There’s a lot of music out there, and no shortage of bands that sound similar to one another, or carbon copies of their influences. But every once in a while, you will stumble upon an artist that completely blows you away in ways you haven’t felt before. And that’s how I felt when I received Good Bison in my inbox last week.
Pitched to me as a combination of Weezer, The Flaming Lips, and The Front Bottoms, I knew it was going to be a crazy and weird listen — and it is. In the best way possible, Good Bison combines all of those bands, with some hip-hop influence thrown in to keep things fun and unique.
But the story of Good Bison begins when Pablo Alvarez and his mother immigrated from Bogota, Colombia to Miami, Florida hoping to chase the American dream. However, when he was old enough, he took off and headed out west to Los Angeles to chase his dream of being a musician. After a ton of odd jobs to get his feet set — delivery boy, cashier, dishwasher, etc., — he kicked off his musical career with a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records for longest televised freestyle.
In 2016, he released his debut EP, Buffalo Roots, that explored his love for indie-rock, lo-fi pop, and electronic music. Shortly after, Alvarez met acclaimed-producer Jeremy Hawkins who spurred him to release his 2017 hip-hop leaning mixtape, That’s Bodhi. But in 2019, Alvarez was nudged to take Good Bison back into a more indie direction, exploring more rock and less beats. Working with Mauri Viladegut and Slighty Stoopid’s producer George Spits, they wrote and recorded the music for his upcoming release, Scattered Storms.
Due out in January of 2021, Scattered Storms is a record that Alvarez wrote for himself and the Good Bison project, not anyone else. “I didn’t make something that other people would necessarily want to listen to. I made something that I would want to jam out to forever,” he says.
Scattered Storms is a career-defining moment for the Good Bison project, as it owes it’s existence to current alternative as much as it does classic hip-hop. Not wanting to be constrained by any one genre, Alvarez has spent years exploring many different styles to try and find where he fits in. “Going into this project, I decided that I no longer wanted to make something contemporary,” he explains. “I wanted to make something timeless. I stopped caring about what lane I fit in musically, and it finally became clear to me that I didn‟t want to be a rapper.”
Scattered Storms is a flurry of creativity, serving as a wide-ranging experiment that carries elements of indie-rock, hip-hop, surf rock, and more, without sounding oo chaotic. It‟s ambitious and self-assured, a solid EP from this rising, eye-catching artist. “I credit this morph to a re-found confidence, and the desire to create something that was representative of myself, rather than something that sounded like what is already coming out. I wanted to make something that was true to me,” Alvarez says.
Tomorrow, Good Bison will be releasing the EP’s first single, “Can’t Predict the Weather,” but today Substream is thrilled to be bringing you an exclusive stream of the single a day early.
“‘Can’t Predict The Weather’ is about literal and figurative storms. In Miami, it can be incredibly sunny one minute, and then out of nowhere you’ll find yourself in the middle of a hurricane. Los Angeles is the complete opposite. You might actually get away with predicting the weather in Southern California,” Alvarez says. “Mauri, who I’ve been writing music with since we were both 17, came up with the guitar riff while hanging out at the beach on a Sunday morning. Originally, I wanted the track to be part of an acoustic project, but it ended up evolving into something more. We recorded everything in my home studio, using whatever we had lying around, including some percussion instruments from a little kid’s toy set, and a Colombian rain disk that was hanging on the wall. Slightly Stoopid producer George Spits took the song to the next level by laying down the drums. He’s someone I consider myself lucky to work with; a fellow Miami native who made a name for himself with his band Llamabeats, and has worked as a producer/engineer for some incredible artists.”
“I didn’t necessarily realize this as I was writing the lyrics, but ‘Can’t Predict The Weather’ is about loss, and learning to be okay with it,” he continues. “People change, places disappear, relationships end, things break. It’s all a part of life. Just don’t forget to bring a sweater.”
Check out Substream’s stream of “Can’t Predict the Weather” below.