Shawn Hall is the Harpoonist, playing harmonica and singing; Matthew Rogers is the Axe Murderer and plays guitar, bass and synth with guests John Raham/dr, Geoff Hilhorst/key, Efran Chavez/perc and a slew of guest vocalists. Assembled, you get bluesy rock on “ I’m Back” some Roger Chapman-esque vocals and growling harp on “Pretty Please,” humming B3 pulsing on “Forever Fool,” and some sleek soulful guitar on “Running” while the 80s come back on the synth percussion on “ Marianne” and the 70s are rocking on “Nancy.” Even an acoustic ballad or two makes it into the mix here on an album that feels like a hip anthology.
Comprised of Matthew Paige/g-vc-mand-banj, Dylan Whitlow/b-p-g-v, Ollie Dogg/harp-voc and Zack Murphy/dr-perc-voc, the Blackfoot Gypsies range from Bay Area Psychedelia on “Everybody’s Watching” to Kinks-inspired riffs and attitude n “I’m So Blue.” Dylanesque acoustic folk sounds pop up on “Potatoes and Whisky” and Bo Diddley riffs are rocking during “Gypsy Queen.” Paige h as a rich tenor to his voice, with the guitar getting fuzzy on “Promise to Keep” and the rhythm team creates hip pulses as on “I Had A Vision.” Homages to days of licks past.
Singer-songwriter David Childers mixes sounds from the Cumberland gap with indie and pop moods on this album produced by Don Dixon of R.E.M. fame. Childers sings with a rich blue-grassy voice while playing guitar and harmonica along with Robert Childers/dr, orey Dudley/b, Geoffrey White/fid, Dale Shoemaker/g, and Dixon/key, The team sounds folksy with the violin on the acoustic “Greasy Dollar” and the team can deliver and easy beat boogie during “Promise to the Wind.” An indie-British pop feel is on the bouncy “Radio Moscow” and punk riffs are strumming on the title track, whereas a trucker’s mood is created on the ballad “Ghostland” and a Nashville Skyline is seen with mandolin on the charming “Thanks to All (Long Ago). Modern western wear.
The 13 member Big Mean Sound Machine mixes soul based funk with latin grooves on this album recorded “live” in studio and the Enfield Baptist Church. The rhythm team of Andrew Klein/dr-perc, Angelo Peters/b, Paulie Philippone/key and Lex Schmidt/perc gets celebrative on pieces like “ Kang’s Lament” and “Triple Bacon” and the timbales team up with the crisp horn section and hip keyboard soling on “Seeing The Bigger Picture.” Ray McNamara’s funky guitar teams with electronics on “The G” and tapes are whirling around the synthesizing boogaloo groove on the title track. Earthy, funky and ready to make you dance.
The six member Japanese team Sol & “Pimp” Sessions includes Sacho/”agitator”, Tabu Zombie/tp, Josei/key, Akita Goldman/b, motoharu/sax and Midorin/dr, along with various guests. They must be amazing to see in concert, as this album is like a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride of songs, ranging from hip hopping sounds akin to “Shaft” on “Introduction” to a subliminal and dreamy remake of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” with sublime horn work by Zombie.” A jazz version of MC Hammer is felt on the festive “Papaya Pai Pai” while dashes of Weather Report are palpable on” Mellow Black,” and if you’rein the mood for some real chop burning stuff, check out Motoahur’s soprano on the quicksilver “BLACK MILK” or the hummingbird ride cymbal ride on “ SOILOGIC.” These guys are amazing!