Tobacco LA UTI
After Black Moth Super Rainbow’s underwhelming 2009 album Eating Us—the Pennsylvania psych act’s most band-y effort to date—main brain Tom Fec decided to go it alone as Tobacco. And aside from a standout Aesop Rock cameo on 2008’s Fucked Up Friends and two Beck guest spots on this year’s stellar Maniac Meat, he’s kept it that way, piling swampy analog synths on top of fuzzy blown-out bass on top of churning hand-smacked drums. If a Tobacco track needed a vocal, Fec took care of that himself, cooing Vocoder-ed come-ons about licking witches or burning shit—he didn’t need no stinking rappers, even if his soundscapes were becoming more and more MC-friendly. The LA UTI EP makes like one of those old Marvel “What If” comics, pairing seven of Fec’s bog beats with seven different indie-rap entities. Though it’s plenty rewarding to imagine a parallel universe where Tobacco is the producer-in-residence for Brooklyn space-hop weirdoes Anti-Pop Consortium (they meet on “TV All Greasy”), and it’s nice to hear Subtle’s Doseone getting his polyrhythmic swag on over “The Injury,” the set’s best moments are its most unexpected. On “2 Thick Scoops,” Chicago’s Serengeti sounds as raw and hulking as the lurching track itself. “Unholy Demon” features an unknown named Icicle Frog who sounds like a B-boy Mooninite making with the freak-freak. (This is a good thing.) Meanwhile, the EP’s biggest win—the seething closer “Lamborghini Meltdown”—is a match made in Fec’s own circle of warped funk hell, suggesting that he and Arizona’s falsettoed Zackey Force Funk could and should pursue this at length. The only bummer comes with the realization that more than half the backing tracks are reduxed from Maniac Meat, but perhaps LA UTI is a bridge to something bigger. Somebody alert the Watcher—there could be a crossover a-comin’.