Guerilla Toss’ grand achievement is that they make experimental music that’s impossible not to dance to. The latest example, “Perfume,” is the new single from the band’s DFA Records debut, Eraser Stargazer, which dropped on March 4. It’s a frantic, pulsing jam, punctuated by singer Kassie Carlson’s piercing yelp and the clang from Arian Shafiee’s guitar. The video has a frenetic pace to match, combining found footage with green screen techniques to make for a technicolor hallucination that would feel at home in the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic. If you’re just now hearing about the Brooklyn-based five-piece, “Perfume” is not a bad place to start; it’s indicative of the line the band toes between pop and weirdness.
Eraser Stargazer was recorded in upstate Livingston Manor, New York, in the dead of winter. The band rolled up to drummer Peter Negroponte’s family cabin with no material, but ready to write; they rolled out with an eight-track art-rock bomb of a record that pulls no punches. Its origins are a bit dissociative; the sounds are bright and often tropical, recalling anything but snowbound isolation and winter doldrums. A testament to the band’s imagination, perhaps.
Their music may push the boundaries of pop, but most of the members of Guerilla Toss received quite formal educations in music. They met at a basement show in Boston — while attending the New England Conservatory. Shafiee says the band started in earnest in 2012 when Carlson joined the band, and in the four years leading up to their record deal with DFA, they released tapes with experimental Western Massachussetts label Feeding Tube, Toby Aronson and Matt Mayer’s Vermont label NNA Tapes, and Nashville’s Infinity Cat Recordings. They seem to be most influenced by their friends; disciples of PC Worship’s Justin Frye, Shafiee and Carlson even live in his former home, a Bushwick DIY space called The Meat Wallet. They count their friends among their main influences: PC Worship, Horse Lords, Cloud Becomes Your Hand, and Sediment Club, to name a few. “I mean, we all like the same stuff — like James Brown, Talking Heads, and shit like that,” Shafiee says. “But I feel like you’re more influenced by what you see in front of you.”
If this clip for “Perfume,” which premieres here on Flavorwire, is any indication of what they see, it’s more than a little bit disconcerting, but exciting nonetheless. We can’t wait to see what else they come up with.