Hambone Relay, Say Hi to Earl
From the first track of Hambone Relay’s Say Hi To Earl, I knew that it is so much more than a nine-track of funk. Their third studio album, Hambone Relay has proven they have carved themselves out a comfortable space within the jazz/funk/jam world of the East Coast. Roaring organ crescendos, accompanying Scofield-esque guitar licks and progressive drum beat kept my head motioning from a slight contented bob to full on sway as I meandered through traffic during my first listen.
The opening track ‘Dustbowl Circus’ sets the table with a steady and upbeat dose of funky jazz, providing a solid preview of what this album has to offer. One song that really caught my ear was ‘Star Climber’, a tune that offers a showcase of the band’s versatility, blending the funk and jazz they are known for with a sort of bouncy space-pop effect. This ultimately transitioned to ‘New Dog, Old Tricks’, a song that shows off a powerful organ section which trades into a buildup that’s capped off with a screaming guitar solo, one which sounded like it was just waiting to be unleashed. Hambone Relay has been and will continue to gig extensively in promotion of this album and while I would strongly encourage a listen (or a bunch of listens) to Say Hi To Earl I would encourage checking them out live even stronger.
I will admit that the first time I ever heard Euphonious was the first time I listened to the album I am writing about. With no predetermined opinion, I noticed there was one word swirling through my head: potential. The self-titled album from this Philadelphia band is a wonderful voyage that surely leads to future efforts to be shared with our collective earbuds.
If you’re a fan of Dopapod’s mathematical knob turnin’, then this is a listen for you. Their opening track ‘Cntrl+alt+del’ kicked down the door and laid out their edgy, almost dark groove laden with precise and technical crispness. From there Euphonious shows us that they can stretch their legs with tracks such as ‘Chatter Ring’ maintaining all of the same edginess, but with a pinch of funk in the mix. The bookend song ‘Malfunktion’ is the coda that puts their progressive sound on full display while touching on several of the genres they are able to blend within their sound. Euphonious will be playing at Beardfest, so if you are attending make sure to give this album a look; you will likely decide you do not want to miss their set.
Mosey Beat, Nomadic Vision
Nomadic Vision is an introspective listen bringing insightful lyrics together with a bouncy groove that transitions to jazzy, funky, and jammy tones seamlessly throughout the album. The fact that this is a group of multi-instrumentalists shines through as soon as the introduction “Current” starts with an almost cinematic jam lacing elements of acoustic guitar, percussion, and piano. The arrangement smoothly changes hands into the first track, giving a nice snapshot of what tricks Mosey Beat has for a live crowd.
The trio displays their ability to take influence from bands such as Umphrey’s McGee and make it their own with stand-out tracks like “Slow Easy Ride”, “Twisted Spirals”, and “Mouthful”. Pairing inspirational words with chords climbing into glorious jam, “Slow Easy Ride” builds into a vibe that is both bright and enlivening. The script is then totally flipped with “Fried”, where fast picking with an even quicker beat picks up their groove and throws it down a bouncing wormhole. This tug of war continues throughout the album’s entirety as Nomadic Vision maintains this balanced breakfast of uplifting and fun.