Why? popped by the FUEL TV studio for the Daily Habit’s Halloween episode to share some tracks off their September 22 release Eskimo Snow. Host Pat Parnell was decked out in a Santo Bugito-esque onesie with Yoni, Josiah and the gang on hand to add their latest eerily catchy soundtrack to the show.
It comes with no surprise that the Anticon flagship band’s new album continues to see their music evolve, but such a large step away from the hip-hop take on indie rock has taken a few by surprise, especially when you take into account that both Eskimo Snow and 2008’s Alopecia were recorded during the same sessions at Minneapolis’ Third Ear studios in 2007. As it comes straight from the horse’s, or in this case Yoni Wolf’s mouth, Snow is "the least hip-hop out of anything I've ever been involved with". This was no doubt influenced by the fleshing out of what seems to be an indefinite Why? line-up. Contributing to the Why? core of Doug McDiarmid and the brothers Wolf is the addition of Minneapolis’ electric/indie turned rock outfit Fog’s Andrew Broder and Mark Erickson manning the six and four strings, respectively. Broder and Yoni already have a collaboration history that has proven to be big kid tested, motherfucker approved.
Why? knocked out opening Snow track “These Hands”, a softly sung introspective xylophone mantra featuring dual lead vocals accompanied by a choir of soothing vibrato drone. The song may only of been a minute and half long, but somehow it cost me nearly two bucks in parking meter fees before acting stage manager Josiah could bark enough orders from behind his drums and vibraphone setup to wrangle up all five affiliates onto the same page. Once organized, they blasted through “Against Me”, another airy piano/vibes song questioning the woes of an uncertain future. Josiah shines with his signature intricate drumming, replacing right hand 16th high hat notes with a driving vibraphone melody while still keeping every drum in constant control with his left hand. Why add a percussionist to fill out your sound when your drummer can flawlessly play more instruments than Durga, right?
The Berkley via Cincinnati quintet headed down to San Diego to play a long overdue set at UCSD’s newest premier all ages show place, The Loft, shoving 14 songs in 40 or so minutes starting just after midnight. Their recent growth in popularity was made apparent by the 200- plus kids waiting in line as early as 8 p.m. despite it only being a one band bill, while past supporting tours through San Diego have only produced modest turn outs. They made up for lost time though, pleasing both old and newly found fans with a fair share of songs spread over the past three LPs. The first half of the set was dominated by Eskimo Snow tracks while the later was comprised of Alopecia and Elephant Eyelash. A rendition of “The Vowels Pt. 2” snuck itself in there and will go down as one of the best live songs I can remember witnessing over the past few years. We missed out, but I heard a rumor they have even been playing Hymie’s Basement’s “21st Century Pop Song”. Just don’t be that guy yelling it out five times between each songs. Don’t be THAT guy.