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Madison Music Project -- Ka-Boom!Box

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Today's highlighted Madison musical act is Ka-Boom!Box.

Situated in the realm of dubtronica-pop, Ka-Boom!Box is a funky synthesis of reggae, pop, dance and just about any other genre intended to get things moving. A fusion of Madison music veterans and relative greenhorns, the four-piece group brings its electronic stylings via two avenues: full band performances and "DJ Explosions."

Who is Ka-Boom!Box? Here's the registry rundown of its membership:

  • Christopher Robin plays Nord Lead 2 and sings.
  • DJ Eastside JDub mans the drum computers, samplers, and turntables.
  • newlow plays bass.
  • Miss LMNOP Pollyanna sings and plays keyboards, melodica, and percussion.

The big news this week for the group is its brand new EP Pop!, which was released by Boat Records on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Cut at Madison's Coney Island Studios, the release features five tracks of electronic grooves.

There's quite a bit of detail in a press release announcing the release:

Robin Davies (bass) and Dan Bitney (drums and percussion) recap their roles as the powerful rhythm section of Madison's mighty Tar Babies, a Midwest punk/funk success story who signed with SST Records and released the landmark Fried Milk in 1987. Dan Bitney now plays primarily with post-rock pioneers Tortoise, and Davies moonlights as the drummer for Madison rocker favorites The Motor Primitives. (The third member of the original Tar Babies, Bucky Pope, frequently guests live on the Ka-Boom!Box cover of Madonna's "Lucky Star.")

DJ Christopher Robin (keyboards, vocals, turntables), a veteran of Madison's Cruel and several San Francisco salsa bands, connected Laura Miller (vocals and melodica) and Eastside J-Dub (turntables and electronic drums) to Davies and Bitney. The group has quickly established themselves as a unique and electrifying presence on the party and DJ circuit, winning fans and rapidly ascending the club scene.

Rodney Anderson, who worked with Davies and Bitney in Booty Froot, joined in as guitar craftsman. Laying funk grooves against blistering solos, Anderson creates a thrilling counterpoint to the vinyl samples and scratches. Miller adds her own lo-fi human element, infusing the crackling mix with simple, honeyed vocal lines.

Five of the Ka-Boom!Box's songs (or "basement tapes") are available to fans and the curious alike on They are: "Lucky Star," "Show Me the Way (Club Mix)," "Haunted House," and "Andes." More information about the group is available on its MySpace page.

While Ka-Boom!Box has not played live since a late September show at the King Club, the group maintains a monthly residency at The Only Bar That Matters, that is Mickey's Tavern at the Yahara end of Willy Street. On the first Saturday of the month, the group arrives "armed with vinyl" to set off their danceable "DJ Explosion."

The first Saturday of November is this weekend, Nov. 4, which means Ka-Boom will be bringing everything from booty-bass to classic-funk to punk rock to avant-jazz to good ol' hip-hop for the party, along with a special guest yet to be announced. A flyer for the 'splosion is available here on TDPF.

Ongoing announcements about Ka-Boom!Box along with early rough cuts from the Pop! EP are availalbe from Adam Powell, the Madison musician and early online voyageur also known as DJ Christopher Robin.

This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.

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