Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bill Dolan and Primitive Sound System - D.C.'s Tavern Thursday February 7th from 9PM to Closing

Hello Y'all,
For over a month I didn't have an internet connection so I have a shit-load of records to write about. Also, if Leap Year isn't weird enough the weather has proven to be extremely confusing. First its hot than its cold... I think the worst thing about Global Warming so far is the inconsistency. Is that wrong? This past Tuesday was of course Fat Tuesday so that means I'll be bringing some of the Bayou to Back-N-Back. So amongst that load will be some very new records, old favorites and of course the aforementioned New Orleans platters. New Orleans is truly one of the most unique sounding cities in the world and some of my favorite Soul and Funk records call it home.

Last month Bill and I hit D.C.'s hard and all those not paying attention paid dearly. Pay attention kids or you run the risk of being double teamed from the top ropes! We've done it before and we are not afraid to do it again... just dare us. Hopefully you can make it out and remember we only seek our prey the old fashioned way... we target the weak. Hey and looky there it's me brother Mike slinging ales along with the hard stuff. See you there... I SAID SEE YOU THERE!

Iris Records is open this week Fri/Sat from Noon until 7PM.
114 Brunswick Street in Jersey City
(between first and second...not far from Grove Street)
Call 609-468-0885 for more information and directions.

- pat.

Primitive Sound System

All the past email are here and they are searchable - "Audio Visual Triumphs and Disasters" - http://primitivesoundsystem.blogspot.com

Primitive Sound System, Bill Dolan and Joe Raaen (Maybe? I haven't heard if Joe will be joining us)
Thursday December 7th 9PM to Closing
D.C.'s Tavern
505 8th Street
Between Jefferson and Madison
Hoboken, New Jersey
PH: 201-792-5550

The Records:
Lack Of Afro - "When The Sun Goes Down" (Freestyle cat. FSR7039)
I love being dragged into a Big Funky Drum Beat by a guitar lick ready for a Girl Group ballad. That is exactly how we are treated here. Lack Of Afro don't have a 100% unique sound but that is no slight as they have learned to take a lot more than just one from column A and one from column B. The drum sound is tight but extremely alive. The guitars loop and wah-wah throughout. A beautifully lifting flute breaks out but stays to the end pushing as hard as the rest of the band. The drums are way out front but never step on the players. Brilliantly they restate the guitar lick from the opening.

The Fantastics! - "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose" (Modern Funk cat. FSR7040)
If you noticed there is an exclamation point at the end of The Fantastics! name. These boys are fantastic and they know it. Opening with the traditional guitar intro they hit James Brown's classic hard and soon very original. The intro feels like it is just telling us, yes, this is a classic but wake the hell up, get your ass up and listen up because we have something to say. Hell, we all know that they have been listening to the Godfather of Soul forever so why play it straight. There is almost a hint of Afro-Beat to their groove just like an unexpected shot of Hot Sauce. Creeping out of the darkness comes the sax and it is going for broke. He bends, he twists and he breaks. The organ pushes and the sax teases back. We are treated to a brief but altogether refreshing organ groove that sets up the sax one more time. (Is it an alto first and then a tenor? Could be. Or maybe the sax is just blowing that much more? It is subtle but I do hear a difference.) You would assume this leads up to an outro but hell NO! Remember these motherfuckers are "FANTASTIC!" with a bolded exclamation. Congas pop out the break and bring up the drums. Raw and hard is the recipe here with a full bass and guitar attack on the senses. The band loosens up a bit and really begins to burn right before things fall apart they show restraint and professionalism and stop on a dime. BANG! FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC! Indeed.

Quantic featuring Spanky Wilson - "When You're Through" (Modern Funk cat. FSR7041)
I can never say a bad thing about Spanky Wilson and the same goes for the stellar Will Holland and his Quantic Soul Orchestra. A long building intro almost leads you to believe that this may be an instrumental affair when about a minute and a half in Ms. Wilson slides in to take control. Her performance is both pleading and alluring. In the world of New Funk credibility is everything so finding players and vocalists who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the originals is very important. It doesn't get any more real than the classy Ms. Wilson and The Quantic Soul Orchestra show a level of sophistication that most bands can only dream of. The beat hops throughout accentuated by baritone sax, piano, and guitar.

