Black Moth Super RainbowPseudonymous Pittsburgh Collective By Stewart Mason
Lovely and creepy in equal amounts.
Black Moth Super Rainbow have perfected a unique aesthetic, simultaneously alluring and unsettling. Their album sleeves, consisting of violently-altered photo collages and faux-naive watercolors, are both immediately recognizable and startlingly disturbing. Onstage, the band barely acknowledge anyone standing on the other side of the monitors: indeed, frontman Tobacco (Tom Fec) often performs while crouched behind a monitor or standing in the offstage wings, completely invisible to the audience. Both live and on disc, Tobacco's obtuse, often impenetrable lyrics are always sung through a vintage Vocoder, giving even folky acoustic reveries a retro-futurist tingle. While the Pittsburgh collective certainly have their antecedents--from the Flaming Lips and Olivia Tremor Control on the expansive psychedelia end to Air and Boards of Canada on the dreamy electronica side--they truly sound like no one else. At the dawn of the 21st century, the nascent BMSR was a duo called Satanstompingcaterpillars consisting of multi-instrumentalist Tobacco and bassist Power Pill Fist (his cousin, Ken Fec). Following several obscure releases under that name, the Fecs added keyboardist The Seven Fields of Aphelion (Maureen Boyle), guitarist Father Hummingbird (Seth Ciotti) and drummer Iffernaut (Donna Kyler) and regrouped as Black Moth Super Rainbow. Tobacco, The Seven Fields of Aphelion and Power Pill Fist's replacement, Ryan Graveface (under the name Dreamend) have begun concurrent solo careers in between a steady stream of BMSR albums, EPs, singles, tours and one-off collaborations including a tour with the Flaming Lips and an appearance on the hipster children's show Yo Gabba Gabba!