They may be a breakout act, but Tonstartssbandht (pronounced "ton-starts-bandit") are still very much a self-proclaimed Orlando band. After starting out playing noisy shows at local spots like Uncle Lou's, the brotherly duo of Andy and Edwin White went on to other cities like New York and Montreal and became a relentlessly touring band of national indie stature. But Orlando is where their roots are, where they always return, where they call home. Just look at their official promo picture above. That ain't Williamsburg.
Possibly nothing in their discography reflects the brothers' local provenance more than their latest album, due out Friday, Oct. 22, on tastemaking Brooklyn label Mexican Summer. Written entirely here during the pandemic lockdown of 2020, the seven-song Petunia is through and through an Orlando product.
Of Tonstartssbandht's staggering 18-album catalog, it's actually the first one they've made in one fell swoop as a focused effort in a single stable place (their Orlando home studio) rather than their usual mode of working piecemeal across drifting time and locale. Moreover, the music video for the album's lead single, "What Has Happened," is an up-close motion postcard of the real Orlando, an idyllic snapshot of the brothers in their native setting.
Like their paths, Tonstartssbandht's music has always been itinerant, a machine in perpetual motion, a thing more about voyage than destination. The beguiling Petunia continues the band's vision quest out in the sonic hinterlands. This time, however, their psych-folk experimentalism shimmers with a new level of clarity and fresh emphasis on the brothers' vocals. Even so, Tonstartssbandht remain masters of their own realm, and their songs here are still as wondrously oblique and open-ended as ever.
You can't keep wild, brilliant fireflies in a jar forever, though. With Friday's release of Petunia, the reopening road beckons Tonstartssbandht once again with an extensive nationwide tour kicking off two days later. Go spread the gospel, boys.
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