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Slime Girls: This NES Goes To Eleven

In Music
OTAKU ROCK: Slime Girls bring their signature mix of punk, chiptune and anime to Art Boutiki.

OTAKU ROCK: Slime Girls bring their signature mix of punk, chiptune and anime to Art Boutiki.

At last year’s SXSW—against all odds—comedian Hannibal Buress and DIY California chiptune band Slime Girls hooked up for an impromptu collaboration. On Monday, March 14, Buress (The Eric Andre Show, Broad City) tweeted that he wanted to play guitar or drums with a band at the Austin tech, music and culture festival. Then, five minutes later, he recalibrated: “Actually. Keyboard. I wanna play keyboard today in Austin tonight. 11 pm.”

Beer flows freely at SXSW, and the rolling present of Twitter waits for no one, but Slime Girls mastermind Pedro Silva saw a genuine opportunity. He tweeted back within a minute offering Buress the gig.

“He showed up right before we were about to play and was like, ‘What do you want me to do?’” Silva says. “I was just like, ‘feel it out.’ Obviously, he doesn’t know how to play keyboard. Not at all.”

Video of the entire performance can be found online. It’s pretty incredible to watch, especially for anyone who’s caught Slime Girls in the South Bay over the years. The L.A.-based project—led by Silva and sometimes consisting of only Silva—has earned a dedicated following in Silicon Valley.

Silva uses a chiptune palette to expand the sonic register of punk, ska, surf and samba—blending these genres with glitchy, 8-bit tones and soaring anime motifs. It forms a surprisingly cohesive whole, made up of strong melodicism, playful instrumentation, and punk rock energy.

“For me as a musician, one of the biggest things I think about is how things sound, like the instrument and tonal quality,” he says. This attention to detail is apparent to anyone who listens to Slime Girls’ music.

Not that much of that is audible in the video from SXSW.

“You know, it’s like the last day of tour, you’re all used to playing with each other in the set, we all sound great, and then there’s just Hannibal mashing on the keys over everything. Sometimes he would kind of play something in key and it would sound awesome. Most of the time not so much.”

Slime Girls play the Art Boutiki this weekend with Jr. Adelberg, San Jose’s passionate answer to angular emo bands like Drive Like Jehu and Unwound.

Buress probably won’t be there. Probably.

“I have his phone number,” Silva says. “I might just call him up one day, be like, ‘Hey. Hannibal. Want to play keys again?’”

Slime Girls
Feb 11, 7:30pm, $10
Art Boutiki, San Jose

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