Under the radar

Sleep Party People and Oh Wonder will perform in Tel Aviv

December 13, 2017 19:09
2 minute read.
Sleep Party People and Oh Wonder will perform in Tel Aviv

Sleep Party People and Oh Wonder will perform in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: SLEEP PARTY PEOPLE (DENNIS MORTON))

 I srael has become such a prime destination for nostalgiadrenched heritage acts – Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne, Don Mclean and The Scorpions are already booked for 2018 – that it’s easy to forget that contemporary artists occasionally grace our shores. Not only the mass-appeal crowd-pleasers like Lady Gaga or Justin Beiber but also scions of the alternative universe – those underthe-radar acts that aren’t going to fill an arena or stadium but have still forged a fan base of 1,000 stalwarts that can pack a club like the Barby.

Without press conferences, meetings with the prime minister or paparazzi following their every move, two of them – Denmark’s Sleep Party People and London via Antwerp duo Oh Wonder – will be performing next week at the Tel Aviv nightspot.

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Sleep Party People is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Brian Batz, who performs along with his band in rabbit masks.

Drawing from a Radiohead-like mix of electronica, big rhythms and synth washes, Batz’s music has been described as an “unsettling balance of menace and beauty” that would perfectly complement a David Lynch film or TV project.

The band’s latest album, Lingering, was met with enthusiastic reviews, with The Purple Revolver calling it a “thing of stark beauty.” Using heavily processed vocals, an array of odd instrumentation and an electro pulse, the band’s live shows result in one built-up crescendo after another.

“Watching them live, there was something so brilliantly odd about big half-rabbit heads bobbing in unison, churning bouncy unease out into the room,” wrote a review for Drowned in Sound after seeing them earlier this year.

They’ll be flopping their big ears on December 18.

Two days before, and perhaps a little more accessible, the Barby will host Oh Wonder, an alt-pop duo consisting of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West.

Beginning in September 2014, they released a song a month online and compiled them into a self-titled album a year later that has sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide and amassed in excess of 500 million streams.

The latest album by keyboardist Vander Gucht and guitarist West – this year’s Ultralife – sharpens their wispy indie pop tunes. Riding accolades like “hypnotic” and “songwriting experts,” they arrive in Tel Aviv after performing at summer festivals throughout Europe. Their breathy, atmospheric tunes are embellished by finger-snapping beats, clever interplay between the male and female vocals and shiny melodies.

Nobody will mistake either Oh Wonder or Sleep Party People for Britney Spears or Bryan Adams, but for the musically adventurous, it’s a rare opportunity to see artists that those in the know in New York and London are raving about.

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