Archive for the ‘Local Spotlight’ Category

And the traveler bandIn a world of mediocrity and trite songwriting three men take it upon themselves to peel back the paradigms of rock and spit on the corpses… Okay. Enough of the dramatics.

It’s time to get serious. And, And The Traveler is seriously good.

Max Johl – Guitar / Lead Vocals
Donald Perdomo – Drums / vocals
Josh Goldberg – Chapman / vocals
These lovely locals hold their main base in Yonkers, NY. See? I keep telling people there is good music in Westchester County…

Upon first listen you’re likely to assume they’re the usual 4-5 piece band doing some awesome rock tunes. Well this is where it gets interesting. They are a in fact a three piece; but instead of a boring ol’ guitar or bass dynamic they mix it up with Josh Goldberg playing the artfully obscure chapman stick. Made famous by the great Tony Levin of King Crimson. The chapman generally appears to be one of those instruments that is usually isolated as the “solo-performance” instrument rather than having use in a full band. Even in Crimson tunes, where Levin can be heard on the stick, it seems that the rest of the band is accompanying him rather than in support of. And The Traveler’s use of the stick in their music is leaps ahead of many modern rock bands and adds an entirely unique quality to their arrangements.

Josh was just recently featured on the Chapman Stick website as a featured artist. He also records and posts videos on his own personal page entitled Stick Science in which he gives playing tips, solo performances, playthroughs, and answers frequently asked questions.

They are inherently a “rock” band with many songs you could easily hear on a radio station. That doesn’t make them bland to me. It only fascinates as I delve into and peel back the layers. Which for a three piece, is quite expansive. The first track on their album The Road, The Reason is Steps. It’s an upbeat tune that starts big and enters some ethereal expanses. It’s very much similar to Dear Hunter, minus some hokey dramatics.

You can stream the entire album on Spotify,

..as well as on their bandcamp

The guys were nice enough to send me the full double disc album complete with an artwork book illustrated to stories that their songs unfold when I bought it off of their bandcamp page.

Pulling influence not just from many genres but from many decades. You can easily hear classical influence round up with modern rock and jazz.

They’ve got the technicality of King Crimson and Dream theater, the dynamics of the Dear Hunter and the Mars Volta, and the diversity and unique song-writing like the Rx Bandits and Primus.

I could go on for hours about the diversity of this band. The diversity of those they emulate is drastic enough. But they aren’t some simply copy/paste group of artists. Their music is totally unique and stands on their own among any progressive band out right now.

Their album is mixed so well for the band that they are. It’s sparse enough to hear all of the intricacies but big enough to fool you into thinking this is a full sized rock band. Chapman sticks have the issue of “blending” but the guys at Schroendinger’s Box Studios performed wonders and made it work.

Many cases with two disc albums, I find myself picking a favorite side. With this… I cannot. Part II is far from a B side, and is diverse enough to hold it’s own as a distinct album. My favorite track being the first one on this side, called Spiderclass. Such a raw sounding that builds up, sounding similar to Primus, a tightrope love affair between rock, jazz, and avant garde.

The band documented much of the recording process in little video shorts hosted on youtube featured on their website’s media page.

Be sure to pick this bad boy up and give it a strong listen. That’s an order.

cover

and the traveler 1

and the traveler 2

Thank you scientist cover

No. Thank you, Thank You Scientist. Thank you for doing what no other rock band seems to be doing right now. Be still, my beating heart… They have horns and strings. Lots of it. And they’re damn good at it.

For fans of The Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, Closure in Moscow, and Trioscapes.

Ellis Jasenovic on Saxophones
Andrew Digrius on Trumpet, Flugelhorn, and trombone
Russell Lynch on Violin, Viola, and Mandolin
Tom Monda on Guitars, Shamisen, and Cello
Greg Colacino on Bass
Odin Alvarez on drums, percussion, and fathering gods
Salvatore Marrano on vocals

Out of Rochelle Park, New Jersey, Thank You Scientist is incredibly interesting for many, many reasons. Their sound is entirely their own but takes on influences and sounds that are familiar to even the most sheltered of music listeners.

I have fallen in love with their second album “Maps of Non-Existent Places” which was recorded by Jesse Cannon at Cannon Found Soundation in Union City, New Jersey. Many great bands have recorded there like Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Everytime I Die…
Mastered at West West Side Music and Released in April 2012. The album is very well done on all ends.

The Prelude to the album opens as an a cappella ‘tip of the hat’ to John Denver’s 1966 tune Leaving on a Jet Plane but these guys are a little more retro and decide to take the train, pfft… hipsters… It’s airy and a nice introduction to the first track A Salesman’s Guide to Nonexistence.

