Opening: People’s Blues of Richmond
On their new album Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, New York-bred band TAUK offer an unsettling
but ultimately exhilarating look at artificial intelligence and its potential to upend our world.
With its dynamic sense of tension and cinematic mastery of mood, TAUK’s all-instrumental
blend of progressive rock, hip-hop, and jazz proves to be the perfect backdrop for such
explorations, giving way to an album that’s both powerfully hypnotic and intensely thought-
“We’re all very much interested in A.I., and this idea of machines getting out of the hands of the
people trying to control them,” notes TAUK guitarist Matt Jalbert, whose bandmates include
bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel. “This album
felt like a good setting to tell that kind of story, but in a way where we could have fun with it and
let the listener escape into a whole other world.”
Equally inspired by classic sci-fi like Blade Runner and more recent films like Ex Machina,
Shapeshifter II: Outbreak embeds that narrative into TAUK’s most sonically adventurous,
emotionally expansive work to date. A continuation of their early-2018 EP Shapeshifter I:
Construct, the new album picks up its predecessor’s narrative thread with “Prelude”: a
fantastically unsettling intro track whose frenetic keyboard work and chilling vocal samples set
the tone for what’s to come. “The idea is that in the EP you’re seeing the construction of this
being, and in the album you’re seeing it break out and become something that you can’t ignore
anymore,” Carter explains.
From there, TAUK charge forward with the driving rhythms of “Recreational Outrage” (a track
laced with the ominous throb of a robotic heartbeat), the futuristic soundscape and heady grooves
of “CMF 9000,” the gauzy reverie and glorious chaos of “Checkmate,” and the bright melodies
and soulful guitar sprawl of “Convoy.” One of the album’s most mesmerizing moments, “Let It
Ride” builds a brilliant tapestry from its luminous keyboard tones, kinetic guitar work, and
kaleidoscopic rhythms. And on “Upside Down,” TAUK close out Shapeshifter II: Outbreak with
a thrillingly epic burst of unfettered experimentalism.
People’s Blues of Richmond
“Take this band seriously, or miss hearing what vital guitar rock sounds like in 2016.” – Consequence of Sound
People’s Blues of Richmond (or PBR as they are affectionately referred to by their fans) is one of those rare three-pieces that somehow conjures the sonic power and visual intensity of a thunderstorm. Think Jimi Hendrix Experience meets MC5. They take psychedelic blues rock to a different level with a lyrical element seldom found in the genre. Think Bob Dylan writing lyrics for Black Sabbath songs. It’s hard to imagine until it’s right in your face. Then it’s hard to forget.
Their 2016 12-song release “Quit or Die” showcased a travel-hardened band at a crossroads. With drugs taking their inevitable toll on three young men on an endless search for a good time, this trio had a choice to make and “Quit or Die” is a declaration of their purpose as artists above all else. They received praise from Relix, Paste, Guitar World, AfroPunk, and many others as 3/4 of the album was released as critically acclaimed singles and the tour schedule filled up quickly.
In the two years since, they’ve found themselves opening for Gregg Allman, ZZ Top, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, The Revivalists, and Papadosio and playing venues like Red Rocks, 3 sets at Electric Forest, 2 appearances at Lockn, The Brooklyn Bowl, The National, and The Norva.
Before “Quit or Die”, PBR had a cult following built around their album “Good Time Suicide”. It was a big, dark, manic sounding album full of in-your-face riffs and gut-wrenching song writing. It was followed shortly thereafter by the trio heading to Valdosta, GA to meet and record with Mark Neill (who recorded one of their favorite albums, ‘Brothers’ by The Black Keys). They did two songs with Mark and learned a lot about recording that they put to use when they returned home to Richmond to record ‘Quit or Die’.
They are currently working on their next album release and touring constantly so keep an eye and an ear out for when the storm rolls through and don’t miss the wildest show on wheels when it comes to your town!