Battles is an American experimental rock band founded in New York City in 2002 and now consisting of John Stanier (of Tomahawk and The Mark of Cain, formerly of Helmet) on drums, and guitarist/keyboardist Ian Williams (formerly of Don Caballero and Storm & Stress) on guitars and keyboards. Until 2010 they were joined by Tyondai Braxton (son of avant-garde jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton) on vocals, keyboards and guitar, who departed the band amicably in order to concentrate on his solo career. In May 2019, the group announced the departure of Dave Konopka (formerly of Lynx) who performed guitar and bass.
Stanier's drum setup is defined by both its bright yellow color and its extremely high Zildjian K ride cymbal, arguably the band's most distinctive visual trademarks. He believes the ride cymbal is overused in drumming, so he wanted to make it more of an effort to play it, forcing himself to jump up from his seat to hit it during live performances.
The band released two EPs and a single in 2004, each on a different record label (Cold Sweat, Monitor and Dim Mak); all three releases were packaged together in a reissue on Warp in 2006. With hype built up around their initial EPs and the "Atlas" single (which included a remix by DJ Koze), Battles released their debut album Mirrored via Warp on May 14, 2007 to substantial critical acclaim. "Tonto" was later issued as a single in October, its accompanying video directed by design group United Visual Artists and then soon bundled with an EP that featured remixes by Four Tet and The Field.
Gloss Drop, the band's sophomore album, was released on June 6, 2011 (again on Warp), anchored by singles "Ice Cream" and "My Machines". In lieu of the departed Braxton, several guest vocalists were brought in: Chilean DJ/producer Matias Aguayo on "Ice Cream", British singer/musician Gary Numan on "My Machines", Japanese musician Kazu Makino (of Blonde Redhead) on "Sweetie & Shag", and Japanese vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Yamantaka Eye (of Boredoms) on "Sundome". Like its predecessor the album was met with positive reviews, with many critics praising the guest vocal spots.
A four-part remix album series via Warp entitled Dross Glop arrived in the spring of 2012 (later bundled into a compilation), featuring interpretations of Gloss Drop's tracklist by Gui Boratto, The Field, The Alchemist, Shabazz Palaces, Kode9 (owner of Hyperdub), Silent Servant (of Sandwell District), Kangding Ray, Hans-Joachim Roedelius (as Qluster), Brian DeGraw (of Gang Gang Dance), Hudson Mohawke, Patrick Mahoney & Dennis McNany (also known as Museum of Love), and Yamantaka Eye.
In 2015, following a characteristically extended break of writing and recording, Battles announced their third album entitled La Di Da Di, to be released by Warp on September 18, 2015. They debuted four songs including lead track "The Yabba" on a livestream in August.
Battles' fourth album, Juice B Crypts, was released on October 18, 2019. Read more on Last.fm
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