I recently discovered this band through their collaborations with other artists that I enjoy listening to such as Mac Miller and Tyler the Creator. As I did my research on the band, it turns out that they are part of the Tyler-led hiphop collective Odd Future. The collective includes a multitude of artists and musicians based in the LA area and who share Tyler’s avant-garde style and have since become a staple of the Los Angeles hiphop scene. What struck me as surprising was the fact that a neo-soul/funk outfit with a lesbian lead singer would be part of this alternative hiphop group. However, knowing someone as outlandish and left-field Tyler the Creator could be it should not have seemed surprising at all.
The group was formed in 2011 by lead vocalist Syd Tha Kid and bassist Matt Martians. They were both already part of Odd Future and have performed on some tracks ,either adding vocals or bass respectively, by other OF artists. Syd is also the older sister to Odd Future member Taco. Through the group, she met Martians and they realized they shared a passion for bass heavy driven hiphop and soul so they decided to form a band. Syd and Matt became and still are the primary songwriters and arrangers and leaders of the group and they recruited Patrick Paige, Christopher Smith, and Jameel Bruner into the band, who were studio musicians who worked with Odd Future. Since their formation, they have released three studio albums, Purple Naked Ladies, Feel Good, and Ego Death, the last of which caught my attention and made me want to listen tot he band further. The previous two albums sounded much like a band still figuring out their sound, with some tracks being straight 4 on 4 funk and others being long drawn out jazzy soul instrumentals. Their last album had the perfect combination of both and saw the band find that perfect middle ground that displays the best in each member.
What impresses me the most about the band is their high level of musicianship. Every member is a top notch player on their instrument and it shows throughout their work. Their arrangements always require some sort of technicality no matter how simple or catchy the song may be. The arrangements sound warm and lush and well blended together and yet it doesn’t feel forced. Their songs always flow naturally as if every musician knows exactly how to respond to one another in order to produce the best quality. Aside from the production, it would be criminal to talk about the Internet if I did not mention Syd’s voice. She has an incredible range and a soothing timbre and yet her best trait in probably not even related to singing. No matter what the subject matter in the songs she always sings with a level of confidence that makes one believe her every word. I am so glad I found this band and I would be very surprised that they do not win a Grammy or some sort of award this year and if they don’t then they will always have a fan in me.