Friday, July 12, 2013

#EDAS Reissue Review: King Tuff, Was Dead

by Justin (@justasstrazdin)

King Tuff – Was Dead

Label: Burger Records – May 28, 2013

Artist-Fair Shopping: Burger Store/Site

Style: Formative Years, Cleaning Out the Garage, Some Rad Pop

Audience: The Unemployed, People Who Draw Cats with Laser Eyes, Soda Straw Sippers

Better Tracks:  Lazerbeam,
Freak When I'm Dead, Ruthie Ruthie, Animal

The one thing you have to respect King Tuff for is that his recordings have fidelity to them. There are not many exercises in lo-fi production on the early recordings featured on Was Dead. If anything, there's some warm, cheap tape like some 70's power pop band would have used to squeeze their budget in the studio. Rather, the experimentation comes in the in form of occasional synths and noise-making gadgets that never get in the way of the guitar and drums propelling the rock with which King Tuff artfully reconstructs and moves forward with nostalgic power pop, a framework for a sound that probably just makes you wanna shimmy, or just drink a beer next to the grill.

Listening to King Tuff's work, there are a few instances where I draw comparisons to TheApples in Stereo, of all bands. Where the Apples worked eighteen years ago to bring the pop-saturated studio trickery of the late 60's to an indie base, King Tuff created a similar sound five years ago with the late 70's. King Tuff is a bit rougher around the edges than the Apples, but listen to his 2012's King Tuff and you'll hear bits of the sonic imprint that bands like the Apples left on this sort of pop revival. It's even more evident with the straight-forward set of songs on Was Dead. This album proves he was really good at it back then, too.

Verdict: Neat-o Look into His Early Work.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

#EDAS Album Review: TAUK, Homunculus

by Stevez First Listenz

Released on Tauk Records
April 30, 2013

Artist-Fair Shopping: Digital / CD

Style: Progressive Fusion,
Strong Silent Type,
Where'd All the Time Go,
Allman Brothers Brothers

Audience: Bonnaroo Jammers,
9-5 Clockwatchers,
Musical Scientists

Better Tracks: Afro-Tonic,
Hello Narwhal,
Dirty Mouth, When in Doubt,
In The Basement of the Alamo

Let’s get real for a minute: I usually hate jam bands. Maybe hate is a strong word, but generally, I don’t find much I like about them. Aside from their outstanding musicianship, they usually just don’t offer much for a harder rock guy like me. With that said, I was converted by Homunculus, the latest release from jamrock-fusion cadettes Tauk.

These dudes are no strangers to the jam band circuit, having shared the stage with genre giants Moe, Robert Randolph and Tea Leaf Green. If I didn't know any better, I would have certainly lumped them together with the aforementioned bands and wrote them off as a throwback to my younger, more psychedelically influenced days. However, after listening to the record I was taken back at A) how Jazz influenced the record sounds B) Tauk's amazing band chemistry (the record definitely has a live feel to it) and C) how well they were able to craft actual songs out of the jams instead of 30 minute rambling guitar solos (I’m looking at you Trey).

I lieu of my normal listening activities (often a bong and a set of headphones) I decided to listen to this record while I paint. I generally find instrumental music sparks creativity the brain and it’s easier to focus when there are no vocals. I couldn't have picked a better way to enjoy this record. It’s palpable energy moves freely and openly and gave my brain the right boost of motivation to hone in on my art. It may be a little too subtle for a roaring house party, but spinning this during a solo meditative excursion was perfect. I was able to appreciate the outstanding musicianship and stellar production while simultaneously getting lost in the record and excelling at the task at hand.

As a DIY-recording engineer myself, the production on Homunculus really stands out from the pack. So much so that I even had to look it up. I was shocked to find out it was Robert Carranza whom I adore for his work with The Mars Volta. He really did a great job giving each instrument it’s own voice as well as an opportunity to stand out in the mix. Nothing is lost here and I think that is important to note. The guitar never gets lost, the keys never over do it and the drums set up the proper foundation on which to create the complex structure built from jazz and rock influences.

Of course, with each track are subjected to individual solo’s from each band member periodically. While these overdone solo-sessions are usually the downfall of these  types of records, it really goes over well on Homunculus. Although the structure becomes somewhat predictable, it was never a case of “Look how well I can solo” or “I’m the bass player and I can play better than the guitarist.” Each instrumental serves the song purpose and does it justice by making it better.

