Home Preview Preview: Rubblebucket @ 9:30 Club, 1/26/23

Preview: Rubblebucket @ 9:30 Club, 1/26/23

Preview: Rubblebucket @ 9:30 Club, 1/26/23

Rubblebucket (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Art pop duo Rubblebucket return with a new album, Earth Worship, released last year. Now, the band is on tour, and they perform at 9:30 Club on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth, the group’s front persons, co-writers, and co-producers, first began a friendship as jazz students at the University of Vermont. Now, Rubblebucket has six full-length albums, five EPs, and major touring status under their belts.

Rubblebucket recorded a significant portion of Earth Worship at their homes, tracking Juno 60, Yamaha DX7, flugelhorn, trumpet, and saxophones — all atop an electric bass and percussion-heavy production template Toth devised to evoke his vision of disco.

In March 2021, the group moved to the Catskills’ Spillway Sound alongside their live band: bassist Ryan Dugre, trumpeter and keyboardist Sean Smith, and drummer Jeremy Gustin, who incorporated chopsticks into his playing to produce otherworldly beats. They reunited with beloved engineer Eli Crews (Tune-Yards, Deerhoof), whose keen taste for Russian drum machines and unusual microphones brought multidimensionality to overdubs like timpani and cassette-processed horns. After eight days of studio bliss, it felt difficult to return to reality.

“We had so much fun and it was super inspiring, but it was Alex and I back in a pressure cooker,” says Traver. The duo realized they had to unlearn old patterns in their working relationship, and over the next 10 months, they developed a new language for mediation and repairing creative boundaries — which helped them round Earth Worship’s final corner. Mix engineer Claudius Mittendorfer (Parquet Courts, Weezer) brought striking finishing touches to the record, much to the band’s delight.

“It’s a cool way to let go,” says Toth. “The music’s not done when Kal and I are done.”

Watch the official music video for “Earth Worship” by Rubblebucket on YouTube:

When Kalmia and Alex formed Rubblebucket, they began immediately by using the project to delve into pop, funk, dance, and psychedelia; performances have spanned Bonnaroo to Glastonbury to their self-curated Dream Picnic Festival. But before their musical relationship, Traver and Toth initially bonded over another shared passion: the two were part of UVM’s Sustainable Community Development program.

Sustainability is still a part of their lives: Toth communes with nature as part of his morning routine, and Traver is adept at foraging in the band’s adopted home of New York City. Yet songwriting explicitly about environmentalism in Rubblebucket has felt immaterial—besides, the band has shared its beliefs over the years by inviting anti-fracking, reproductive justice, and other organizations to table at their shows. But Traver was interested in writing love songs for and from the natural world, and both were inspired by their parents’ work in ecology and community facilitation, from which they saw a throughline to music’s communal healing. Traver suggested “earth worship” as a lyrical prompt for their sixth record, and with this concept at its core, the duo began writing an album titled after that very theme.

Buy your tickets online now!

W/ Spaceface
9:30 Club
Thursday, Jan. 26
Doors @ 7pm
All ages


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