Posts Tagged ‘Soul’

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!!!

Sorry internet! It has been a while since I have posted anything, I’ve been distracted with life and writing a full feature article on Spotify, it should be done in about a week or so.

This woman came into my ears a few months ago and seriously shook things up. Not only is she a gorgeous Belgian white girl who can sing soul and reggae like the greats but she is also an extremely talented songwriter. Her self-titled debut album features all music that she has written herself as a teenager. At just sixteen she produced a demo and was offered a recording deal with Universal Records but declined citing that she only wanted to record her own music, giving up immense fame for her passion of expression. Luckily she didn’t have to give it up for too long thanks to the wonders of the internet! Selah, or Sanne Putsey, had always uploaded her music to her Myspace account and with the help of some devoted fans created a huge amount of buzz which attracted the attention of Euro R&B artists Patrice and Nneka on the independent Because Music label.

During the recording process Cee-Lo Green was asked to do a duet with her on the song “Please” and also featured it on his own album (but then later removed). She got the chance to perform in front of thousands when Prince (or whatever he refers to himself these days) asked Selah to be a supporting act for his tour in Belgium. In just a few years she went from being a quiet bedroom singer to an international phenomenon.

“This World” is my favorite track on the album. That smooth bass line matched with her airy singing… whew… I’m getting hot and heavy just thinking about it! But, I’m obviously not the only one because the single went platinum this year. Her song “Ragamuffin” is her earliest work, writing it in high school, was her first single and has been viewed over 12  million times on Youtube. Selah explains that the song symbolizes her and all of her sides. “It shows my soulful and singing side, but also my hard side, between rap and ragga”. You can hear her doing some “toasting” (dancehall/reggae style of singing) which most people -mainly… white people- would never attempt, let alone record it, and she’s damn good at it I must say. Much better than Jamaican Eek-a-mouse…..

Looking like the more petite and curvier Amy Winehouse (no doubt healthier and more sober as well) and having a similarly impressive vocal prowess she shatters the rigid pop barriers like no one has done before. She’s even performed with punk rock band Triggerfinger and rocked the house with her unique voice. She’s proven many times over that she shines no matter what stage, genre, or band she is in.

You can listen to her entire album on Spotify but she also has her music available on Soundcloud and

Whew.. shivers. From the moment Rochelle Bradshaw uttered that first line my skin erupted with goosebumps. “Jammin” has always been my favorite Marley tune and this jazzy and soulful rendition only affirms that. The laid back rhythm laid down by Yaniv Taubenhouse on that bright grand piano takes the down-tempo reggae riddim from a hot beach in Jamaica to a smokey jazz bar in NYC.

Rochelle really makes the song her own adding a sensuality Mr. Marley would swoon to himself. Even the videographer, Leo Smith, can’t seem to keep his camera focused and there are several moments the “gaze” drifts downward to Rochelle’s chest. Hey, who could blame him? There’s nothing sexier than a talented woman with a sultry voice.

Recorded at Crisp Recording International in 2012 as a part of a cover song series where they also performed Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed”.

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.