Gallatin sophomore Zach Levine-Caleb, has been making music since high school that sounds developed beyond his years. I used to drive several towns over in Massachusetts to watch him play with his quartet called Vitamin Seed, a now-defunct project that sounded too intricate to be coming from fifteen-year-olds. Vitamin Seed was the right mix of pop, indie and sampling – as if Animal Collective mentored a crossbreed of Vampire Weekend and Tokyo Police Club. Since arriving in New York, his sound has gotten harder to compare to known bands. With current group, The Pluto Moons, Levine-Caleb continues to convince me that he will be someone to watch in the music world. The blooming has only begun.
The Pluto Moons includes Levine-Caleb on vocals and bass, Max Alper on samples and vocals, Sam Gautier on drums, and occasionally Pat Walsh on guitar. Gautier studies jazz in Steinhardt, and is the only other member who attends NYU. The Pluto Moons describe its sound as “dream-hop.” When asked to elaborate what that meant, Levine-Caleb said, “Say Prince was stripped of his makeup and flashy clothing and was stranded on a desert island with J Dilla. If they had to repopulate the human civilization through music, you’d have The Pluto Moons.” Somehow, that description feels about right, but maybe sub in someone on the Brainfeeder roster for the deceased beat-maker. Again, though, comparing this band to others feels like a moot effort. Levine-Caleb is toying with pop in a manner that’s sui generis.
Above track, “No Will Power,” has never been heard by the public. It has a funked-out bass line and highlights the PIPES (all caps necessary) that the Gallatin sophomore is blessed with. Earlier tracks, including a downloadable EP titled Paste, can be found on the band’s bandcamp. The band will play a handful of shows in the upcoming months, but there’s nothing official as of now. Also, The Pluto Moons are almost finished on a debut full-length, titled Acockalips. Stay tuned for details on the band – NYU Local calls dibs as its number one fan.
[Photos by Parissah Lin]