Tuesday, May 30, 2017
NOW PLAYING IN THE SAVAGE JUKEBOX MAY 2017
Released January 20, 2017
NEW 2017 MUSIC: Never in my lifetime of going to concerts have I ever been so anxious to purchase an album by an opening act.
On April 21st, I was tremendously fortunate to see The Flaming Lips for the first time. Additionally, I was equally fortunate to be introduced to the music of Cherry Glazerr, who delivered a 45 minute set that absolutely SMOKED! The very next day, which happened to be Record Store Day, I went on the hunt for the band's current album "Apocalipstick," yet the local record stores I visited were all sold out of the album. Around one week later, I was able to pick up my copy from B-Side who graciously placed a special order for me and the wait was more than worth it as I really feel this album is already one of the very best 2017 has to offer.
Under the direction of bandleader/singer/songwriter/guitarist Clementine Creevy, Cherry Glazerr's "Apocalipstick" is a first rate collection of 11 songs which run the gamut from aggressive indie rock, gorgeously melodic power pop, and dark psychedelia and all filtered through Creevy unapologetically feminist stance as displayed on the album's pummeling opening track "Told You I'd Be With The Guys."
Every single track, from the new wave-ish "Lucid Dreams," the speedy roar of "Sip O' Poison," the languid saunter of the more keyboard driven "Only Kid On The Block," the snarling "Nurse Ratched" to the pummeling finale which is the instrumental title track, and even more, Cherry Glazerr are more than enough of a superior force to be reckoned with.
Released February 24, 2017
NEW 2017 MUSIC: I very nearly dismissed this album.
Ever since I became acquainted with the music of Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington, the name and presence of bassist Thundercat has arrived over and again, intriguing me to what his musical vision could possibly be like.
Thundercat's second full length album "Apocalypse" (released July 9, 2013), while not overwhelming to me, certainly did capture my attention to the degree that I wanted to see just what he would do on subsequent releases--and not solely due to his exemplary bass playing but even moreso, his superior sense of melody and the stack vocal harmonies of his excellent falsetto. With "Drunk," albeit my first listen to the album, I almost discarded the entire thing.
Thundercat's "Drunk" is a 23 track concept album, running close to an hour in length and displaying a musical breadth that encompasses jazz, fusion, hip-hop, early 1980's AM pop-soul (due to an excellent collaboration with none other than Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald on "Show You The Way"), Frank Zappa-esque musicality and puerile humor and even Todd Rundgren-esque harmonics. Of course, that sounds like an album tailor made for me. But on that crucial first listen, I was confounded.
Yes, I was instantly captivated by "Rabbot Ho," the album's opening track and invitation, which segues into the percolating glide that is "Captain Stupido," and features a fully monotonous and Zappa-esque daily ritual ("comb your beard, brush your teeth, beat your meat, go to sleep"), which is accented by a realization from the night before ("I think I left my wallet at the club") and a short burst of flatulence (quite oft-putting as it is so painfully juvenile). At any rate, the album continues with the free flowing instrumental "Uh Uh," the Rundgren-esque "Bus In These Streets," a love letter to a cat in "A Fan's Mail (Tron Song II)," all very fine yet somehow by the album's mid point, Thundercat was beginning to lose me, despite the presence of his gorgeous vocals and his liquid bass playing.
I think what had thrown me off was the brevity of the songs themselves as the majority of the songs run either a hair over or under two minutes, making everything feel like song sketches, ideas, fragments or even demos for potentially full songs to arrive in the future. It all felt to be so slight, I suppose. Even unfinished! Yet, somehow, this thing was released. "Drunk" began to annoy me by this point, as I felt that perhaps I had been bamboozled.
But I hung on and by the album's final third, a dark melancholy began to fall over the proceedings, administering a weight to something that felt to be so weightless. And by album's end, with a sequence of painful sounding selections--"I Am Crazy," "3 A.M.," "Drunk," "The Turn Down" and "DUI"-- Thundercat's vision, at long last, clicked in to place, especially as the melody of the final song fully mirrors the music that opens the album, making the experience work as an infinite loop.
After a few more listens, Thuindercat's "Drunk" sounds like the lost offspring of Todd Rundgren's
"A Wizard, A True Star" (released March 2, 1973) and J Dilla's "Donuts" (released February 7, 2006), a character study of a nameless narrator whose full existence is one that occurs in some state of stupor. He wakes in a daze, goes through his day with his attachments to social media and his liquor (and whatever other narcotic of choice) as his crutches, all culminating in a night of endless, meaningless clubbing, leaving him feeling more isolated, alienated and alone before passing out and only to wake the next morning to do everything in the exact same fashion all over again.
Or, for that matter, is the album a cultural critique, essentially arguing that we are all drunk and floating away in an existence of shallowness and spiritual emptiness?
Regardless, I am thankful that I did not give up on Thundercat's "Drunk" and allowed the music to reveal itself and demand that it be re-visited again and again.
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