Shtetlblasters
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Shtetlblasters

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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Press


"Old-World Electro"

"[Doha] features a bouncing, Knife-style beat and lyrics uttered with an austerity only a Kraftwerk fan could muster ... [Eileh Chamda] begins with a heavy groove perfect for breakdancing, interspersed with a minor-key klezmer melody that unravels into a sing-along indie-rock chorus and an electronic funhouse of bizarre and beautiful sounds." - Jessica Steinhoff, The Isthmus


"Raucous Times"

"Shtetlblasters do their own thing. Marrying an intense interest in Yiddish folk music with psychedelic influences, crazy electronic experiments and the desire to be as loud and raucous as possible, they create unbelievable live shows that get even New York crowds dancing. I saw them play a free set at on St. Patrick’s day at Mehanata, the semi-notorious Bulgarian bar on the Lower East Side where Eugene Hütz occasional DJs ... Shtetlblasters completely killed." - Jesse Diener-Bennett, bestnewbands.com


"M.I.A. Goes Yiddish"

"What would happen if M.I.A. joined a klezmer band? It might sound a little like the Shtetlblasters, who'll get the crowd doing the hora and more." - The Isthmus' Critics' Choice


"Exuberant"

"An exuberant klezmer slap-fight ... Such technically nimble, multi-ethnic workouts—and slower moments like the elegant, mournful "Los Biblicos"—characterize the album." - Scott Gordon, A.V. Club


"Dance Appeal"

"'Tantz Mit ... The Shtetlblasters', is a testament to what electro and klezmer share: dance appeal. The song's title [Tantz Tantz Allemin] is Yiddish for "dance, dance, everyone," and dancing is exactly what the tune inspires, especially when the Shtetlblasters play it live." - Jessica Steinhoff, The Isthmus


"Spirited"

"The concert's [Present Music's John Adams showcase] after-party featured the Milwaukee debut of the spirited, Madison-based klezmer/electro band, The Shtetlblasters." - Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


"Thoroughly Original"

"The Madison band [The Shtetlblasters] released the thoroughly original Tantz Mit… earlier this year." - Ben Munson, A.V. Club


"Interview with Sam Harmet"

A shtetl is defined as a small town with a large Jewish population, “You know, like Fiddler on the Roof”, Sam Harmet laughs, while describing the name of his band, THE SHTETLBLASTERS. A play on the term, “ghettoblasters” because of their introduction of funk into Klezmer, the traditional European Jewish dance songs (like the kind you’d hear in the aforementioned Fiddler musical.) So, West Coast meets Eastern Europe in THE SHTETLBLASTERS.

Mandolinist and synth player, Harmet describes how the band got started, “We have a long history together as a group of musicians. Going all the way back to high school, we all went to Middleton”, the local boy said. “After going separate ways for college, we all ended up in Madison. We had done some klezmer stuff back in the day along with other projects relating to funk. But when we got back together the idea came around to fuse together the different strands of what we were doing. So the idea was doing all the old traditional klezmer songs but with a funky interpretation of the rhythm. We slowly added more and more synthesizers until we became a klezmer-electro-funk band.”

For people who want to get an idea for what the group is all about, Harmet recommends the first track playable on their Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/shtetlblasters) “Tantz Tantz Allemin”. “It’s a good starting point.” he says. “It’s an original tune of ours. We’re treating it as the single of the album. We made a video where we cut up footage from 80’s Jazzercise videos. So, if people want a little visual with their audio they can make it happen with that one.”

Their songs are mostly instrumental (keeping with the Klezmer tradition) but they do slip some human voices into the mix. Harmet explains, “We do some vocals, but usually if vocals are getting into the mix it’s through a talk box or a vocoder. We’re really into the 80’s funk band, Zapp (a Midwestern funk band whose known as a rhythmic progenitor of West Coast hip-hop and (apologies to Warren to the G) G-Funk)) and they’ve definitely influenced in the way we approach vocals, so when we do, they’re all robotic in some way.”

Harmet says that just because they’re a little outside the mainstream, it doesn’t mean they have any trouble finding shows. “Locally, pretty much if you have the initiative and you wanna do a show, you can make it happen. There are enough people that know what we’re doing. As far as the angle, it’s dance music ultimately, you’re dealing with dance music from Eastern Europe in klezmer and dance music from America in funk and electro. Even though it seems like it might be coming from the fringes with the influences, it’s pretty accessible. And we just approach it as having a silly dance party in a given venue. If anything, it’s helped to grab attention.”

Their first album, Tantz Mit The Shtetlblasters, is now available on iTunes and CDBaby and they’ll be appearing at Atwood Summerfest July, 31st in Madison. “If nothing else, it’ll definitely be something that you haven’t heard before.” Harmet says. “Our goal is for people who hear our music, we want to simultaneously raise your eyebrow but also tap your foot and nod your head. We’re trying to do something a little more challenging and different, but at the same time something that is really fun and immediate and is going to make you want to dance.” - Mike Huberty, Maximum Ink


Discography

Tantz Mit ... The Shtetlblasters (LP, 2010)

Photos

Bio

Occupying the fertile creative zone existing between klezmer, electro-funk, and contemporary improv is Madison, WI based group Shtetlblasters. Torn between a love for Eastern European Yiddish dance music on the one hand and glitchy electro experiments on the other, Shtetlblasters have since the spring of 2008 been honing their particular mish mash of these disparate dance styles. Live, their shows are always manic and improvisational happenings that typically involve a lot of moving on both sides of the stage. Recently, Shtetlblasters released their debut album "Tantz Mit..." a free wheeling mix of clarinets, mandolins, blaring synths, vocoders, churning bass, and syncopated percussion and electronic drums. Self-released, the album is available through iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.

Check out the jazzercise-inspired video for "Tantz Tantz Allemin" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXvlRHqJZiw