The Bots are a duo–guitar and drums–who play noisy garage rock. They are brothers Mikaiah Lei (21) on guitar and vocals and Anaiah Lei (17) on drums. The Bots put out their first album 6 years earlier (do the math). You can hear a lot of more famous rock duos in their sound, (fill in the blank with prominent two person rock bands) but despite their rocking noisy sound Mikaiah’s voice sets them apart for being kind of sweet and smooth rather than angular and yelling.
The first song is “All of Them (Wide Awake).” It has a simple rocking riff interspersed with delicate verses. The middle section has a wild and raucous solo. There’s some fun moments in that solo–stops and starts as well as a wall of noise.
Before starting the second song, they chat and say they “didn’t know people were actually here when you watch the videos online–there’s somebody at a desk right there.” Mikaiah then says, “I’m incredibly chill right now.”
“Blinded” has a great, slow, stomping riff and some backing bluesy keyboards–the drummer (I love that he is using a stick and a mallet) has a synth type of contraption next to him. The solo is interesting with no other music behind it but the drums. The chorus of “I I I I I want to know” is super catchy.
He says “All I Really Want” is an ‘alternative’ version of their song. Although it’s not really acoustic since he’ll be using distortion. It opens with a wild synth riff from the synth machine but the song proper is very fast and heavy with a big riff and fast verses. The chorus gets even more punky with a great riff and vocals. Mikaiah plays a cool echoing solo and then it’s all over. 11 minutes of great rock.
As the camera fades, Mikaiah says that he’s wanted to play Tiny Desk fora while and now this was something he could cross off his list. Bob asks what else is on his list. He thinks for a minute and then quietly he says “Playing softball with Mariah Carey.”
[READ: May 2, 2016] Robot Dreams
This largely wordless comic is both funny and sad–not bad for a book about a dog who builds a robot.
Varon’s drawing style (which is delightfully unique) complements the sweet but slightly odd contents of the plot.
As the book opens, a dog receives a box which says Tin Robot Kit Build It Yourself. The dog does so and then he has a new friend. The two do everything together: take naps, go to the library and then go to the beach. They go in the water and splash around and have a great time. But after lying on the beach, the robot suddenly can’t move. He has rusted!
The dog feels embarrassed about it but goes home, leaving the robot on the beach (!).
Then the robot has a dream. He imagines the dog and he having a great time on the beach and then going home.
The next page shows the reality of it being September. The beach is locked–the dog cannot get the robot back. Then we see some creatures in a boat. They spring a leak and run ashore. The robot dreams that they will rescue him, but instead they break off a part of his body to plug the hole.
In October the dog is flying a kite and makes friends with some ducks who then fly south for the winter. In November there is snow and the poor robot is covered.
In December, the dog makes friends with some anteaters, with less than stellar results.
In January, we see one of the robot’s dreams in which he is sure the dog has made a new robot. The next month he dreams that he makes a new friend in the jungle. Finally in March the snow melts, but the beach isn’t open yet.
Soon enough a bird builds a nest in the crook of his arm and the robot is happy for a time
But before the beach opens in June, something bad happens to the robot. And when the dog finally goes to get him, he is gone.
Meanwhile, it’s time for new friends to come along, but can you ever really move on from an old friend? The ending is surprisingly touching.