Sounds Like: Drifting between EDM and punk tents at a festival.
For Fans of: Animal Collective, the Prodigy, Suicide
Why You Should Pay Attention: The brainchild of Montreal electronic-music experimentalist Airick Woodhead, Doldrums never sounds like any one thing: serene bliss on one song, an epileptic nightmare on another, an EDM moshpit here, ADHD electro confusion there. Woodhead spent the last two years conceiving the group's latest, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, collaborating with Björk and Prodigy producer Damian Taylor and Weezer engineer Shawn Everett. It's a sound he fine-tuned while playing performance-art spaces, like Montreal's the Torn Curtain, where he could get away with anything. "My music wouldn't have worked in clubs or bars right away and I had to adjust a lot musically when I started touring," he says. "DIY spaces and communities are breeding grounds for creativity."
The one thing that connects the songs and their many styles is pads of fuzzy synth, which he says are spillover from his days as a guitarist. "Well when I started playing music I was listening to bands like the Verve, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine and stuff, playing guitar with lots of effects," he says. "I wanted to keep doing that while moving beyond the guitar, so I started using a sampler. I'd like to be as articulate and expressive with a sampler as with a guitar."
He Says: "One time at the Torn Curtain, there was a big night, mostly the after-hours type of crowd. Most of the night would be DJs which keep everyone happy, but me and a couple of the other guys who lived there went on did a kind of electronics-and-drums live improv noise set. I guess it started pissing off some people.
"This huge Juggalo-type guy in a suit right up front starts yelling at me and trying to get my attention while I'm playing. I thought, 'Shit, this guy is gonna clobber me.' I was already pretty high on mushrooms and I had a baseball bat onstage, just for peace of mind, so I felt pretty safe. So I just bring him up on stage and give him some drumsticks and get him banging on the drums while I bat someone's shoes into the audience. And he had a great time! It's like, you want to create chaos with your shows but bring people into it rather than push them away."
Hear for Yourself: Doldrums' cool-as-a-cucumber, anything-can-happen dance-floor stomper "Hotfoot" perfectly shows off Woodhead's penchant for psychedelic brooding and electronic explosions. By Kory Grow