New Song from Mihali – Stubborn Smile

My love for Twiddle is well known on this blog. It was them who built me the bridge that I guardedly walked across into the jam scene from my high walled little world in ska, rocksteady, and reggae – leading me to everything I discovered after that. (which this blog has been a log of along the way) They and their live shows helped me into a whole new world. Friends met, lessons learned, eyes opened. I admit that I get a bit offended by critics of the band because of how much they helped me find that part of myself. As a collective, the band is a masterful batch of songwriters. You don’t have to like them. In fact, you can downright loath them. But if you deny their abilities, I’m sorry – you simply aren’t listening because you don’t want to. And you’re missing it.

One quarter of that songwriting master team is Mihali


As a solo performer, he is much more than his role in Twiddle. I saw him perform as half of Gubbilidis (with fellow Twiddle alum Zdenek Gubb) a couple years back and was brought to tears when they did Counting Crow’s very 90’s tune, Round Here. (a personal favorite for a million reasons that I am sure no one wants to hear) I was super impressed with half of the band. I am floored by just Mihali on his own. He is able to capture something very deeply soulful and earthy in his style of composition that I have a hard time finding words for. I was super excited when his song Fading State hit last year and I was eagerly awaiting for an album to drop. Based on the online chatter, I am not alone. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet. However, we have been blessed with another track to groove on. You don’t have to love Twiddle to be able to get down with what Mihali does as a solo artist. His flavor is uplifting and groove heavy, and this new track, Stubborn Smile, is no exception. This track is delicious.

Stubborn Smile has a mild reggae feel but a soul gripping clutch with it’s vibe. If the melody doesn’t grab you, the lyrics absolutely will. We live in some tumultuous times right now and I know I am not the only one walking life’s road with a lot of uncertainty. This song strums those chords deep – how we know what we have to offer, but maybe we don’t know where to lay it down. We know we are imperfect beings, but we know we have something for this world. We might not have found the way out of the rut we ride in this road yet. Mihlai has a great way of verbalizing things in the heart. He did it again with Stubborn Smile, and it’s just really lovely. There is a delicateness to strong words and thoughts in his delivery, both musically and verbally. I think that is where his magic lies as a performer and a songwriter. All in all, this is just a really great track and has bolstered my desire for a full length solo album. I really hope something hits soon!

I encourage you to head over to Spotify or your spot of choice and give Stubborn Smile a good, hard listen. I have it on repeat today and recommend it highly. 


Mihali will be out on the road soon for his fall tour. Get on out and check him out! You can find some more information on dates and tickets on his website, http://www.MihaliMusic.com

See you out there!

Review: “Same Damn Thing” and an Interview with Rob Compa

I was kind of late to the party on Dopapod, despite seeing them play with my husband’s band a million years ago. It was a few months before the release of their album MEGAGEM that I was really delving into their catalog and getting into the unique songwriting that they were mastering. When MEGAGEM was about to drop, I got an advance copy and sat down to digest it for a review. That album blew my damn mind. Everything I thought I knew about the band (and a lot of the music I was listening to at the time in general) went right out the window and I was reminded WHY I was getting so into them. As songwriters, they are stellar. The creativity is unmatched. In that mix is guitarist/vocalist and super nice guy on the scene, Rob Compa. Now Rob has a solo album called Same Damn Thing and believe me when I tell you, no title could be further from the truth as a descriptive.

The album is a fantastic departure from everything you know of Dopapod outside of that fantastic guitar work, and even that sounds very much it’s own thing on this record. It’s no secret in the scene that Rob is an incredible player. He tours as half of the Compa Gantzer due with Aqueous ax man Mike Gantzer, he sits in with pretty much everyone on festivals he plays, there are numerous videos of guest spots and sit ins that pop up whenever Rob is out on the road for any reason, not to mention he does instructional videos on Instagram for fans and guitar heads alike. His role in the songwriting of Dopapod makes it obvious that it’s a strongpoint, but listening to what he puts out as a solo effort really makes that stand out all the more. Rob Compa is a fantastic songwriter. 

One of the reasons for this is that in between the great guitar work and serious groove is a mix of thought provoking musings and tongue in cheek jabbings, vocalized and strung delicately through the mixes. I was already a fan of what Rob does, but after this, my respect for him as a musician skyrocketed. The songs are fun and well put together with interesting plays on style and genre. The first track, Better Late Than Never, has a heavy strumming groove laced with slide steel guitar sounds that give a bluesy vibe with a light country western flavor dusting. Rob plays with that bluesy feel in several places on the album, like Garbage Man. I love the lyrics on this song as well. It has the storytelling element, which Rob has a great voice for as he makes it easy to pay attention to the lyrics. The track Hi Doggie has a dirty rock edge with Rob’s particular brand of shredding throughout. It’s a great song with a great vocal flair. The album all together is strong as hell, and changes up as you go from track to track. There is a strong versatility to the way the songs are put together that leaves you guessing as to what you will hear next as the song comes to an end. That is INCREDIBLY refreshing among stacks of albums that sound like one regurgitated song over and over. 


