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Recent Articles

Monday, April 20, 2020

Getting The Scoop on Rose Room


Words by Derek Miles (Miles Photography)

Let’s talk about Rose Room. Never heard of them? Well that’s why we’re here. MusicMarauders is here with the scoop on a new duo project that is putting out some frighteningly fresh new music under the radar, yet soon to become ubiquitous. The music is a synthesis fused from the minds of Thomas Lafond and Dimitry Bolotnyy. You may know Lafond from Banshee Tree, a successful modern swing band in the area. Some elements of that music can be heard in Rose Room as well, yet leaning more heavily on the hip hop/R&B side of things.

Bolotnyy and Lafond have been making music together since their teenage years in New York. Eventually making their way out west, Lafond settled in Colorado and Bolotnyy was drawn to the Los Angeles area. After they had both spent time travelling between Colorado and California to record music, it became apparent what direction the music was taking. Both of them now reside up in the hills of Nederland, CO. Which is perhaps the environment that inspired the title of their newly released single “Look High Over the Mountain,” the second of two tracks they have put out thus far.

Upon listening to Rose Room, the sound strikes one as distinctively familiar to contemporary R&B/Hip Hop. We hear this especially with “Look High Over the Mountain." You begin to feel the music as autobiographical after knowing the background of these the musicians. There is a nomadic freedom captured by the lyricism and the mountainous imagery while also illustrating the pulse and grit of a big city (LA maybe?). The essence of the track comes out in the opening lyric of the song “Home is a language I never speak,” a sentiment that conveys a feeling of isolation while simultaneously being comfortable in any surroundings. Sparse percussion and lush keyboard sounds lend a wistful groove, decorated with synthesized embellishments and playful chimes.

Kyle VandeKerkoff is to be credited with a fantastic mixing/mastering job on these tracks. His reputation of artists he has worked with lines up appropriately with the sound here. You can feel the style come through in spades. Kendrick Lamar, SZA, & Dr.Dre are just a few names Kyle has worked with. The whole production comes off really clean and meticulously mixed. Hat’s off gents!

“Fighting Feeling” was the first single from Rose Room and takes on more of a soulful and slinky funk. Stuttering staccato guitar, Rhodes-like keyboards, and thick, punchy bass give the impression as if Vulfpeck could have been the backing band. Incredibly tight stuff, and it’s all Lafond and Bolotonyy here. The spanky groove of the song segues into a contrastingly tense but driving interlude which then releases a triumphantly joyous gospel return, “I know just what you need!” Enter church choir and soaring Leslie driven organ (the layering and versatility of Lafond’s vocals really come through here). And then with only about a minute left in the song, a melody that hooks like the best of ‘em comes and hits you when you least expect it, but wanted it most. That feeling is parallel to the sound of Rose Room overall and is a sign of fresh and genuinely impassioned music, where you didn’t even know you wanted it until you hear it. Rose Room has that “Fighting Feeling,” and it’s just what you need.

www.roseroommusic.com

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Album Review | Pearl Jam's Gigaton


Words by Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Pearl Jam is back at it with their 11th studio album Gigaton. In conjunction with the release they announced a US and European tour that has subsequently been postponed after the full extent of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear. It seemed that Pearl Jam was ready to reignite their still burning fire in 2020 but alas fans will have to be content with the studio output for now. Gigaton is their first LP since 2013’s Lightning Bolt which was praised critically as Pearl Jam’s triumphant return to the sound that made them a household name in the first place. Gigaton continues with the heavier, in-your-face tone that fans have come to know and love since the early days. The foreboding Paul Nicklen photograph of the melting polar ice caps which graces the cover and acts as the first indication that these songs are about more than shaking of the shackles of fame. In fact the term gigaton is a unit of measurement equal to a billion tons and it is how scientists are measuring the amount of water being expelled from the poles currently.

The ethereal tone introducing “Who Ever Said” gives a false sense of wonder before the listener is slapped in the face with Vedder’s vocals backed by his stalwart brothers in Pearl Jam. Rolling Stones writer Kory Grow called it “Grown up grunge” and I think that fits. We’re onto the next phase and Pearl Jam is celebrating all that that made them who they are musically. “Super Blood Wolf Moon” one of the early singles off the album features some incredibly satisfying riff-heavy jams and a pop sensibility that seems to be ever-present in Pearl Jam’s songs. “Dance of the Clairvoyants” another single, again reminds us that bigger things are at play currently here on Planet Earth. “Quick Escape” is some sort of globetrotting post-apocalyptic shred-fest that attacks the senses.

