Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Album Review: Nation Beat-Legends of the Preacher (QuietColor.com)

It's not often you'll hear Portuguese lyrics sung over a cajun blues backdrop, but Legends of the Preacher, the new album from Nation Beat, set to release July 15th on Modiba Productions, has a groove and character all its own. Blending sounds of Southern blues with Brazilian maracatu and a whole lot more, their sound is definitely unique. With Liliana Araujo's beautifully full, soulful voice gliding gracefully over the red hot multi-layered rhythm section composed of Mike Lavelle on bass, Scott Kettner and Eduardo Guedes on percussion, and Raphael McGregor and Sky Steele adding their southern blues sounds with lap steel and fiddle, Nation Beat maintains an intricate multi-layered melody and tight groove.
Legends of the Preacher displays a delightfully wide range of sound and influence, which comes as little surprise from a band that is at the heart of the Brooklyn music scene, one of the most diverse in the country. In a given song, Nation Beat will give you a taste of bluegrass, funk, Brazilian macaratu, and rock. They blend it all together to create their own signature style which is downright infectiously danceable.
As if Nation Beat didn't already have a style jam-packed with different influences from all over the musical globe, they recorded three tracks on Legends of the Preacher with Grammy Award winners The Klezmatics, a klezmer-fusion band out of the East Village. The Klezmatics, particularly their horn section, add to the already rich texture of Nation Beat's non-traditional sound.
Nation Beat personifies the growing trend in contemporary popular music--fusion. As the world, and the music industry, become increasingly globalized, sounds from all over the world are not nearly as far away as they once were. Bands are incorporating more and more diverse sounds into their repertoires, and appreciation for heterogeneous danceable music is growing as well. The energy and passion exhibited on Legends of the Preacher is even more in-your-face and alive in their live concert. If you like to dance, make sure to check them out as they will be touring all over the east coast and mid-west with dates in Montreal, Milwaukee, New York and Boston to name a few.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Blue Method at Crash Mansion-June 13th, 2008 (ShortandSweetnyc.com)

After my friend Linh and I sat through two terrible, hipster, indie-rock bands at the Crash Mansion Friday night, I thought to myself, "The Blue Method better be as good as I remember them." Luckily for us, they were better. Their bass and guitar lines were funkier, lead singer Brian Williams was fatter, his voice was more soulful, and their drums rocked even harder.
The Blue Method is a 5-piece funk band out of Philadelphia that has a sound like a ten-piece ensemble. They opened with a couple tracks from their latest album, followed them up with a James Brown cover, and then played the funkiest version of Van Morrison's "Caravan" I've ever heard by far. Brian Williams is a big man with an even bigger voice whose energy and passion accentuates the band's infectious on stage attitude.
Featuring Brian Williams on lead vocals, trumpet and trombone, Tom Long on saxophone and rhythm guitar, Mike Patriarca on lead guitar, Rah M. Sungee on bass, and Theron Shelton on drums, their live show features a soulful mix of covers and original tracks off of their two studio albums Kill the Music Vol. 1 and 2. They have an incredibly tight sound, and they will make you dance all night. They tour all over the east coast on a regular basis, so definitely check them out whenever you get the chance.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Album Review: Tristan Prettyman-Hello (Shortandsweetnyc.com)

"If someone were to say to me, 'Tell me about yourself,' I would just hand them a copy of Hello and say, ‘Here, this is everything you need to know,'" those are the words Tristan Prettyman uses to describe her second full-length album, Hello, from Virgin Records, a twelve track storybook collection of thoughts, musings, and portraits that are at the same time enticing and edgy.

Prettyman has a sexy, smoky, bluesy alto voice that glides perfectly over the musical backdrop of steel-pedal guitar, Rhodes, bass, strings, and drums throughout her album. She’s got a signature style of blues/folk/pop. Her voice is deep but lively, feminine, and sexy.

Put simply, Prettyman has character. She plays the type of music that has depth if you care to listen, rhythm if you care to dance, and soul if you care to feel. Hello explores Prettyman's love of country-blues and folk from the '60s and '70s, artists like The Band, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. "There's something really pure and uncontrived about what they do," she says. "I really connect with that simplicity.”