Bee vs. Moth
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Bee vs. Moth

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Rock Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Bee vs. Moth - "Problems With Crowds""

The jazzy stylings of Bee vs. Moth are imbued with a punk effervescence of the kind heard in groups like Bomb the Music Industry!

One wouldn’t be wrong in calling Bee vs. Moth a jazz group, but there’s something else at play in the Austin, Texas trio’s sonic. The group, comprised of founding members Sarah Norris (drums) and Philip Moody (bass), as well as guitarist James Fidlon, plays music that sounds a lot like jazz but has the energy of something more raw and primal.

Those familiar with punk outfits like Bomb the Music Industry! will no doubt see the similarities between that and much of Bee vs. Moth’s material. In particular, “Problems With Crowds”, a track off of Bee vs. Moth’s forthcoming studio effort Shelter in Place, could have easily been a backing track to any of Bomb the Music Industry’s last few albums. But there’s a real unique charm to this Austin band; the trio’s usage of various musicians from the Austin music scene makes “Problems With Crowds” and indeed the whole of Shelter in Place feel like a convivial effort.

Moody tells PopMatters more about “Problems With Crowds”, saying, “Many people are familiar with a decent size festival that occurs every March in our hometown Austin, Texas. The music, events, visitors, and fun are amazing… and at times overwhelming. You could say the buildup, dissonant guitar solo tension, return to melody, and calm outro of ‘Problems with Crowds’ reflect the triumph of enjoyment over bewilderment.” - PopMatters

"Bee vs. Moth: Problems with Crowds"

Genre redefining bands are rare, but Austin based trio Bee vs. Moth has found a new way to present jazz. Throw in a bit of cheesy organ, dip it in DIY punk attitude and get freaky sounding music about halfway Frank Zappa and The Residents. Try to dance to it and you will fall over. Problems with Crowds serves as a taster for their new album Shelter in Place. To Hell with genres and boundaries, find a groove and fuck it up. No safety-nets, no parachutes, but great skill and lots of guts.

Further proof of their risk taking is a joint project with The Invincible Czars to turn Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition into a jazz rock piece of sorts. Want to bet that it will be lot more interesting than the Emerson, Lake and Palmer version? - Here Comes The Flood

"Bee vs. Moth"

Bee vs. Moth: these folks play quirky, eclectic, clever, energetic, subtle, playful little ditties, and their live show is quite fun if you are willing to actually pay attention and give yourself over to their art. The main point of reference is jazz with an occasional rock or pop edge, but I describe them as "jazz/not-jazz". Wacky and serious at the same time, holding simple and technical elements in dynamic tension, displaying serious chops and ability to jam, yet concentrating on the internal structure of each piece, Bee vs. Moth embark on the road less taken.

-Owen M.

- KVRX 91.7 FM

"Texas Platters - Bee vs. Moth - Acronyms"

Take the opening clamor of "Salisbury Steakhouse" into the more subdued mood music of "Now More Than Ever" and "Tuesday in Tuskegee," and this instrumental quintet's second and latest is a study in symmetry. Though Bee vs. Moth's tempos can change on a whim, there's never a feeling of disarray. In fact, "The Sky and the Dirt Earth" is pure jazz, and "ICP on Parade" (going to assume that doesn't stand for Insane Clown Posse) takes its time with procession. Conversely, "I Listen to Coffee All Day" makes detours into free-form brass romance, and the excellent "Gor's Apparatus" comes closest to rocking. Debut Soundhorn (2007) was more the spawn of Elfman, but here the locals move past cartoonish. Saxophone and trumpet make more discreet entrances, the guitar is taut, and there's poise in the noise. - Austin Chronicle

"Album Review: Bee vs. Moth, "Acronyms""

Rambunctious and brassy, this Austin, TX, quintet toys with traditional jazz, marching band sounds and improvisation with a flair for both the humorous and skronky interludes.

Like the bands Beirut, Slaraffenland and A Hawk and A Hacksaw, Bee vs. Moth rip boundaries from a musical style customarily defined by a time and place. Imagine the Preservation Hall Jazz Band giving up chairs to Albert Ayler, Fred Frith and Kurt Weill -- all of whom show up with sketches of compositions they are interested in playing.

