A notoriously enigmatic band hailing from Pennsylvania, Black Moth Super Rainbow made waves on the indie circuit in the early 2000s with their brand of otherworldly, psychedelic indie pop. The project began in Pittsburgh in 2002, and expanded to include five members (Tobacco, the Seven Fields of Aphelion, Power Pill Fist, Iffernaut, and Father Hummingbird) in the following year. Packing a sound that nodded to contemporary retro-chic electronic acts like Air and the Octopus Project (who they would eventually collaborate with), the group released its first album, Falling Through a Field, in 2003. Basing its operations in an undisclosed location somewhere in rural Pennsylvania, the group released two more albums, Start a People and Lost Picking Flowers in the Woods, over the course of the next three years. A critically acclaimed collaboration with the Octopus Project, 2006’s The House of Apples and Eyeballs, combined with a successful debut at that year’s SXSW launched the group into the indie limelight. Their sticky, rainbow-tinted fourth release, Dandelion Gum, hit stores the following year. After Tobacco released the 2008 solo album Fucked Up Friends, the band regrouped with producer Dave Fridmann and recorded its slickest, most accessible record to date, 2009’s Eating Us. The band issued several EPs in the next few years, and even completed work on an album called Psychic Love Damage, which was scrapped shortly after it was finished because the band didn’t find it too exciting once it was done. Without a label, they instead launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the release of 2012’s Cobra Juicy, offering donating fans rewards such as hideous masks with USB flash drives containing MP3s of the new album jutting out in place of teeth.
A mash-up crew who came to fame thanks to their genre-jumping mixes, the Hood Internet were formed in Chicago after members Aaron Brink (ABX) and Steve Reidell (STV SLV) both moved to the city with fresh college diplomas. They met in the indie band May or May Not, but after hearing mash-up DJs like Girl Talk and Them Jeans, they headed straight for the laptop and began combining Lil Wayne with Modest Mouse, Swizz Beatz with Deerhoof, and R. Kelly with Jens Lekman. Initial results were uploaded to the Hood Internet blog in 2007 and it didn’t take long for the music to explode. Right-click downloads quickly ticked into the thousands and by the end of the year New York Magazine had featured the band. The Hood Internet Mixtape, Vol. 1 also landed in 2007, while 2008’s mixtape The Hood Internet vs Chicago landed on some media year-end Top Ten lists, including Current TV’s. For music not released in any traditional format, it was a milestone, as it was in 2009 when the Ting Tings performed their song “Shut Up and Let Me Go” live with a bit of Estelle’s “American Boy” in the middle, a nod to the Hood Internet’s mash-up mix of the songs. In 2010 the group got some cool corporate sponsorship when the New York City streetwear brand Mishka sponsored their Trillwave mixtape. In 2012, the Hood Internet moved beyond the mash-up with their debut studio album, Feat. Released by the Decon label, Feat featured a wide range of guests including Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Tobacco, AC Newman, and Kid Static.