Art of Cool Festival

The Internet

Who would’ve ever thought that an absurdist, rap rat pack from Los Angeles–OFWGKTA, a.k.a. Odd Future–would spawn one of today’s most acclaimed soul music bands? Led by singer/producer Syd Bennett (Syd the Kyd) and producer Matt Martians, The Internet gained a large chunk of its cult following from the release of the electro-funk single “Cocaine” from its debut LP, Purple Naked Ladies. Described by Rolling Stone magazine as “an endearingly scattershot take on spaced-out R&B,” the album put Bennett center stage as an openly lesbian, 18-year-old who conducted her band of bandits on an exploratory mission through her vulnerabilities and love expeditions. On the band’s 2013 follow up, Feel Good, Bennett’s duet with The Internet-affiliate Tay Walker, “You Don’t Even Know,” snuggled and sparkled, while songs like “Sunset,” made way for the band’s open-road approach to breezy jams. But this year’s Ego Death release has perhaps solidified the The Internet’s millennial generation upgrade to the soul music tradition, just as another Odd Future offshoot, Frank Ocean, did with his 2012 Grammy-winning masterwork, Channel Orange. Boasting a guest roster that includes Janelle Monae, James Fauntleroy, and Vic Mensa; and pulling from influences such as fellow AOCFEST 2016 act Dwele, West Coast contemporaries KING, and The Foreign Exchange, The Internet sojourns its way through many grooves on Ego Death. On songs like “Just Sayin/I Tried” and “Special Affair,” Bennett’s voice rises high enough to create just enough of a calming haze without fogging up the mood, which should work even better in a live environment.  -Eric Tullis

LISTEN: THE INTERNET AT NPR’S TINY DESK