AVENPITCH: Butterfly Radio (CD on Omega Point Records)
This release from 2006 offers 31 minutes of hard rock.
Guitars war with each other. Screeching chords clash with feedback fingering in a rollicking miasma of raucous temperament. Growling riffs cascade with emphatic vigor. The rend result is an exhausting sonic battery.
Fervent drums pound away, generating forceful rhythms that blend natural percussion with e-perc until the wall of beats is intense enough to explode the listeners' head.
Electronics are crammed into niches that you hardly noticed, lending the rock-out explosions a crispness that polishes each razor-sharp edge until they shine with dangerous glimmers. Every once in a while keyboards appear, strangely adopting a candified sound amid the raw brutality of the rest of the music.
While the music is furious, the sentiments conveyed by the vocals are hardly angry. The lyrics concern themselves with life's idiosyncrasies. Observations about people's routine normality while others strive to be heroes.
The compositions are vibrant, scalding, and frantic. Teeth gritting is regularly induced by the sheer urgency of these tunes.
THE CHEEBACABRA: Exile in the Woods (CD on Mackrosoft Records)
This release from 2006 offers 53 minutes of keyboard-driven instrumental funk.
After a stint with the Dust Brothers, Cheeba went solo, and this is his second album. Joining him here are Steve Moore, Daniel Gould, Steve Black, Dave Carter, Aja West, David Mullenova, Money Mark (from Beastie Boys), Peter Scherr (from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra), Fred Roth, Jason Vontver, and Snakerhythms.
A host of synthesizers rank highly in the generation of this music, but an array of more conventional rock instruments (like guitar, bass, drums, and saxophone) contribute, lending a peppy funk to the sultry tuneage. With a bevy of keyboards involved, the versatility of this instrument's contributions are wide ranging and thoroughly engaging. Snappy percussion lends ample propulsion with bouncily infectious rhythms. Guitars belt out snickety chords full of funk familiarity. Basslines rumble underfoot like rambunctious downstairs neighbors. While the presence of sax injects a studious air to the music.
The riffs are stable and satisfying, enticing the listener with sashaying melodies that grip as they tickle the cerebellum. Meanwhile, the feet are hardly ignored as captivating tempos swirl with jubilant ebullience, goaded along by a tight mix that compressed everything into a delightful sonic gestalt.
Keyboard-triggered synthesizers gurgle and chatter with cheery vitality. Riffs unfurl and intertwine with jocund sentiment, while percussives provide suitable beats of zesty temperament. Lurking amid the sinuous chords are frisky effects which reflect a festive disposition full of playful vigor.
Even the more pensive tracks exhibit a prankish quality that communicates an endearing resonance. Overall, the music is imbued with a spirited vibrancy that is gloriously rewarding.
The CD features surreal cover art by Desmond Morris.
HOOVER'S G-STRING: Elephant Parts (CD on Red Tide Records)
This release from 2006 offers 35 minutes of guitar rock.
Hoover's G-String is: Jeff Reinholz on vocals and guitar, Jim Reinholz on guitar, bass and vocals, and Bill Gatter on drums and backing vocals, with Tim Lee on guitar on two tracks, and Mic Harrison on backing vocals on two tracks.
Here we have solid guitar rock that wastes no time on posturing or flamboyance. The flash is entirely confined to the music.
Powerful guitars crash and wail, belting out durable riffs with relentless accomplishment. Delivering the melodies with blazing clarity, the guitars conspire with adept expertise, generating shuddering walls of sound that seem pliant and capable of folding around the audience and cocooning the listeners within an embrace of invigorating vibrations.
Grizzly basslines ooze throughout this pulsating guitar aura, providing suitable foundation and flavoring the melodies with a growling undercurrent.
Demonstrative drums resound with exuberant ardor, not just contributing tasty rhythms but producing a sensual pounding that meshes perfectly with the tuneage. Beats and notes fuse to create a vibrant union that mesmerizes as it enthuses.
Suspended in this delicious music are strong vocals that deliver eclectic meaning to each song. The voices are strong and sturdy, the words they sing stem from the gut and tingle with stark realism.
The music itself is stalwart and robust, as if produced by a bar band deeply touched by alternative sensibilities. Each song delivers a stiff right hook to the jaw, leaving the audience eager for the next shot.
THE MACKROSOFT: Antonio's Giraffe (CD on Mackrosoft Records)
This release from 2005 offers 40 minutes of jazz-influenced instrumental rock.
The Mackrosoft is led by keyboardist Aja West, who is joined here by: Steve Moore on Wurlitzer and trombone, Alex Veleyon on Rhodes piano, Gould Effect on bass and saxophone, Stephanie Greivell on flute, Bill Stanfield on guitar, Larry Crane (from Brand X) on vibes, Skerik (from Les Claypool) on saxophone, Mike Clark (from Herbie Hancock) on drums, Steve Black on guitar, Money Mark (from Beastie Boys) on organ, Cheeba on synthesizer, Printz Board (from Black Eyed Peas and Macy Gray) on trumpet, Quazar on metal percussion, and Victor Tapia on conga, shaker and bells. Mastering is done by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner (who's worked with Outkast, Ice Cube, and Dr Dre).
This release combines the talents of some hot artists from funk, soul, hip hop and jazz to pay homage to Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim with an assortment of original tunes.
Sinuous vibes swim in tandem with emotional horns in a glistening pool of subtly swinging guitars and peppy percussion. Big band horn refrains mix with sultry jazz expressions. Energetic beats provide sweet locomotion for pastoral flute blending with liquid keyboards right out the classic Seventies. Strident saxophone introduces a cerebral touch to the bouncy melodies. Lurking in the wings are some guitar licks highly evocative of Shaft. Complex rhythms are laid out with comfortable ease, remaining judiciously immersed in the golden mix. Luscious keyboards provide the glue that bonds everything into a tasty dose of jazz-laced funk guaranteed to delight the discriminating listener.
Snappy melodies conspire with slick production to generate remarkable tuneage that bridges old school fusion with modern hip hop sensibilities. The songs are engrossing and full of verve, certain to stimulate the mind while motivating the feet. Imagine Steely Dan fusing with Miles Davis.
The CD features cover art by Los Angeles graffiti pioneer Saggy Bottoms.
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