Once again demonstrating the power of the Internet in breaking new bands, in a matter of months the Black Kids came from obscurity to become one of the most talked-about bands at the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon, all on the basis of four songs posted on the band's MySpace page and a lot of buzz among music bloggers. Hailing from Jacksonville, FL, the Black Kids consist of Reggie Youngblood on guitar and lead vocals, Ali Youngblood and Dawn Watley on keyboards and backing vocals, Owen Holmes on bass, and Kevin Snow on drums. Reggie and Ali, who are brother and sister, met the other three members of the group while attending the same Sunday-school classes as kids (Reggie points out that in the often-conservative South, Sunday school is a great place to socialize with the opposite sex), and in 2006 they got together to form a band.
Combining bouncy '60s-style pop, '80s new wave atmospherics, and upbeat dance grooves played with a playful, organic spirit, the Black Kids had earned a loyal local following when they posted their four-song EP, Wizard of Ahhhs, on their MySpace page in August 2007. The witty, hook-laden tunes impressed music fans in Florida and Georgia who had seen the Black Kids' live shows (in particular a fabled appearance at the 2007 Popfest in Athens, GA), and several bloggers began writing up the band. Word spread like wildfire across the Internet, and "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You" and "Hurricane Jane" were being hailed as potential hit singles. After Vice magazine, New Musical Express, and Pitchfork Media began talking up the band, the Black Kids' appearances at the CMJ Music Marathon in October 2007 found them turning away hundreds of curious music fans and winning rapturous notices in the music press, all without the benefit of a record deal. Not long after the CMJ appearances, the Black Kids signed a management deal with Quest Management, and were booked to play their first tour of England while weighing offers from several record labels. After signing with Columbia Records in the States and Almost Gold Recordings for distribution in regions outside North America, they recorded their debut, Partie Traumatic, produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. The album was officially released in July of 2008.
~ Mark Deming