Rubblebucket exudes joy with brassy pop; also, Ginuwine

Rubblebucket exudes joy with brassy pop; also, Ginuwine

“Earth Worship,” the buoyant 2022 release from Brooklyn-based indie-pop outfit Rubblebucket, is the duo’s most vocal-saturated album to date. It’s a departure for saxophonist Annakalmia Traver and trumpet player Alex Toth, who connected over a love of jazz when they were in music school at the University of Vermont. 

“Alex and I started the band more as a horn-fronted, instrumental dance music project with a little bit of singing here and there,” says Traver. 

She grew up in a musical family who sang together around the dinner table. A saxophonist since middle school, voice and horn have always felt very connected. 

“Sometimes I visualize my voice as a sax, or vice versa,” she says.  

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Deep honks from the sax and the triumphant trumpet blasts weave rich texture into summery pop on “Earth Worship.” 

The album was inspired in part by the explosion of outdoor sound system culture that erupted in New York during the Black Lives Matter uprising of summer 2020. “It’s always been a part of Black diaspora culture in N.Y.C., but it became much more ubiquitous,” Traver says.

Traver’s roommate built a battery-powered sound system, and they hit the playground, where friends would take turns DJing. “It was so magical to see the music light people up. We were strangers, and now suddenly we were sharing something,” she says. 

The band describes the album as “a collection of prayers and mantras to help us break free of toxic patterns.” It’s an outcry against wealth-hoarders and those who abuse the earth and her people.

“I feel like 2023 is the year where we have a large enough critical mass of people working simultaneously at mending trauma that we can start to really weave together our efforts and see a wave of collective change,” Traver says. 

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The band tours as a six-piece, and they’ve built a 3-D set for this outing. The inspiration for wardrobe and props are drawn from “imagery of royal courts, magic, wizards, elves and court jesters,” she says. 

Performing live makes her hopeful for a brighter future. “We can see and touch each other, practice give and take together. We see and listen to each other. We scream together. We can feel the power of being together and aligned for a few hours. We can expand and feel happy and energized,” she says. 

More information: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mohawk outdoor. $20.

© Suzanne Cordeiro special to American-Statesman
Ginuwine, seen here playing the H-E-B Center in May 2019, will ride his “Pony” to ACL Live on Friday.

More live music in Austin this week

  • Friday: Ginuwine at ACL Live. Saddle up, ’90s R&B fans, because everyone’s favorite Li’l Sebastian fan is bringing his “Pony” to Austin. Westlake soul-pop standout Max Frost opens. $38 and up.
  • Friday: Trouble in the Streets at Empire. Austin’s electro-groove outfit celebrates the release of “Can I Breathe,” the first single off their debut LP, “Satisfy Saturn.” Viben and The Submersibles and Casual T open. $10.
  • Saturday: Money Chicha at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul. The fuzzed-out Grupo Fantasma side project explores the psychedelic cumbia of 1960s and ’70s Colombia and Peru. $12.
  • Tuesday: Nick Hakim at 3Ten. Succumb to the Brooklyn crooner’s airy seductions and trippy soul. Technically sold out.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Top Austin concerts this week: Rubblebucket exudes joy with brassy pop; also, Ginuwine