Moth Fight
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Moth Fight

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Pop Avant-garde

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Having caught Austin's Moth Fight last October at the "Swiss House" in Dallas, I was pretty sure what to expect last night--from the band and the audience. So, watching the group wow an audience of about 50 people was no surprise, nor was seeing a handful of local artists and others in the crowd slide into full "discovery" mode.

Listening to Moth Fight, it's easy to start throwing out a half-dozen or more "sounds-like-so-and-so" comparisons. After all, the band clearly possesses a similar sound and energy to Arcade Fire mixed with the imagination and unpredictability of Animal Collective (with spoons and a bunch of circuit-bent toys thrown in for good measure).

But even if you don't dig either of the aforementioned bands, that doesn't necessarily mean you wouldn't like Moth Fight's catchy brand of "avant-garde children's music."

The show was a blast, but if you couldn't make it to Dan's for the show, take a minute to drop by Moth Fight's MySpace page and check out "Hopscotch." - Dallas Observer


Mothfight: the best band in Austin Texas that you haven’t heard a lot about...yet. Take notice:

Mothfight is a hugely arranged band with intricate multi-vocals that top off a mountain of vaudevillian tribal beats and meticulous whirlwind walls of noise. Bigger sounding than Arcade Fire and more listenable than Animal Collective; Mothfight is about to take America by storm. By the end of July this post will look silly next to the accolades the theatrical group will be recieving. The thematic brilliance of Mothfight will have taken off and hordes of fans will be swarming to get their hands on the upcoming 7" inch and avant-garde "infinite playing cassette". How will this experimental technological oddity be conducted? Magic.

Please enjoy these Mothfight digital songs. Fire up the victrola, turn up the volume all the way, and listen over and over and over again. - Party Ends


If Mothfight’s only release to date weren’t a 7” record holding exactly two songs, I’d tell you that you need to be listening to them right now. I spent a good chunk of this weekend listening to some of Austin’s finest rock outfits, and they’re entertaining of course, but they don’t come close to the striking originality this band exudes.
fun_crowd.jpg
photo / Chad Hanna

Let me emphasize that I’m talking specifically about originality in Austin’s music scene. If you look at Mothfight in a broader context, you could place their music somewhere between the spazzier side of Animal Collective and the orchestragasms of Arcade Fire (doesn’t Mothfight’s name kind of evoke both of those bands, too?), but the music never sounds derivative. It’s joyous, unpredictable, interesting and a whole lot of fun.

When people review my performances in Fishboy, they always include a list of instruments I played, and that gets kind of annoying, but I’m about to do the same thing — so forgive me, gods of rock writing. Within the bounds of 45 minutes, the band managed to pull out guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone, toy percussion, violin, banjo, singing saw, glockenspiel, samples, and a host of electronic this-and-thats. And with seven people on stage to man those instruments, while simultaneously freaking out, clapping, screaming, and generally finding ways to make you shit your pants, there’s something to be said for the band’s texture.

And it’s thoughtful music. The songs are frenetic but not haphazard — you know that every screech is deliberate. (That being said, the band was having some non-deliberate sound problems at the Fest, but those kinks weren’t enough to detract from the performance as a whole.) Mothfight is a taste of a kind of music we don’t get so often in this city but that we really should be exploring. For a town that’s allegedly keeping itself weird, we have an awful lot of bands that just sound like The National - ThatOtherPaper.com


In the early afternoon, some strange and beautiful sounds drifted over from Stage 3—sounds that were something like the result of a ménage à trois between Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, and Octopus Project. People who were at other stages or getting food or just wandering around were looking in that direction and asking each other, “Who is that, playing over there?” A crowd started drifting over, trickling really, in twos and in fours, until by mid-set, Mothfight! had accumulated by far the biggest crowd of the three stages. Did they win some new fans that day? Most certainly. Did this performance solidify their place as one of Austin’s most promising new up-and-coming acts? Absolutely. - Soundcheck Magazine


