LIVE PEAK – New! Hot Clips Vol. 2 and Upcoming Shows!

Why does it seem so long since we have all been able to get together and dance to a great live band? Probably because it has been. At least for us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have only been to one large show in New York City (Bad Religion) and one smaller show nearby in Stanhope, outdoors (Twiddle). Mostly though we still watch from afar. Live streams, vlogged shows, live albums. I am not upset about it. Aside from being a little medically fragile, I have grown to quite enjoy ready access to cheap drinks and a clean bathroom with no line. However, I deeply miss that live energy. The palpable energy of a room full of people digging hard on the same grooves you are. Even better, a field full of people digging those grooves, dancing under the lights, the stars, feeling the sounds permeate their soul.

Since mandates have been lifted and large populations have been vaccinated, there is hope that some semblance of normalcy can resume in the world of music venues and shows. With COVID rolling on with less gusto but no sign of going away for good, we are cautiously emerging, vaccinated and sanitizing, from our caverns of sourdough bread making and working from home to gather again in the church of live music. And I’m here for it.  I crave that energy like a life force, and I long to feed that craving again on the regular.

I can’t wait to do it with one of my very favorite bands in recent years in just a few days…

This Friday, Brooklyn’s psychedelic indie funk quartet PEAK will be bringing us all out of the dark when they hit the Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ with Uncle Stump. One of the most fun live bands I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know, PEAK brings fantastic songwriting and steady beat dance jams that will keep you moving until you think you might explode from the energy. Purely stated, they are a lively, fun live show put on by some of the most talented players in the scene and if you have not caught them yet, you need to be there. Don’t take my word for it – you are being given a preview!

In addition to live show news, I am delighted to bring you new music news! PEAK is back with the second installment of their Hot Clips series featuring selections from their summer and fall shows in 2021. Comprised of songs off their two previous studio albums, a few unreleased songs, and even a Mac Demarco cover, this selection of jams gives you a taste of what PEAK brings to the room when they show up and throw down. Songwriter and guitarist Jeremy Hilliard (Turbine), drummer Kito Bovenshulte (Particle), Josh T. Carter (Haley Jane and The Primates) on bass, and keyboardist Johnny Young (Mick Taylor Band) create this incredible collective of soaring jams, dance beats, and rock out moments captured in the Hot Clips series. PEAK is something spectacular to witness live with the kind of honest energy and songwriting that has been lacking in the jam scene in recent years. It’s one thing to be talented, but the songs are exceptionally written and the shows are the kind of fun that you just get lost in. It’s an experience. I feel like I throw PEAK at my readers a lot, but I have yet to have one come back to me anything other than floored by their experience with them. If you are new to PEAK, let Hot Clips, Vol. 2 be your introduction.

One of my very favorite PEAK tracks, especially live, kicks off the collection – Path Paved With Roses. It’s a track off the band’s last studio album, Choppy Water, that brings super fun danceable beats with singable lyrics. This version dissolves into a steady, trippy jam. There is also a gorgeous version of the track Starlight Child in this collection that brings a sick jam with ripping guitar and crazy heady bass over an insane blend of drums and keys before delicately dropping back into the chorus and finishing precise. Their cover of Mac Demarco’s Freaking Out The Neighborhood is a really fun version that highlights each ridiculously good player in this band. The solo’s flow from Johnny’s impossibly good key work into Jeremy’s guitar shred. The whole time, Kito is absolutely destroying the drums and Josh is absurdly ripping on bass. Then the jam kicks in – slow and spacy first and then picks up the pace. It climbs steadily, holds you for a minute, and freaking explodes in a righteous climax and it’s over. (The original version of this song has an amusing backstory that I encourage you to Google). This is one of my favorites to see PEAK do live. It freaking RIPS. 

Here is the track list for Hot Clips, Vol. 2:

Path Paved With Roses

Vanishing Skies

Run Me Down

In My Mind I’m Already Gone

Freaking Out the Neighborhood

Missionary Ridge

It’s Easy To Give Up (Don’t Give Up Too Easy)

Starlight Child

The band will be celebrating this release this Saturday the 16th when they hit the Gramercy Theater in support of Lespecial. If you can’t make Friday’s Stanhope House show, I heartily encourage you to get yourself to NYC and catch them there for Saturday. The show will be a rager for sure! In fact, the band is doing FEE FREE tickets for $22. Just Venmo them your details to @PEAKtheband, $22, and your tickets will be at WILL CALL at the Gramercy Theater. How about that goodness?

