New Website! You Dig?

Hey friends and followers!

We have officially made the jump from old Blogger site to shiny new proper website! This of course means that Amanda needs to get better with WordPress and general web design – but it’s getting there! This is a purely editorial blog with a positive spin and a sense of adventure. Our goal is to convey that as much as possible with everything we put out there. MUSIC IS LIFE! And music should be shared. That is what we do here/ Stick around!

Oh, and send me stuff! If I have not written about it but you think it’s amazing, I want to hear it!

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Enjoy Some Delicious New Grooves with The Breakfast – Phantasmagoria

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I like more right now than Breakfast. More specifically, The Breakfast.

The Breakfast started way back in 1998 in East Haven, CT originally as The Psychedelic Breakfast, a play on the Pink Floyd song Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast. They released their first album in 1999. There have been some lineup changes here and there, but the one thing that has always remained consistent when someone talks about the band is how freaking GOOD they are. The Breakfast is comprised of some of the most intensely talented players within and well outside the jam scene. Tim Palmieri, best known for his incredible work with Kung Fu and Z3, is on guitar. Adrian Tramontano, also of Kung Fu as well as about a million other projects and instruments because he’s that good, is on drums. Chris DeAngelis, also of Kung Fu as well as his solo project LoEndFreque , is on bass. Jordan Giangreco, who has played all over as well including in Viral Sound, is on keys. Everyone does vocals on this record. Everyone, and the vocals are amazing. This is a legendary band full of far above average players. It’s been a while since we had new music though, their last release being a self titled release from 2008.

Well, guess what? The Breakfast put out something new and amazing for 2019 called Phantasmagoria, and believe me when I tell you that you need this record in your life.

There is this insanely diverse variety of tastes and sounds comprising the songs on this album, all of which take you in a different direction while sticking to the same excellence that we fully expect from these guys. This album is like a really good buffet. Every song gives the listener the opportunity to sample a different flavor. You don’t have to settle into anything though because the next plate you come to is another sound, another direction, but still the same outstanding writing quality and playing. There are options you didn’t even know you wanted! You can play the album through and taste it all, or easily get stuck on any one of the individual tracks and stay there a while. You can do both. Either way, you walk away satisfied.

The first track, Metropolis, has a heavy hitting but still jam tasty sound. The vocals are straight rock with intense backup harmonies laid over grooves reminiscent of late 70’s funk rock. The solos, and they be many, take you to another world each time they start. Palmieri’s incredible chops show brightly here on guitar with that effortless intensity he is so damn good at. The drums, as usual with anything Adrian touches, are above and beyond normal. He’s one of those drummers that you see play and you stop dead in your tracks just to watch because it’s just not normal to be that good. The bass is other worldly as well. One of the things I like best about Chris DeAngelis and the way he approaches the instrument is that he can make it make sounds that I didn’t know a bass could. There are lots of people out there playing bass. There are few that make it sound like Chris does.

The next track, Shotgun Butterfly, takes a whole new direction from where you were. It’s got a bluesy cool in the vocal and groove. The sound is just enough heavy rock, just enough dirty, but still brings that funk undertone. The keys are cool and laced through the song, brightening up while the bass takes it darker. It’s a cool contrast that adds to that hip swinging cool thing that the song has. Right about the 2:45 mark, the song breaks down into solos that will melt a little bit of your brain. The record then skips over to the track Rush which goes is a completely different direction from the last two songs. This song sounds like someone threw a couple ska punk bands in a blender with Frank Zappa and gave everyone a lot of coffee. The song then goes from a skanking upbeat dance party to a thoughtful, intense and a little bit spacey jam. It’s three different directions in the first three songs. But wait, there’s more!

Another track to check out is Rust, a rock track with a great chugging groove and great vocal. The bass in this song is crazy good and the keys are otherworldly. Jordan Giangreco does this thing with piano in this song where the keys trickle and travel along. You can almost see the notes dotting an imaginary line in your mind that dips and ducks like a rollercoaster. It’s one of my favorite aspects of this song. Another great thing is how everything gathers in this song. All the components and pieces come together and create this incredible collage in your mind as you listen. The Breakfast are just not like other bands. They are not one trick pony songwriters. They don’t put sounds together like other people. This is a mashup of players who look at music like the language it is and they sing it as many ways as they can. You can just sit and listen to each song and dig into one aspect of the track. Then you can start the same song over and dig into a completely different aspect of the track. Each song is a multifaceted work of art that wants you to shake your tush. This record is really freaking great.

