“Fuzzed-out pulsating pop noise that’s as mesmerizing as it is minimalist”
“One of the bands to watch for from Brooklyn’s most vibrant music scene.”
—The Guardian Unlimited
“Kudu are just great—a weird meld of torrid and frigid, alluring and domineering.”
“Brash, active beats and refreshingly sparse electronics”
—Time Out New York
Brooklyn-based trio KUDU has been hailed as “one of New York’s most caustic, daringly inventive and criminally underrated dark electronic dance-pop outfits” whose unique sound effortlessly taps into the stylistic dexterity, raw energy and twisted inventions of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, THE CREATURES, ESG, pre-PURPLE RAIN era PRINCE, MISSING PERSONS, BOW WOW WOW and Detroit techno (circa ’91) creating a charismatic and gloriously decadent, “neon-pop” hybrid New York Press described as “raw, powerful, and darkly melodic- last-party-before-you-die music.”
Kudu’s formula is to take what’s hot and push it forward, while retaining a hauntingly dark artistic simplicity. Their genre-hopping sound ingeniously melds dark synth-pop, gritty voodoo-rock, black metal and arty “no wave” experimentation with feverish punk, glittery future disco, narcotic cabaret and nihilistic electronic dance grooves underscored by gripping vocals, razor-sharp lyrics, infectious melodies, thunderous drums and maniacal bass synths. It’s an exuberant mixture daring enough to touch several bases while remaining intelligent enough to keep the listener intrigued with an overall edgy and fresh sound.
Vocalist/songwriter and femme fatale Sylvia Gordon (aka “Illvia” and “Betty Black”) has an impressive knack for writing engaging rhyme schemes and sinister poetic lyrics that are accessible and arrestingly visual. Her erotically-charged, velvet vocals possess the raw emotion and evocative intensity of classic female punk and new wave icons like SIOUXSIE SIOUX, POLY STYRENE (of X-RAY SPEX), BOW WOW WOW’s tribal sensualist ANNABELLA LWIN and MISSING PERSONS’ DALE BOZZIO, coupled with the unhinged sexuality of BETTY PAGE and a vocal range that easily matches (and surpasses) the best of today’s jazz singers.
Synth bass and effects mastermind Nick Kasper injects the group with a dirty, urban-laced undercurrent owing much to classic “B-Boy” era hip-hop, early ‘80s electro and the tripped-out soundscapes of “beatstrumental” renegades like DJ SHADOW, DJ KRUSH, TIMBALAND and SWIZZ BEATZ adding a pulsing undercurrent of chunky bass grooves and menacing synth textures. While master drummer Deantoni “D” Parks is one of those rare musicians that come along once every 100th blue moon to hold court among the finest drummers alive. Raised on a steady diet of funk, Southern soul and gospel, D was swinging with the local high-school jazz band by age 5! After discovering jazz as a teen and throughout college, his focus later turned to the intricate mechanistic beats of electronic music – which has made the industry take special notice. Listening to D play is like a caffeine jolt to the brain. He plays at lightning speeds replicating machine made beats with a primal intensity and an astonishing mechanical accuracy.
The marriage of these 3 talents has culminated in a boundlessly diverse sonic tapestry that cuts across all musical, cultural, social, political and sexual divides. Their artistic, philosophical and musical bond is a juxtaposition of polar opposites (yin and yang) whose different tastes and backgrounds compliment one another producing a bold new musical color all their own. And while they belong to no music movement, they slot-in with many of the leading innovators of the modern pop and dance-rock movements including LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, GOLDFRAPP, CELEBRATION, NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB, CSS, THE GOSSIP, THE KILLS, THE RAPTURE, M.I.A, MGMT and PLANNINGTOROCK.
It’s not surprising that the group has become the darlings of New York’s underground music scene and a veritable force to reckon with attracting critical acclaim, a loyal cult following and the adoration of some of the most influential and established innovators in the music industry.
Over the past year alone, the multi-talented outfit has been invited to work with an impressive list of groundbreaking artists (both as collaborators and session musicians) including MOBY, ME’SHELL NDEGEOCELLO, BASEMENT JAXX, THE MARS VOLTA, VELVET UNDERGROUND legend JOHN CALE, SPANK ROCK, ARMAND VAN HELDEN, SANTOGOLD, TELEPOPMUSIK, HESS IS MORE, ALICE SMITH, VERNON REID (of LIVING COLOR/YOHIMBE BROTHERS) and seminal New York post-punk/industrial outfit GRAY (JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT’S former band which includes VINCENT GALLO).
With their seismic sophomore album DEATH OF THE PARTY (released on Nublu), the band created debauched “fuzzed-out pulsating pop noise that’s as mesmerizing as it is minimalist” (according to Pitchfork). The genre-expansive album wrote a new page in the encyclopedia of music unleashing a viciously twisted cabaret laced with a minesweeping range, raw grit, penetratingly visual narratives and contagious pop-fuelled melodies with a sense of fun and reverie. From the radiant tropical explosion “Hot Lava”, the sassy cocaine decadence of ”Bar Star” and the bubbly electro-pop shimmer of “Playing House” to the flirtatious Goth meditation “Neon Graveyard”, the trombone-stomping French Quarter jazz romp “Physical World” and the brash street groove “Let’s Finish”, the critically-acclaimed collection captured praise for its tongue-in-cheek humor, undeniable sexiness and musically adventurous spirit.
The group took their party on the road touring throughout most of 2006 and 2007, perfecting their already seismic live performance, playing across the states with artists like MOBY, BRAZILIAN GIRLS, ME’SHELL NDEGEOCELLO, SPANK ROCK, CHROMEO, CSS, SLICK RICK, SERVICES, DAN DEACON and many more. In Europe, the band’s bold sound has captivated capacity crowds at international music festivals such as Roskilde in Copenhagen, Tejo Festival in Portugal and Transmusicales in France sharing bills with top-billing cutting edge artists like MSTRKRFT, THE GOSSIP, MICKEY AVALON, CAT POWER, COLD WAR KIDS, KLAXONS, JUSTICE, DIGITALISM, SHY CHILD and many more!
Never ones to rest on their laurels, Kudu have been quite busy over the past few months. In between occasional live dates, the gang have started writing and recording material for their eagerly-anticipated new album (due at the end of the year), as well as, compiling material for their forthcoming remix collection BACK FOR MORE: A REMIX COLLECTION . The set features a cherry-picked selection of new tracks, B-sides, rare recordings and remixes by ARMAND VAN HELDEN, TOMMIE SUNSHINE, SINDEN, DROP THE LIME, KING BRITT, CURTIS VODKA, HESS IS MORE, LINGLING and more to be released June 10th on Nublu.