In the meantime, you can check out Hot Clips, Vol. 2 (live) everywhere that excellent music streams. 

Peep the link:

https://peak2.hearnow.com/hot-clips-vol-2-live

The band is out on tour this spring and adding shows all the time. Get out there and check them! If you plan to hit the Stanhope House, I’ll see you there!

You can also check out Peak on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWkM9fouVYWPivSR2jiiiZw

And Bandcamp

https://peaktheband.bandcamp.com/

PEAK Conquers with New Music and Upcoming Album Release Show

I first met Jeremy Hilliard and Johnny Young from PEAK four years ago in New York City. I was working for a music publisher in midtown at the time and writing here and there for this blog as well as The Jamwich – who asked me to cover an album release show. My job was boring as all get out (how many times can I type the name of that song into the computer in 8 hours…) but this was the reason I wanted to work in the city in the first place – to experience live music as much as possible, even if it was not necessarily job related. Our corner of New Jersey is lovely, but live music venues are not exactly dotting the map there. Naturally, I was delighted. Of course I would cover this show for this Psychedelic Indie Funk band called PEAK and their record Electric Bouquet.

I got the opportunity to meet Jeremy, Johnny, and his wife Michelle that night and formulate a wonderful fanship/friendship that has followed PEAK over the last few years. Since that night, the band has added bassist Josh Carter, formerly of Haley Jane and the Primates, and Kito Bovenschulte, formerly and sometimes presently of Particle. The combination of these two gents and the already catchy and addictive songwriting that existed in PEAK has been nothing short of explosive. The live shows over the last several years have become a haven of joy for my husband and I and we have traveled all over just to have our own private dance parties with the crowd at a PEAK show. That profile picture of mine on the APM page on FB? That’s me dancing like a crazy thing at a PEAK show. We have come to know and love the songs they wrote as they played them live and were honestly chomping at the bit for this new album to drop. And drop it did, like a big, fat piñata of awesome.

The record, Choppy Water, is a deliciously danceable journey through thoughtful inner monologues, set to jamming and often rocking music. It was recorded deep within the pandemic at Horizon Sound Studios in Brooklyn and engineered by Johnny and Michelle Young. The finished product was mixed by Jason “Jocko” Randall (Turkuaz/Jimkata/Dopapod) at Moresound Studios in Syracuse, NY. It’s such a different album than the last record and brings forth so much flavor from the depths of what could have been a depletion of creativity, Instead, this masterpiece is here to bring us back the hope that comes from a packed dance floor, enormous smiles, and incredible players.

The band quite smartly kicks the doors open with their song When The Night Comes Calling You. It has a deep groove that is more than a foot tapping sensation. It’s a climbing, hip shaking, why-would-you-possibly-stand-still kind of groove. Kito’s stellar drumming is all over this track, dragging it around the floor with every shaking body in the crown. Layered through those beats is Josh’s bass lines which are deep and heavy and just add to that hip shake. Johnny has an expertly light touch to his keys sound in this song but it carried through the entire tune in a dance with Jeremy’s guitar work that creates a vocal all its own. Add that to the actual vocal which is catchy as hell and helps to build with everyone through to the top of the chorus. It’s a masterpiece, this song.

The immediate next track, Path Paved with Roses, has been a favorite of mine through many, many live shows. I was so excited to hear it as a studio track and PEAK didn’t disappoint me in the least. A fun, foot-tapping vibe through from start to finish colored with Johnny’s throwback key sound and singable vocals by he and Jeremy create another really fun experience for your ears. This song makes you want to dance. I have literally hurt myself dancing to this song! The guitar solo three quarters through, playing over the stomping drums and steady bass takes the song to the end, and then I get sad that it’s over.