Don’t take my word for it, as I am simply your guide on this journey! Get yourself a copy and give it a good, hard listen. You won’t be the same. You can get your listen to Phantasmagoria from The Breakfast right on Spotify, or purchase your copy on their Facebook spot. Better yet, catch them doing their thing live all over the damn place this festival season! They will be hitting Branch Fest 2019  at the end of May and were just announced as part of this year’s Disc Jam 2019 lineup, thanks to intense voting by fans! Get out there and get some Breakfast!

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Gearing up for Disc Jam 2019 with Escaper! – UPDATED WITH DAILY LINEUP!

It’s another year, another festival season, and we at A Perfect Mess are gearing up for Disc Jam! Three years ago, Eric and I made our way up to our first Disc Jam and found not only some incredible new artist experiences, but we found new friends and a favorite place to land every summer. The great layout and seamless stage transitions showed us what could be done with the right components in place, and we look forward to this festival now every single year. Our last two Disc Jam experiences have been simply epic for us and we are so excited to see what is in store for us come June 2019 in Stephentown.

The lineup dropped in three parts this year, bringing us some exciting new acts as well as returning champions that we can’t wait to enjoy. Favorites like Kung Fu, Aqueous, Consider the Source, and Lotus are back this year, including the return of the very missed and much anticipated DOPAPOD! (did you hear me scream that? Because I totally did…) Mihali will be there sans Twiddle to wow everyone with his solo efforts, and being a fan – I’m super excited for that. The Floozies are headlining, The Breakfast will be there (holy cow!), Ghost Light is back, The Elovators are coming to give everyone a grooving good time, Funky Dawgs Brass Band is back and they are SO good, the super fun Muscle Tough are coming out, Catullus, Cypher, and I can seriously go on and on like this. There will be nightly takeovers with Rezinate X Sermon, powered by Hennessey Sound with artists like Face Plant, Mindset, Detox Unit, The Widdler, and a ton more. This year’s late night silent disco is sure to get everyone moving in the moonlight as well with Backpack, Smokestax, Jack the Human, and Dice Man, just to name a few. The lineup this year is nothing short of stacked. I mean, just look!

I even heard our favorite food vendors, Bees and Thank You, will be back with their INSANELY DELICIOUS grilled cheese spot again (and it helps the bees!) And then there is the DISC GOLF! Disc Jam has a 9 hole wooded course. The festival will have both a Singles and Doubles tournament. There are prize pack for everyone who signs up for the tournament. But maybe you’re brand new to the sport (like me) and don’t want to hop into the tournament and get in everyone’s way. You don’t have to! All attendees are free to play, so why not try it out? You might find your favorite new pass time in all this music awesomeness!

So the only question is…why don’t you have tickets yet?

One of our favorite returning artists to Disc Jam 2019 is Brooklyn’s own ESCAPER, who will be taking the stage on Sunday. These guys might just be 2019’s hardest working band in the scene! It seems like every festival lineup that drops has their name on it, in addition to their already bustling schedule playing up and down the east coast. I have genuinely enjoyed watching the Escaper wave start to take over this last year or so as these guys are genuine in their efforts and just incredible in their sound. Their blend of spacey funk rock and cool stage presence makes for a really fun performance. Don’t take my word for it though, you can check out packed rooms all over the tri-state area with folks coming out to see what they have going on. Their last release, Edge Detection (you can read my review of that record HERE) was recorded with all band members playing simultaneously, but in isolated spaces, creating a polished yet still very organic flow in their sound. They take this to other realms in their live performances, and we are super excited to see what they bring out at Disc Jam. Plus they are some of the nicest guys in the scene, agreeing to answer some questions for me about the upcoming Disc Jam festival! Thanks to guitarist Will Hanza and bassist Jay Giacomazzo for taking the time to let us know what’s going on, and what’s coming our way with them this June in Stephentown :

APM: This will be your return trip to Disc Jam for 2019. What is it that you love the most about the festival?

E: We are excited to return to DJ for the second year in a row! So many great bands on this line-up, it’s an honor to be part of it all. “Disc Jam Fam” is a real thing and the people are the best part of the fest. There is a lot to look forward to including one thing we love very much, which is the collaborative aspect of the event.

APM: Any great memories from your performance last year?

E: Last year we were joined by Shira Elias of Turkuaz for a cover of Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” which was beautiful. Shira brought a great energy to the stage and we loved seeing everyone dancing out there. In addition, the Turkuaz horn section sat in with us on our original “Rare Form”. It was truly a transportive experience and so great to collaborate on one of our own songs with those talented players (Josh Schwarts, Greg Sanderson, and Chris Brouwers)!

APM: Is there anyone else performing that you guys are really excited about seeing yourselves?

E: We’re excited for so many of the acts! We recently had a short tour with JEDI, which featured Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein of The Disco Biscuits. Getting to know them better as musicians and people has us particularly looking forward to seeing them with John K. & West Philly Fadeaway, as well as Marc with Star Kitchen.

APM: Will you be sticking around for the whole weekend, throwing some disc golf, hanging out tent-side?

E: We will be hanging out for the whole weekend! Beyond our performance, we love to connect with as many people as possible and to show love to the amazing artists on the bill. Fest life is best life.

APM: You guys are all over the place this festival season! What are you most excited about this year?

E: We are excited for all our upcoming appearances but in all honesty, DJ holds a special place in our hearts. This festival believed in us when we were still a very new band and we are excited to be growing with it.

APM: Do you have any new music releases on the horizon?

E: We sure do! We are currently doing pre-production for our upcoming third album. We will be playing new songs from this forthcoming release at DJ this year! Thanks for having us!

So there you have it.

If you have not already, head on over to the Disc Jam website and take a look at what is in store! Tickets are on sale, so get yours! Don’t wait too long as last year SOLD OUT. If that is any indication of what is in store for us this year, you are going to want to be there. You can get your ticket info right now, right HERE.

See you there, friends!

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Fake Flowers Real Dirt Debuts New Track “Upside Your Head” with New Video and a Whole Lot of Groove

Last year at Disc Jam, we happened to catch the guys in Fake Flowers Real Dirt doing their thing on stage and we have been fans ever since. This Baltimore band has a sound that blends funk, hip-hop, and groovy throwback jam vibes with soul infusions that keep feet tapping and bodies moving. Their stage presence was fantastic. I have to admit that I have been chomping at the bit a little bit for some new music from them. Naturally then I was THRILLED when I was asked to give a listen and a watch to the band’s new politically charged track, “Upside Your Head”.

Right out of the gate, this track is fire. It’s got a solid intensity while still maintaining the wicked groove that Fake Flowers Real Dirt does so well. The vibe is awesome and vocal on this track is killer. Listen to the words because it’s important! This song is speaking a whole lot of truth for our current conditions. It’s my personal opinion (obviously, as is this whole blog) but there are not nearly enough protest songs happening right now, and there should be. This is a scene that loves to brag of it’s roots and it’s social stance and activism, but given the opportunity to take a stand, there is a lot of should shrugging and “no comment” happening. There are a lot of very prominent bands who don’t want to go on record as having an opinion in these charged up and turbulent times. I am absolutely LOVING that Fake Flowers Real Dirt have put their foot down and made their voices heard with this track.

The video that accompanies the debut of this song it’s super fun. It is a mashup of presidents and other politicians that seem to be grooving and syncing to the words. It brings a bit of lighthearted fun to a serious matter, and it’s awesome and very well done. Don’t worry, the video is non-partisan (as much as it can be) but the song has an important message about the state of our union that needs your ear. Trust me when I say your body will be moving the whole time, as this song is outstanding. I am hoping this is not the last we hear from Fake Flowers Real Dirt for a while because if this is a taste of what the band has going on, we are in for a damn good time while we work to make changes.

Check out Upside Your Head for yourself right here: UPSIDE YOUR HEAD

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The Peach Music Festival is back for 2019 – And Sweeter Than Ever! July 25 – 28

Montage Mountain is about to get a whole lot sweeter this coming July with the return of the Peach Music Festival! This year’s lineup is sure to delight the eyes, the ears, and the soul with its blend of jam, funk, and electronic flavors spread over four days and gorgeous Pennsylvanian grounds. Come and get down at The Peach Music Festival  this year, July 25 to July 28 in Scranton, PA!

