For most bands whose lead singers decide to depart during the recording process of their second album, disbanding, renaming, and starting over would be expected. When Tyondai Braxton and Battles announced their split in August 2010, the question was whether or not they would continue as a band.
And they did. As Braxton left the supergroup after constructing the 2007 appraised Mirrored album, the group consisting of Ian Williams (Don Caballero and Storm & Stress), John Stanier (Helmet), and Dave Konopka (Lynx) decided to carry on. This time, with a new scheme.
The 2011 release of Gloss Drop was recorded with a different approach. Lacking the vocals that was their “most immediately striking and divisive element,” Battles did not search for a new singer fill in Braxton’s seathole (any Arrested Development fans out there?); instead, Gloss Drop features prominent voices like Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, Matias Aguayo, Gary Numan, and Boredoms’ Yamantaka Eye. The vocal deliveries are a subtle approach, purposely integrated into the music.
When reading show flyers of Battles, many recognize Williams, Stanier, and Konopka as “past members” of certain bands. Nonetheless, their presence in Battles have morphed into a new identity. Sticking together and releasing Gloss Drop define this band as a whole. The perfect combination of rock and rhythmic beats, Battles has established themselves as musicians with a whole lotta drive. Live performances are important to the trio, this is more than “just a garage band” for them, it’s their “livelihood,” quoted from the guitarist-bassist Konopka himself.
You can catch Battles at Granada Theater on Saturday, October 22nd, but here’s a clip from their Fallon appearance. Get your tickets, come hang, and we’ll maybe even have a battle of our own.