychedelic mushrooms. Combining elements of funk, RnB, house, dance hall, hip hop, and '70s big beat rock, King Mono’s sound should be welcomed by fans of other genre bending futurists like Pharrell Williams and Little Dragon.
With Shalimar and Wilms' eccentric backgrounds, one must be prepared for their work to reflect this. King Mono's new EP, Straight to VHS, handled by the equally eclectic Tummy Touch label, is off-kilter but hits the mark. As this is in preparation of their forthcoming debut album Bump In The Night, any kind of guess as to what will happen on the full length would be frivolous. Plenty of character abounds on this new EP which serves as a first taste of what's coming with tunes featuring vocal appearances from Tiombe Lockhart, Chico Mann, Micah Gaugh, and -- yes -- David Lee Roth and Notorious B.I.G.. "Tiger Tiger" is the DJs highlight, an electro funk track with sly vocals that exude unequivocal cool all with an '80s sleaze. "Mosca" follows with breakbeat and booty bass wrapped up in Latin flavor. Curveballs like "Corriendo Con El Diablo" and "Can I Get Wit Cha" are thrown in for good effect. A strange twist of salsa and classic American rock, "Corriendo Con El Diablo" is hard to explain, but easy to shake the hips to. Equally surprising, a classic piano swing fit for an old time saloon underlays big hip-hop vocals sure to make "Can I Get Wit Cha" notorious for all those who listen. In addition, the EP also features the bleepy, subdued techno of "Room," once again featuring vocals one would not imagine, this time a disillusioned croon.
March 6 - Bowery ballroom w/ Beardyman
March 16 - Brooklyn bowl w/ Rich Medina, Kent Odessa