The big headliners at Peach are usually amazing, and this year didn’t let anyone down. Phil Lesh and Friends, featuring Warren Haynes, John Scofield, and John Molo have the main headlining spot this year. Attendees can also enjoy two sets of the Trey Anastasio Band and three sets of The String Cheese Incident. I mean – seriously! That right there is enough for a mind blowing festival, but Peach is barely getting started with the headliners. Greensky Bluegrass, moe., Lotus, Blues Traveler, Lettuce, Stephen Marley, The Marcus King Band, Aqueous, Fruition, Big Something…I’m not even halfway done and I am salivating just typing this. Peach this year is absolute FIRE with the lineup! This is a seriously funky, jammy, dance your tush off weekend of music with something for everyone.


Montage Mountain itself is absolutely lovely. Right outside the town of Scranton, PA with its fascinating railroad and mining history and gorgeous mountain views, the area creates a dreamy setting for a music festival. The ski area is beautifully green come summer and spread out with enough room for everyone to camp, rock out, and make wonderful new friends. Be aware campers, it is a mountain! The festival suggests packing light with your camping gear as there will be some terrain to cover to get to your campground. It makes that first ice cold beer all the more worth it though once you are settled in. There are several nearby hotel accommodations as well for those who prefer a bed over sleeping under the stars. 

Tickets are rolling out right now for the festival. You can find all the ticket information needed right HERE on the festivals website including passes for camping, glamping, travel packages, and general admission to the festival.

We hope to see you there!

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Desmond Jones is Back! Check Out Their New Song, “Still Creatures”!

Michigan’s own funktactular groove band Desmond Jones is back with a brand new single called “Still Creatures” off their upcoming release “Hello, Helou”, due out this summer. One of my favorite reviews of the last few years, these guys have an incredible funky movement coated in jazz flavors and laced with jam tones . There is a freshness to their sound that catches and sticks with you. Their last release, 2017’s self-titled album, was a fantastic blend of their signature sound and wonderful lighthearted take on the world. Their new stuff is looking like a fantastic and exploratory evolution for the band, and I couldn’t be more excited for that new stuff to hit. The seven song album consists of songs written by four different band members and recorded with live strings, added percussion, and all sorts of studio experimentation. 
This new track, “Still Creatures”,  is a fantastic example of what the band has been creating. It starts right in all jazzy and smooth with their brand of funky kick. The sax intro is pure cool and the groove that follows with its plucky flavors is infectious. It’s really good! The vocals are on point, and the drum/bass/guitar combo is on fire. These guys have perfected their own brand of familiar sound and it’s intricately put together. It’s got that funk jam fusion fun factor down, and creates a very danceable sound that will prevent any effort you might put forth in standing still. Don’t fight it. Just go with that groove. If this song is any indication of where Desmond Jones is going with their sound, I think everyone should be eagerly awaiting this release this summer.
You can check out “Still Creatures” in your own ears right HERE! Don’t take my word for it. Go groove for yourself. You can grab your copy of “Hello, Helou” this summer, with a vinyl presale that is already in effect.
I’m seeing their name popping up on shows all over the place and honestly, I can’t think of a lot of young bands that I am as excited to see hit the scene this season. I think I’ll be at the Bitter End show in NYC (4/23!) and they have a ton of cool dates coming up all over. I think you need to get out and see Desmond Jones do their thing. You can check out their upcoming dates on their website right HERE!

I hope to see you out there! Check out the new track, and grab your copy of “Hello, Helou” this summer!

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Something Refreshingly Different with Muscle Tough – Modern Romance!

