Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 40

Still plenty to review here on Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 40.  One week away from the last Saturday of 2023, and we seem to be trapped in this progressive paradox lately.  There were just so many albums in the vast genre being released, and all of them magical and worthy of review.  So, we start off with a progressive jazz fusion jam band that’s getting quite the grease from the “Squeaky” release (yeah I’m a poet of sorts).  Then, we stay in the lane but it turns very dark and ominous, and our headlights are not what they should be, so we’re sort of edging our seat, our ears to a pending fear we both are responsible for — and is out of our control (you’ll follow me eventually — or maybe not).  And, because it seems to be the year of the Polish stoner rock fuzz or doom bands, we couldn’t help but give a review on a funny named band and their disgruntled one word title stoner/fuzz album that made it in under the wire!  So, before it becomes 2024, let us get right into this week’s Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 40 picks, so you can go and listen to them!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Where Host Mark Kuligowski adds three (3) more cool reviews]

Squeaky FeetCause For Alarm

It’s true what they say (I’m not going to say it) about the importance of a name.  Squeaky Feet, conceived at Berklee College of Music, is the example of skillful, mindful, and technical musicianship in the hands of extremely creative and improvisational craftspeople that completely understand their audience’s persistence for continued greatness for surprises and shifts in music.  We love epic instrumentals with mind-blowing pace and frictional changes that come from out of nowhere from any instrument of choice.  Hell, you add in a sound that shouldn’t be there and make it the front runner, and we’re suckers no matter where you take it.  This is Cause For Alarm and the stellar style of a jam band gone completely off the prog-rails!  They even know exactly when to bring in some lyric and vocal without putting the album off its pace or pattern, and toward the end of the record when another prog-style enters their audio arena techniques.

There’s not a solitary song on this one hour and nineteen minute juggernaut jazz to rock progressively produced that won’t surprise your ears or make you feel like moving to it’s style varieties.  There’s something in the modern world and from the past.  It has lovely pace, electronica, and balls to the wall progressive plateaus and crescendos that are worthy of the praise and attention they are currently receiving across the music multiverse.  The guitar work is mesmerizing at times, solo ridiculous in spots, and rhythm carrying throughout, which you will really come to understand and appreciate once you get to the epic, ‘Premonition,’ as to how it all really is remarkably well conceived and made.  Just truly an all-encompassing jam record, maybe in the talk of in the greats of all time.  And, this is a debut album, music multiverse listeners!  But, you be the judge!  Get Cause for Alarm on your stereo or in your earbuds, so you can see what the Squeaky Feet are getting the ‘grease’ (oh, yeah, I said it, oops).

The Band

  • Colin Shore – Guitar, Vocals
  • Greg King – Guitar
  • Jimmy Finnegan – Bass, Vocals
  • Kevin D’Angelo – Drums, Percussion, Programming
  • Brian Keller – Keyboards, Synthesizer, Vocals, Vocoder, Saxophone, Flute
  • Additional Musicians
    • Eliot Kershner – Piano
    • Mark Lettieri – Guitar

Cause For Alarm Tracklisting

  1. Pantomine
  2. Change to Grow
  3. Little Bit Further
  4. Generica
  5. Progress
  6. Tunnel Vision (with Mark Lettieri)
  7. Shovelware
  8. Pull the Lever
  9. Premonition
  10. Cause For Alarm

 

 

 

Mariusz DudaAFR AI D

Are you afraid?  You know the artist, so you’re probably expecting you should be.  It appears that despite the menacing qualities of all that Mariusz Duda touches (Riverside and Lunatic Soul, and production on the latest from Green Lung), the Polish multi-instrumentalist, progressive singer-songwriter god might find another avenue in his solo universe.  Well, when you do something so damn well, why mess with it, right?  AFR AI D is no exception to the music realm and compositions that have made Mariusz Duda the captain at the throne of progressive industrial rock, if you will.  While I was entranced by the recent Riverside album, considering it in the best albums of 2023, I was really more intrigued and beguiled by AFR AI D!  Maybe because I am not as familiar with the legacy of his recent solo albums, but I am definitely an all-in fan now!

Did you ever wonder what Depeche Mode would sound like if they were nearly completely instrumental, wondering how the kind of moody delivery might wind up in the hands of a progressive, sly-ambient, and industrial glaze?  Well hear what Duda has cooking!  The melody and dark moody instrumentation and mix here is carefully haunting, perplexing, and even unsettling.  The keyboard and piano phantom-like space play of ‘I Love To Chat With You’ is both lovely and dystopian at the same time with a realization of that simple timing, too.  He does the same thing with the drums in ‘Why So Serious, Cassandra’ and brings back the lovely and menacing keyboard and piano, messing with it deeper.