“Alright” is the break this album needs after the onslaught of the first few songs, but this isn’t a throwaway track. It’s perhaps the most poignant and shows a wisdom and self-reflection that was not as obvious in previous releases. “Seven O’Clock” is a wordy mouthful for Vedder and is one of the flattest on the album. “Never Destination” steers the ship back on course with it’s straight forward-rock tone and amazing execution from guitarist Mike McCready. Drummer Matt Cameron penned “The Long Way” and this song is heavy on the rhythm. Gigaton shifted gears with the Stone Gossard penned “Buckle Up” which takes on a bouncy almost playful quality.

“Comes Then Goes” is perhaps my favorite song on the entire album. It shakes away the need to be heavy for the sake of authenticity and the lyrics reek of maturity. Sonically the transition to “Retrograde” is masterful. This song takes a god’s eye view on the planet and delivers us a stark warning. Even the term retrograde means “moving backward.” The album closes with the haunting “River Cross” featuring a Victorian pump organ recorded during a session in 2015.

The rock-centered side A juxtaposed against the slower more lyric-driven Side B gave many critics their only complaint. Gigaton is a bit uneven, but overall it’s an amazing snapshot of a band embracing who they are and writing songs that carry meaning to their aging fanbase. Bands either flare up and burn out or they find true satisfaction in the sounds that made them popular. After a relatively long hiatus from the studio Pearl Jam has made a triumphant return and a stellar record. They continue to be the torchbearers of true rock and in these crazy times they are a voice of reason. You can stream Gigaton wherever you listen to music and I highly recommend giving it a listen. It may be some time before they can get back to do doing what they do best, playing live.

www.pearljam.com

Friday, March 13, 2020

Spafford 3.11.20 (Photos)

Schmiggity's
Steamboat Springs, CO

Photos by Jason Myers (Memorandum Media)


View Jason's Full Photo Gallery Here!


www.spafford.net

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Fruition & Katie Toupin 3.7.20 (Photos)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Spafford 3.7.20 (Photos)

10 Mile Music Hall
Frisco, CO

Photos by Jason Myers (Memorandum Media)


View Jason's Full Photo Gallery Here!


www.spafford.net

Monday, March 9, 2020

Best Coast & Mannequin Pussy 3.7.20 (Photos)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros 3.4.20 (Photos)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ghost Light 2.29.20 (Photos)

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Photos by Derek Miles (Miles Photography)


View Derek's Full Photo Gallery Here!


www.ghostlightband.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Stanton Moore Trio & Nolatet 2.28.20


Aladdin Theater
Portland, Oregon

Words and Photos by James Sissler


With moe., Umphrey's McGee, and Andy Frasco & the UN in town, there was no shortage of entertainment for Portland’s live music community Friday night. But for those who wanted to hear something a little different (or those who slept on getting moe. tickets before they sold out), there was Galactic drummer Stanton Moore’s jazz trio at the Aladdin Theater, with special guest Nolatet. Known primarily as a master of New Orleans-style funk drumming, Moore proved with his 2014 release, Conversations, that he could swing just as hard as he could groove. The record featured mostly New Orleans standards arranged for a jazz trio of piano, bass, and drums, with lots of inspired improvisation. Consisting of David Torkanowsky on piano and James Singleton on bass, the drummer-led trio developed their chemistry with a weekly residency in New Orleans that lasted a year and a half. They arrived in Portland after playing The Triple Door in Seattle to help close out this year’s Biamp PDX Jazz Festival, presented by PDX Jazz.

It was quite a unique opportunity to get to see such an accomplished musician do something, not necessarily outside their wheelhouse, but different from what they usually do, but for the real music nerds, the bill’s main draw was actually the opener, experimental New Orleans foursome Nolatet. Consisting of vibraphonist Mike Dillon, pianist Brian Haas, bassist James Singleton (yes he was on double duty), and New Orleans drum legend Johnny Vidacovich, who just so happens to be Stanton Moore’s teacher, the group released their debut album, Dogs, in 2016, followed by, No Revenge Necessary, in 2018.

