Action Bronson is a pretty funny dude. He looks more like an avid pro wrestling fan than a rapper, but who am I to judge? Action Bronson can rap, and well, too. He’s funny and creative, and “Brand New Car” is a perfect example of that. Also, the upbeat music he raps over is exciting and fun, which is another few points in his favor in my book. Give him a listen, then check out the rest of his album on Spotify.
It’s the Sunday before Fourth Monday, and stress is running high all over CC campus. It is at times like these that you just may need someone to tell you it’s going to be fine, this too shall pass, all that. Perhaps in the meantime, it’ll help to hear Kanye get hyped about being powerful; perhaps you, too, can get jazzed and finish that essay (or whatever it happens to be). Here’s POWER. For more… there’s a million ways to get more Kanye, but for starters, here’s his Spotify.
We’ve already reviewed Jay Rock’s latest album, 90059, on this site, but I can’t stop listening to it. I play it start to finish every time I listen, and the album hasn’t gotten old yet. This is the first track off the album, and “Necessary“ sets the tone perfectly. Hard-hitting and powerful lines over a fresh beat make it a great song for feeling like you’re tough. For more, find Jay Rock’s Spotify.
“Wanna Party” goes in. Future Brown (a group of four producers) crafts an excellent, almost ominous beat, and Tink carries it off perfectly with her rapping. At times frantic and rushed, and at others slow and almost slurred, this is a perfect party anthem, as its title might suggest. For more, check Future Brown’s Spotify.
The Sidekicks, an alternative rock band from Ohio, are super cool. “Awkward Breeds” came out in 2012, and they got a lot of attention as a result. This is my favorite track off the album- it’s fun, catchy, and maybe a little melodramatic, and great overall. Give “Grace” a listen above, and for more, there’s always their page on Spotify. Their latest album, “Runners in the Nerved World,” is also definitely worth a listen.
Anyone else remember this? One of the most quintessential Dr. Dre tracks from an iconic Dr. Dre album, “The Next Episode” has it all- West Coast flow, West Coast aesthetic, and Snoop Dogg. Pretty much the only three things you need for a bangin’ rap track. Nate Dogg carries off the track with the last line of the song, perhaps one of the most recognizable lines off the album. To listen to the rest of the tracks, find the album here on Spotify. Also, try Dr. Dre’s newest album, Compton.
I sat down with Jake Sabetta, Andy Post, and Evan Levy, three members of a new CC student band, to talk about new music, influences, and Tarantino movies. The three of them are super excited to play their own kind of live music again after the disbanding of Funkdozer.
Their as-yet-untitled band plays Saturday, September 12, at the Eggplant House at 10:30pm.
TB: So, can you guys introduce yourselves?
Jake Sabetta: I’m Jake Sabetta, I play guitar, that is my primary instrument, and I’ve played with these guys, Andy Post and Evan Levy for two years now, in pretty much every band that I’ve played in at CC. So it’s a good connection that we’ve got, and I’m happy to be joining these two again.
Evan Levy: I’m Evan, and I’m gonna be playing saxophone. I’m used to playing with other horn players, as of now I’m alone, so I’ll probably be playing a lot of things along with Jake, I think. I just got a little ceramic flute that I’m excited to try out… It might not work at all, but- (JS: What’s it called?)- an ocarina. Yeah. Perhaps gonna try to get some pedal action going on the saxophone- guitar pedals- for loops or delays so they can sound a little cooler.
Andy Post: I’m Andy Post, I play keyboard. I’ve played in two bands with these guys. (JS: He composes a lot of good music. EL: Yeah he does.)
TB: Right on, cool. So as far as this project goes, what kind of style are y’all going for? I know all three of you were in Funkdozer, are you going for that funky style again, or something new?
EL: So, originally, we were really excited about neo-soul, that’s the genre that includes D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Roy Hargrove, or Questlove sort of stuff. It’s a real groovy sort of genre, I think we’re gonna lay off on the funk a little bit, get a little more tasteful, especially with Sophie on vocals, which is crucial, and James Dineen is gonna do some rapping, which is another component of this genre of music. We’ll also inevitably dabble in funk.
JS: I think the biggest thing we learned in Funkdozer, as we were primarily a rock band for the first year, not playing any funk at all, we took this wild detour into funk, is funk is like the Dao, like anything in Zen, I think it’s always there, it’ll always be present in this band, but I think in a different fashion than it was in Funkdozer. It won’t be as loud, but definitely there.
AP: “Jazz is the teacher, funk is the preacher…” There’s another part to that.
JS: “One without the other, you’ve got nothing but the blues.”
AP: Original compositions is a pretty big goal.
What are your personal influences as far as individual style goes? Musicians, bands, other artists…
JS: I think in the multiple bands we’ve played in, the three of us and some other people, like the bands themselves all shared influences, and Funkdozer I all of us were into Lettuce, Soulive, stuff like that, and I think people will find out the shared interests of this band as we grow, so far Roy Hargrove is a big one, Erykah Badu… We can do individually I guess, there’s a lot of influences…
EL: Yeah, there’s a lot, I think it’s better to keep it to group-wide influences, more telling of it, we could all list dozens of influential artists, but it’s the ones that tie us together (laughter).
As far as starting this project, how does it feel to start a new project? What are you excited about? What are you concerned about?
EL: Well, none of us- we haven’t played together, with all seven of us yet, and we have a show tomorrow, so I’m really excited to hear what we sound like with all of us together.
AP: We’ve had different combinations of six, different combinations of five, but… Yeah getting seven people together with crazy schedules is a concern, I guess the hope is that we can find- like, last year with Funkdozer I felt like we all found a common thread that we were psyched on playing, and had efficient practices and also with fun and competition. One of the things Evan said to me when we started this group is that there’s not like an alpha male, or like super stressed out person, which we’ve experienced in the past, so I’m hoping that there’s still some drive, but we can all be a relaxed group with a good ethic.
EL: I’m excited that this group isn’t afraid to play quietly, and my experience at CC is that student bands play loud all the time, and that’s their one little volume knob, but I think, you know, we’re all interested in creating space… as Miles Davis once said, “It’s not about the notes you play, it’s about the notes you don’t play.” So, I think I’m excited to work with that.
JS: I think most bands, are trying to push it to 13, like Spinal Tap, and we’re trying to keep it around three.
What is the most rewarding moment of the career y’all have had so far?
AP: Last year, first round of Battle of the Bands, that felt there were a lot of people, and also a lot of people listening, including people on stage, I just felt like we had the audience’s ear more so than before, kinda listening more to the aesthetic of the music rather than dancing and shouting names.
JS: Yeah, I mean Andy was playing really colorful ideas during his solos and I remember looking up during his solos and seeing kids dancing, but like, with their eyes wide open, looking at him in awe, his fingers, what he was playing- that was a cool moment.
EL: Yeah, the moment it just kinda gets going during a gig and it doesn’t stop.
Last two questions- fun ones! Each of you, what is your favorite album of 2015 so far?
EL: Snarky Puppy’s new album Sylva is really cool. It’s a group that is the modern incarnation of the jazz band, they play some weird stuff, and this album is accompanied by an orchestra, so it’s really cool.
AP: Their dynamics, especially with an orchestra, it’s like funk plus the adaptability of an orchestra, which is really cool. I’m getting into this album by Kamasi Washington, he’s one of the saxophone players on Kendrick Lamar’s new album.
JS: D’Angelo’s album came out this year, right?
EL: No, I thought it was October 2014. That would be a good choice though.
JS: Ah well. There’s this guitarist called Plini, he just released an EP called… I think it’s called Things to Come? [Note: Google says the EP is called The End of Everything]. I think he’s making the most creative music I’ve ever heard, and his band is… so good.
Alright, last one- favorite Tarantino movie?
AP: I’ve seen parts of… what is that one? Pulp Fiction. I’m not much of a movie guy.
EL: Yeah, I’m not much of a movie guy either, I’ve seen Pulp Fiction and I’ve gotten through Reservoir Dogs.
AP: Oh, I’ve also seen Django Unchained at the theater. I fell asleep.
JS: Well, I know everyone would say Pulp Fiction, so I’m gonna go Jackie Brown, even though it isn’t as good as Pulp Fiction. Gotta be different.
TB: Thanks guys.
The Soviettes are pop punk, plain and simple. The production value is high, but they somehow maintain the vibe. It’s pretty cool. After getting their band name from a tip left on a bill at a table one of the members was waiting, The Soviettes played with pop punk sounds until they broke up. For more, check out their album LPIII on Spotify.
Party rockin’? Maybe. Wallpaper. is a weird group fronted by Ricky Reed. They make all kinds of strange pop/rap sounds that definitely appeal if you’re in the exact situation that calls for a Wallpaper. song. I would call the vibe post-grunge rap, but what do I know? Give it a listen, and if you want more, check out the album on Spotify.
ZZ Ward is cool. Like, somehow-manages-to-pull-off-a-fedora cool. To add to that, she has a kind of blues-pop vibe that pulls a listener in like the various lovers ZZ Ward addresses in her music. In “LOVE 3X” she paints a picture of what can only be described as a tumultuous relationship in the extreme. Check it out above, watch for her album in early 2016, and listen to more on her Soundcloud.