Bio: â€œGeorge was pretty damn eclectic as a kid,â€ says Tom Van Buskirk, referring to his cousin/Javelin collaborator, George Langford. â€œI was more of a snob, growing up on the ... (more)
Bio: â€œGeorge was pretty damn eclectic as a kid,â€ says Tom Van Buskirk, referring to his cousin/Javelin collaborator, George Langford. â€œI was more of a snob, growing up on the Beatles and classical music. Like I didnâ€™t get into Nirvana until after MTV Unplugged came out. Iâ€™m always late to the party.â€
Maybe thatâ€™s why Javelin formed in 2005â€”to throw a party of their own, one that sees nothing wrong with dropping crooked disco (â€œOn It On Itâ€), schoolyard funk (â€œIntervales Themeâ€), abstract R&B (â€œDepâ€) and pitch-perfect pop (â€œMossy Woodlandâ€) in the same set. At least thatâ€™s the way things unfold on Javelinâ€™s debut album, No MÃ¡s, the eagerly-awaited follow-up to a self-released collection of demos (Jamz n Jemz) and a pair of limited Thrill Jockey 12-inches (Javelin, Number Two).
Itâ€™s as if Javelin were programmed to reproduce the golden age of every genre known to man, bouncing between samplers and strings, drum machines and drum sets, and a growing collection of guitars, horns and homemade thumb pianos. You read that right: Most of No MÃ¡sâ€™ dusty 45 moments arenâ€™t lifted from actual recordcrates. Theyâ€™re painstakingly recreated, note by note, from the jukebox in Javelinâ€™s collective mind.
â€œI love making music that has flaws and human fingerprints all over it,â€ adds Langford. â€œThereâ€™s also that grey area where you canâ€™t tell whatâ€™s a sample, although it leaves you wanting to say, â€˜Hey, I did that!â€™â€
Thereâ€™s no denying whoâ€™s doing what at Javelin shows, ever-evolving pieces of performance art that leave the laptops at home and have more in common with the multi-tracked madness of an old Jamaican sound system than the standard guitar/bass/drums setup of a â€˜bandâ€™.
â€œThe worst thing in the world would be to have a wall of dudes staring at your gear, watching your every move,â€ says Langford, â€œSo we try to inject as much life and energy into our performances as possible.â€
When they first started playing around Providence, this meant an overwhelming array of â€œturntables, glockenspiels and percussion.â€ Now that theyâ€™ve settled in Brooklyn and stripped their restless sound down to its bare essentials, Javelinâ€™s become known as the guys with the boom boxes, a Flaming Lips-like technique thatâ€™s allowed them to break down the artist/audience wall at such tour stops as New Yorkâ€™s Museum of Modern Art.
â€œA lot of people think theyâ€™re ornaments, but they play sound,â€ says Van Buskirk. â€œItâ€™s like, â€˜You really thought we dragged all of this here for nothing?â€
Never. You see, everything has its place in a Javelin song, from the shimmering keys and brassy strut of â€œShadow Heartâ€ to the loony tune loops of â€œOh! Centra.â€ So if youâ€™re trying to â€˜figure Javelin outâ€™, donâ€™t bother. These musical omnivores work their music like a rabid radio dial, leaving a tricky trail of sonic breadcrumbs in their wake. Or as Langford puts it, â€œThe minute I start working in one style, I get distracted and want to work on another one. We kinda gave up on finding our â€™soundâ€™ years ago.â€ (less)