Moon Duo is a psych-rock/drone/krautrock band from Portland, Oregon by way of San Francisco. The project started in 2009 when Wooden Shjips guitarist Erik Ripley Johnson wanted a side band. He and Sanae Yamada (keys, vocals) joined forces, playing with programmed drums behind them. A couple of years ago, they hired drummer John Jeffrey to round out the band. Apparently, they had never met him, and they didn’t even audition him. He was hired after he met the band’s manager in Berlin. Things have worked out really well for them so far.
The band’s first album —Mazes— came out in 2011, followed by Circles in 2012. After that, they toured a lot. Not wanting to do that “write the new record on the road” thing, they waited until there was a big gap in their touring schedule to write and record Shadow of the Sun.
I don’t know much about the band, but I know that a lot of people were really thrilled when they were announced as one of the “large print” bands on the 2015 Hopscotch Music Festival lineup. I’m really excited that the festival is now only one month away.
Here’s one of my favorite songs from the new album:
“Animal” by Moon Duo
You can get some of the krautrock flavor in this song. The buzzy synths, the motorik-style drums, the delayed vocals. I love it. And of course it’s a little drone-y. It’s infectious, and I love it. It’s actually a little dark and gothy.
Here’s the official video for the song, which features Australian skateboarder Richie Jackson using all sorts of things including a pitchfork, a computer keyboard, and a car’s front bumper to make improvised skateboards. He also walks along in a ridiculously exaggerated gait, which spotlights the motorik beat. Make sure you watch the video all the way to the end.
This will be the sixth year of the Hopscotch festival, and my fourth consecutive year going to the entire weekend. I always start doing homework not long after the lineup is announced so that I’m fully prepared when the weekend comes. I like to have a “plan A”, a “plan B”, and a “plan C” lined up. I know there’s some merit to flying by the seat of your pants and discovering stuff by serendipity, but I really like to have a plan. To avoid wasting my time walking around aimlessly, and to avoid seeing bands that aren’t for me, I like to learn something about and listen to something be every one of the bands. They’ve downsized a little bit this year from about 170 to about 140 bands, and some of the venues won’t be available this year, but I think it’s a pretty diverse and exciting lineup.
During my homework, I quickly realized that this is a band that I really want to see. They’re playing on Friday September 11 at 11:30 at CAM. It’s not my favorite venue at the festival, but it’ll do. There’s one conflict, which is that I also want to see Mitski, who is playing in the same time slot over at Tir Na Nog. It’s a pretty decent hike from one to the other, so I can’t do both. I’ll have to pick one or the other, and I’m more likely to pick Moon Duo.
The festival is a month away, and tickets can still be had. Single day and full festival wristbands are still available. Single day main stage tickets (which ONLY get you into the City Plaza show) are also available. Go here for all the ticketing info. Go here to see/download the schedule, and go here for the full lineup. As we get closer to that weekend, there will inevitably be some adjustments to the lineup. Some last-minute deletions and additions.
Stay tuned here, and I’ll be highlighting many more of the Hopscotch bands in the next 30 days.