What do you get when you throw the ex-rhythm section of Wolfmother, DJs Kid Koala and Dynamite D, six turntables, a beastly synth and a library of classic rock chopped and cut into vinyl on one stage? Short answer: The Slew. Longer answer: a turntablist's rock-and-roll wet dream.
Screw whoever said DJs are failed musicians. Kid Koala and Dynamite D have both technical ability with their instrument of choice and a powerful stage presence, commanding audiences with sheer energy. This is 70s stadium rock scratched live over wailing bass lines and repurposed sound clips, with live drums and unnatural turntable talent on display. In fact, that's what makes these guys so fun to watch- they're the one band I know of that make watching dudes on turntables entertaining, because these turntablists move. (Bassist Chris Ross rocks out hard as well, and drummer Myles Heskett gets equally sweaty.)
A few weeks ago, The Slew came to Chicago as part of Sonar Music and Film Festival. I went in not knowing what to expect and emerged pretty much blown away. Have you ever seen someone do a turntable jump? Let me attempt to explain: one of Kid Koala's turntables breaks. He takes it off its shock-resistant stand and holds it against his body, standing and scratching, trying to fix its connection. Finally, it begins to work, so he begins scratching a record, barely able to hold onto the turntable, then takes a flying leap and throws the whole damn thing like a discus.
This was in addition to the jumping synth solos, flying vinyl and near whiplash-inducing headbanging we were witness to from the boys on stage.
This is how they explain their music: “What would it sound like if The Bomb Squad or The Dust Brothers had produced a Black Sabbath record?” Well, what would it look like if Black Sabbath were DJs? Because these guys bring that energy to the stage and don't let a couple of turntables on a table stop them from rocking out. Their 2009 record is full of technical vinyl manipulation wizardry and good-ass rock music. It's called 100% and you can buy it here.