Bobby Blackbird and The Blue Jays - "What You Wanna Do" b/w "The Blue Jays Theme" (Cardboard City Records cat. CCR-002)
I stumbled across this while searching for something else. Dumb luck. There is a very similar sound to Little Barrie here and I would love to know if there is any connection but as of right now I have no idea. These guys combine Rock and Soul perfectly. Mr. Blackbird (I assume) has a voice that is raspy and snotty and when he speaks you listen. The band is small and tight and the recording is simple and raw. Drums, guitar, bass and vocals; that is it. Once again proving that most Rock bands really suck and if they spent just five seconds listening to the sounds their instruments produce they could save us all the pain we endure suffering their crap. These guys have listened and they know less is more. "LET IT GO! CAUSE I WANT TO!" "...be on your side... when it's good...?" Now that is some good shit. Short and perfectly ended. They back this beauty up with a theme song, aptly titled "The Blue Jays Theme." I like this for a bunch of reasons but especially since our vocalist got top billing on side one and it is nice to let the band grab the stage for their time under the lights. They play it as rough and raw as the first side so it is going to be difficult to choose which side will land up, down on the decks.

Funk Shone - "Purification Pt 2" (Skyline Recordings cat. SL4503)
This bursts of the vinyl with a very club feel to it. The Percussion and Drums challenge each other and hit hard enough to destroy their equipment. Horns jump on top of the Drums, Percussion and Bass mix just long enough to state a theme. It is so good they repeat it before allowing the flute to solo and cut the band. The sax joins in and they play off each other anticipating each players next move. The song goes out on a heavy ass break and it makes me want to start it all over again, and I think I will.

Lucky Brown - "Don't Go Away" b/w "The Fresh One" (Tramp Records cat. Tr-1012)
The sound on this gives it a flavor of authenticity. One of the other things that helps it to ring more true than most is the repeated title / chorus right after the intro. The vocals are hurried but rushed with a touch of anxiety. The band seems to playing with a similar heart and the whole thing blends nicely. Drums crash, guitars chug and the horns have a conversation throughout. The soloist of choice here is the flute and solo it does. You can pick up a hint of flute behind the chorus / vocals about midway and then off it goes. I have been a fan of the flute as an aggressive addition to any band and especially like it in the funk genre. Over analyzing a New Funk track kills it. Listen, move but DON'T GO AWAY! Side two kicks open with one of my favorite intros in a very long time. At first it sounds like a series of false starts and then slams up against a Free Jazz sax run that does what ever it wants over this very strong groove. Happily the flute is back and tries to match the expressiveness of the sax but honestly it falls a little short only because it grooves sweetly and too close to the rhythm. The false starts are back and this time they act as a chorus of skipping records while the drums take a shot at improvisation. Here keeping the beat close to the main groove works well as the band continues to skip right to the end. Easily one of the most creative entries on the New Funk scene and one that may give it legs as a stand out track.

Lefties Soul Connection - "Fais Do-Do" b/w "Mood Mix" (Melting Pot Music cat. MPM-038)
This is as heavy and aggressive as The Meters have ever gotten. Lefties Soul Connection are one of the few bands that I buy their 45's and LP's without ever hearing one note. They never disappoint. Swirling organ and picked guitar kick open the door of the massive instrumental known as "Fais Do-Do." The drums skip, smash, bang and POW! all the while the guitar strums out one of the more interesting lines found on any Funk 45. After a brief pause bridged with the beautiful thumping bass the organ gets down and dirty. You can sway, nod, bob, pogo or just brawl to this little ditty. After a steady soloing of the drums the guitar shows the organ that it is not the only instrument that can get down and dirty at this dance. All in all, a sweaty affair to say the least and I can't imagine anyone trying to put the kids to sleep while it is still kicking around the cage aux chiens.


Plum - (15th Anniversary 200th release box set) (Thrill Jockey Records cat. THRILL 200)
I still get excited like a 4 year old on Christmas morning when it comes to records. I have a four year old so I can tell you that is pretty fucking exciting. I got an email from Thrill Jockey announcing the box and the proceeded to check their site everyday until it was released. Then I asked Santa for it and couldn't wait until Christmas morning. Well this was worth the excitement and the wait. The Box is adorned with the fuzzy image of a plum and the scrawled word plum in shaky script. Each sleeve has a selection of botanicals featuring plums. The usual suspects are all here including Tortoise, Sea And Cake, Freakwater, Mouse On Mars, Califone, Pit Er Pat, etc, etc. All put in stellar performances and even in this tribute to their own label the bands push themselves and the boundaries a bit.

Javier R. Rodrigez - "Rumble" b/w "Up The Hill" (Raw-Wax Records cat. rw-008)
I have said it about a million times and I will say it again. A band is ONLY as good as their drummer. Time and time again this is true. If the drummer is not as good or at least a cut above the other players the band suffers. The drummer gracing the throne on this mad piece of Modern Funk is just explosive and tight as a duck's ass. He is kicking hard and putting back, shoulders and wrists into every hit. "LET'S GET READY TO...RUMBLE!" There is beautifully thought out percussion throughout that compliments every stroke the drummer takes. BUT, but, but let's not take a way from the rest of the folks giving it there all. The organ stabs, slides and pushes through the whole song sometimes sounding like the theme to a Spaghetti Western and at others the soundtrack to a Space adventure. The bass is moving and solid. With all the wonderful sounds and shifts going on around it, the bass holds everything together with expressive heavy notes and perfect little pauses that hang there allowing a beat or two to jump out and pin your shoulders back. The guitar tosses off super clean rhythmic jabs but then also covers everything up with wild amounts of fuzz and some crazy effects making the guitar sound like a clavinet. No need to ask because you already know the answer... YES, there is a cow bell and a beat heavy break. It is anything but a struggle to get "Up the Hill". The beauty of this single is that if you heard 50 tracks from this genre you would be able to spot the Javier R. Rodrigez tracks. There is a certain quality to the tracks and especially the way the drums are handled. Have you ever played with the balance while listening to Edwin Starr's "25 Miles?" If you have never done this and have the 7-inch I'll wait while you try.... Back? Pretty cool right? There is a similar sound to these tracks. The drums don't necessarily live in one channel or the other but there is a sense that the drums are offset from the band. Not so much as to be "out front" but just off to the side and allowed to really go for it and stretch out. The band really seems to enjoy playing with each other and on this track each musician compliments the others quite nicely. The drums lead the charge but this time the keyboards and bass grab equal amounts of space. The keys have the same spooky soundtrack meets lounge scene sound they had on the first side but they are always downright solid and Funky. The composition is nicely varied and allows the players to display their abilities. Woe, woe, woe what the hell is this! There is the most INCREDIBLE simple vibe pattern about half way through. The band takes the pace up to double time and the vibes drop gears and take it extremely slow. Echoey and masterfully handled but weirdly amateurish and the same time. Simple beauty? Child-like innocence? This all has the effect of watching a simulation of a space craft in orbit. You know it is moving at 18,000 MPH but it looks like it is floating. Thank you Javier R. Rodrigez and Raw-Wax you have made me and my turntable very happy. Now leave me be as I load up the needle and get lost....


Mohair said...

You have discussedL:
Jimmy Jones, SOUL BROTHER No. 2 Henry De Meo & Orch - "Say, Amen, Brother" (Jody Records cat. A-9014).

What's the record like. Is it listed for novelty value, or is it actually good.

Lloyd (mohairslim@hotmail.com)

Primitive Sound System said...

Hmmm. Why would you assume it is listed for novelty value? Crazy raw Soul / Funk record. Jones and band seem like they may have drank a little too much cough syrup and the track is amazing. Here is a sample - http://www.funk45.com/Index.asp?funk=music&search=2058&cat=id

Right as this sample ends bright horns jump in and Jimmy gets to shouting a bit. One of my all time favorite tracks.