Upon entering the theater before showtime, it was disconcerting to see Nolatet’s drums and percussion set up behind Stanton Moore’s drum kit, since typically the opening band sets up in front of the headliner’s gear, and then removes their equipment between sets. Even more questions were raised when the band took the stage without their drummer and began the opening song with Mike Dillon attempting to play drums and vibraphone at the same time. When they finished the song, they addressed the puzzled crowd, announcing that their “leader and patron saint of New Orleans,” Johnny Vidacovich could not make it because he was recovering from a medical procedure. “If anyone can fill in for Johnny, though, it’s this guy,” Mike Dillon said as he welcomed Stanton Moore to the stage to fill in for his mentor. The crowd cheered as Moore sat behind the drums and began to play Nolatet’s “Lanky, Stanky Maestro,” a tune written by the group’s keyboardist in honor of their absent drummer.

Disappointed as they might have been by Johnny’s absence, the audience cheered up quickly once they heard Stanton’s playing on the drum feature designed to showcase Johnny’s playing. No doubt the group sounded different than usual with a different voice on drums, but in true Stanton Moore fashion, the drummer stole the show with his very animated style of playing. Pianist Brian Haas gave him a run for his money, though, at one point standing up and kicking his own stool down in the middle of a wild piano solo. Released from his drum duties, Mike Dillon played some ripping vibraphone solos and had impromptu percussion jams with Stanton Moore that forced some in the totally seated venue to get up and dance.

Nolatet combines the traditional sounds of New Orleans with avant garde jazz, fluctuating from groovy to free, melodic to “out,” or dissonant, and utilizing a broad palette of experimental electronic sounds. Many of their extended jams were punctuated by sudden slumpy hip-hop breaks that surely would have sounded different with the older, more laid-back Johnny Vidacovich on drums. With Stanton Moore’s more aggressive playing instead, the band sounded similar to Garage à Trois, of which both Stanton Moore and Mike Dillon are founding members. In fact, after the two played an epic unison drum duet on a single drumset, they closed out the opening set with a unique rendition of Garage à Trois’s “Omar.”

Stanton Moore did a fantastic job filling in for his venerable teacher. In fact, his improvising wound up being a major highlight of the first set, which is not unusual at all except when you consider that he was basically opening for himself. Since he and James Singleton were each in both bands on the bill, changeover between sets simply required some adjustments to the keyboard rig and the removal of Mike Dillon’s percussion gear. One might have expected Dillon to sit in with the trio at some point, further blending the two bands together, but he had to go set up for his own band’s late night performance at Jack London Review (perhaps this is why he was set up towards the back of the stage, behind Stanton Moore’s drums).

After a short intermission, the second set started strong with a heavy New Orleans second line drum groove. The first song included an extended drum solo that hinted at a more traditional jazz style while maintaining a funky Galactic-esque groove. It wasn’t until the second song that Stanton Moore’s jazz chops really came to the fore. Playing perfect 6/8 swing time, the drummer’s comping could have been mistaken for that of jazz greats Roy Haynes or Billy Cobham. His soloing still sounded more like the funky drumming Galactic fans are used to than traditional bop playing, though. Likewise, most of the tunes, even the jazzier arrangements, tended to have an underlying groove to them. Heads bobbed constantly throughout the theater, and some stood to dance, even though the overall vibe was more serious jazz listening.

Moore’s thunderous drumming was complemented by the gentler sounds of the acoustic bass and electric piano, and the moving New Orleans rhythms were pleasingly interspersed with slower, R&B type grooves. At one point the drummer and pianist exited the stage, leaving James Singleton in the spotlight for an extended bass solo. They then closed out the set with a softer number that showed off Moore’s Philly Joe Jones-inspired brushwork before escalating to a medium swing. They ended a bit late (to the delight of the crowd), and then returned to the stage for an encore that included an atmospheric bass solo and one final drum feature.

After the show, Stanton Moore met fans at the merch table to sign CDs and chat. Those who wanted more music headed downtown to Jack London Review to catch back up with Mike Dillon.

www.stantonmoore.com

www.nolatet.com

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ghost-Note & Ron Artis II 2.23.20 (Photos)

Monday, February 24, 2020

Tauk & Friends with Aaron Kamm 2.20.20 (Photos)