Ceremony, the very well celebrated punk band of Northern California (Rohnert Park to be specific) has put out their fifth studio album “The L-Shaped Man” on Matador Records. I must say, I was really impressed by this album especially in relation to how much of a departure “The L-Shaped Man” seems from their previous album “Zoo”.
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.
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
The album, Bare Lincoln, by Bear Lincoln has an interesting blend of funk and rock songs. They are consistently upbeat, catchy, and have vocals that do not get repetitive. The tracks called “Sera Feliz” and “Smokey” are sung in Spanish and incorporate cultural elements using trumpets that are reminiscent of the Latin-pop genre. Bare Lincoln is addictive and uses passionate sounds that lift the mood. This reviewer gives this record an 8/10
Check out the album on Bear Lincoln’s bandcamp page here!
November 11th marked the sixth studio LP release of The Birthday Massacre’s “Superstition” through Metropolis Records. The Canadian synthrock band did not fail to impress with what they claim to be their best album yet. Superstition is ten track of beautifully executed vocals accompanied with upbeat yet dark instrumentals. Listening to the album in its entirety gives a feel of taking a journey through a haunting storybook tale. The euphoric yet melancholy back beats in sync with the sometimes sweet, sometimes dark vocals bring a natural progression throughout Superstition. It should also be noted that the stunning album art falls in line with The Birthday Massacre’s previous album’s artwork almost creating a cohesive timeline of their talent. The Birthday Massacre continue to evolve their sound while maintaining the qualities most unique to them, which can distinctly be heard in Superstition.
Here is the official music video for “Beyond” from Superstition: