Albums

Primus: Green Naugahyde

Musician Les Claypool has been a bit of a chameleon over the last decade, exploring the jamband world with his collaboration with Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Stewart Copeland (The Police) known as Oysterhead, fronting multiple side projects including, but not limited to, Les Claypool’s Flying Frog Brigade,

Rene Lopez: ELS (Electric Latin Soul)

Rene Lopez (pronounced Ren-ey) is a striking Spanish hipster born in the heart of Bronx, New York creating a fusion of sound he calls “electric Latin soul.” His newest solo album, aptly titled ELS, is being released on Nat Geo Records alongside the recently signed festival favorites Toubab Krewe. Lopez seems to be gaining a similar, jam-rock oriented fan base, and it’s clear from his album why, though his work with John Butler Trio’s Money Mark and ‘90’s jam band Wasabi doesn’t hurt.  

Von Ehrics: Two Foot Stomp

Von Ehrics newest CD, Two Foot Stomp, is an up and down ride filled with Punkabilly drive and an authentically Texas flavor. Songs like the first single, "Lord I Pray" are new, refreshing, and fun while other like "Rock and Roll" fall a little flat in energy and creativity. The album is an overall success in authenticity, with a real feeling that you could stumble across the Von Ehrics playing around town in Denton, the funky college town music hub of North Texas where Two Foot Stomp was recorded. The album is also successful in screaming "if you think this is good, our live shows are 100 times better".  I am convinced, and definitely will be buying a ticket next time these boys roll through Colorado.

The Highlights:

"Lord I Pray", the album’s first single, is also it’s height of creativity, combining gospel, thrashy rock guitar, and a hyperactive drum set. “Lord I Pray” is soulful and cynical at the same time. The single is a satirical reflection on consumerism, but avoids a “preachy” feel for a rather funny one as lead singer Robert Jason Vandergrift prays for material good while being back up by a full gospel choir.

"Down the Road Tonight" also shines on the album. The song is reminiscent of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It". That is, if the whole world existed in Texas. You could probably take the lyrics and make them into a scavenger hunt in downtown Austin. Overall it’s super fun.

"Goodbye/The Ride" is a fun, biting little break up song. Vandergrift sings in sweet and slow ballad voice, which we soon learn is totally ironic:

"It's a beautiful night,
the stars are all bright
I've got the moon on my left
and my girl on my right
things are changing tonight
she can kiss my ass goodbye"

then the speedy drummer kicks and one gets a feel of how the guys really feel. I always love a fun break up song.

The guitar lines are a great highlight throughout the album. Just listening to the things Gabe Aguilar (drums) and Clayton Mills (guitar) make up is one of the best parts of the album.

The Not-so-Great:

"Rock and Roll" is a halfhearted cry for what else, rock and roll. I'm not really that convinced, based on this song that the band believes in the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. The Von Ehrics take lyrics that belong in a song like Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” and play them with the enthusiasm of Neil Young's “Hey Hey, My My”.

It sounds like the guys wanted a Beastie Boys' "You Got to Fight for Your Right to Party”, but were just kind of tired or hung over or something that day.

"Downtown" is another one of the tunes that is missing the party soul. Maybe the song is much better live, at the actual party. Though the song is low energy, guitarist Clayton Mills picks it up with an exciting solo.

"Texas" (When I Die) is the albums only successful anthem, but it really gets the job done.  It's not a call to rock out or party hard, as the boys attempted in other songs, but an anthem for Texas; the state that encompasses of both of the previous. "Texas" succeeds where some of the other attempts on the album failed in my opinion because Texas is very unique to the Von Ehrics. You can hear conviction in their voice as they sing "when I die, let me go to Texas".

“Texas” is the true call of Two Foot Stomp , and really ties the album together as its last track. Two Foot Stomp is a call to this: party, rebel, dance around, stomp your feet, and do it all in Texas.  I am totally in support of it!

Umphrey’s McGee: Death by Stereo

Though Umphrey’s McGee have always been known best by their enigmatic live performances, they have also excelled in crafting outstanding studio albums throughout their career, and the newest release Death by Stereo is no exception.

My Morning Jacket: Circuital | Review

My Morning Jacket decided to record their latest release, Circuital (May 31st) in a Louisville, Kentucky gymnasium, in stark contrast to the Manhattan studio environment that 2008’s Evil Urges spawned from.

EOTO: K-Turns and U-Turns Volume 3 | Review

Much like their live shows, the electronic-improv duo EOTO (Michael Travis and Jason Hann) continue to change and morph over time.  From their humble beginnings a few years ago as a basement project to the explosive club juggernaut they have become, the group has redrawn the boundaries of performing live electronic music.

Patrolled By Radar: Be Happy | Review

The band formerly known as 50 Cent Haircut who, after some confusion with a particular rapper sharing two-thirds of the same name, decided a change would be beneficial, now enter the world and hopefully its consciousness as Patrolled By Radar, and bring with them a fantastically sublime new album Be Happy.

Younger Brother | Vaccine | Review

Purposefully unclassifiable and borrowing from predecessors such as Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips and, as odd as it may appear, Neil Young,

Strange Arrangement | Polygraph | Review

I don’t want to compare Strange Arrangement to any band; I want to compare them to every band.  Take a taste of all the jamband scene has to offer, take a taste of all the funk, bluegrass, soul, and blues of the past, and add them up.  That is what Polygraph sounds like.  The term “poly “meaning “many “is the flavor of this album, many influences, many arrangements and many different ways to get down.  From the fun and quirky to the meaningful and profound,