The title track, Choppy Water, has become my favorite driving song. It has a vibe somewhere between the bass groove and fills that just kill, steady, precise drumming, and those lovely vocals that kind takes the mind off somewhere else. It’s a mellower feel after the first two tracks, but it’s welcome, dreamy, and comforting especially carried by the keys and in its layout and overall feel. Your foot is still tapping though. PEAK puts together a really great song every time they sit down to do it and if you think you like it in the studio, just wait until you hear them live. The fourth track, It Ain’t Over til the Credits Roll, is a fantastic uptick in temo, spirit, and overall feel. Johnny takes lead vocals here, absolutely destroys on keys, and there is a killer guitar solo by Jeremy as well. Another great mention is the last track, Day the World Was Born. It has a great Americana feel and different kind of vibe from much of the rest of the album, but that versatility as players and writers is what separates the guys in PEAK from other musicians in this scene.

Every member of this band is a powerhouse of ability in their own right. They are sincerely four of the most talented players I have ever had the opportunity to see play live and that is not me blowing smoke at anyone. I genuinely think they are some of the most purely talented people out there now, in addition to being some of the hardest working. They are also a collection of wonderful human beings, truly appreciative of a crowd having a great time. I have seen PEAK everywhere from a tiny bar in Sparta, NJ to the hugeness of Brooklyn Bowl to freezing and pouring down rain in a field at Yasgurs Farm. No matter where it is, they are giving spectators a fantastic show full of energy, sincerity, insane ability, and a metric shit ton of fun.

Don’t take my word for it – come out Friday October 22 to the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn and see for yourself when the band has their official album release show for Choppy Water. They will be supported by friends in Waiting on Mongo from Asbury Park and Trailheads all the way from Pittsburgh. PEAK should hit the stage by 9pm. You can head over to bit.ly/peakkfbk to get your tickets ($15) and I cannot recommend highly enough that you do. It’s a fantastic live show that is not to be missed. I’ll be there, and surprise! It’s my birthday! Come out and hang out and shake what you were given with some great people and amazing music. In the meantime, PEAK’s album Choppy Water is streaming everywhere and you should be devouring it! You can also buy CD’s at the show and a limited amount of posters NYC-based Artist Conor Brewster, seen below.

Check out the FB invite for more info:

https://fb.me/e/2LTmglHmr

See you there!

Prunk Rocking With a New Track from Fish House Road – Honey Drip

New Jersey’s northern “Prunk” rockers Fish House Road have been doing their particular brand of funk and prog since 2011. Playing local venues as well as supporting national acts like Consider the Source and The Slide Brothers, the band has spent the last eight years creating a strong following and bringing a damn good time to their stage with their high energy and spirited performances. The band delights in audience participation and stage improvisations. It’s a good show to check out all around.

Recently, Fish House Road debuted a new single for us all to digest called Honey Drip. Always one to give first dibs to my fellow New Jersey jammers, I was more than happy to give the track a good, long listen. 

Let me tell you, I was not at all disappointed. 

The band gets a lot done in this song in just under four minutes. It’s a hard hitting tune, and it kicks in pretty deep right out of the gate with interesting usage of different genre concepts and puts together this orchestra of sound. It’s got a great traditional rock edge laced with that familiar prog rock soaring feel. The guitar and drum hits create this roller coaster feel, waxing and waning in tempo and intensity. The vocals are pretty cool with just enough melodic warmth and hard edge. It’s and not at all flashy and fills out that sound in a big way.

There is a pretty stellar sax solo about halfway through, care of Tigerman’s Adam Carelli, followed by a soaring guitar solo. It’s easy to get into what these guys are putting down – this song has a really cool sound. The drums and bass are steady and help that rise and fall groove that the song maintains throughout. The sound is big! I am pretty stoked to check it out live, and even more so to hear what is coming next for Fish House Road.

In addition to the bad ass song, the gorgeous artwork was hand drawn by Catherine Hart from the Y’all Art Project, a nonprofit organization that provides art therapy for kids recovering from abuse and other traumas. Big props to the Fish House Road guys for partnering with such an incredible organization. That’s pretty freaking amazing.

In addition, stellar guitarist Dan Morrell tells me there is a partnership in the works with 2nd Act Beer to release a Honey Drip Brew this fall. Fall + Music + Beer = WIN in the eyes of A Perfect Mess. Definitely head over to Spotify and give Honey Drip and Fish House Road a good listen, and keep your eyes peeled for what these guys have coming down the pike. Head on out and check them out live where you can this fall! You can check out their upcoming shows over at https://fishhouseroad.com/shows

See you out there!


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