Like Dylan leaving Hibbing to seek out Woodie Guthrie, the story that may follow Brad Oberhofer for his entire career is the one where he moves from Tacoma to New York and begins recording infectious pop songs in a bedroom that was (presumably) covered with Arcade Fire and Beach Boys posters. He starts emailing songs to whoever asks for them, puts out a few 7” singles, and the next thing you know he’s labelmates with Phoenix and Mumford & Sons, and Steve Lillywhite is producing his debut record.
It’s a nice if simplified back-story, but it doesn’t do justice the music that his band, Oberhofer, is making now.
For one thing, that narrative often leaves out that Oberhofer (the man) has degrees in music theory and composition from NYU (where he wrote and recorded the bulk of his bedroom ditties). That level of skill shows on Oberhofer (the band’s) debut album, Time Capsules II, which layers dozens of tracks and instruments (including that ubiquitous xylophone) upon each other to create a glorious cacophony that, while sometimes overwhelming, is catchy as hell.
The four-piece group that will appear at the Black Cat tonight (Oberhofer and bandmates Pete Sustaric, Matt Scheiner, and Ben Roth) don’t replicate the complex sounds of Time Capsules during their live shows, but rather speed up the slow songs, turn up the quiet songs, and provide boundless energy to their increasingly large crowds. And yes, they bring the xylophone.
This is a band that won't be playing downstairs at the Black Cat for $12 for too long, and tickets are still available, so see them now and say you knew them when.