A few weeks ago, the YouTube algorithm hit me with this gem:
A professional live recording of My Machines from 2009... with Tyondai Braxton performing his original vocal parts. The BBC Radio 1 show this clip was taken from is currently unavailable, but the website also lists Ice Cream as part of the set.
(Credit: Boojies https://www.youtube.com/@boojies6403)
This, along with a quick peruse through some of the old interviews linked on this site, got me curious about what Gloss Drop might have sounded like in its original state with Braxton.
Just as I was starting to fall down the rabbit hole, I found that someone had basically beat me to it. A YouTuber named Adrian Flores Martínez has compiled a playlist of rare concert videos with a focus on 2009 performances featuring a few yet-to-be-named songs that would eventually end up on Gloss Drop.
The description reads:
"This is a recompilation from some Battles' presentations (specially from 2009). In this playlist you'll find the last concerts in the original lineup (in other words, before Tyondai's departure) and the prototypes of some songs from Gloss Drop like White electric, My machines, Sweetie & Shag and Ice Cream. This research is a little personal project."
(Credit: Adrian Flores Martínez https://www.youtube.com/@adrianfloresmartinez)
Some individual links to the juicy bits:
Ice Cream being performed at the same Warp 20 performance as the My Machines clip, still being referred to as "Sanford and Son".
White Electric being played at All Tomorrow's Parties several months later, referred to in another video as "SDICT".
Sweetie & Shag also at Warp 20 reposted with *rough* sound quality. This video's description also mentions something that might partially explain the obscurity of the recordings (besides their age):
"Unfortunately, due to a leak scare around the time Gloss Drop was released, YouTube REMOVED ALL VIDEOS of it being performed."
(Credit: tyondaibraxtonrules https://www.youtube.com/@tyondaibraxtonrules)
I don't know if this can be confirmed, but I think it's an interesting detail.
I'm aware that the members themselves don't look back at that time fondly, but I still find the creative progression fascinating. Anyway, this was a fun little rabbit hole I thought I'd share, especially because it isn't technically finished. The search continues for folks like Adrian Flores Martínez. We're always on the lookout for new bits and pieces of BATTLES material.
In 2009, BATTLES performed several songs from Gloss Drop with the original four members. Some of these shows were recorded and can still be found on YouTube.