Philadelphia is a lovely city full of delightful people, wonderful history, a big statue of Rocky, and this incredible Italian pork sandwich that beats out any cheese steak I ever had. Don’t take my word for it, go eat one. Beyond all that though is an inventive and lively music scene comprised of great venues and some massive talent. Always in the mood for something new, I was recently introduced to the dreamy space jam sounds of Muscle Tough. These guys have a new record out called Modern Romance and if you dig those space-heavy jams like I do, this might just be your bag right here.
This is the third record for the trio, following up their 2016 EP release, “Greasin’ Up The Mediocrity Wheel” and 2017’s full length, “Magical Achievements”. The band has had some great guest appearances and played with some heavy hitters on stage, and has been reviewed as a delightful and hilarious band to catch. They are obviously good at what they do musically and have some incredibly inventive concepts. The fact that this is clearly not a band that takes themselves too seriously, and thank God for that, is what cemented them for me. There are more than enough of those on the scene so coming across what these guys are putting out there, front and center, was an incredible relief. Immediately upon seeing that, I was in.
This record is imaginative. Muscle Tough is not a band that is out to carbon copy scenesters and heavy hitters and pass it off as their own. These guys want to make their own mark, and they have. What a shit ton of fun this record is! I am loving the track Down To Clown. First off – what? Where are these titles coming from and why are they so perfect? Second, what? Where are these sounds coming from? There is this very 80’s video game inspired guitar thing happening in this song over these groove heavy bass lines and kicking drums. They get straight up weird but I can’t imagine that dancing to this live is anything but a good freaking time.
Move on along to the track Waiting for Bae. It starts off sweet and gentle, maybe a little seductive? Kind of a, “Hey baby. Come sit down here next to me.” kind of vibe. Don’t get too comfortable though, because the song progresses with some fantastic guitar work. The groove is steady straight through. We Met On Chat Roulette is another great track, with a skipping tempo and a really cool groove. The bass does this really cool almost walking drop behind the guitar at times. I like the way these songs move. Right about halfway through, this song kicks wide open AND RIPS before dropping back into the groove a little harder. Very well done. There is nothing stagnant in what they are doing at all. They never get too spacey before they kick back in. There is just constant movement.
My favorite song on this album is Say Yes To The Mess. Aside from the obvious parallels to my blog (I mean, hello!), this song is an incredibly fun roll through musical chaos. It’s speedy tempo and twirly guitar sounds make one think of spinning in circles on the merry go round on the playground. That one they banned because you could seriously hurt yourself flying off of it at high speeds, which was half the fun. This song is incredibly fun. The ‘get up out of your chair and dance with no form and arms flailing around the room’ kind of fun. Before long though, this track gets into a super trippy groove. These guys must be party to see live, and honestly, I can’t wait.
I really dig this record. There is so much out there that sounds so much alike that there is something so refreshing when you come across a band determined to be skilled and yet so different. I love the references to the complete nonsense of dating in the song titles, and I especially love how the music finds its way to interlace in those concepts and ideas. It’s awesome when an instrumental band can paint pictures with their music, and this is a band that can do it with their humor as much as their talent. This record is just great, and I am highly recommending it. 
I was delighted to see that they will be on the 2019 Disc Jam lineup for the festival in Stephentown, NY this June. The Disc Jam folks have put so much amazing music in our laps the last two years that we have gone, so it’s really no surprise to see these guys on there. The festival is a good damn time every year. I hope they like tacos.
These guys have some really cool shows all over the place leading up to Disc Jam, including a Road To Disc Jam show with the amazing Rob Compa Trio at Electric Haze in Worcester, MA on May 10th! If I were you, I would get my booty to that show and give it a good shaking! You can check out all their dates and get more information at their website HERE. Get out there and get some great live music, and pick up the new release from Muscle Tough!

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DISC JAM 2019 Press Release – Initial Lineup is FIRE!!!

