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In New York, it’s been convenient and popular to tap into the recycled angst fueling the early ‘80s revival that’s on every iPod and every dance floor. Moving Units’ Blake Miller, Johan Boegli (bass) and Chris Hathwell (drums) make music that is solely about the here and now.
You would be making an enormous mistake, and one that you would soon come to regret if you shrugged this group off as a mere revival act. “Dangerous Dreams has little to do with the latest dance-punk phenomenon and more to do with the restless inner workings of three clumsy musicians who have no choice but to throw their heart and soul into their songs. “The truth of the matter is, what we did at the time was a really honest emotional expression,” Miller says of the band’s beginnings, “but it just happened to coincide with a sort of musical zeitgeist.”
A raggedy crew who car-crashed in L.A.’s indie music scene in 2001, the only thing the trio’s backgrounds had in common then was a pent-up fury waiting to be unleashed. Miller grew up lost in Detroit’s down-and-dirty suburban wasteland and suddenly found himself in Los Angeles out of step with the city’s industry-driven music scene. Mild-mannered and sophisticated, Boegli emigrated to L.A. from D.C. but strangely absent were the typical hardcore roots often associated with the seminal D.C. music scene. Hathwell ventured from band to band in Southern California, eventually bumping into Miller amidst the underemployed underground.
The members finally crossed paths and melded their diverse backgrounds and styles to synthesize the early Moving Units style. Quickly going into the studio, the band recorded their first songs with a raw organic feel that instantly translated to tape.
The alchemy of those sessions was proven when four new tracks became an EP released in early 2003. A steady flow of L.A. gigs established the band as a fan favorite in the All-Ages crowd. They selected the name Moving Units to mock the sales-obsessed record industry they were united in despising, but it is open to a variety of interpretations.
By 2003, America and the rest of the world had taken notice. The band was hand-picked by Damon Albarn to open Blur’s North American Tour. Contemporaries Hot Hot Heat invited the band to tour across the US and throughout the UK. The band continues to be a mainstay with the indie-dance scene, garnering slots on festivals world wide, including Coachella and others.
The band released their debut album Dangerous Dreams in 2004, followed by Hexes for Exes in 2007.
Evolving with the times, the band has since expanded both their sound by adding lush and dark synthesizers and electronic drums, as well as their lineup, including a second layer of guitars, making their once minimalist sound larger and more expansive.
October 8, 2009
December 18, 2012
Los Angeles, CA
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El Rey Theatre
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