That brings us to Mothfight! Watching these guys set up was an event in itself. Within half an hour of (Micah P. Hinson)’s set, Emo’s little stage was taken over by a sprawling mess of electronics, cables, instruments and bubble blowers. I’ve read a number of reviews raving about their live shows, but none of them compare to the real thing, so anything I’m about to say comes with a stipulation: see Mothfight! live, now. After having set up, they preceded to conjure up some of the most original music I’ve heard in some time. The simplest way to describe their sound is as a grotesque explosion of an Arcade Fire album, but it was the way the music flowed out of a constant bed of noise that was most impressive. They’d start with a full lineup of shakers and hand percussion that would morph into beautifully intricate songs that would just as soon crash back down into noise only to rise up again. There was not a moment of complete silence to be had the whole set. Their attention to detail, creative songwriting, and general enthusiasm for music made the night really quite enjoyable. - Austin Sound


The Victoriana-obsessed Mothfight may prefer the crinkle of yellowed newspapers and the whir of nickelodeons, but the band’s sound is undeniably New Millennium. Led by former Octopus Project guitarist Kevin Adickes, the Austin group combines synthesizers and found-sound samples with classical instrumentation (including violins, banjos, and musical saws) and barbershop harmonies, creating flickering glitch-gospels that open a temporal wormhole between past, present and future - The Onion


There’s a lot of analogies in comparing the Austin, Texas-based experimental pop band Mothfight with a group of children.

...there’s the music Mothfight makes — self-described as “avant garde” children’s music.

Finally, there’s the enthusiasm the band members bring to a stage. It’s infectious, sugary and dreamlike in its urgency.

“I would describe it as a childlike, youthful exuberance that translates well into the live show,” Mothfight member Kelli Christian told The Daily Times this week. “When you see us, it really seems like we’re having fun and not just going through the motions. I think that definitely translates live to the audience, and hopefully it’s contagious.”

“One of the best things I’ve heard anyone say about us is a guy who came up to me at the end of a show recently and said we were the most soulful live band he had ever seen,” member Marcus Rubio added. “That was a great compliment, because we give it 110 percent each night.”

Such a gung-ho approach really isn’t surprising, given the drive of Adickes himself. Before he was out of high school, he was writing for the influential music Web site Pitchfork, as well as composing his own songs. After graduation, he signed up to perform in such Austin outfits as The Octopus Project and Single Frame before eventually devoting himself to Mothfight full-time in 2005.

The band’s music shares similar qualities with those of other large ensemble outfits, bands like The Arcade Fire or any of the groups that make up the now-defunct Elephant 6 collective (Neutral Milk Hotel, The Olivia Tremor Control). It’s a cavalcade of noise made with a variety of instruments, played, strummed, beaten and banged with such fervor that the resulting cacophony sounds like a group of construction workers who decide to form their own marching band with instruments made from their various tools. On its Web site, the band describes it as “schizophrenically orchestrated prayer in the key of pop; one that finds a home for barbershop harmonies and numerous instrument changes alongside sound collages and musique concrète” that utilizes “hand-made tape loops, samples, circuit bent toys and home-made instruments.”

Seeing Mothfight perform live is the equivalent of being dosed by the dentist with a maskful of nitrous — no matter how bizarre things get, you can’t help but enjoy how you’re feeling at the moment.

“A lot of us have a pretty wide palette, and we enjoy a diverse selection of media — music and film and what have you,” Adickes said. “We all really devote ourselves to whatever project we’re working on, and when you do that, it’s easy to get bored when you’re trying to compose something and limiting it to one particular style.

“To keep ourselves sane, we decided to combine everything together into 3-and a-half-minute bursts of sound. We listen to everything from barbershop to noise, and we enjoy all of those things equally, so it’s hard to pick out one style and say, ‘This is us.’ That’s part of what we’re doing on this tour — sort of trying to find our sound and really push our limits in figuring out what we’re about as a collective of people playing together. And so far, I think it’s going well.”

Despite the obscure inspirations, abrupt left-turns that the music can take and experimental nature of what Mothfight does, the consistent ingredient, Adickes said, is the energy. And if it comes across as child-like, there’s a good reason for that — as a (former) teacher at a progressive school in Austin, he often works within and soaks up the energy of his students.

