Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 18

Welcome to another Album Review Saturdays! There was instrumentation heavy in the air for most of this week! Without really realizing it we allowed percussion to drive two of our selections! The great Stanton Moore, and if you don’t know his musical escapades it’s a great rabbit hole to go down. Then there’s the legendary Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Toto and Sting) utilizing some new influences to kickstart a familiar formula into a slightly modern ear.  And then, we step into an extremely interesting psyche-stoner rock blues with a dynamic female vocalist that we had somehow missed for ten years?!  Yeah, you can’t believe it right?!  Well believe that and in these three well crafted albums for review on this Album Review Saturday!

 

Click here for our YouTube Channel “Album Review Saturday 2023 Episode 18” which features discussion on these albums, as well as two (2) more album reviews not in this article.

 

Galactic – Tchompitoulas

This ever-growing, ever changing progressive New Orleans Jazz band always has a unique percussion system that drives them in and out of fusion into contemporary pieces to modern hip-hop flows and diabolical instrumentalism that plays wonderful tricks on the ear.  This EP, which looks great in album cover, is another continued example of that which makes them unique and great to listen to, although a pretty good departure from their earlier records, which we here at Beyond Your Radio hold in very high regard.

As is always the case, it seems, there is heavy, cool collaborations that leads to fine tuned genre switching funk and groove that fits into perfectly tiled songs that share what Stanton Moore is laying down, but the rest of the musicians and vocalists around him takes it into fantastical musical places that only has a slight crime of being an EP.  But, like eating in a New Orleans restaurant, even the smallest of portion can pack the biggest flavored punch as well as satisfy the palette and belly.  In this case, it is the ear that’s licking its lips and your mind is kind of wondering just how this might have all come to be, which is a very cool thing in the music multiverse these days.

The Band

  • Anjelika “Jelly Joseph” – Vocals
  • Stanton Moore – Drums
  • Rob Mercurio – Bass
  • Jeff Raines – Guitar
  • Richard Vogel – Keyboards
  • Ben Ellman – Saxophone, Harmonica
  • Shamarr Allen – Trumpet

Collaborators:

Eric Biddines
Glen David Andrews
Cimafunk 

Tchompitoulas Tracklisting

1 . Big Whiskers
2. Making Cents (Feat. Eric Biddines)
3. Tchompitoulas (Feat. Eric Gordon)
4. Float Up (Feat. Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph)
5. Ready For Me (Feat. Cimafunk & Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph)
6. NY to NOLA (Feat. Glen David Andrews)

 

 

 

Solstein – Solstein

When you have the massive fusion jazz and even progressive rock drumming talents of Keith Carlock (of Steely Dan, as well as, Toto and Sting) there’s probably an ease of which you can form a band, not a question of how to put together a tremendous song palette, but probably just where to throw it down at.  Studio, Live, or maybe a unique location?  Or, apparently a dude ranch (no kidding there). Solstein (Norway – US band) arrives wherever this was done like you’ve landed in a musician’s playground, and we’re fortunately along for the ear-filled ride of an all in, all over the place progressive fusion of mass proportions no matter who has the reigns of this bad boy!  There’s the funk jazz, and the Herbie Hancock keyboard vibe. There’s also some really fine jazz-prog in the mix for those fans of Happy the Man, as well as Steely Dan!  And, there’s even some wilder elements but all against the canvas of fabulous guitar playing, and did we mention those drums! Although, there was a moment where I thought one song might have had programmed drums, but I’ve been told otherwise (just another sign of the greatness of Keith Carlock).

The Band

  • Keith Carlock – Drums
  • Jacob Holm-Lupo – Guitar, Multi-Instrumentalist
  • Stian Larsen – Guitar
  • Brynjar Dambo – Keyboards
  • Bill Bressler – Keyboards, Multi-Instrumentalist

Solstein Tracklisting

1. Intersection (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock)
2. Oriental Folk Song (Wayne Shorter)
3. Southwester (Holm-Lupo/Carlock/Dambo)
4. The Night Owl (Holm-Lupo/Larsen)
5. Siriusly (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock/Dambo)
6. February 9th (Holm-Lupo/Larsen)
7. The Creeper (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock)
8. Hamada (Holm-Lupo/Larsen/Carlock/Bressler)

 

 

 

Royal Thunder – Rebuilding the Mountains

What we have here is a straight up rock band with intense hard rock and an incredible hard blues female vocals that are at the heart of it all, allowing all kinds of passionate playing to swirl about, snarl when needed, startle in subtle brilliant moments, and with a hint of psychedelia — throw down a real rock contender in 2023!  There are areas where you might say it could be a bit of grunge, but I’m really following a vocal delivery here that has the range and power that you rarely associate with grunge.  The threesome is considerably tight in their power and ability to work their hard rock magic in the studio, so it’s a very accessible sound and production quality, as it does feel like they spent some attention to the flow of the songs and the wanting reach of these crafted lyrics, which (after a third listen) are woven well, matching the depth of the melodies, riffs and edgy raw blues range of Miny Parsonz.  What I truly have enjoyed about this band is that they have a real grasp on laying down rock but in mood and layer that’s so gripping yet not slaying or over the top.  They seem to completely grasp that hard doesn’t necessarily have to mean speed, pulse or pounding.  Sometimes the riff can be done subtle, the fading guitar can be as effective as a screaming solo, and the drums can hold or rumble or crush with soul and grit.

This is a first listen for this Atlanta band for me, and they have released CVI (2012), Crooked Doors (2015), and Wick (2017).  This is an example of that statement I keep making that you can’t listen to everything, but damnit I try, but I failed here.  This is very good rock trio, that apparently didn’t start as three but has found considerable comfort in where they were and where they are today.  I have to start rolling back to the other albums because I have a feeling there are all kinds of fantastic!   If you like the voices of Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin even Pat Benatar within a stoner rock blues that has that Zeppelin like range and production that mirrors Shinedown, this should fill your ears immediately…if not sooner!  Here’s hoping that there passion and signature (which very few bands rarely find and embrace) continues so we can see them work this magic live, as well as on albums to come!

Band

  • Mindy Parsonz – Vocals, Bass
  • Josh Weaver – Guitar
  • Evan Diprima – Drums

Rebuilding the Mountain Tracklisting

1. Drag Me
2. The Knife
3. Now Here – No Where
4. Twice
5. Pull
6. Live to Live
7. My Ten
8. Fade
9. The King
10. Dead Star

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