This past Friday, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center launched their Festival of Firsts which is a planned annual showcase for Lincoln Center debuts. A chance for the Center community to be introduced to new works by artists or musicians that haven’t performed there before as well as introduce the Center to those who’ve never been. Launching the series was New York’s very own Toebow, a self-described “psych-pop party’”who has their roots in Brooklyn.
I first experienced Toebow back in 2018 when they were on a Rough Trade bill with Paris Monster. I immediately was drawn to their mix of complex rhythms, intricate guitar playing, the blend of synth/electronics in the mix, and the vocal harmonies. It wasn’t quite alt rock, or progressive, or straight up psych, or even jazz. It was a blend of all these styles that resulted in their own unique sound.
The roots of the band dates back to former Partisan Records act, BOBBY, which established Toebow founding members Martin Zimmerman and Nate Ulsh in the NYC indie music scene. Since their initial formation, Toebow has had a few changes and their extended music family now includes members who went on to such acts as Dirty Projectors, Zula and Peel Dream Magazine. The current line-up consists of Zimmerman and Ulsh, both on guitar, as well as Jo-Anne Hyun on bass, Olenka Burgess on synth and percussion, and Jordan Auber on drums.
Playing to a packed audience at Lincoln Center, and to the incredible acoustics in the Atrium, Toebow both delighted long-time fans as well as newcomers. Being a center for the arts, you could see the appreciation for this quintet of truly talented musicians. The show featured a number of songs from their album, Themes, which is available on various formats on their Bandcamp page; look for new single ‘Kitchen’ which is out on 10/28.
Scroll down for video and pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)