Independent, multi-genre bass player Stephen Bruner, AKA Thundercat, recently announced and gave dates for his North American tour in support of his mini-album The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam. The album, which has already earned a spot on Punchland’s Favorite Albums of 2015 at 17 and won Pitchfork’s Best New Music Award is now available for purchase on iTunes, Bleep, Boomkat, and Ninja Shop. Also available is the single, “Them Changes”.
Originally featured as a track on The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, “Them Changes” is characterized by psychadelic, hypnotic beats, an effectively low-key piano, and soulful falsetto vocals. With an opening reminiscent of the works of Rufus & Chaka Khan, the song demands attention as Thundercat manages to produce a beautiful paradox: an upbeat lament on the frustrations of his broken heart. While not exactly the most orginial concept, Thundercat manages to put a fresh spin on it with his minimalist utilization of Dennis Hamm’s piano and Kasami Washington’s saxophone talents alongside a dominant synthesizer/drum beat combo. As with the rest of its mother album, “Them Changes” has a very subuded, jazzy feel, allowing Bruner to showcase his musical skills by forcing the listener to devote their full attention.
I’m not alone in my praise, multiple reviewers have cried Thundercat’s praises. Vulture reviewer Kyle Kramer says of “Them Changes” that, “It’s a beautiful, smooth track about lost love drenched in the sounds of classic funk that finds Thundercat tearing it up on bass and crooning incredibly real lyrics…” (Source). In addition, Los Angeles Times reviewer Randall Roberts said “the searing funk track from Los Angeles bassist Thundercat, features a crawling rhythm and a freaky bass line both dirty and distorted. At just more than three minutes, the song is drenched with black-power energy and dense with soul-funk spirit.
Both the album and the outstanding single are guaranteed classics, with listeners from every genre finding something to like about Thundercat. As Punchland writer Colton Faull wrote,
Brainfeeder has always been on the cutting edge of (electronic) music and with Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington having a hand in the biggest album of the year as well as their own releases respectively, there’s nothing the trio cannot accomplish.
Thundercat’s North American tour runs from August 1 to October 10. To find a show near you, check the dates here.