Their song titles elicit chuckles, but the music is nothing to laugh at. In "Mexican Noise Soda," the band pivots off a few bars of regional south-of-the-border musical styles into wild metallic noise. Adventurous, it's also coherent, and any moments that go off the rails are only seconds long. "All Hail Freedonia," a reference to the mythical land Groucho Marx rules in "Duck Soup," has its Henry Cow-ish militaristic moments. Two other great titles, "Pennies From Hell" and "I Listen to Coffee All Day," find their centers in brass band funk and dirgey cabaret, respectively. - SoundSpike

"New Mix: Syd Barrett And A Bee Invasion"

I fall in love with maybe two, maybe three jazz records a year. But every once in a while something comes along and perks me up. I hear the sounds of Ornette Coleman and the band Television. And sometimes in the same song. - All Songs Considered (NPR)

"Bee vs. Moth - Soundhorn"

If pressed to classify Bee vs. Moth’s debut album, one would most likely futilely revert to “jazz,” though that hardly does justice to the strange and far-reaching versatility that sprawls throughout the instrumental album. From the opening song, appropriately titled “Doom Equity” and introducing the band with a contorting overture of various genres pillaged on what follows, the group seems intent on defying expectations. An electric guitar spikes the first note, followed by bursting big band horns, all of which segue into an almost metal drudge after the first minute, something akin to Boris collaborating with Ornette Coleman. Inexplicably, by minute three the song has dropped into a vibraphone tiki beat and trumpet solo, as an ominous bass slowly builds to swell and we’re back where we started. And that’s just the first song.

That playful attitude never dissipates, and at times is even overthrown with a zesty ridiculousness. “My Nephew Raymond” vacillates between a cartoonish spree of the Tuba bounce and a salsa-flavored sway, while the almost 8-minute long “Rock ‘N’ Roll Monkey Pants” is fairly well-summed up by its name - a rhythmic snare and bass marching behind an arabesque of improvised horns and a rustling that is most likely the “box of glass” listed among the instruments, all of which explodes in a screech of free jazz freak-out by the end. Ivo Gruner’s trumpet seems to lead the core quartet on many of the songs, though the real versatility of their sound lies in Philip Moody’s bass and Sarah Norris’ percussion (Aaryn Russell rounds out the lineup on guitar, while additional horns are contributed by Jerome Smith, Holland Hopson, and Mariah McPhail, with Brent Fariss supplying upright bass).

“Tjamls” may be the most traditionally jazzy of the tunes, guitar and horn solos backed by light cymbals and smooth bass line. But given the wavering electronic buzz accenting “Pancake Factory” or the sturm und drang of “Lead Foot’s” metal hammer, the album is as restless as a hive on fire, or to continue the play on their name, a moth darting dangerously close the bug zapper. Elsewhere “Absurdity Weather System” fluctuates in a tempest of its own, while closer “This Ungoatly Hour” builds from an almost ambient thrumming to the requisite horn crescendo and strafed guitar, dropping into a lonesome trumpet solo, and then bursting into a frenetic conclusion. This is jazz for the ADD generation. - Austin Sound


If Danny Elfman hadn't scored Forbidden Zone, Austin's Bee vs. Moth could have done a pretty good job. The horn-heavy quartet comes equipped with trumpet and vibraphone, supplanted on debut Soundhorn with Holland Hopson on soprano sax and Jerome Smith on trombone. Opener "Doom Equity" sounds as impish as anything the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo ever committed to the sixth dimension, but the band's branches in the New Music Co-op give it a distinct Texas feel: the experimental and Latin on "Moskva," Southern swamp on "Lead Foot," the toast to Ornette Coleman on "Rock & Roll Monkey Pants," romanced by a drunken midsong skronk-down. Lyrics would be too much here; Soundhorn's instrumental ups and downs (was that a bass solo?) are enough to follow on their own. Hard ear candy for your soft inner child. Can a Bee vs. Moth Saturday morning cartoon be far behind?

