New York’s B Boys (Andrew Kerr, Brendon Avalos, Britton Walker) find inspiration in the chaos that surrounds them: the aggressive attitude and sonic lawlessness of the city they live, work, and breathe in every day. Their raw, yet meticulous style is characterized by rhythmic complexity, commanding riffs, and introspective lyrics that are as playful and self-aware as they are cutting.
Across two acclaimed releases on Captured Tracks — 2016’s No Worry No Mind EP and 2017’s debut full-length Dada — B Boys explore solitude and self-reflection through sharp, high-energy shouts and melodic mediations. Now, the sprightly sarcasm and acerbic commentary continues on the band’s highly anticipated sophomore LP, Dudu. Recorded by Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, Ought, Crumb) at Outlier Inn and mixed by Andy Chugg (Pill, Pop. 1280, Bambara) to be released on July 26, 2019.
I’m currently listening to the early phone recordings of “Instant Pace” and mapping out its long journey from a riff into a song. Although the early demos have their fair share of shortcomings, there was something about the initial riff that kept reeling us back in. I believe it’s the song’s qualities of speed, repetition, and urgency. These core attributes paved the foundation for my lyrical themes. In addition to using the riff as a thematic jump-off, I also randomly label our early demos and sometimes these random labels become the final title or are used as lyrical inspiration. The initial demo for this song was titled “Instant Sensation,” so maybe this sparked some visual references in my head. It also gave me some phrases to play with while coming up with vocal patterns.
I kept mulling over the core themes of the song — speed, urgency, and repetition — and thinking about how they related to one another. I listened to the demos of this song quite a bit, attempting to come up with structural ideas for the music, as well as the lyrics. During each listen I would see flashes of different images, but none of them lingered long enough to extract anything tangible to write about. So I opened up the writing process by laying out a piece of paper, my trusty pipe, and a sack of that medical grade compassion and hit repeat on the initial demo of the song, hoping this would allow my tangential thoughts to start making sense. I let my hand write freely, my mind get a li’l goofy, and my eyes comb through references. I don’t think of myself as a strong writer, so this was me trying to create an atmosphere that would allow for something interesting to happen. Suddenly I had a bunch of random thoughts on paper.
As I scribbled my thoughts onto the page, I eventually realized that the connective thread was a feeling of frustration: Frustration with how my attention is zapped by technology; frustration with how things like social media and clickbait articles distort reality; frustration with how readily available this media is and how I use it to dull my senses; frustration with myself, because I would rather stare at my phone than be present. Frustration seemed to be the root that all of my abstract ideas stemmed from, and by labeling them with this emotion it transformed these amorphous thoughts into something more personal.
The speed at which information is transmitted and consumed feels paralyzing, and that paralysis pissed me off. So the barrage of random images I had in my head while listening to the demos became reminiscent of the feeling I had when becoming mindless on the subway swiping through various applications and feeds on my phone. Paralyzed. Indifferent. Unfocused. Stuck. So I hope this song is a reminder to myself to take a step back from the speed of our daily life. Take a moment to breathe; think about what you want to spend your time doing.
The funny thing about this song is that the initial lyrics and vocal patterns, that I spent a long time writing, ended up getting trashed because they sounded like shit. But the concept remained the same: You have to be mad to write a rock song.
— Brendon Avalos
You can pre-order B Boys’ new album Dudu here, and catch them on tour across the U.S. and Europe this summer and fall:
7/24: San Diego, CA — Whistle Stop*
7/25: Santa Ana, CA — Con Room*
7/26: Los Angeles, CA — Zebulon*
7/27: Santa Cruz, CA — The Crepe Place*
7/28: San Francisco, CA — Rickshaw Stop*
7/31: Seattle, WA — Chop Suey*
8/1: Vancouver, BC — Fortune Sound Club*
8/2: Olympia, WA — Cryptatropa*
8/3-8/4: Happy Valley, OR — Pickathon Festival
8/11: Brooklyn, NY — Summer Thunder @ Union Pool
9/9: Boston, MA — The Great Scott
9/10: Winooski, VT — The Monkey House
9/11: Portsmouth, NH — The Press Room
9/13: Toronto, ON — The Baby G
10/1: Washington DC — Songbyrd
10/2: Carrboro, NC — Cat’s Cradle Backroom
10/3: Atlanta, GA — The Earl
10/4: Gainesville, FL — The Atlantic
10/6: Orlando, FL — Will’s Pub
10/8: Hattiesburg, MS — Thirsty Hippo
10/9: Houston, TX — Satellite
10/10: Austin, TX — Hotel Vegas
10/11: Dallas, TX — The Foundry
10/12: Oklahoma City, OK — 89th Street OKC
10/13: Lawrence, KS — White Schoolhouse
10/15: Chicago, IL — The Empty Bottle
10/16: Detroit, MI — Deluxx Fluxx
10/17: Columbus, OH — The Spacebar
10/18: Pittsburgh, PA — Black Forge Coffee House
10/19: Philadelphia, PA — World Cafe Live
11/4: Nottingham, UK — The Chameleon
11/5: London, UK — The Victoria
11/6: Brighton, UK — Latest Music Bar
11/7: Paris, France — La Station
11/8: Neuchatel, Switzerland — Case a Choc
11/11: Le Havre France — Mc Daids
11/12: Utrecht, Netherlands — dB’s
11/13: Roodkapje, Rotterdam Netherlands
11/14: Stroomhuisje, Eindhoven Netherlands
11/15: Berlin, Germany — Schokoladen
11/16: Amsterdam, Netherlands — Cinetol
11/18: Brussels, Belgium — Rotonde @ Botanique
* with Bodega