Guerilla Toss may be signed to dance music label DFA Records (founded by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy), but there is nothing quite like their unhinged and warped take on party music.
You could end up in a knot dancing to their convulsive rhythms and acid-drenched pop melodies.
Vocalist Kassie Carlson yelps and shouts in a trance inducing sing-talk over Stephe Cooper’s rubber-legged bass, Sam Lisabeth’s crashing spaceship keyboards, Arian Shafiee’s no-wave guitars slashing at odd angles, and Peter Negropnte’s ceaselessly propulsive drums.
Guerilla Toss are stopping at El-Rocko Lounge while on tour for their latest album, “Twisted Crystal.” The new album is their most accessible—but still spaced-out—record to date and makes use of professional studio wizardry reminiscent of their favorite 70’s and 80’s music.
“What’s different about making Twisted Crystal this time around is we were mostly in an analog studio, so we got to experiment with a lot of those same interfaces like the Eventide H3000 and the Unfairchild and different processors,” Carlson said.
If their 2017 album, “GT Ultra,” with its acid sheet cover from the Institute of Illegal Images, is inspired by LSD, their latest record, “Twisted Crystal,” is about healing.
“The title is based on when people use crystals to heal, which seems kind of silly, because in the end you don’t know where those crystals are coming from,” Carlson said. “You don’t know if they’re coming from a war-torn area or how they’re being mined.
“A lot of the lyrics are references to scientific things. Science is kind of godly to me. That’s how I process spirituality.”
The band recently recorded a session with Audiotree Live that should turn up on Spotify sometime in the next week. Carlson was particularly excited about the session because it was a good showcase for Guerilla Toss’s strengths.
“It was cool to get a live recording like that because we are a live band,” Carlson said. “Our live performance is so important and so unique to our studio recordings.”
Carlson describes their ritual-lie live shows as “high energy” with an emphasis on intense lighting design and video projections. “We try to make every set different,” Carlson said. “We’re jamming in and out of songs. We try to make it a total art form.”
Guerilla Toss have said of their music that even though it sounds like a dance party, the songs are inspired by “tragedy and beauty, drug addiction/mental illness, and the re-birth of the soul.”
“Not to sound cheesy, but music is in a way therapy,” explains Carlson. “When I’m performing it feels like a meditation, like a moment in time where I can express myself and close my eyes and listen to the music and the words. I hope it’s that way for other people, too.”