Disc Jam Music Festival Announces Initial 2019 Lineup
Festival Celebrates 9th year with 4 nights of Music, Camping and Disc Golf
June 6-9, 2019 at Gardner’s Farm in Stephentown, NY
Tickets on sale NOW at discjammusicfestival.com
(Stephentown, NY) Disc Jam Music Festival has announced the initial lineup for the 9th annual festival, held at Gardner’s Farm in Stephentown, NY just minutes from the
Massachusetts border. The music-filled weekend will features more than 70 artists,
along with Disc Golf Tournaments, Flow Tribe performances, food and craft vending,
yoga and wellness workshops and much more over the weekend of June 6-9, 2019.
The 2019 Disc Jam Phase 1 music lineup brings the best of national touring acts with
regional favorites from the funk and jam scenes of the Northeast, as well as unique
collaborations and side projects. Headliners include Lotus with Barber of The Disco
Biscuits and Friends, The Floozies, John Kadlecik & The West Philly Fadeaway
performing the music of the Grateful Dead with Marc Brownstein, Aron Magner, Sam
Altman, Mike Greenfield and more, Ripe, Papadosio, Moon Hooch, Ghost Light,
Circles Around the Sun, Pink Talking Fish, Mihali (of Twiddle), Doom Flamingo,
Kung Fu, Lespecial, Ghost-Note, Star Kitchen featuring Marc Brownstein, Jaw
Gems, Soule Monde and Consider the Source, along with Woods Stage nightly
takeovers by Rezinate X Sermon featuring Truth, Thriftworks and The Widdler.
Dozens more names and headlining acts to be announced on phase 2 of the lineup on
April 1, 2019.
“We’ve spent the entire off-season trying to come up with a festival experience that could one-up the magic we conjured last year. I think what we have in store for 2019 will set the bar so high for next year, I’m already getting nervous thinking about how we’ll top this in 2020.” In their 5th consecutive year at Gardner’s Farm, after moving the festival from Central Massachusetts where it began in 2011, Disc Jam has found a venue that feels like home. Scavone shares, “I truly believe that we have been blessed with the perfect festival grounds, beautiful grass beneath our feet, surrounded by rolling hills with picturesque views in all directions.”
Owner and Founder Tony Scavone says of the 9th installment of the festival: “Disc Jam lineups are constantly evolving, and this year we aimed to curate a lineup that has past audiences eager to return, while appealing to first time attendees with a diverse array of artists.” While he is most stoked for performances by Lotus with Barber and Friends, The Floozies and Ripe, Scavone says “I’m most looking forward to that moment the night before gates open where everyone is finally set up and completely ready to have as much fun as they possibly can tomorrow.”
As the name suggests Disc Jam, this 4-day event features the fast growing sport of disc golf and festival grounds features a 27-hole disc golf course on-site. Disc Golf
Tournaments for men and women are held throughout the weekend, with cash and
prizes from Innova Disc Golf going to the top finishers. Playing at least a round is a
must for Disc Jam enthusiasts and the course encourages both the avid and first timer
players to try their hand on the course. The disc golf courses are available to anyone to use all at no additional cost to play (outside of tournaments) with discs provided free of charge for those interested in entering a tournament, a casual round with friends, or learning how to play for the first time. This year’s tournaments will be hosted by 2019 Team Innova touring pro Nikko Locastro.
VIP packages allow fans to attend Disc Jam in style, with options for either hotel or
condo style rooms at the beautiful Jiminy Peak Ski Resort, just 5 minutes from the
venue. On top of the off-site accommodations, the event offers VIP camping areas and a VIP lounge sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company, which includes
complimentary beer for those 21 years or older.
A variety of activities and workshops are a big attraction for Disc Jam, including the Disc Jam Flow Tribe, flow art workshops, daily yoga sessions, interactive music and art installations throughout the festival grounds, plus craft and art vending that make Disc Jam a unique and memorable experience for both new and returning fans.
Listen to the Disc Jam lineup on our Spotify Playlist for 2019!
Disc Jam 2019 Music Festival Initial Lineup
Lotus featuring Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig & Friends • The Floozies
John Kadlecik & The West Philly Fadeaway
(with Marc Brownstein, Aron Magner, Sam Altman, Mike Greenfield and more)
Ripe • Papadosio • Moon Hooch • Ghost Light • Circles Around the Sun
Pink Talking Fish • Mihali (of Twiddle) • Doom Flamingo • Kung Fu • Lespecial x2
Ghost-Note • Star Kitchen featuring Marc Brownstein • Jaw Gems • Soule Monde
Consider the Source • Big Sexy and the Scrambled Eggs • Cypher • Dewpoint
Dynohunter • Escaper • Formula 5 • Funky Dawgz Brass Band
Horizon Wireless • Litz • Of Clocks and Clouds • One Time Weekend
Pine Needle Soul (Mac Miller tribute) • Root Shock • Roots Collider • Space Bacon
Space Carnival • Space Junk is Forever • Strange Machines • The Elovaters
The New Motif • Timbre Coup • Tweed • Wax Future
West End Blend • Wild Adriatic • Wurliday
Rezinate X Sermon Nightly Takeovers • Truth • Thriftworks • The Widdler
With more artists to be announced!!!
Watch the 2018 Disc Jam Recap
Watch the 2019 Disc Jam Announcement Video
Disc Jam Music Festival Official Links:
Media inquiries:
Pete Mason
315.569.2432
discjampr@gmail.com

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Keeping it Hot with the Cool Sounds of The Prizefighters – Firewalk

The Prizefighters are a Midwest rocksteady force to be reckoned with, and I have no problem saying they are leaders in their genre right now as a still fairly young band. I first heard them in the infancy of this blog when I reviewed their record Follow My Sound back in 2012. Not long after that, this blog went on a hiatus for a couple years while this band continued to build their mastery of the ska and rocksteady sound. This is no exaggeration.
The Prizefighters have been a backing band for respected legends like Derrick Morgan, Stranger Cole and Patsy Todd, Roy Panton and Yvonne Harrison, just to name a few. They have teamed up with legendary harmonica player and vocalist Charlie Organaire on a trio of 45rpm singles (released on Jump Up! Records) and a European tour. When it comes to an American band injecting real authenticity into a Jamaican sound, the Prizefighters have done more than their share of homework. They present this respectfully and as authentically as possible. This is clearly evident when you hear their new album, Firewalk.