Still, listening through, I had some questions that no one would be better to answer than Rob himself, so being the annoying little thing that I am, I asked!

APM: So first off, I love how much of a departure from Dopapod that this album is. How long have you been sitting on a solo album concept? Was this something you were working on during the band’s hiatus?

RC: “When the band wasn’t playing, I sort of had a realization. I had spent twenty years basically just being focused on being as of a good of a guitar player as I could be. I still think of myself as a guitar player first, and still kind of a beginner as far as writing music, but I sort of started to feel like good guitar playing is kind of futile if it can’t exist in good songs.

One kind of important moment for me happened when I went to a straight ahead jazz jam at a bar in Philadelphia, just a month or two after the band had started the hiatus. I love playing and listening to bebop, but I don’t have any illusions about what kind of a guitar player I am. I’m a jam band kid who loves studying jazz, but I’m far from being a first call straight ahead guitarist. 

Anyway, I went to this jam, and I had a pretty lousy experience. I went home telling myself I would shed whatever song I had played with the house band and come back the following week and be that much better and prove that I could “hang” as as the jazz dudes say. 

The next morning I woke up, and I thought to myself “why am I going to sit around and practice songs that were written seventy years ago? Go make something of your own.” That was the day I started writing the song “Hi Doggie.” “

APM: Any special recognition you would like to highlight for fellow players on the record?

RC: “Well, firstly, Jocko Randall at More Sound Studios is absolutely the biggest reason this was able to happen. He was unbelievably generous with his time and guidance, and was an amazing teacher through the whole experience. 

Also Russ Lawton (Trey Anastasio Band, Soule Monde), who played drums on every song except for one, was a super encouraging and positive soul through the whole process, not to mention having one of the deepest grooves I’ve ever gotten the pleasure to experience. 

Michelangelo Carubba from Turkuaz even went so far as to route his flights to Turkuaz gigs just so he could swing through Syracuse and play on one song. Mikey was Dopapod’s original drummer, and we’ve known each other since we were kids going to Berklee. It meant a lot for me to be able to make music with him again. 

Pat Markley is an amazing bass player that I started running into at jam sessions up in Vermont, where I live, and he played most of the bass you hear on the record. We did everything through e-mail, with me sending him tracks and just giving him a general gist of what I was looking for for each song, and he knocked it out of the park. 

And lastly, for the song Garbage Man, I was hanging with Jocko at the studio and said how badly I wished I could have upright bass on the song. He said “let me some calls,” and a couple hours later he opened an email with this gorgeous upright bass track on top of Garbage Man, played by Joey Arcuri of Driftwood. I actually still haven’t even met Joey in person, but WOW did that song get a whole new dimension from his playing. “

APM: We have bumped into you a few times at festivals and you are one of the nicest people out there doing music. It’s something that I can say is so appreciated. I follow you on Instagram and love how much you interact with your fans there. (the videos are the best) Is that connection with the people who dig your music something that is important to you as a player?

RC: “I’m actually a pretty private person overall, and I have some pretty substantial social anxiety. (Who doesn’t?) That being said, I love playing guitar more than anything, and how cool is it to have people care about something that you really just do because it’s fun? Am I really gonna complain when someone wants to say hello because they love a record I made, or guitar solo I played, or a lesson video I posted? Nah. 

That being said, there’s a time and a place for stuff like that. Last night I went out to a concert with my girlfriend, and a lot of people came up to talk to me. I don’t mind it as long as they don’t mind that I actually am pretty quiet and don’t have a whole lot to say. In particular when the show’s happening I have a hard time interacting with people, simply because I get stressed because I can’t hear what they’re saying, and I wanna hear the music! “

APM: You do a TON of sit ins and solo work out on the live music scene, and to me, it shows how much you deeply love what you do. What has been your favorite sit in that you have done? Is there someone you aspire to work with live or in studio that you haven’t been able to yet?

RC: “I’ve done a lot of gigs with Mike Gantzer from Aqueous, but we’ve yet to be able to write any music together. I’d love to do that with him. 

As far as sit ins, I got to play with Dweezil Zappa a couple years ago at Catskill Chill, which was just the coolest thing ever. Sadly, there’s no documentation of it anywhere. 

Also, right when I moved to Burlington last year, I was walking around the downtown area and I ran into Vinnie and Al from Moe. They were playing an acoustic set a store called Tailfeather, and they invited me to sit in at it, and then again at their show that night at Higher Ground. That sit in was amazing and really important because it led to some really surprising and wonderful things for me that don’t even have anything to do with music. “

APM: I have this vague recollection of you teasing the song Same Damn Thing a while back. It was a post on Facebook where you specifically called out the gimmick concept in the scene. I was REALLY hoping it was released because you hit the nail on the head with a lot of thoughts I tend to have about the scene for the last bunch of years. What was it that inspired this song?

