Monday 21 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Bear necessities

Bear necessities

Mayola bassist Antonio Laster felt the need to rock electronically. Letting ideas hibernate eventually birthed Brother Bear.

Joshua Boydston March 2nd, 2011

Brother Bear with Binary Sunrise
9 P.m. Saturday
Opolis, 113 N. Crawford, Norman, 820-0951

It’s not uncommon for beloved bandleaders to spawn successful side projects. Jack White had The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. Maynard James Keenan had Tool and A Perfect Circle. Scott Weiland had Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.

Antonio Laster may not have been the front man before, but the bassist for Stillwater favorite Mayola shaped his love of electronic rock — namely Radiohead and Animal Collective — into a new side gig, dubbed Brother Bear. With Mayola now inactive, it’s become a stand-alone act, but hardly a stylistic replacement.

He initially took his cosmic, synthetic inklings to Mayola, and when they didn’t jive with the band’s signature sound of Western indie punk, he holed up and wrote the songs on his own.

“There was a time period in Mayola where we tried to work that spacey feel in, but it didn’t work for everybody,” Laster said. “For me, Brother Bear was in my head, and as an artist, you have to get that out. Here was an opportunity for me to use electronica. I just had to.”

If the adjective can be used to describe space, technology, acid trips or the Antarctic, it can probably be used to depict the digitized, chilly soundscape Brother Bear favors. The project was met initially with equal parts excitement and hesitance, the latter of which surprised Laster.

“I wasn’t prepared for how people were ... kind of questioning motives,” Laster said. “We just want this to be a new experience. Brother Bear is a new product; people should give it a try.”

His loyalty is clear, bringing along Bryan Thompson from Mayola, as well as Eric Kiner of Sherree Chamberlain Band. Brother Bear is a completely new experience for Laster, however, and he relishes the opportunity to step into the spotlight as the lead.

bandleaders to spawn successful side “I have a lot more work to do, but I like it. It’s fun,” he said. “I didn’t take the front man role so seriously at first, but I realize now that I kind of have to be the character. Wayne Coyne is a great example: The band is awesome, but he’s a character; it’s his image that people recognize.”

Here was an opportunity for me to use electronica. I just had to.

—Antonio Laster

Not that Laster has ever had much of a problem being a character. He was the most manic and unpredictable presence in Mayola, writhing around the stage and generally making the act’s frenetic live sets all the crazier. Brother Bear shows are a lot chillier.

“They both have their moments; they both have their epic buildups. You might just have to wait for it longer,” he said, laughing. “It’s different.

Mayola was frantic moments; Brother Bear is a slower, calculated moment.”

Laster’s style of “Kid A” meets “Merriweather Post Pavillion” translates a great deal different, and while he still intends to entertain, he’s hoping there’s a greater depth to it, because that’s the feeling he’s getting.

“It makes you think, I hope. I want people to dance and have a great time, but I want them to leave and think a little bit. That’s a positive thing to me,” he said. “I have this romanticism in my head, and when I get to play Brother Bear, that’s the feeling I have. I hope people can hear and feel that.”

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