Posts Tagged ‘Funk’

'The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener' was released independently September 10th, 2013.

‘The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener’ was released independently September 10th, 2013.

Elitists would probably agree that they just don’t make music like they used to, especially in the Progressive Rock arena. Some would say that today’s prog elite is more in to showing off their skill as opposed to using their skill to make good music. Long gone are the days when music possessed the intimacy, the humility, and the raw genuine passion for making music inspired by something else. Fret not; Sigmund Blue is here to fill in the void, no DeLorean required.

Sigmund began as a project between two members but took to full band status with the addition of another member in 1999. Each member recorded their parts separately as the three live in different regions of the United States. Un-phased by such unfortunate circumstances, the trio presented The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener (Eight Deaths) in September of 2013. Eight Deaths is a 1970’s inspired concept album that chronicles the many trials and tribulations encountered by protagonist Delphinium Gardener.

The album opens in spectacular fashion with ‘Overture’, a piano friendly introduction with remarkably familiar melodic trappings. Immediately the goal of the album becomes clear with this “curtains up” instrumental. It is as much of a proclamation of arrival as it is a solid introduction. The melodies that dance throughout the latter stages of the track serve as a perfect lead-in to the track that succeeds it, Charcuterie of Babylon. From then on, Eight Deaths stays the course with a chill-out easy going vibe that serves to put the listener in a state where focusing on the story becomes a natural reflex.

Eight Deaths shakes things up with ‘Can’t Stay’, presenting the first deviation from what the album had previously established as a norm. This is by no means a bad mark on the report card, as the band does well transitioning be a more rock based feel to a song that contains more bounce and pop. After that diversion, the album returns to business as usual until ‘Go Now’. This track is by far the emotional powerhouse of the album. The vocals carry the weight of the songs part in the story with incredible ease and packs enough power to move the listener to tears.

From that point out the journey is much more rocky but the sonic cohesiveness heard earlier in the album remains consistent. The exiting tracks at this point of the album serve as a build up to a climax that sees a rather calm and soothing end melodically. ‘Pod’s Lament’ serves as evidence of this with gusto as there is a stark ramp up in energy. This track sees the band shed the prog rock element for an all out balls to the wall sprint to the finish. It makes the transition to the aptly named album closer ‘Epilogue’ all the more interesting.

The members of SIgmund Blue recorded their parts separately, relying 100% on technology to complete their projects.

The members of SIgmund Blue recorded their parts separately, relying 100% on technology to complete their projects.

The biggest hurdle for this album to overcome, aside from some slightly creepy dialogue in ‘The Meeting’, is the time investment. At 18 tracks and just over an hour and five minutes, there may not be enough meat for the average listener to chew on. Big moments tend to fall flat due to the context of the era that influences the production, but if appreciated properly within said context, it makes for an even bigger set of musical events. Eight Deaths is far out in a good way and all in all, the entire album achieved what it set out to do. Fans of Queen and the Beatles may have something to latch on to here.

Album Picks: Here It Is, Can’t Stay, Go Now, Carbon Copy
Album Skips: The Meeting

Rating: 4 out of 5

Do you like the feeling of electronic music but don’t like its repetative movements intended for drug fueled dancing? Do you like rock but wish it focused less on being loud and more on soundscapes? Then push play on these bands. You won’t be disappointed.

Žagar This Hungarian Psychedelic/Jazz/Atmospheric/Rock/Awesome band is one to keep an eye on. They always have something going on. Their style is the perfect hybrid of the electronic feel and drive with the beauty of rock and jazz melodies and analog production. The band has a long list of filmography credits and you can really hear it. Wait until the horns come in at around 2 mins. Forget goosebumps. It’s all about the nipple hardening.

Indigo Sun They are my most recent find and my most favorite at the moment. They’re a jazz fusion band disguised behind electronic productions. Definitely worth checking out.

