What to expect: Considerable potential that this hip/hop duo will engage masks, will create a mess and will unload your head with their uncannily articulate motor-mouthed verses.
Said masks are likely to include wobbly cardboard likenesses of Bootsy Collins and Tom Waits. Said mess might be a crumbled newspaper, a pizza box or gusts of confetti.
Sounds: Eight-bar trade-offs over samples of party-startin' funk, loungey jazz and sleek bebop.
Ratio of instances where they've performed in rock clubs with indie bands vs. with other hip/hop acts or at hip/hop clubs: Four to one.
But that's the idea with Passalacqua, an initially casual blend of lyric-scribbled notebook pages between two local up-and-coming emcees, Mister (aka Bryan Lackner) and Blaksmith (aka Brent Smith — a part of hip-hop crew Cold Men Young). Growing up as schoolmates in the suburbs, they've reunited in their mid-20s to bounce ideas for a project that would emphasize songcraft and a broadening of perceptions of what's possible, not only within hip-hop aesthetics, but what's possible on stage, With one EP out (check bandcamp) and another coming next month, Passalacqua aim to disarm an audience with theatrics, making dorky look dapper and hip-hop work with indie rock. —Jeff Milo
Words often used to describe band: Hard, loud, fast, atmospheric, experimental, fuzzed, hazed, spaced. Notable: Most tunes are sketched out at 3 a.m. while their lead singer is often halfway around the world on another sabbatical.
What to expect: Eventually reading about them in a blog/zine that's not based in Belgium or Tokyo. While this psychedelic/shoegaze/trip-hop quartet churns away in our own backyard, they're doing phone interviews with Indonesian radio stations discussing the vibrancy of the Detroit scene.
Since they just wrapped recording their third LP with Chris Koltay (High Bias Studios), their press releases can justifiably name-drop the renowned engineer's former clients (TV on the Radio/Akron Family) which might finally lure the self-satisfied smartasses at Pitchfork into their album next season.
They recently opened for Crystal Stilts and that's a decent indicator of their sound and style: glittery/spacey guitars, fuzzed-out vocals, wavy bass grooves and propulsive drums. They keep it balanced and never get bogged down in druggy drones or too stratospheric with an overindulgence of a guitar pedal; it's something like Jonny Greenwood adding his flare to the Beta Band with the drifty dreaminess of Massive Attack — yet somehow not sounding really all that British, in the end. —Jeff Milo