Jeff Richman's latest release Hotwire.

Album Review: Hotwire by Jeff Richman

 

Jeff Richman's latest release Hotwire.

Jeff Richman’s latest release Hotwire packs some funky punches but also contains restrained, ballad-like pieces of fusion.

As soon as the sprightly melody of “Hit Spot,” the first track of Jeff Richman’s latest album, emerges with electrifying excitement, you might expect a great jazz-rock fusion album that updates the genre from the early days of Miles and Zappa. The punching vamp reminds me specifically of Miles’s Tribute to Jack Johnson, reaching out with palpable spunk; but a gentle atmosphere still invites us, the listeners, in. But this is the most psychedelic or near psychedelic the album gets. Following the flight of “Hit Spot,” we land on the ground for a funky jam called “Seven Up.” It is a great start to an album that jams, grooves, flies, and ruminates.

Richman polished a funk-rock-jazz gem in “Oh, Yeah?” The hybrid nature of this song reflects the general album: plenty of wandering, hints of fury, and plenty of joy. This song sounds like a great jam edited down to the best parts. Elements of traditional jazz pop up in a few songs, but last only until Richman steps in with his guitar, a dominant feature of the entire slickly-produced album. That’s one gripe I have: a little more dissonance or wah-wah would have endeared this album more to youngsters. The first track on the album suggests a fairly brave, bold fusion but by the third track, it’s clear that this is not teenage angst-ridden jazz fusion. This is the kind you could drive with and zone out with pleasantly.

Jeff Richman’s fusion brews elements of music that are not threatening: rock guitar, funky bass lines, grooves with calm piano intros and new-age guitar-vocal harmony vamps. The stylish guitar soloing on the album is sublime and soaring at points, unimaginative and too restrained at others. One song, “Little Waves,” fits its title so well that you can imagine a bird’s eye view of a drive down Highway 1 with foam-crested blue massaging the cliffs. The enjoyable jams on the album make every revisit worthwhile.

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Savage Reviews – “W.H.K.” Self Titled

At first glance this radio station would file the CD under K for Klink, but William H. Klink is not an individual. It is a five-man band from San Luis Obispo, California, and it is the name of their 2015 self-titled album; to be filed under W. Seventeen tracks of psych-punk with a whole lot of west coast surf vibe coming through, as well its share of lo-fi garage tracks. And, yes, there are a few tracks in the two minute range so often found in the punk genre, but this band is not afraid to riff off into a long instrumental. Check out track #4 of seven plus minutes, with an equally long name “Seabed and Dr. Chongs 4th Dimensional Transcendental Journey”. Now, it is true, I have never been sitting on a surf board stoned, watching the sets roll in, but I am sure it has happened a million times and the music of William H. Klink would be a sublime addition to such a moment; provided the right waterproof equipment was at hand. I will only give a thumbs down to track #11, “Drowning”, but so what, that leaves 16 tracks to enjoy. Besides, something always gets left behind in the wake.

Written by David Anton Savage, host of Unfiltered Camels on Mondays from 2-3 PM

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Album to Hear Now: The Epic

Millennials everywhere, beware! The word “epic” has finally found its rightful place in the modern world and it has little to do with your festival experience or favorite burrito joint. Kamasi Washington Dectet, a tight-knit jazz regiment headed by the masterful composer and saxophonist best known for his work with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, dropped their 3-disc debut The Epic (Brainfeeder Records, 2015) this Tuesday, a timely release just under two months after To Pimp a Butterfly (Interscope Records, 2015) took music media by a storm and brought jazz back into the limelight. Washington has been in the touring game since college (to wit: Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, Raphael Saadiq, Chaka Khan), and spent much of his time back home in LA recording with ten collaborators, and with Flying Lotus’ help would record 190 songs in one month in 2011. Kamasi and his cohorts go way back, but the dectet is looking forward, combining their influences and training to put jazz on the radar for listeners across the board. Four years after the Kamasi Washington Dectet’s Silver Lake recording marathon, a short list of 17 tracks spanning three hours would be compiled and released as one of the most ambitious, genre-spanning debuts to be made this century. The music is free-flowing, expressive, evocative of jazz godheads like Trane and Sun Ra but transcending classic quotations for something near surreal — it’s skyward-looking music, it’s beyond what is now. And that, friends, is EPIC.

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Fonzie’s “Don’t Sleep on ‘Em” Recommendations Volume One

These are some of my favorite songs to come out so far this year. Don’t sleep on ’em!

 

BONES – Sodium (Prod. by Purp Dogg)- SoThereWeStood (Team Sesh)

Bones is always in rotation on The Fonzie Scheme. He’s already dropped three awesome releases this year, including Powder last month. This came out in January and I still bump it consistently. Purp Dogg is most famous for his production on We Made It by Soulja Boy and Drake, and he put together another banger here.  Check out the visual for Sodium.

 

 

Post Malone – White Iverson (Prod. by FKi) – Single (Self-Released)

This is my song of the year candidate right now. If you heard my interview with KReezy earlier this week on The Fonzie Scheme, you know that White Iverson was the biggest rap song at SXSW this year. The melodic-rap style Post Malone takes on here is so catchy, and we can all relate to the line “I need that money like the ring I never won…”

 

Xavier WulfFort Woe (Prod. by Yung Dubz) – Tundra Boy Season One (Hollow Squad)

Xavier Wulf really goes in on this. I’ve played several songs off Tundra Boy Season One on The Fonzie Scheme, and that’s because this whole release is straight fire.

 

ari solus – klonopin – caveman ep (Self-Released)

I’ve never heard more blending of genres than on ari solus’ caveman ep. I’d place his style somewhere between Bladee, Mac DeMarco, G-Eazy, Dean Blunt, and Drake. I can’t get enough of this song.

 

Pyramid QuinceYoung Gods (Prod. by Dexter Dukarus) – Fila Coodie EP (Awful Records)

Awful Records is taking over in 2015. The Fila Coodie EP has been a standout for me over the countless releases they’ve already dropped this year. Keep an eye on Dexter Dukarus; he’s consistently dropping fire.

 

Cashy – Here I Go (Prod. by Purp Dogg) – Holographic Art EP (Vintage Mob)

Cashy is about to blow up. I’ve been bumping his Priceless and Platinum Plus EPs pretty much non-stop since I was introduced to them. I can’t wait for his second collaborative EP with Purp Dogg, titled Holographic Art, dropping May 8.

 

Kali UchisRush (Prod. by Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD)- Por Vida EP (Self-Released)

Kali Uchis is taking the industry by storm collaborating with the likes of Tyler the Creator and Diplo, as well as both Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD here on this track. BADBADNOTGOOD just produced a full album for Ghostface Killah that I highly recommend checking out, called Sour Soul. Kali Uchis surprised crowds at Coachella Weekend 2 by coming out during Tyler’s set to perform “Fucking Young/Perfect” and during Kaytranada’s set to absolutely kill her performance of this song here.

 

Maxo KreamCell Boomin feat. Father (Prod. by Wxlf Gxd) – #Maxo187 (Self-Released)

Maxo has great imagery in describing his trapping:  “Face-timing with the plug, but my phone on three percent…” Check out his whole mixtape featuring Joey Bada$$, Le$, Fredo Santana, and more!

 

There is obviously so much more music I’ve been bumping this year, and that’s why this is just Volume One of the “Don’t Sleep on ‘Em” Recommendations.

 

Listen to The Fonzie Scheme every Monday night 10pm-12am for more great hip-hop along with the latest in sporting and pop culture news! You can also stream past shows!