Music Scene: Mansions on the Moon, EOTO, The Budos Band

While the Los Angeles-based electro-rock trio Mansions on the Moon is a relative newcomer to the music world, its debut EP, “Light Years,” was released earlier this year, the members themselves are already established songwriters and producers in their own right.

Ted Wendler, Ben Hazlegrove and Lane Shaw have all worked within the jam and electronic scene for several years (Hazlegrove and Shaw having both been members of Pnuma Trio). And while it’s true that the recognition of its members has no doubt been a factor in the band’s industry connections and critical intrigue, it takes more than a little hype to sustain a new band.

And sometimes hype is a scary thing for a new band, even detrimental to some. The pressure, the expectations, the gloomy, bitter naysayers hoping to be redeemed by your failure, it’s all a bit much to handle.

Mansions on the Moon, for one, has had to prove that it is more than the sum of its parts. The trio has had to prove its worthiness of having Pharrell Williams produce its debut and show that it is more than a sidekick getting a favor from such tour mates as Mac Miller, N.E.R.D. and Wiz Khalifa.

With the band’s debut EP, the hype seems worth it. Mansions on the Moon’s down tempo, new age sound is so many things all at once; so many influences, subtleties and nuances all firing in perfect choreography with one another. The music is light, harmonious and fun but still full of chaos and uncertainty, which is never an easy accomplishment in today’s overcrowded music world.

Mansions on the Moon will perform Tuesday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with Signal Path. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the show and are available online at or at the door. Doors open at 9 p.m. www.charlestonpour or call 571-4343.

It’s hard to explain EOTO, which is why it is so easy to understand its appeal. Musically, the duo is electronic enough for trip-hop but fast and erratic enough, with a heavy reliance on percussion, to be considered breakbeat. But that’s not really what makes EOTO so interesting.

The impromptu duo was formed by The String Cheese Incident’s percussion team, Jason Hann and Michael Travis, in an effort to explore the pair’s love for spontaneous musical creation and audience-induced improvisation.

Having never written, pre-recorded or pre-rehearsed a single song, Hann and Travis rely solely on the ability to feed off the audience and create beats and rhythms as they go.

The band has released three albums that have all been recorded from a single take and then mixed and mastered.

EOTO also releases recordings of its live performances online and often allows free downloads of each of its shows with the purchase of a ticket.

EOTO will perform Wednesday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 the day of the show and are available online at or at the Music Farm box office. or 577-6989.

The Budos Band and Fela Kuti. You’re probably squinting a little and saying to yourself, “What do a bunch of white guys from Staten Island have in common with the legendary Nigerian music pioneer and political and human rights activist?”

Or you’re just wondering who either of these two are.

Either way, the mash-up now probably seems very far removed, but let me explain.

The Budos Band is proof, or more like a testament to the idea, that music transcends. It is an example that music transcends borders, race, religion, culture, experiences; in essence, The Budos Band symbolize all of the fascinating things about the power of music just by existing.

Now, that sounds a little gushy, I know, but it’s the truth. For 10 guys from New York to be so inspired by a type of music that was also so inspiring to Kuti, it must be true that music is universal and nondiscriminatory as to whom it speaks.

And The Budos Band just happen to be a good example of that fact.

The band itself started in 2005 after several of its members met while participating in a Staten Island, N.Y., jazz ensemble after school. Soon their attention turned to soul, funk and ’60s-era Afro beat after sneaking into enough New York clubs and being moved by the music so few would have expected.

Today, the band is signed to the Dap-Kings’ Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman’s label, Daptone Records, and released its third studio album in 2010.

The Budos Band will perform Wednesday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires. Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 the day of the show and are available online at or at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9:30 p.m. or call 571-4343.