There’s no time like the present when it comes to alternative “supergroups” (a term started when Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood formed Blind Faith). So far in 2017, there is a murderers' row of new bands, like Dreamcar (members of No Doubt and AFI’s Davey Havok), BNQT (guys from Midlake, Franz Ferdinand, Band of Horses), Offa Rex (singer Olivia Chaney and the Decemberists), Softspot (cats from Pill, Ramonalisa, and Bambara), Tuxedo (Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One), Crystal Fairy (folks from Melvins, At the Drive-In, Le Butcherettes) and Pulled Over by the Cops (The Cool Kids, Freddie Gibbs, Chip the Ripper).
"These artists have been in their respective bands a while and are either looking for a creative jolt, different musicians to play with, or are older and want a less time-consuming, lower-stakes project,” says Joey O of Philadelphia’s indie-centric Y-Not Radio. “Plus, it’s easier for friends to collaborate since they can send large recording files back and forth to one another,” says Y-Not’s Josh T. Landau.
Several so-called superacts are indeed super (Tuxedo, Crystal Fairy), others not so much.
Then there’s Philadelphia’s rave-up, raging, alt-rocking power trio Gibbous Moon, whose brilliant, trippy, debut self-titled EP drops this week with two shows (May 14 and 21 ) and a full album currently being recorded at the Chews Landing studio.
“It’s easier to list bands he hasn’t been in, sheesh,” bassist-singer Noelle Hoover Felipe says of Gibbous Moon drummer Michael Mosley, who, by her count, has been in 20-plus Philly alt-acts, including Sadistic Exploits, Shemales, Mama Volume, and sessions with Schooly D.
Hoover Felipe is no slouch when naming and numbering her local rocking lot, which includes Dr. Bombay, Pink Slip Daddy, The Friggs, and Hellblock 6. As for her husband, guitarist Mauro Felipe, his track record is tiny (Bela, Atomic Number 76, Wrecketh) but mighty. “We went into this just trying to play exactly what we wanted to play, not really knowing who would even be interested,” Felipe says about G-Moon’s brand of “driving, in-your-face rock” touched by occasional Middle Eastern vibes and catchy, melodic riffs that are, in Hoover Felipe's words, “uplifting without being too sticky-sweet happy. I like making sonically powerful music that’s completely not angry at all.”
Hoover Felipe mentions power and anger in one breath because the majority of acts the threesome played in have erred on the side of punk, aggressive new wave, and, in the case of Mosley’s Schooly D connection, gangster rap. “Unless you pay me to be cool and subtle, I'm a spazz,” claims Mosley.
While Felipe mentions his slate of hard psychedelic gigs, Hoover Felipe enthuses about working the rhythm stick behind the pummeling locomotion of Hellblock 6 (“real monsters, deliver a heavy bass presence or go home”) and Photon Band (“Art DiFuria taught me how to improvise”). She says Gibbous Moon hasn’t stretched yet to include dense improvisational interludes, “but the potential is definitely there.”
Husband and wife claim none of their bands were ever competitive with one another (“Michael’s bands were so different from each other that it would be impossible to compete,” says Hoover Felipe). The young marrieds met not in Philadelphia but at New York City metal haven the Pyramid Club on Avenue A in 2004. “We definitely became fans of each other,” he says.
“His guitar playing blew me away, and what a nice guy,” she says. “And a big hunk. OK?!”
Their love and mutual admiration extends to Mosley, whom they call dynamic. Mosley says, “I have absolute trust in their instincts and my comfort level is off the charts working with those two.”
Gibbous Moon -- named after a necklace Felipe’s mother gave to Hoover when they were dating -- marks the first time Philly’s eternal side-woman is in the position of singer.
“When Moe (Mauro) and I were putting ideas together, recording little home demos, this stuff was going to be instrumental. We wanted to keep it simple and not have a bunch of other people in the band, because we just wanted to do our thing without worrying about trying to find a singer who was going to be on the same page.”
In need of vocals as an additional texture, Hoover Felipe looked to the work and inspiration of Philly’s avant-punk Zen Guerilla in terms of a hollowed-out, echo-heavy sound, which gave the singer a sort of blind courage. “It’s like being in character; invigorating to be able to get away with singing. Who would’ve thought?”
As for Gibbous Moon's being a towering, all-star Philly ensemble, Mosley sums it up humorously: “I never thought of us as a supergroup … even though we are pretty super.”Gibbous Moon play at 8 p.m. Sunday at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., $7, kungfunecktie.com; and 3 p.m. May 21 for the Refugees and Immigrants Benefit at El Bar, 1356 N. Front St., price TBD.