“I will occasionally test out my songs to that audience during music time — most of the time I’m just humming the melody and playing a song, but if it can keep their attention for the duration of the song ... if I can make it interesting to them ... then I know something’s working,” he said. “From song-to-song, we want to be consistent with that energy — like we’re composing a series of vignettes that come together in one coherent form. On this tour, we’re trying to find a way to make them coherent in one setting.” - The Daily Times


I can't recall how I stumbled upon these guys (perhaps it was the punctuation? I hear exclamation points are really "sticky" these days) but I feel happier since doing so. Austin's Moth! Fight! are a mammoth of a band (they have a bajillion rotating members) that stand a twee-ish middle ground somewhere between I'm From Barcelona, Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens.

The big band is led by singer/creator Kevin Adickes, who used to be in the bands Octopus Project and Single Frame. Adickes directs a revolving cast of musicians to create strange (but catchy) sounds using horns, strings, chimes, samples, and made-up instruments. The result is a grand experiment in orchestral whimsy. In other words, Moth! Fight! sort of sound like cool carnival music. Check out their epic songs "Hopscotch Part 1" and "Hopscotch Part 2." (If those aren't twee titles, I don't know what are.) - Oh My Rockness (New York)


There are musicians, and there are artists: the two are quite different. Musicians may have an idea of how to play a song, but artists know to what extent it should be played, composed, and created, as appropriating an entire image around the sound is part of completing the package. Artists intrinsically feel the confines and autonomy of their sound at its core, and compromising such a sonic vision is in no way an option.
Example in case: Moth!Fight!, another brilliant band hailing from the music mecca that is Austin, Texas. Made up of a "small orchestra," as they say, Kevin Adickes, Jessica Boettger, Jason Brister, Kelli Christian, Clarke Dominick, Michael Griffin, and Marcus Rubio have a robust sound of fervor hidden between their hopscotch rhythms and eerily insightful cadences. While their music proves absolutely transcendent and full of youth, their approach to creating sound and vision comes from a more mature hand.
To say the band consists of artistic integrity would be an understatement... Needless to say, Moth!Fight! trapped me in their beautifully webbed cocoon from the get-go... - Encore Magazine


Discography

"Hopscotch" (b/w "Hopscotch"), 7"
Natrix Natrix Records NN009
Released 10/06/07

Compilations:
"Rev. Sharp's Invention" (live - featured on Pitchfork Media)
KVRX Local Live Volume 12
Released 04/12/08

"A Long Way from Home"
HABITAT
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Released 11/10/08

Photos

Bio

By 23, Kevin Attics had already breezed through jobs writing for Pitchfork Media and Dusted Magazine and performing with critical darlings Single Frame Ashtray and the Octopus Project. He began Mothfight in hopes of making harsh noise but, after joining up with Jess Boettger, Clarke Dominick, Marcus Rubio, Kelli Christian, and Mike Yaklin, they expanded their palette, infusing their arrangements with heavy orchestral instrumentation, hand-made tape loops, samples, circuit bent toys, barbershop harmonies and home-made instruments, conjuring images of Disco Inferno remixing the Elephant Six Collective.

With just one 7" under their belt, constant touring and word-of-mouth have led to performances with the likes of Of Montreal, Best Coast, Explosions in the Sky, Dizzee Rascal, Bill Callahan, Ted Leo, Cat Power, Battles, Girl Talk, High Places, and loads of friends. They conquered Fun Fun Fun Fest, christened a reception for Mark Mothersbaugh's art, headlined(?!) Asthmatic Kitty's "Houston, My Ears Depend On You" Festival, and garnered attention from the likes of Pitchfork Media (who hosted a live MP3 of the band), The Onion, the New York Times, and other enterprising people who had lovely things to say. They just contributed a song to HABITAT (an Asthmatic Kitty compilation benefiting "Habitat for Humanity"), and commenced work on a long-player using an honest-to-God cassette recorder. The Austin Chronicle listed the group as one of 9 bands poised to break out at 2010's SXSW festival. Last year, the group was accepted into SXSW, CMJ, Sled Island Music Festival (Alberta, Canada), Midpoint Music Festival (Cincinnati, OH), and lots of other shows.