This track makes several seamless changes that is all just a part of their ultimate design as a band. The riff sounds remnant of early pop-punk but when the horns come in you’re suddenly listening to a Ska band, or so you think. The song continues as a really epic rock tune that hits several big sections. Odin Alvarez stays in the punk rock realm on drums most of the time but really only for this song.

The use of their instruments is far from overdone and they have tasteful lines to really emphasize the song structure. The dynamics of their songwriting allows for a lot of space which is really hard to come by for bands with such a large lineup.

Their most popular track is Feed the Horses (based on Spotify and Last.fm plays). It’s a sexually charged progressive rock rant, instantly getting goosebumps from that first run of 30 seconds. Rhythmically complex and has a sound similar to that of Trioscapes, the mind-blowing jazz-metal side project of Between the Buried and Me’s Dan Briggs.

At 10 seconds it goes into a headbang worthy breakdown with horns blaring with dramatic flare. The song then transitions into a funky section almost unexpectedly from how the song begins. I’m especially impressed with the Salvatore Marrano’s distinction on this track.

It seems Marrano was channeling the late Michael Jackson when recording Feed the Horses. His voice goes really well with their funk parts and it suits their diverse sound. Overall he works well for the group but he tends to remind me of Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria – who I’m not particularly a fan of. At least he doesn’t have that damned beaver dam on his head… He really shines in their less “rock” sounding sections and actually has a great timbre when he’s not reminding me of a pop-rock singer. I try not to let a single instrument disrupt my enjoyment of music so it shouldn’t affect yours! I know for a fact many people will fall in love with the band because of the sound of his voice.

My favorite track on the album has to be the instrumental Suspicious Waveforms (love the name too). Not for the fact that there isn’t singing on it either, mind you. It’s a really fun jazz fusion song with many lines that make you want to get out your chair and shake dat ass.

The main line gets in your head so fast you’ll think you’ve heard it a thousand times but still want to hear it a thousand more. Every one of them has moments where they really stand up but they use periods of quiet transitions to prepare you for the brilliant solos. Russell Lynch’s violin solo in particular is astounding. The song goes through modern jazz, soul, funk, even a few brief moments of eastern folk. I can’t help but listen to it everytime I put on their album.



Support local music while getting full quality!
Buy from the band via their store on www.thankyouscientist.netBandcamp, Amazon, or iTunes!
But they are infact available for streaming on Spotify as well as on Bandcamp.

Why not check out their first release “The Perils of Time Travel”. A great album and shows some fantastic growth between the two records.

Catch these guys on tour right now with the Tea Club, another proggy outfit sounding more along the lines of a darker Dredg or Muse.

The shows are all listed on Thank you Scientist’s website on their tour page.

Here’s a clip of them playing their song My Famed Disappearing Act live at Mexicali in Teaneck NJ. The songs starts in classic Prog fashion with a nice technical guitar tapping riff. Enjoy and be sure to get this album!!!

From left to right: Matt Mellon-Bassist, Mers Sumida-Guitar/Vox, Ryan Flemming-Guitar, and Michael Kadnar-Drummer

From left to right: Matt Mellon-Bassist, Mers Sumida-Guitar/Vox, Ryan Fleming-Guitar, and Michael Kadnar-Drummer

Pull up a chair and take a seat, Black Table is going to leave you with a full stomach and begging for more. With most of the tri-state area’s music scene still trying to free itself from the seemingly iron-clad grasp of the plague like “-core” wars, this quartet provides some incredible relief. Hailing from parts of upstate New York and New Jersey, Black Table took the metal scene by the ear and gave it a lesson in awesome with their 2012 EP, Sentinel. Black Table offers an attractive blend of Michael Kadnar’s intense black metal drumming, Matt Mellon’s jazzy bass work, and lush melodic guitar work courtesy of Ryan Fleming and Mers Sumida who also handles vocal duties.

Black Table was formed back in 2010 and have been going non-stop since then. There is an energy in the live performance that is uniquely organic, and when combined with their large aural presence, you’d be hard pressed to find a more engaging gig without BT on the bill. Their intoxicating sound has rewarded them with the support of this area’s music scene and the praise of various publications from Decibel Mag to Metalsucks. If you’re a fan of bands such as Agalloch, you’ll enjoy BT. The band is currently on tour with Downfall of Gaia and will be blessing NYC on the 16th of August at Spike Hill in Brooklyn, New York. Visit their site for more details on upcoming dates!

Sentinel EP

Sentinel EP

Contact Black Table: blacktableband@gmail.com