-Audra Schroeder - The Austin Chronicle

"Bee vs. Moth: Acronyms"

Austin, TX may be a hotbed of musical activity, but this abundance often works against the smaller, unsigned act. How can one’s voice be picked out of the clamor of South by Southwest? How can one strive for attention when the field is already cluttered with notable post-rock bands?

First, it helps to have a unique and memorable name. Sight unseen, most people would not be interested in The Philip Moody Band. (Sorry, Philip!) But Bee vs. Moth? That’s a good name, bringing to mind the recent children’s book Shark Vs. Train and the classic film Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster. Second, it helps to have a distinctive sound – in this case, split halfway between Bourbon Street and a traveling carnival. Cool t-shirts are a bonus, and (when worn) a source of free publicity. But none of these things are as important as talent: fortunately, a trait this band has in abundance.

Acronyms improves on the band’s 2007 debut, Soundhorn, with crisper mastering and a wider variety of sounds. The quirky turns of phrase and giddy passages of controlled improvisation are retained, although some of the current cuts are more radio-friendly. The quintet’s jazz tendencies are cut with post-rock (co-composer Sarah Norris also plays vibraphone for My Education), lending the project an air of the unclassifiable.

Energetic romper “Salisbury Steakhouse” leads off the proceedings with mariachi horns, surf guitars and frequent tempo changes. A mid-song burst of laughing conversation only adds to the sense of fun, while a trumpet and vibraphone duet ties a knot to the tune’s balloon neck. Depressive music this is not. When the orchestration is fullest, the band sounds a bit like Troubles on lithium. The unexpected pleasure is that some of these instruments (flute, tenor sax, intonarumori) are seldom used outside of the more staid genres, where they often seem buttoned-up; here, they are free to cut loose.

A lounge/spy movie vibe infuses “Tuesday in Tuskegee,” proving that the band is no two-trick pony. As the album progresses, it swiftly becomes apparent that the band has an entire stable of ponies, well-fed and eager to whinny and prance. It’s no surprise that the music of Bee vs. Moth has been used in the PBS series, “Roadtrip Nation,” and that the band will soon be following its contemporaries 3epkano and My Education into the realm of classic movie scoring. (Buster Keaton’s 1928 film The Cameraman is first on the docket.)

“Peter Benko” tips a hat to the Pixies’ “Tame” by sharing a similar bassline, but adds handclaps and subtracts vocals. “The Sky and the Dark Earth” tones the proceedings down to near-narcoleptic levels. This is how it goes for the rest of the album: upbeat jazzers, downbeat (instrumental) crooners, eclectic references, happy juxtapositions of rumble and purr. The problem with this is that it tends to be a bit haphazard. The oom-pa-pa of “ICP on Parade” is jarring next to the improvisation of “All Hail Freedonia.” The slower cuts are distracting in the center of the album and should have been pushed to the back, along with the restful coda, “Ugly Is the New Black.” The overall effect is akin to that of an over-excited child randomly showing off a bevy of toys. Remove perhaps two of the twelve tracks, and shuffle the rest around, and Acronyms becomes a much more coherent album.

At this stage in its career, Bee vs. Moth is reminiscent of the embryonic Barenaked Ladies. Although one band is instrumental and the other vocal, they share a number of similarities: a touch of silliness, a willingness to experiment, an anything-goes philosophy. The same words are used to describe both acts: quirky, eclectic, humorous, playful, fun. By the two-album mark, each band had/has produced some stunning cuts, but no classic albums. After this point, BNL plowed forward into nearly-inaccessible conceptual territory, before retreating into horrifying, crowd-stupifying banality. (An ill-advised 15-minute “rap” breakdown in the middle of a live set may have been the sound of the second shoe.) This is the fate that BvM is advised to avoid, as there’s a fine line between taut and twee. The talent, drive and raw material are all here, and the progess made since Soundhorn is palpable, so there’s good reason to believe that the form imposed by The Cameraman will lead to an unqualified success.