Stateless Such a wonderfully emotional song. Builds up just enough to lock you in. This London based band started out as your generic rock band but they embraced the idea of adding more electronic elements after meeting DJ Kidkanevil at a hip hop show in Leeds. They have two albums out right now on Spotify.

The best part of this Swedish four-piece group, Wintergatan, is that they aren’t electronic at all. There are no samples. Instead they play a range of homemade and unorthodox instruments along with some more conventional ones to create a foreign yet familiarized sound. The lead here is the accordion and oh boy has one never sounded better.
Their popular track Sommarfågel was featured as our Song of the Day back in July.

Jaga Jazzist has been around since the 90’s but have been the forefront of the new age of jazz. These Norwegians take jazz whole heartedly and incorporate every genre and instrument they can come up with. Every song is a new experience. They’re not for everyone but if you enjoy driving beats and head spinning melodies they might be for you.

Incubus okay so they’ve been around for a while and for all intents and purposes, they suck now. Since the line-up changes and their increasingly mainstream standings they haven’t been the same.
If you’re looking for a rocking band that throws in ample amounts of electronic sections they’re a good band to start with. Their earlier work; eg. their first album: Fungus Among Us, is my favorite which resembled the beginning of funk metal but they’ve toned down and tuned out since that work of perfection.

You can check out these bands and some of their other songs on this nifty little playlist I created for all you. I know, I’m awesome, but keep it in your pants you perverts.

The internet is a wonderful place. It helps you connect to the world and be able to link up with everything around you. All without ever leaving the comfort of your heavily fortified pillow fort.

Sitting there, patrolling facebook while listening to the newest The Glitch Mob, Periphery, and Phantogram albums.

But what if… STAY WITH ME!

What if you went outside and saw these artists… LIVE!? It’s good for you!

gif parks and rec

More importantly it’s good for the artists.

It’s no longer difficult and tedious either. You no longer have to talk to that annoying hipster at your local coffee shop who knows too much for someone who hates everything. Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can easily track your favorite artists in real time and find out who’s playing your local venues.

You may be surprised what places have live music.


Gigfi is a relatively new website that allows you to search your local area or favorite venues to find upcoming gigs and then creates a Spotify playlist out of them. If that’s not innovation and integration it’s finest, I don’t know what is.


Songkick is another integration tool that brings gig alerts right to your facebook, right when they’re announced. Enter some of your favorite artists and it will alert you when they’re in town or use the stalker feature to find out the shows you weren’t invited that your “friends” are seeing.


Bandsintown is similar to Songkick but also has an app for android and iOS that gives you updates the moment a new concert is announced. It tracks your Spotify,, or iTunes accounts for bands you’re listening to so no need to constantly search and update your favorite artists.
This is also a fantastic tool for artists as well who can set up an account to alert all their fans of where they’ll be.

PollstarPollstar is an international music news website with a real time ticker listing average ticket prices of various acts. It can be a little daunting and shove things in your face but it’s perfect for finding ticket deals. Look! They even know who Karl Denson is.. is not just a great tool for finding shows but also restaurants, local attractions, hiking trails, sporting events, human sacrifices; basically where all the cool people will be.

So go out this weekend. Bring your imaginary friends and shake your imaginary fannies to some good music. We have to support those that bring us so much enjoyment to our lives when we’re ruling the realm from our pillow forts.

You will find me at the Set Back Inn tomorrow night (Friday 2/28/14) in Tarrytown watching the massively talented Reggae/Dub/Funk/Afrobeat/Jazz/Wutd’hellwuzthat? group, Sixth Degree.

Try not to get overwhelmed by their awesomesauce.

I’ve found country music that I not only tolerate but even like? What is this madness?

At best, when dabbling in country and bluegrass I found things I didn’t hate. I thought it would be impossible to find something in the genre worth listening to without clawing at my ears.

I found the compromise, it would seem. The punch brothers are not just plain country. Tonedeth doesn’t mention anything “plain”. This song is a fantastic example of this. It’s got a funk/R&B groove that’s both forward and sexy. The lack of a percussion section, or drummer to be specific, makes them stand out from any genre they seem to dabble in.

