Despite their name, there is nothing fake about Cubic Zirconia (I couldn’t resist the wordplay). Comprised of veterans Tiombe Lockhart, Nick Hook, Daud Sturdivant, and Justin Tyson, Cubic Zirconia calls their music “ethnic disco.” Think acid house rhythms, R&B melodies, booty bass and electroclash lyrics.
Everything the band has released so far is a hypnotic mix of sex and swagger. Tiombe croons with the sultry warble of Erykah Badu, Andre 3000 and Blaqstarr, and fans of all three will find something to like in these left-field club tracks. The title of “Hoes Come Out at Night” tells you everything you need to know, and the breakdown of “Josephine” is confrontational yet catchy: “I’m leaving the club / stayed away from the yay’ / I don’t need any sleep / because my man’s not gay.” The videos for both mix hip-hop imagery with equal doses of Goddess worship and exploitation flair.
Cubic Zirconia exists in their own dark disco universe, and remixes of their tracks (which outnumber original numbers) are with like-minded beatmakers: Egyptrixx, Bok Bok, Dam-Funk, and DJ Sega (among others) all offer remixes that cross-pollinate their own styles with the originals. Ikonika tightens up the funky low-end on her version of “Hoes Come Out At Night.”
[wpaudio url=”wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Hoes Come Out at Night (Ikonika Remix).mp3″ text=”Cubic Zirconia – Hoes Come Out At Night (Ikonika Remix)”]
I was one of the lucky few to catch the band’s Sunday night gig at U Hall. If disappointed at the small crowd, the band didn’t reveal it: they banged through almost an hour of material, building a groove only hinted at on record. Tyson’s drumming is unmatched, and Hook and Sturdivant play a range of instruments with skill. And Lockhart is a frontwoman in the purest sense (not even letting a little wardrobe malfunction throw her off).
The band is readying a debut album and inking a deal with a similarly named record label (just think about it). In the meantime, download their free “Ready to Slide EP,” which features a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Maker Her Say” and a flip of “Moments in Love” by Art of Noise. This band is the real thing; the next time they play DC, it won’t be for a dozen of us.
Download: Cubic Zirconia – Ready to Slide EP