Octopus Project and Cue

To some, dance music is a constant repetition of boom-ch-boom-ch beats laid under some DJ's crappy collection of dusty vinyl. For Austin/Houston group the Octopus Project, dance music is something else entirely, something they call "ambidextrous equipment failure junk-tronica." The eight arms of the band's four members -- Toto Miranda (Woozy Helmet), Erik Bogle (Groceries), and Josh and Yvonne Lambert -- float and intertwine through a bewildering array of electronics and the usual rock gear -- they switch off on a total of 13 instruments between songs, and sometimes right in the middle of them.

Cue is a four-piece instrumental chamber noise rock band from Austin with a melodic and dramatic violin/piano/guitar/bass sound that often crests into mountains of orchestrated assault. Yeah, the comparisons to Godspeed, You Black Emperor! and Mogwai are a given, but the incredibly technical skills of drummer Jason Brister set Cue apart. "We do our best to keep it different and unique, while still letting our natural expressive forces do their thing," Brister explains. "And we try to play tambourines as much as we can because they're cool."

And it doesn't get much more technical than a tambourine.

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Travis Ritter