In a genre that is typically diluted with guitar solos, patchouli and Hammond Organ, Tauk really released a solid effort with Homuculus. They cut out the bullshit and leave you with what they are; a truly solid band who won’t forget their roots but aren’t afraid to hold back a bit for the sake of making a good and solid record. Fans of the genre and the band definitely won’t be disappointed. If you’re not a fan of the genre I encourage you to at least listen. What’s the worst that could happen?

Tauk takes the stage tomorrow, Thursday 7/11 in swanky Williamsburg for the second installment of their three-part Spike Hill Residency. Get your tickets here and check out Tauk's additional summer tour dates below. Pay special attention to that final date, Peach Fest looks like it could be the runaway winner for NY-Area Festivals.

Verdict: Homunculus transports you to a friction-less dimension where time doesn't exist and all tasks are completed without an ounce of procrastination. Just press play and watch that To-Do list disappear.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

#EDAS Album Review: Way Yes, Tog Pebbles

by Matt (@bones_jones)

Self Released: May 7, 2013

Artist-Fair Shopping: Digital / CD

Style: Synth & Surdo,
Ituri Dreamscapes, Muppet Voices,
Every Genre Ever Mushed Together

Audience: World Music Lovers,
Sensitive Bros, Vampire Weekenders,
Future Dead People of America 

Better Tracks: Colerain, Holy Drop,
Get Healed, Don't Give Up,

If you are a frequent reader of this website, you know how much this band means to me. Way Yes is a group of legitimately nice dudes from my college stomping grounds, delving deep into uncharted types of world fusion. Their first full-length offering, Tog Pebbles, is a psychedelic stew slowly cooked in the heartland of Columbus Ohio, and it is ready to nourish the masses.

Make Your Own Way Yes Meme 

These guys had me hooked from the second I heard their breakout EP, Walkability and the attraction has only intensified with Tog. This album seems to explore the distinct space between actively participating in and wistfully remembering one's childhood. It even goes as far to tell you what happens afterwards. SPOILER ALERT: It's either an adulthood filled with complex emotions or death. I suppose the goal is to chase the former with the latter but you might as well use your time to live and love while you can.

The brainchild of Best Buddies Glenn Davis and Travis Hall, Way Yes picks up where Paul Simon left off at his most adventurous. A sophisticated work of art that dabs tropical hues over dark existential undertones, then melts the whole thing down and pours it all over your body.

Hall and Oates Davis have worked together for what seems like lifetimes, and they have fused all prior incarnations of themselves into Way Yes. This epic bromance provides most of the singing and songwriting as well as the dueling guitars and multi-layered synthscapes that structure their unique sound. The rest of the band’s identity comes from their double-edged drumming attack of Max Lewis and Tim Horak. A veritable planet of percussion that consists of bongos, darbukas, junior congas, timbales, crash, splash, high-hat and ride cymbals, both a tamborim and a tambourine, a jam block, a mounted drum stick, shakers, agogo bells, darbukas, two cow bells and a surdo. It can’t be easy to lug all that crap across the country in your mom’s minivan, so if they come to your town, grab all your loved ones and see this amazing band live.

Way Yes @ Glasslands 7/20/2012
Almost a year after their mind blowing NYC debut, Way Yes returns for their somewhat annual double dip. Catch them this Friday July 12th at 8:30 PM for an amazing show at Glasslands, headlined by The Echo Friendly, then follow them to a free Manhattan Show at 7:00 at Pianos the following day. Get your tickets for Friday's Brooklyn shindig here and get to Pianos early enough and its free. I'm clearing my schedule so I can go to both. It may be a full weekend, but I'll be the one in the back, standing there like a proud (and likely drunken) father watching his kids make all his vicarious musical dreams come true.

Verdict: Feel free to sell all of your belongings and follow these psychedelic sages as they unlock the secrets of the universe. You'll be hearing from these fine fellows again come Best Of 2013 time. 

Get The Album Here

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back from Nantucket

After a few horrible bus rides, I am back in in NYC. It feels good to be home, however I have received some unfortunate news regarding this Saturday's BackYard Fest headlined by Aerosmith. 

Due to the heavy rains during "Spring" and exacerbated by the horrible conditions of Governor's Ball, the NYC Parks Department has decided to close Randall's Island for necessary landscape work and the festival has been cancelled. I knew the second I got confirmed that it was too good to be true, so here is a taste of what was supposed to be. 

Aerosmith - Back in the Saddle Again