The love and deep respect for the ska and rocksteady sounds is loud and clear through this record. In fact, the album was recorded in a 100% analog environment to preserve that sound and energy and it truly has the feel of something straight out of the 1960’s. I was immediately impressed by this. In a modern recording world with so many artists relying on technology to polish their sound, I respect deeply how much care went into the preservation of that vibe that we all know and love. It was perfectly captured. The groove of the record itself from start to finish is purely classic while still highlighting the modern chops of this band.
Right out of the gate, the record is a hitter. The opening track, Just Let The Music Play, has a steady bass groove, great smooth horns, and a gentle but hitting vocal. The next track, You’ll Never Know, kicks the energy right up with a sound that sends you straight back to the 60’s with the beat and the vocal energy. This is a fun song, and the horn and drum work is great, capturing that energy and sending it upwards and outwards. I would look forward to seeing this one done live, it’s a LOT of fun.
As much as I dig the Prizefighters’ vocals, they do a fantastic job with the traditional rocksteady sound as an instrumental as well. The third track on the album, The Accolade, is a great example of what they can do without vocal. Spectacular brass work and that steady chugging groove keeps feet tapping through to the end. Bebop Rocksteady is another one. It kicks right in with those horns to grab you and then holds on tight with a steady drum and bass groove. The thing about these folks is the way they make the music sing without having to say a word. They bring all the energy of an enormous crowd and funnel it through horns and bass to come out steady and smooth.
Skip on over to Burnt Toast and Black Coffee next and feel the energy immediately. That cool sound, great backup vocals, a great modern yet traditional sound. The vocals on this one are probably my favorite on the whole record. The title track, Firewalk, is another one worth mentioning. It’s got a sexy, creeping groove and these quick and shadowy vocals woven in that get right to the heart of the matter, “If the ground gets too hot, you must do the fire walk…” The sax work is really catchy and this track is the kind that will stick with you while keeping you moving. This is not a record to stand still listening to at all. 

All in all, this record is a must have. There is a lot of big talk out there about capturing a traditional sound and vibe in a recording. Usually instead, you get something concocted and over produced. The Prizefighters took their love for that sound and brought it way back. It rings bells in the soul to listen to their work on this record. It’s really, really well done.

Firewalk will be available on CD, cassette (yes!), and digital on February 15th. There will also be a vinyl release on Jump Up! Records later on in 2019, if you want to add some Prizefighters goodness to your library. The band’s record release show will be happening at the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN on February 15th, presented by Ska Brewing. For those of us on the East Coast, we can expect the band for a tour later on this year as well so we can get our own booty’s shaking.

You can check out more tour dates and release info on the band’s website, theprizefighters.bandzoogle.com

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SHOW REVIEW: Kung Fu at The Stanhope House, January 31 2019

