Bonde do Rolê was actually supposed to play Portland last summer, shortly after the release of their full-length debut, With Lasers, but the Brazilian trio had to abruptly cancel the show for "emergency dental surgery." An apologetic MySpace bulletin explained simply, "Too much candy." Coming from any other band that excuse might sound overly treacly, but since Bonde do Rolê is the musical equivalent of snorting rails of Fun Dip, it seemed only appropriate. (The group had already proven that they weren't a bunch of pussies last year, when sparkplug/spazzster frontwoman Marina Ribatski tore up the Doug Fir with her arm still in a sling, after an onstage leap-gone-wrong at that year's Pitchfork Music Festival.)
Hopefully injury free and well flossed, Bonde do Rolê returns as headliners, riding the small wave of success of With Lasers, a 21st century party album in the truest sense. Discovered by Diplo, Bonde do Rolê utilized enormous guitar riffs from has-beens like Tone Loc and Alice in Chains, layering snappy backbeats, 808 booms, and infectious Portuguese chants until each song was a nearly indestructible, familiar-yet-fresh party anthem from a ghetto halfway around the world.
Coming up with catchy, bass-heavy singles is one thing, but parlaying those into a full-length album worth listening to repeatedly is something else entirely. And against all expectations, that's exactly what the group did on With Lasers. Signed to a real record label uneager to shell out for sampling clearances, Bonde do Rolê had to create an album without the crutch of instantly recognizable 2 Live Crew or AC/DC hooks, and they became better songwriters because of it. With Lasers is less kitschy than their earlier singles and EP, and it coheres like a proper album ought to, rather than simply sounding like weird new international music discovered on the internet.
Of course, if Marina & Co. want to bust out the "Man in the Box"-centric "Melô do Tabaco" at Holocene this week, I won't be calling the RIAA to report their sampling transgression. All I ask in return is that the band brushes and flosses at least twice a day. You know—for the fans.