Growing’s set at Brooklyn’s Coco 66 began with floor-shaking bass pulsing through the room’s sound system, and it ended with a sample of a man’s voice repeating, “This is your brain on drugs.” These two details mark the band’s current sonic wingspan, which stretches from heavy, propulsive beats to an affinity for odd — and often indiscernible — vocal slices.
The set was part of the release show for Pumps!, Growing’s first album on Vice Records and first featuring new member Sadie Laska. Like Pumps!, the band’s performance was stuffed with prickly, distorted rhythms, oscillating textures, and a variety of unpredictable embellishments. In a live setting, Growing are experimental in the most honest definition of the word: they punch buttons, twist knobs, and see what happens. Sometimes it’s great, like the otherworldly vortex of sound that whipped across the stage in the middle of their set. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work, like when a sample spikes awkwardly through the mix or skittering guitar notes seem to sink with the music’s momentum. But it’s clear that Growing weren’t looking to convey any exact message or emotion through their music. They were trying to create an immersive sonic atmosphere that will seep into their audience’s minds: “This is your brain on Growing.”
Also on the bill was Eric Copeland, member of Black Dice and, as he demonstrated with a balanced and passionate set, a terrific solo artist in his own right. Copeland’s music deftly swayed between loose, head-nodding rhythms and moments of abrasive, noisy bliss, never dwelling too long or switching gears too abruptly. In fact, he delivered the more poignant and personal set of the night, tapping into his rich well of creativity and technical prowess.