Is it effortless?  It does seem so, when you listen to this for the third and fourth time, and realize the overall precision of it all.  While I have no fear that AI was used in the making of this darkly gorgeous recording, after all, in comparison Duda is a Reznor, utilizing the instruments and technology to raise his game.  I am always, daily, worried by the seemingly thoughtlessness to the value of talented musicians.  If you don’t have talent, the creativity and the dedication necessary to make a compelling enough case to be a musical artist — than it should not be called music, album or single, and there would be no pending doomy feel toward copyright — or whether something is truly music.  This album is truly music, and it makes a strong heavy case in industrial progressive rock.  It’s creativity at the helm of a true musician, a craftsman, is showcased in every inch, even when ‘Embracing the Unknown,’  like us all — uncertain and maybe — afraid.

AFR AI D Tracklisting

  1. Taming Nightmares
  2. Good Morning Fearmongering
  3. Fake Me Deep, Murf
  4. Bots’ Party
  5. I Love To Chat With You
  6. Why So Serious, Cassandra?
  7. Mid Journey To Freedom
  8. Embracing The Unknown

 

 

 

Taxi CavemanUgh!

Poland!  What’s up!  It’s been a fabulous year with all kinds of fantastic material coming out of a country near and dear to my heritage, so why not keep it going with — Captain Caveman!  I’m sorry, when I first heard of this and listened to it, it was the first thing that comes to my mind, and listening to the album — in some places — still leads me there!  But, it’s not Captain Caveman, is it!  Taxi Caveman comes to us from Warsaw Poland, and they come at us, like a stoner, hard rock group on a mission to riff you in half!  Hell yeah!  Put us in the Polish-pit and let’s mosh it out beyotches!  The vocal, the guitars, the drums and all come crashing in without need for tempo building track, so Ugh! is off!  Well, the really don’t have time to be that way do they, considering this release comes to us on December 15th of 2023, and they’ve got to get your undivided attention, y’know!

The band does everything under the sun to grab that attention, including a very hard drivin’ Foo Fighters like gripper called ‘Sexy Caveman,’ where you realize three songs in that you are kind-of really starting to dig it all!  Now, you’re not going to be overpowered by the vocalist at this point (probably), but you are going to be later on (wait for it).  You are going to notice the length of repetition of the riff and rhythm guitars in each particular song, but that too will have some change (wait for it).  That being said, that’s the intention that comes with this hard rock driven style they’re not only emulating, but actually making their own in particular fashion, especially in the gorilla-warfare-like temp and pace.  I even love the thundering growl in the title track!  Well placed my Polish metal friends!  And, it’s the perfect end that leads us into ‘Funeral Kingdom’ which really sealed the deal for me that this had the musical thrash and heaviness of a certain early 90s Skid Row record (Slave to the Grind).  And, here’s where the wait for it moment comes, ‘What A Day.’  The vocalist gets a easy rock riff opportunity, and the band slides into a nearly radio friendly delivery, which is a neat little accompaniment to the record (while it probably does take away from the flow — I know).  Don’t worry, the next two tracks bring you back, potentially with a hint more doom in ‘Wait Outside,’ but the vocal you’re starting to realize more so.  Perhaps, the issue, is where in the production it is, but I can certainly understand why.  They want to bring the heavy, and they’re hanging their hat there very well, and mixing it up, too!

There’s a lot more here in more listens, so don’t think one time through you got this figured.  This is a fun heavy stoner record with testaments to what this band could have on their horizon, especially among the love and support of what Poland seems to be producing, and the attention being given by record labels we’re familiar with.  They have the talent and a sound that’s bursting at the seams!  Ugh! is a sound in a moment, and they capture it fun, wildly, and with a determination that makes me think (Captain Caveman!) — no not that!  Taxi Caveman has the time warp vehicle to do whatever they want!  And, they can pick us up here, at Beyond Your Radio, any time, as we thoroughly enjoyed the ride!

The Band

  • Bartosz Nauman – bass, vocals
  • Piotr Rutkowski – guitar, vocals
  • Vincent Grabb [Bartosz Gamracy] – drums, vocals

Ugh! Tracklisting

  1. Duke Nukem
  2. Black Magic Hole
  3. Sexy Caveman
  4. Ugh!
  5. Funeral Kingdom
  6. What A Day
  7. Wait Outside
  8. Don’t Blame Me
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