Pop-Break Live: Reptar at Maxwell’s

maxwell barna rode out to Hoboken, N.J., to see the rising southern synth-pop outfit at the famed rock club …

It appeared to both Pop-Break editor-in-chief Bill Bodkin and myself that we had missed our chance to see Reptar at the Governors Ball. We were immensely bummed when we discovered that, due to awkward set-times, we had missed the majority of their set. The worst part of all is that they sounded extremely tight. We were relieved, however, when they were kind enough to allow us to come see them perform at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., a couple days later.

I got there just as they were going on, and they were as tight as ever. Listening to some of the tracks they’ve recorded coupled with how they performed live, it is with no stretch of the imagination that I say this group of guys is perhaps one of the most unique bands I’ve heard in recent history. “Unique” isn’t really a term I connect with musicians very often nowadays because those musicians who do claim to be unique are either copping some other unique musician’s style or are just completely full of shit. Sorry folks, call me a purist, but bicycle spokes have never been, nor will they ever be, musical instruments…

Anyway, Reptar uses live instruments and supplement them with pre-recorded samples to make some of the funkiest tunes around right now. If you were to listen to their music without actually seeing them, you’d think there are at least seven or eight people on stage, but really it’s just five dudes (some alternating between instruments for certain songs), and a sampler. Their frontman, Graham Ulicny, has a very unique voice that’s really just all over the place in the best of ways; High’s, low’s and just about everything in-between. He’s very animated on stage, as is the rest of his band, which incorporated multiple keyboards, a drummer, bassist, and percussionist. It’s been a long time since I could say I’ve seen a band that was truly unique, and these guys were pretty much dead on. I was incredibly impressed.

Their set was pretty wild, and they’re definitely a band I’d see again.

It also surprised the hell out of us when we got the news just a day or so ago that the boys from Reptar cracked out a deal with Vagrant Records. That’s right, they’re now label-mates with Rammstein, The Hold Steady, City and Colour, and Matt Pryor (yes, THAT Matt Pryor). Congrat’s guys –- enjoy the ride. Don’t get hurt!