BK & Mr. E is another one of those "sounds bigger than they are" duos (like Killa Dilla or Before Dawn) that probably underwhelms on load out, but, by all reports, leaves the patrons in open-mouthed awe as they bring the house down.
That's Jason Blanchette and Brandon Hegar in the marching band getup there. That might get you some looks, showing up on 6th Street with that hat on, but we can assure you that stranger sights are there to be had.
These Austin born-bred-trained band-itos met, as you can imagine, in the high school marching band; and afterwards got college educated in classical performance. (Don't know for sure, but we can guess that their degrees were NOT in funky electronic instrumentation; though it seems to have been their major.) Seeing them today, we wonder if their old professors think they turned to the dark side, giving up their brass for synths, electric guitars, and drum machines.
But don't let the outfits (and these tongue-in-cheek comments) fool you - These guys smoke with soul-powered vocals, pop-funky beats, and hearty harmonies that pull you, marching, right into their uniformed wake. Check out the Motown influence (that pops up about a minute in) in "Enemy", from their "Under the Radar" LP, to see what we mean:
With two excellent releases under their belt ("Under the Radar" last year, and now the brand-new "Company Front") the guys have shown an absolute bent for cool, accessible pop numbers. Though they claim inspiration from sources as far apart as Rachmaninoff and The Beatles, we wonder if maybe the hats are responsible for the genius behind the great melodic lines and danceable perc rhythms they pull off. (We're perusing craigslist now for our own hats. Just to see.)
Compositionally, they put together a well-structured, ready-for-radio package; with fat electro bass lines and dance-friendly drum beats holding up keyboard and guitar-based melodies; the vocals topping it off, typically in chorus; encouraging sing-alongs or other random acts of karaoke.
Check out this well-written piece from the good folks at the Republic Of Austin, who mention, among other attributes, their great vocal chops.
BK & Mr. E played a SXSW showcase at Republic LIVE, and have been seen at Club de Ville. But until you get a chance to catch 'em live, get your Sousa on and give a listen to "Company Front"; see if it doesn't put a elbow-swinging, knee-popping march into your step:
You can find more about BK and Mr. E at Home Base, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and (appropriately enough) Bandcamp.