When: Tue., Oct. 20, 9 p.m. 2015
TUESDAY, OCT. 20
THE CAVE, CHAPEL HILL—Solo projects from members of established bands can be tricky terrain. Some are try-hard, rebellious secessions from the flagship. Some sound like thin, weak re-creations. Others linger in a purgatorial gray, their name forever followed by parenthetical indications of more famous associations.
Under the name Naytronix, Nate Brenner keeps his sideline hustle separate enough from his main gig—that is, as the bassist for the delightfully kooky tUnE-yArDs—but connected enough to make musical sense. Since 2011, he's nurtured the electronic project. With the new Mr. Divine, he seems to have found firm footing. The music of tUnE-yArDs is bright and bubbly, but that band's intricate polyrhythms and nested melodies make their songs difficult soundtracks for pure, easy movement. Brenner found himself wanting to make music that, most of all, encouraged people to cut loose.
"I love the idea of people coming together and celebrating with each other and dancing together and bringing that positive atmosphere and vibe out into the world," he says.
"In that way, I really want to make dance music, as opposed to the more intellectual music."
With tUnE-yArDs' grueling touring schedule surrounding last year's Nikki Nack, it would have been understandable for Brenner to have take full advantage of any downtime for rest. Instead, he used long van rides or ferry trips to focus on Mr. Divine.
"It became a real, immediate thing," he explains, "because I knew if I didn't find any time that I could, then it would just never get finished."
The nine songs rally around more focused—indeed, more danceable—rhythms, but don't expect hyper-compressed, big-tent EDM. Songs like "Back in Time" and "Dream" bounce and bob along, taking some rhythmic cues from tUnE-yArDs but forgoing fitful outbursts. Many of Brenner's songs move inside a loose, mellow haze, too, but Mr. Divine isn't stoney-baloney chillwave. Instead, Naytronix occupies a rare and wonderful middle ground—familiar, fresh and way more rewarding than a parenthetical may apply.
With CALAPSE and Canine Heart Sounds. 9 p.m., $7, 452 1/2 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 919-968-9308, www.caverntavern.com. —Allison Hussey