RC: “I was really angry when I wrote that song. I had spent ten years pouring everything I had into my band, and by that point I was back to square one. No band, not really doing anything, feeling pretty low. Meanwhile, all my friends in other bands seemed to be on top of the world, and I had to just sit and see all these posts about sold out shows, tour buses, festivals, etc. All this fun amazing stuff that I missed. Anyhow, I realized that I could either make a vitriolic, useless Facebook post where I complained, or I could make something artistic with the way that I felt. Sometimes I regret writing it. In fact, Dopapod played it at a show recently, and I felt kind of funny singing it; I just don’t feel that angry anymore. But it was honest and pure (albeit uber cynical) at the time that I wrote it, and I feel good about using the way I felt to be creative and proactive.” 

APM: Any upcoming dates we can pencil in our calendars to check out some live music goodness?

RC: “I’m gonna do some acoustic shows in October with my friend Haley Jane so keep your eyes peeled! And I’m also playing a few trio shows. One with Chris and Adrian from Kung Fu at Heady Vermont in Brattleboro on September 28th, and another on October 10th with Pat Markley and Dan Ryan at Higher Ground in Burlington VT, opening for West End Blend.” 

Do yourself a favor and grab a listen of Same Damn Thing. It’s a fantastic record that will keep you guessing from track to track, while giving you a whole new look at what makes Rob Compa one of the best guitarists and songwriters in the scene. It’s 100% A Perfect Mess approved, and highly recommended! Get out and check out Rob’s upcoming dates!

See you out 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!


Official Statement Concerning Disc Jam

I am sure that I am not the only person in scene media who has been struggling for the last week with exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to put my feelings out there about the Disc Jam situation. I have been reading and following the online threads and the few band statements that have been issued. Knowing exactly what to say as someone who is supposed to know what to say is difficult, but I simply cannot keep myself quiet anymore. You all deserve better than that of me.

My husband and I have covered the Disc Jam festival for three years. Between previews, reviews, artist interviews, and general social media promotional efforts, we have dedicated a lot of time and effort to help grow a festival that we truly looked forward to every year. We were aware of some issues that have surrounded the festival, but we have no first hand experience with any of it. We never had a run in with the police, and until this year, we never even met it’s owner and organizer. (and this year it was for about 8 seconds – I simply wanted to say hello since after three years of my efforts, I had never met the guy) We looked forward to and enjoyed our annual trip up to the festival every year. That being said, we genuinely had NO IDEA that any of what is now coming very publicly to light was going on. Had we known, things would have been very different.

I am heartbroken for any victims in this situation. I am angry for you that it was allowed to go on. I am angry I didn’t know because I would not have poured so much of myself into the work I did for the festival. I am angry that this culture exists and people are so desensitized to it that we actually, every day, excuse shitty behavior under the guise of, “Well, that is just the way so-and-so is” and “You just have to deal with it if you want to be a part of blah-blah-blah”. I won’t deny that I heard comments about bands not always getting paid, or small criticisms of the festival being met with anger and threats of “not being welcome next year”. These were commonplace around the festival and something that everyone seemed to meet with shrugs because we all wanted to be there. Something I now feel shameful for. None of those things are uncommon with promoters (again, we need to stop allowing shitty to be normal. Why do we allow this to be so ok?)

However, these allegations, these stories of major abuse –  I never heard that.

I didn’t know.

I wish that I did.

To the victims, I won’t pretend to know what you are feeling. Your stories have horrified me. They have made me angry. They have made me unbelievably sad. They have made me physically ill. I feel horrible for what you have endured and the fact that for so many years, there WERE people that knew and did nothing. I can only say that I also have my own #metoo stories from people in power. I stand with you.

For me, I have scrubbed my social media of my promotion for the festival. I am taking down any and all blog posts I have done. I do not want this blog that I have given so much of myself to for the last (almost) decade to show any support for such shitty, shameful behavior. A Perfect Mess will not be affiliated with this. I don’t care if it means I never cover another festival again. This cannot continue to be normal. This has to stop.

In between my anger and sadness for the victims is a sadness for all those who did some incredible things at the festival over the years and feel a bit tainted by it all right now. To all of you that played in or worked on the festival purely for the love of your creativity, know that your efforts are not lost. Your art was still beautiful. Your music was still amazing. Your food was still delicious. Your pictures were still captivating. Please continue to create. Let’s use our powers of influence and creativity to STOP this shitty culture from permeating our wonderful scene any more than it already has. We can’t change what has been, but we sure as hell can change what will be.

Let’s see to it that our efforts have not been lost on all of this. Create, speak out, and support victims and fighters. This shit needs to STOP, and you all have a voice.

We are better than this, and it’s time to fucking prove it.

Sincerely,

Amanda

A Perfect Mess

If you happen to catch something I missed, please let me know so that I can have it removed.

For more on what you can do, please see:

What To Do When You Can Say #MeToo: A Guide to Discussing Sexual Harassment/Assault (Part 1)

https://medium.com/women-in-music-org/what-to-do-when-you-can-say-metoo-a-guide-to-discussing-sexual-harassment-assault-part-1-f3d38392f852

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!

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

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!

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!