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Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
By MIKE SUNDA
When it comes to recognizing the latest trends and artists causing a stir abroad, the Japanese club scene sometimes seems to suffer from perennial jet lag.
However, fashion brand Diesel's spinoff initiative, Diesel:U:Music, is doing its part to champion new musical talent by flying over one of this year's most exciting breakthrough acts: England's Orlando Higginbottom, aka Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
As well as having one of the more memorable monikers in recent times, T.E.E.D. comes to Japan riding a tidal wave of hype, benefiting in particular from being championed by British DJ Annie Mac both on her BBC radio program and at her own club night in London.
T.E.E.D.'s debut EP, 2009's "All in One Sixty Dancehalls," was an unlikely amalgamation of disco and wobbly dubstep basslines released on the Greco-Roman record label run by Joe Goddard from band Hot Chip. It might have fallen largely under the radar, but the reaction to this year's followup EP ("All in Two Sixty Dancehalls") back in June was anything but quiet. Acclaim was mostly reserved for lead track "Garden," a surprisingly delicate boy-girl duet that evokes a more dancefloor-friendly The xx, with sultry male-female vocal tradeoffs layered on top of some understated electro-pop sensibilities.
New single "Household Goods" is an even more confident affair, as the same deceptively minimalist combination of vocals and bleeps build up to an absolute (woolly) mammoth of a drop. The track has already been crowned "Record of the Week" on Britain's BBC Radio 1 and should prove to be a massive hit with U.K. listeners, who have developed a taste for lashings of sub-bass in their pop anthems, as evidenced from recent crossover chart successes by the likes of Katy B and Magnetic Man. Just as in demand is T.E.E.D.'s remix work, which has seen him show off his scope as a producer, working in influences that range from disco to 2-step for artists such as Fenech-Soler and Professor Green.
Equally inventive are T.E.E.D.'s live shows, in which Higginbottom supplements his live vocals with a multitude of instruments and props that can include anything from keytars to hand-held confetti cannons — and a dinosaur costume, obviously. Sam Mokhtary, promoter of the Tokyo Indie club night, which will also be celebrating its first anniversary on Nov. 20 — when it hosts T.E.E.D. before he travels to Fukuoka a few days later — says you can expect an intense live show filled with "bizarre instruments, sweet melodies and thunderous bass." If you're in Shibuya on Saturday night and your glass of beer starts to ripple, brace yourself — T.E.E.D. might just be about to take to the stage.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs plays Tokyo Indie's first anniversary party at Under Deer Lounge in Shibuya, Tokyo, on Nov. 20; and TCY VS mangalife's "The Big Party" at O/D in Fukuoka on Nov. 22. For more information, visit www.tokyoindie.com, www.o-d.jp or www.myspace.com/totallyenormousextinctdinosaurs.