-Richard Allen
- The Silent Ballet

"Review: Bee vs. Moth's "Acronyms""

Bee vs. Moth are a quintet out of Austin, Texas that combine a crunchy means of rocking out with intricate instrumental passages and arrangements. In fact, they are an instrumental-only band, although they seem to be the kind of band who may surprise people with a vocal/verse or two at any given time. Acronyms (Aggraveire Music) is an album for fans who enjoy a bit of mathematical rock loud and raw but organized, full volume but with a knack for sparsity at unpredictable moments. Go back to the first few Weezer albums and add to that a hint of 65daysofstatic or Pelican, and use instruments normally associated with jazz (saxophones, trumpets, cornet). But take the Sun Ra theory of thinking by using those instruments as percussion. If that sounds unusual or different than what you’re used to, then you’ll eat up songs like “I Listen To Coffee All Day”, “Mexican Noise Soda”, and “Salisbury Steakhouse” (and no, I didn’t use the words “eat up” on purpose to specifically mention songs with food or drink in the titles, I’ll call that a happy accident).

You could tap your feet or fingers to this, but this is about a band who want you to bang your head hard, but without feeling too much like an idiot. Instrumental bands in the last few years have been incorporating a lot of different textures and soundscapes, and Bee vs. Moth are no exception. In their case, just imagine a band who understand volume and power in their music, but hold back from being completely obnoxious. Don’t get me wrong, I love an obnoxious sound, but these guys will take the more delicate moments of songs and play in and around it, sometimes not returning with a blitzkrieg of energy. In the next song, they may take that concept, flip it backwards, and then look at its reflection in water. It’s not boring, and just when you expect for them to take a song to a direction you feel is right, they do you one better.

Go along for the Bee vs. Moth ride and see where you’ll end up.
- This is Book's Music


Shelter in Place (Studio Album) 2014
10-Year Anniversary (Cassette) 2014
"Josephine, Beauty Queen" (7" Single) 2012
Acronyms (Studio Album) 2010
Turkey Sandwiches (Live Digital Album) 2009
Soundhorn (Studio Album) 2007

Bee vs. Moth's recordings have played on KUT 90.5 FM, KVRX 91.7 FM, WNUR 89.3 FM, KTRU 91.7 FM, KOOP 91.7 FM, WXUV Chicago, KXLU Los Angeles, KMUW Wichita, Fearless Radio Online, Last FM, and at college stations across the US.



"Bee vs. Moth rip boundaries from a musical style customarily defined by a time and place. Imagine the Preservation Hall Jazz Band giving up chairs to Albert Ayler, Fred Frith and Kurt Weill all of whom show up with sketches of compositions they are interested in playing."
- Phil Gallo

Bassist Philip Moody and drummer Sarah Norris started Bee vs. Moth with their co-written music, and began performing around Austin in 2004. The band has since grown into a diverse, rotating cast with ambitious arrangements featured in film and television scores, original videos, and live shows in Austin and throughout the country. Bee vs. Moth's most recent studio album, Shelter in Place, follows the acclaimed 2010 Acronyms and the band's 2007 debut, Soundhorn. 2012's "Josephine, Beauty Queen" is a unique 7" single on pink vinyl with handmade artwork by Sarah.

With their new guitarist James Fidlon and a various cast of Austin's best musicians, Bee vs. Moth released their third studio record, Shelter in Place, in 2014. PopMatters describes the music as "jazzy stylings imbued with a punk effervescence." 

Reviews of Bee vs. Moth's tours and recordings recognize the bands unique musical character. Bob Boilen of NPR music heard sounds of Ornette Coleman and the band Television. And sometimes in the same song. This creative spirit is reflected in their humorous music videos and numerous special projects. 

The band also composed an original score for the 1928 Buster Keaton silent film classic, The Cameraman, which was featured at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. In 2012, SXSW Film invited the band to create and perform a new score for Ernst Lubitsch's 1919 film The Oyster Princess. Bee vs. Moth tunes have also appeared in the PBS series Roadtrip Nation. They are also collaborating with Austin band The Invincible Czars to re-imagine the symphonic masterpiece Pictures at an Exhibition for an 11-piece double rock band, complete with horns, strings, guitars, drums, and percussion.

Band Members