I love a good local show. Local shows are a treat for me where I live in NJ. You see, usually we have to trek into New York City for shows and that requires an astronomical toll, parking which can also be pricy, and a commute that from where we live is a good 40 minutes WITHOUT traffic. Traffic is a way of life. This is New Jersey, after all. To make matters even more complicated though, I live in rural NJ – Sussex County, to be exact. We don’t have too many venues in my corner, so when we actually get a great band to come through, it’s a must that you get your booty there for some shaking. This is especially true if that band is Kung Fu. The last time the guys blessed us with their funky presence was on their Fez tour and I had to miss it. Balls.
So there was really just no way in hell that was happening this time. I would have paid all my dollars and probably an internal organ to be there. Thankfully neither was necessary on this random winter Thursday, and we made our way to the historic old blues club, The Stanhope House. It was time for some epic booty shaking with masters of funk and all that is awesome, Kung Fu.
There were a few openers – Mythology, Funkadelic Astronaut, and local favorites Fish House Road, who brought a lot of jam energy to the venue that night and got the place good and warm by the time the guys in Kung Fu took the stage. I was excited. Side note: I had already peeped a look at the set list, thanks to expert keyboardist and A Perfect Mess taco friend Beau Sasser, and I was chomping at the bit for this set. Here’s why:
I got into Kung Fu a bit later than most with their album Joyride, and it’s a personal favorite among all albums by bands in this scene in general for me. Of all the times I have seen Kung Fu, the song I have been chasing has been Chin Music because of the fantastic way the sax and guitar blend throughout, and the wicked solos in the second half. Specifically? The bass work of Chris DeAngelis. When I first heard it, I hit up my bassist husband because I needed to know exactly what I was hearing. I said, “Dude…I was kind of unaware a bass could sound like that”. When I saw that was on there, I was stoked.
So here come the guys in Kung Fu to blow my mind in their usual way, and they did not disappoint. They kicked off the set with a couple of tracks from their 2017 Ninja Cuts series, Scorpion, one of my favorites and a bad ass song all around, and Caught Up. Now Caught Up has these GREAT vocals that they still pull off live as well as they did recorded. That’s freaking amazing. After that we got a super awesome instrumental called The Lurker which really had the room moving. There was so much going on between Tim Palmieri’s ripping guitar work, Adrian Tramontano’s just simply superhuman drumming, Rob Somerville’s mastery of the saxophone, Beau Sasser just killing it on the keys, and Chris DeAngelis playing bass in ways I didn’t really think possible. These guys are not your typical small club jam act.

I wrote in another review recently that Kung Fu is a difficult band to review because when you review a normal band, you can make special mention of things like outstanding solos. A Kung Fu show is ALL outstanding solos. This is a band of five people who play their instrument at beyond expert levels and do it with more flare and fun than almost anyone. They are an uncommon collective of extraordinary musicians. You know those conversations that pop up on social media about “Who Plays XXXX instrument With The Most Flare and Skill” and blah blah blah? Yeah, my answer is usually someone in this band. They are, at times, mesmerizing to watch. 

The next song we were treated to was Joyride track The Get Down, and good golly, get down we did. They played it significantly faster than the album version which was in itself fun to watch because they still pulled it off perfectly. That song is another favorite of mine and they take it to new levels when they play it live. The majority of the song is instrumental but the last part has a great singalong and dance thing that goes on. Every time I have seen them do this song live, the audience just loses it. It’s a lot of fun. Next they did a super trippy song called Dirty Power that was a lot of fun, and that brought us into another Joyride song, Daddy D. This was just an epic set that just didn’t quit!
Then I got Chin Music, complete with some intense solo efforts from DeAngelis. Good god, dude. No one plays like that. For the record, no one plays like anyone in Kung Fu. You see, Kung Fu is a band that has five guys who are all, simultaneously, the best player in the band and all pulling an insane solo at the same time. You don’t know where to look when watching them play live because every one of them is doing something fucking amazing. So you just dance! You dance while saying “holy shit” to yourself over and over again because are these guys even human? Not while they are playing, they aren’t. It’s not all seriousness though. It’s a stage full of people who genuinely enjoy making music together, and it shows. Seriously, if you haven’t seen a Kung Fushow, you are missing out on something special. Get your ass out there, man.
The show was getting towards the end, and then the band just kicked all our asses. They pulled out a song from funk-soul bass virtuoso Thundercat called Oh Sheit, It’s X. They went just nuts on this song and blew our collective minds while making us dance so feverishly that I think I might have broken something. I’m just not young anymore. (or in shape) I love getting into a groove at a great show and looking next to you on both sides and seeing that everyone else is too. That’s the magic, right there. That’s what it’s all about. Just when we didn’t think the energy in the room could get any higher though, the band closed out the night with their amazingly groove heavy song Samurai and we all went crazy to the spacey jams. I don’t think I have danced that hard in a long damn time. I have seen Kung Fuclose with this song before, but this was probably the most intense I have seen it done so far and it was so much damn fun. Not surprisingly, the crowd was not ready to say goodbye and there were a few shouts asking for one more. That was it though. It was back to the cold winter night for us. I am sure I am not alone when I say I can’t wait for them to make a return trip to NJ.

The guys in Kung Fu have a bunch of dates coming up, which you can check out HERE. Get your booty out there for a good Kung Fu shaking ASAP. I’m not being dramatic here, but it might just change your life.

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