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The Big Bounce and Air Bombay: Two new bands tied to a place and a moment

The thrill of pop music is the thrill of the new: the instantly disposable built to last surprise of the thing that you put in your ears and it is eternally youthful, we grow old but pop remains younger than springtime.

I was introduced to Floridians The Big Bounce by Attorney In Waiting Rachel Tuckerman and I was introduced to local talent Air Bombay by Columbia graduate (I mention that for a reason) Bobby Sciortino. Both these kids are in the low twenties and both have spectacular tastes in music. Rachel’s taste is eclectic and most interesting when it veers towards salsa and merengue. Bobby used to enjoy hippieish Dave Mathews type bands but has evolved into a more indie groove (though he was at Bonnaroo so who knews today…) but both like 80s rock and both love dance.

The Big Bounce and Air Bombay are none of the above. The Big Bounce is a piano based r&b, soul conglom with a human beatbox on top, Air Bombay are preppie, quirky harmolodic indie rock like Vampire Weekend without the African influence or Paul Simon covering the Beach Boys in 1986. The Big Bounce are tied to a sweaty Miami type beat, Air Bombay a cool, calculated moment.

Brendan O’Hara plays the piano and sings for The Big Bounce, Komakazie is the human beat box and it is an odd, not entirely successful, mix when you listen to the music streamed on their website (http://www.brendanohara.org/home.html) though you can absolutely understand the thoughts behind it. It makes them stand out though O’Hara writes such singular songs it is debatable whether the songs themselves might have been enough. I haven’t seen them live but Rachel went to see them last week at Ella in the Village and though the club has zero sightlines Brendan and Komakazie did wow.

However, the Big Bounce’s problem isn’t Komakazie and isn’t the songs, it is the lack of a band. One of their best songs “O Susie” is a smokey, sexy wonder and it wouldn’t work without the guest saxophonist. The songs beg for a big sound and they don’t have it. What Mr. O’Hara and Komakazie lack isn’t chops but the bread to get a big band behind them. Also, it would cost them nothing to get on Itunes…

The problem with Air Bombay is that they have fallen off the face of the earth. They have a four piece guitar band kid brother type groove going on and after opening, and by all accounts killing, for Vampire Weekend (I went a different day and missed them) and then playing a gig at Pianos -a very hot night club on Ludlow Street, that, according to Bobby Sciortino, had all the appearance of a coming of age party, they disappeared. They have graduated from Columbia and rumor has it they played a gig last January but I heard about it too late to go. More is the shame. These guys are true originals, the doo woppy distancy “Norway” is maybe their greatest moment but “Italian” is like a folk twitch head fuck and all four songs on their myspace account are fabulous (www.myspace.com/airbombay) but otherwise I can’t find out what is going on with them. I even checked out “The Deli NYC” -our local bands round up zine- and discovered lots about Mellow core (http://www.thedelimagazine.com/) but not a sausage about Air Bombay.

Of all the things I like about these two bands what I like most is their potential -they are overflowing with it: there isn’t a weak song in the bunch and while I don’t think the Big Bounce have to necessarily rush the process as their sound isn’t instantly marketable or tied to a specific moment, Air Bombay better get it together or they will miss their chance to introduce us to a very very good group sound.

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