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Breaking: The Bots Come To Shoreline

In Music
Analog Machines: Playing fuzzy garage rock and punk, The Bots have carved out a successful path for themselves at a young age.

Analog Machines: Playing fuzzy garage rock and punk, The Bots have carved out a successful path for themselves at a young age.

Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei of The Bots are used to throwing people off. For starters, the two brothers are of mixed Taiwanese and Caribbean descent. Their complexion and hair texture often leads to them they’re being mistaken as black, which, in the past has led to some assuming they make rap music. They don’t.

Nor do they craft electronic beats, like so many other aspiring musicians born in the early ’90s (the Disclosure brothers, Howard and Guy Lawrence come to mind).

No. The Lei brothers have carved a decidedly analog path to early fame—playing punked-up garage rock tunes, like “All I Really Want”—a rollicking, fuzzed-out lamentation of modern life, which sounds a lot more like Jim Carroll than Calvin Harris.

“I love rock music,” Mikaiah says. “As long as you’re using a real instrument to produce the music you’re hearing, you’re on the right path in my mind.”

The Lei brothers, who are just entering their 20s, grew up in Southern California listening to the reggae and oldies their parents played—and later to the punk and post punk their father turned them on to. It didn’t take long for them to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives.

“Music has always been interesting for us and we’ve always wanted to do it,” Anaiah says. “At least for as long as I could remember. There was never a moment where we thought otherwise.”

The Bots have essentially always been band mates. From the moment they were born, they’ve been moving toward the same goal. Considering this, perhaps it’s no surprise that they’ve achieved recognition at such a young age. The duo played Vans Warped tour before either of them turned 20, and are currently on tour with Deftones, Incubus and Death From Above 1979—pushing their debut full-length album, which they recorded with Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist, Nick Zinner.

It’s not hard to figure out what attracted Zinner to The Bots. They’ve got a sound that harks back to The Stooges and the New York garage rock revival of the early aughts, of which Zinner and Co. were an integral part.

The Bots also effortlessly capture the anxiety and apathy of the millennial generation. “Make a cup of tea, sit down, stare at the screen,” guitarist and vocalist Mikaiah deadpans on “All I Really Want.” “Until I see something that relates to me, but it’s all so boring.”

“All I really, really want is you,” the chorus proclaims, seeming to ache for real human interaction, for real instruments, for anything real—but ultimately coming up short, a longing foreshadowed in the song’s opening lines: “I feel like life has lied to me.”

The Bots open for Incubus, Deftones and Death From Above 1979 at Shoreline Amphitheatre on Aug. 26.

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