Standout Track: “100 Percent Better,” an enchantingly off-kilter track from the recently formed experimental pop quartet Bike Trip. One of three on its Bandcamp page, the song is a home-recorded solo composition by Maxim Massenkoff, a Santa Barbara transplant who got his musical start years ago playing balalaika with his father’s Russian folk troupe. It’s heavy on hazy atmosphere and the guitar-strings-rusting-in-the-sun vibe of an early Modest Mouse song.
Musical Motivation: The tune’s offbeat tone owes equally to ingenuity and sloth. “I’m pretty lazy, so often when a guitar string breaks I wait for weeks to fix it,” Massenkoff says. “But it’s sort of conscious too, because using a guitar with less strings makes me think differently about tuning and chord voicings.”
Locked In: In the months since Massenkoff recorded “100 Pecent Better,” Bike Trip has expanded from one to four members, and they’re “itching to record some new tracks” with the full lineup. More members means more possibilities: Massenkoff can now explore his interest in arranging atonal backing vocals, while Harry Lisabeth contributes “groovy, interlocking beats for the four of us to play.” Bike Trip’s energetic live shows are a testament to what brought them all together: “We like drums a lot.”
Bike Trip plays the Rock & Roll Hotel March 16.