Local dance-rock outfit Future Unlimited coaxes beauty and mystery from their synthesizers 

I Have Seen the Future

I Have Seen the Future

"Dude, you gotta come see Sam's new band," says Jeremy Todd. "They absolutely killed last night."

Todd — better known as Coach, the DJ behind some of the city's most popular club nights — and I are standing in the middle of Sixth Street in Austin. It's South by Southwest, and I'm wandering around the city — badgeless, planless — looking for kicks on a Thursday night when, of course, I run into somebody from Nashville. Something in Nashville's water supply must create a strange, subliminal magnetic force that draws 'Villians together even in the outside world. Standing there in the midst of the sprawling chaos that's equal parts frat party, rave and convincing argument for the decline and fall of Western civilization, I couldn't have been happier to see a familiar face — especially the face of someone who knew where the party was.

"Wait a second, Sam has a new band? I saw him last weekend and he didn't mention anything, the bastard."

The Sam in question is Samuel D'Amelio — Hands Off Sam if you're nasty — Todd's partner in the weekly Y2K dance party that ran for years at 12th and Porter before moving to The High Watt on Cannery Row this spring. And his band — the new one of which Todd was speaking — is Future Unlimited, a space-wave/dance-rock collaboration between D'Amelio and David Miller of local gothy post-punk outfit Mother/Father. You may have heard of Future Unlimited, but you likely haven't — when Todd and I were standing amongst the asses, er, masses on Sixth Street, the boys were preparing for their second show ever. This Saturday's show at Mercy, where they'll open for Hey Champ, marks their first Nashville appearance.

Future Unlimited was generating national blog interest from folks like Consequence of Sound before they even decided to mention their existence to the kids at home. But I suppose we'll forgive them for that — modesty and avoidance of flagrant self-promotion are two traits I really appreciate in a band, mostly because those are two traits I thought had gone extinct. Then again, this is not a band that needs a desperately obnoxious social media strategy, or to lay guilt trips on their buddies to generate a buzz. All they need is for you to give their debut EP Golden one spin or catch one set of their stunning synth rock and you're sold. And I say this as a writer and critic who automatically deletes any emails containing the phrase "exciting new synth duo."

And that's the thing about Future Unlimited: They're not just another "exciting new synth duo." Synthesizers are not just an accessory for Future Unlimited, or a way to dress up otherwise pedestrian pop in hipster-sheep's clothing, but rather the very essence of their existence. As in Jan Hammer's '80s work or the experimental electronics of Bernard Fevre, Future Unlimited knows how to coax beauty and mystery from a series of circuits, combining it with soaring, atmospheric song craft that recalls the deep end of Spandau Ballet or Boy/War-era U2. It's band with a broad scope and lush, warm tones, heart-rending vocals and steady, even-handed post-disco propulsion that has been more or less lost in the world of post-dubstep/corporate-house dance music.

But I didn't know any of this when I was standing on Sixth Street. I only knew that there was a new local band playing in a foreign city, and that one of Nashville's primary party instigators was telling me they were killer. You know what? He was right, proving once again you can take the boy out of Nashville, but Nashville's still going to have the best bands on earth.

Email music@nashvillescene.com.

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