The band is called Surplus 1980 and it’s a successor to Mute Socialite, a band that impressed me with its punk energy, its jazz/prog complexity, and especially its tight musicianship. While I never saw Mute Socialite live, I really enjoyed their album, and once upon a time, I interviewed the whole band on the radio.
Mute Socialite started as a normal two-guitar rock quartet that eventually added trumpeter Liz Allbee. Surplus 1980 explodes the concept into a punchy pastiche, adding more horns, lots of vocalists (Mute Socialite, true to its name, was all-instrumental), a bit of piano here, a dose of bass clarinet there. I’m quite partial to the sound that the horns get on “Relapse in Response,” chirpy and riffy.
One nice thing about Kickstarter is that the artist can gather up small donations; you don’t have to put in more than the price of a CD if you don’t want to.
The other nice thing, though, is that Kickstarter can give a spotlight to projects that don’t have the publicity hook of live shows. Surplus 1980 is multilayered and instrumentally rich music, material that Moe! can’t show off, in full form, to bar and club crowds. That avenue of audience building (and revenue generating, assuming bands playing in clubs make any money) is closed.
The album is already recorded — brilliantly so, by Dan Rathbun, a cohort of Moe’s in Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. The hard part is done. Let’s help finish the easy part, the raw manufacturing. You can listen to a bunch of tracks on Soundcloud, then flip over to Kickstarter and help a good musician get some work out to the world.