The album is a brilliant mixture of bluegrass, rock, indie, and classical; all while being beautifully executed. Go listen to these guys. I know I will be for the next few weeks. This track is off of the album of the same name released in 2012 on Nonesuch Records and produced by veteran Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Of Monsters and Men, Kings of Leon…)


If you know of any other artists similar to these guys or want to lead me in the right direction to more country worth digging into I would sure appreciate your comments.

I was introduced to these guys earlier this year. Watching the music video and listening to the intro it’s easy to throw them in a category and forget about them. Starting off with weird images of the guys getting covered in highly viscous paints with a simple yet eerie guitar line, you almost expect Marilyn Manson coming on screen. Luckily for us, he doesn’t.

After the ultra heavy wobbly bass comes in the song takes a bit of a left turn and get’s pretty funky. Closer to how the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s were funky but definitely funky none-the-less. His voice is shrill, more of a punk or hard-rock singer but it fits well with that funk-metal sound. For fans of earlier Incubus, Alien Ant Farm, Primus, and And the Traveler.

The Austrian band has been around since about 2008 and got significant recognition when they participated in the international Live Awards. They didn’t come in first but they were top three in their region of Vienna and the three piece received awards for best singer, bassist, and drummer.

Their entire album Creation’s Finest, released in 2012, is available for streaming on Spotify.

It’s puddin’ time children.

Primus is the avant-garde comedy prog band from California. Born of the psychotic ramblings of Les Claypool, the eccentric bassist who wrote the theme songs to popular late-night animated TV shows, South Park  and Robot Chicken. Although their sound is heavily influenced by Claypool’s unique playing style and cartoony voice; the band’s sound is held together by Larry LaLonde, former guitarist of the 80’s death metal band, Possessed.  Their drummer Jay Lane has an interesting style that fuses funk, hard-rock, and punk which ties the trio into a neat little pile of oddities.

Claypool, having grown up with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett had tried out for the band after the passing of bass virtuoso, Cliff Burton. They passed him up, James Hetfield explaining that Claypool was “too good” and should do his own thing instead. Claypool went on to form Primus and has played an understated role in music since the 90’s.

He did record with Metallica eventually, performing the banjo solo on Metallica’s cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Tuesday’s GoneHe’s also performed with Tom Waits, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Gov’t Mule, and Adrian Belew (Zappa and King Crimson).

This prolific musician who has performed with some of the biggest names in the industry loves to flaunt his “artist” side, which in his case, is stranger than fiction.

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 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!!!

It is about 98° outside today and nothing makes me crankier than having to tolerate a temperature that is also a boy band. This song by Menahan Street Band is a great remedy. Cool, relaxed, and shady. Starts off with a bluesy/western acoustic guitar intro with tons of delay to break up that heat. The hip hop rhythm pulls you into that 7 groove and once the horns kick in you’re straight chillin man.

The band certainly has a strong history having members from the Brooklyn based Daptone Records family headed by the great Bosco Mann (Gabriel Roth) of Antibalas. Daptone being the home of funk and soul produces several great artists like Sharon Jones and the Dapkings (who just recently played the Clearwater Festival along with Antibalas), Lee Fields, and Charles Bradley which featured Menahan Street who are now among some of the new groups coming out of Brooklyn that are giving funk, soul, and afrobeat a new breath of life.

Menahan is made up by former and current members of AntibalasThe Budos Band. As well as Leon Michels of the El Michel’s Affair on sax who have been working as the legendary Wu-Tang’s backup band since 2005 after being asked to back up Raekwon. Also on deck is the legendary drummer and recording industry favorite Homer Steinweiss, who has played with big names like Amy Winehouse, Michael Bublé, Foreigner, Bruno Mars, and Nas. Winehouse’s album, Back to Black, was recorded at Daptone Records produced by Mark Ronson.

Menahan are available on Spotify as well as their two records with Charles Bradley.