Head Automatica Debut in NY

Project boasts Dan the Automator, Glassjaw's Palumbo

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The Renewable Brooklyn concert was conceived as a massive outdoor music festival, featuring a strong pro-environment message and cool live music by 2 Many DJs, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Dan the Automator, and Richard Fearless from Death In Vegas, among others. Too bad the environment wasn't cooperating.

Held this past Saturday at a massive band shell in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the show could only be deemed the year's best secret party. Only a few hundred music fans braved the fifty degree weather and spurts of rain to witness seven hours of environmental awareness and dance-rock synergy.

Despite the big name line-up, the day's highlight came courtesy of a new group: Head Automatica, a collaboration between indie-producer extraordinaire Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Kool Keith) and Daryl Palumbo, frontman for the Long Island emo-hardcore group Glassjaw. If that musical combination seemed ludicrous in concept, the duo's execution proved otherwise. The group, rounded out by a bassist, keyboardist, drummer and two guitarists (one of whom was missing), deftly combined the best of modern rock and electronica with hints of Sixties garage turmoil and New Wave. There was supposed to be some DJ scratching as well, but the rain prevented any stage appearance by Automator. "They covered up my turntables with tarp," he grumbled.

Palumbo, best known for his psycho screamouts in Glassjaw, displayed a newfound melodic side in his vocals. It turns out the hardcore singer's a closet Brit-rocker. "I've always been a fan of Primal Scream," he explains. "I love the way they cross electronic with garage rock and house elements. I love bands like them, and Big Audio Dynamite." Pause, then laughing. "Oh, and T.A.T.U. That's a great record."

Head Automatica's debut, featuring guest vocal work from Rancid's Tim Armstrong, is scheduled for release in February, with a tour to follow.