Churning out their self-described "Creepfunk," a high energy, danceable variety of funk - one uniquely laced with electronic and improvisational sensibilities - the Madison-based five-piece band Steez has and teamed up with Mason Jar Records to produce the band's full-length studio debut, Creepfunk Crusade. The CD is set for release on August 13, 2009 via all major internet outlets and at gigs on the band's CD release tour, which begins in Chicago.
The Madison-based five piece, consisting of Matt Williams (keyboards, synthesizers, and accordion), Steve Neary (guitar and vocals), Rob Bessert (drums), Chris Sell (bass), and Andrzej Benkowski (saxophone, oboe, and violin) has garnered a loyal following throughout the Midwest, winning talent contests to perform at the 2008 and 2009 Summer Camp Festivals, the Rothbury Festival, and the 10,000 Lakes Festival.
After receiving repeated acclaim for their live performances, which typically include a seamless weaving of thoughtfully composed originals and crowd pleasing covers spanning from Madonna to clever obscurities like Genialstid (from Estonia), Steez hit the studio with producer Andrew LaValley of Bear Sound in Madison, WI over the course of six months to record intricately detailed renditions of twelve original songs.
When people talk about the old adage that debut albums are often the best of a band’s career - because they highlight the best work from the musicians’ entire lives up to that point - it is with albums like Creepfunk Crusade in mind. A true organic grassroots effort, Steez and LaValley teamed up after LaValley began recording their live shows and a mutual respect developed. Subsequently, after writing about Steez as a favorite up and coming band on Glide Magazine’s Hidden Track blog, Mason Jar Records co-founder Ryan Dembinsky and Steez became friends and decided that Steez and Mason Jar Records made a perfect collaboration for the start of a new independent record label. These connections translated into an incredible energy and excitement for the project, the result of which is a special end result.
At its core, Creepfunk Crusade is exactly what it sounds like, a dirty as a West Village Taco Bell funk album. The overarching theme of the album is set by songs like “Electric Mr. Boston,” “Duderfunk,” “Wrappin It Up,” and the album standout, “Scoring Position,” which integrate innovative funk song structures, a fresh driving rhythm section, and patient powerhouse playing on sax, guitar, and keyboards.
Alternatively, the band bends with sonic flexibility on departures such as the both catchy and hilarious, “Hot N Sweaty,” which pokes fun at the ladies (read: wookies) of the jamband scene - of which Steez is a part - with its gut busting lyrics, “Girl you look really hot and sweaty. Got a little vomit on your dreadies. I was hoping you could save me a bag of headies. You could really use a new pair of tennies. Honey if you want to; you can have my pennies.”
Further, what is a debut album without a breakup song? Creepfunk Crusade includes the band’s two song, multi-part cathartic stop-start opus, “So I Guess I’ll See Ya” parts I and II, which highlights the band’s honorary sixth member Kenny Leiser (Lucas Cates Band) on violin and calls upon the Old West, Pink Floyd, and the Disco Biscuits for influence.
The patient approach and tireless studio hours come across in the album as each song layers near-countless tracks with meticulous detail. Particulars to note include keyboard player Matt Williams’ endless palette of unique tone colors, interactions and lick-trades between instruments with Swiss watch precision, and stop-start timings.
All told, with their remarkable work ethic, splendid song writing, unmatched chemistry, and now a brilliant debut album - one that turns the axiom that jambands can’t make a good studio album upside down - Steez is sure to make waves and take Creepfunk to the next level.
In support of the album, Steez will hit the road for a brief CD release tour, their first on a national level and highlighted with a record release/label launch party in New York City on August 21st at the Bowery Poetry Club.
CD Release Tour Dates:
Aug 13 2009 9:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - Kinetic Playground, Chicago, IL
Aug 14 2009 10:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - The Mousetrap, Indianapolis, IN
Aug 15 2009 8:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR- Skullys, Columbus, OH
Aug 16 2009 9:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - Stanley’s Pub, Cincinnati, OH
Aug 17 2009 8:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - The Fishtank, Lexington, KY
Aug 20 2009 9:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - Mile High Club, Philadelphia, PA
Aug 21 2009 8:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - Bowery Poetry Club, New York, NY
Aug 22 2009 6:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - Nelson Ledges Quarry, Garrettsville, OH
Aug 28 2009 8:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - High Noon Saloon Madison, WI
Sept 4 2009 10:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - the Cabooze Minneapolis, MN
Sep 18 2009 10:00 PM CD RELEASE TOUR - Up and Under Pub Milwaukee, WI