PUREHONEY 100 ft Pleasures

Published on December 2nd, 2019

Inventor Ray Kurzweil has predicted that by 2030 nanobots injected directly into our bodies will hardwire every human into the Web. It may sound like a Philip K. Dick scenario, but Kurzweil the technologist, futurist and Google engineering lead for A.I. in language processing has a scary-good track record when it comes to forecasting breakthroughs.

If our ’net-jacked nano-future arrives more or less on schedule, and we find ourselves living fairly soon in a world containing features of “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix,” we’re still going to need music. Our altered carbon will require fresh anthems, as not all of the old rhythms and tones, with their imperfect perfections, will be enough for the syncopated hearing of the new flesh.

Which brings us to Pleasures, whose turn at tickling the receptors of the future aural cortex has already begun. This four piece from St. Petersburg, Florida make, in their own words, “a hypnotic dark groove that might sound something like progressive alien pop.” One should further consider this self-portrait through the lens of Tame Impala, Radiohead and a dash of Battles.

Pleasures by Zitro

Orlando Weekly says the band “creates a dark psych/cybernetics hybrid that’s somewhere between Manson Family fever dreams at Spahn Ranch and ‘Blade Runner’ replicants decaying. Live, there’s a good amount of NIN/Soft Moon theatrics, with the uneasy alliance between humans and machines at the center of it all.”

But they’re still (mostly) human, and they’ve been touring almost non-stop since their declared band birthdate of January 1, 2015, while amassing a discography of EPs (two), LPs (two) and remix LPs (two). Even cyborgs need a break. So they’re stepping off for a while to focus on making their next album, but they’ll favor us with a headlining set on Dec. 13 at the PureHoney 100th Issue Party at Voltaire in West Palm Beach (and then, insanely, jet off for an event in Marseille, France the very next day). So don’t expect the touring component of this man-machine enterprise to be offline for too long, once the new record is assembled.

Sweet Bronco by Stardust Commission

Joining Pleasures is Sweet Bronco, the nom de mare of South Florida singer, songwriter and producer Chris Horgan and a rotating cast of players — among them PureHoney’s Honey Talks podcast host Brady Newbill, whose own band, Nervous Monks, is also playing this party. A very disarming Facebook band bio claims that Sweet Bronco in ensemble form “scarcely appears live anymore,” and that’s actually true of the last few years. So having Horgan not just as a troubadour but fronting a full-on band again for an evening is a legitimate happening.

The elements of indie, psych-folk and rock that Horgan has roped into his own musical vision might remind you at points of Talking Heads, Mojave 3, Grandaddy and the Breeders. But even these band and genre tags are confining, and none of them are absolutes in capturing the actual thing Sweet Bronco does. Horgan does what he wants, and that makes him awesome.

Horgan also recorded and mixed Nervous Monks’ new EP, “View From a Softer High.” His own recorded output is a little more closely guarded. But back in the Facebook bio, Sweet Bronco insist “they’ve recorded one billion songs and promise to finally release a couple more of them just as soon as they tweak that reverb just a little bit more … ”

Spirit & the Cosmic Heart

Spirit & the Cosmic Heart are likewise scheduled to appear, bringing their lush, synth-driven “emotional bangers” to this surreal tableau of sci-fi, indie, psych folk extravaganza. Chaucer, aka South Florida’s bard of bedroom lo-fi, Joshua Simkowitz, is also on the bill, with Stucco rounding out the lineup.

If we don’t exactly welcome our robot overlords, like the famous Jeopardy! contestant said, in the end I’m sure we’ll accommodate the Kurzweilian fusion of man and machine. Kurzweil also says that by 2029 — ten years! — scientists will have fully reverse-engineered, software-modeled and simulated all of the processes and capabilities of the human brain — “including our emotional intelligence,” he has said, promising us machines with “the subtlety and suppleness” of the mind. So let’s show love to the forward-thinking musicians playing this party. They’re all still writing way better songs than computers can — and if you listen to Kurzweil we shouldn’t take that for granted!

Pleasures play Friday, December 13 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach with Sweet Bronco, Spirit & the Cosmic Heart, Chaucer, Nervous Monks and Stucco. Doors 8pm, 18+. Advance Tickets $7. pleasuresbandcamp.bandcamp.com ~ Tim Moffatt