By Matt Smith
“Bones” by Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun
This band out of Atlanta leaves quite the impression. Their live act is spectacularly grungy, plenty dance-infused, and features as many guitar pedal / mixing board acrobatics as Radiohead and U2. If you ever get the chance (they play regionally all the time, making trips through Raleigh, Columbia, all through Georgia, and various other places), see them live. You won’t regret it.
Lately I’ve been enamored with their song “Bones”, off the 2009 EP Heavyweight Champions. It’s got all the bells and whistles of the best indie/rock dance tracks of the past five years, and sounds a lot like Bloc Party would sound if I liked Bloc Party. And if they had a female vocalist. It opens the album with an air of urgency, as if the well-timed and very much together band could fall apart at any moment just from the sheer velocity of the four-on-the-floor tempo. It’s a breathless way to open an album.
Lyrically, Lauren Gibson’s pleading for physical touch (“I’m not asking for much / Just a pulse that I can touch / Just a bit of flesh that I can squeeze”) is analogous to the growing disquiet of our generation’s longing for a return to some sort of non-digital age in which human beings actually existed with one another, in real-time, and weren’t distanced so much by all of the bullshit, both technological and psychological. Of course, I make this association while writing an online essay and lauding a band whose visceral onstage performances are helped greatly by an array of mixing equipment and two sets of Korg keys.
The band is two EPs into the game, and I wonder when it will be time for a full-length. I think the time is nigh. They’ve already garnered plenty of regional and, to a lesser extent, national press. They need to record that debut LP and get out of the chitlin circuit (though, please, do keep playing here in the future!). I think they’ve already proven they have the songwriting chops to continue writing worthwhile music well into the future.
What saves Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun from falling into the sort of stale territory so many similar bands have fallen into is not just the gut-instinct guiding the proper amount of synth-pop jambs and remixes that populate their first two releases alongside the heavier stuff, but it’s their commitment to performance as a key component of making music that keeps them vital, and they certainly are not lacking in that department. The four piece is essentially a barrage of pulsating rhythms, feedback, digital trickery and ultra-grunge soundscape design (particularly in its bass guitar and keyboard levels), and it works greatly to their advantage that they’re adept at knowing just where to go on-stage for building up an audience and then tearing them down.
I look forward to much bigger and grander things from this band. “Bones” is a terrific indie single. They certainly deserve the attention. You should give them yours.
Matt Smith is a writer living in Columbia, SC. He publishes film criticism on his own blog, http://mattsmithonfilm.blogspot.com, and is the co-host of the Shadows and Light Movie Podcast (http://shadowspodcast.com)