Friday, March 10, 2017

Teddy Midnight - Tripping into something funky and different with Velvet Blue

What in the world did I just put on? This is not me. This is not what I am used to. I like it.

I think my jam head husband likes that I have been exploring his scene a bit more. I think he delights in the fact that once in a while, I tell him he is right about something. We met over music. We bonded over music and it's something that we continue to bond over every day since. We get our beer on and sit in the basement talking about songs that moved us at some point in our life and then we bring it up on our phones and talk about it. I will bring up some random Sting song and go, "YO! THIS! LISTEN TO WHAT HE DOES HERE!" and then make some stupid, half in the bag gesture and he will do the same. Lately, he has been passing me some pretty interesting stuff.

I have never been a huge fan of electronic music. I like to dance, though I am immensely bad at it, but the music I dance to has to make me feel something in my guts or it just seems empty. Any beat can make you move, but the beats need to have something behind them. This has created a real love/hate relationship with dance music for me. My roots are in folk rock, punk rock, ska and reggae. I dabbled in industrial in the early 90's and that was as close as I ever got to feeling something when I was moving to electronic sounds. In the last decade, alternative radio has handed me a few gems along the lines of what I am talking about. Bands like Phoenix and MGMT touched on it a bit, and I found myself a little more drawn in. I realized I guess in this process that what I was seeking does in fact exist, although there are a lot of variations on sounds, motivations, and most importantly - musicians.

Its' a very different concept when real players make dance music. I think that in my searches, this is what was really missing. I want to move, but I want to feel it. Beats alone don't do it. I need to feel the vibe come through the music.

Enter Teddy Midnight.

Now this is what I was talking about.

This conveys emotions, ideas, and vibes with every beat it delivers. I have been playing their 2016 release Velvet Blue a lot lately. I pop in into my headphones while I am at work. I put it on in the car during my commute. This album is uniquely both calming and energizing. The first track I dig is Velvet Mist. It has such a mellow smooth dance vibe. It's like dancing ear Xanax. I really can't figure out a better way to describe it. It feels like heading out somewhere without worry. That feeling you get when you are on your way to a show and you have gas in your car, money in your pocket, and the sky is clear. It's smiles. It's relaxed but excited. I think that was a good jumping off point for me with this album.

But wait. Don't go thinking that this is a one trick pony album because it is not. Bump your track to Blue Dreams. What is this funky goodness? This song is sexy as hell. It's got synth for days, but it's got such a soulful vocal happening from Amy Grace (who I now have to explore also because holy shit on that voice). There are songs that make you walk a different way when you hear them. You have an extra swing in your hips. You toss your hair a little more. You might pass yourself in the mirror and give yourself a little sultry eye. Yeah, that is this song.

Hop on over to Popo Jijo next and you are treated to some really funky and prominent bass action. This makes me move. This is what I am talking about. This is dancing, but you can FEEL what is happening here. This is dancing with a blend of synth, drums, bass, and guitar happening in a perfect layer cake. I am such a vocal whore. I love songs sometimes that are absolutely terrible just because the vocal gets inside me somehow. This is mostly instrumental and that is so entirely new for me as a concept of enjoyment. This song changes several times. Your movements as an audience change right with it. These songs are telling you stories. Popo Jijo has a really cool build up about 3/4 of the way through that I love. It brings you up the hill and slides you down nice on the other side.

I went on over to do some reading about these gentlemen at because now I am curious. In the bio, the describe themselves as "Cultivating their own unique spin on time tested genres of House, Jazz, Acid, Fusion, Funk, Dub, Hip Hop, Prog Rock and Metal". I think that is about as accurate as a description of an artist gets. You are getting a great big basket of good times

Boner Vista Social Club. I need to ask these guys what inspires their song titles because that one has to have a story. This song is complex and I dig the hell out of it. I hear the prog rock and metal influence in this one, but its still funky as hell. It goes from dark and brooding to mellow funk. It's so layered.

Teddy Midnight is just plain INTRIGUING to listen to. They are fascinating. It's this trip between dancing with friends in a field to journeying on a mental mission to find great secrets and answers. There is so much going on. This is not just music for the dance. This is music for the mind. No two songs are doing the same thing so every track is something new to explore.

This is another band I am really excited to go out and check out live because if it's this fun in my ears, what would it be when the sound is all around me?

Must listens on the album: Bend - Funk and guitar out the wazoo. Dance your ass off. Blue Dreams - Like I said, sexy as hell. You will get it when you hear it. You will walk with a little more sass too. I guarantee.

Check these guys out. They have shows all over in coming months. You can find their show listings here:

Get out there and check them out. Maybe I will see you there. We can dance! Don't laugh at me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Late to the Party Again: Spiritual Rez with Setting In The West

I didn't come out of the womb with my love for reggae and ska. It was something I fell into in the 90's like a lot of other people in my age bracket. I was in high school and I was introduced to Reel Big Fish, The Pietasters, The Slackers. Stubborn All Stars. I mixed it in with my love of punk, industrial, and 60's folk and rock and 80's new wave. I have always been all over the map in what lights me up. There was something about ska and reggae though that was just different. It became part of my blood. Even still, it took another 15 years for me to really delve into it deeply, finding it's roots and pioneers and learning their messages and individual sounds. I am still learning. There is so much. So many off shoots and sounds to be found. There are scene crossovers. There are fringe bands. There are sounds I still have not really heard!

That doesn't mean my ears have always been open. I have been pretty honest in previous pieces this year about how closed minded I had been to a lot of great music.That being said though, I love being taken by surprise. I love being wrong about music and coming out the other side of my tunnel vision with a new respect and a whole new sound to love. Music is fucking amazing. The ska-reggae-rocksteady scene has been very good to me. They have shown me love, loyalty, and unity among bands big and small and that is such a beautiful thing. I still wore my blinders though for a long time. I married a jam guy and it opened my eyes to a lot of bands and a lot of sounds that I didn't know were out there.

Not long ago, we were coming back from somewhere with my phone plugged into my car speakers. He asked me if I had ever listened to a band called Spiritual Rez. No, I said. I honestly expected a jam band to come out of the speakers when he pulled them up on my phone. I didn't expect reggae. Now, my husband and I have been saying for a long time that we wish there were more jam/ska fusion shows and festivals happening. The crowds have no idea how much they have in common.

I'm a bit of a snob, and I admit it. I have been to festivals with my husband where he was playing. There were bands who proclaimed they were going to play some reggae, at which points my ears perked up...and the next thing I know, I was being treated to a cover of Santeria by Sublime. Disappointed, I would walk back to where the beer was. This is not a knock to Sublime, their fans, or anyone who covers their songs. I was just under the impression that there was a lack of originality in the scene when it came to music from the scene that I was from. And I was fucking WRONG.

Enter Spiritual Rez into my world.

This is everything that kick started my love of ska and reggae, but it's got more. It's a wonderful blending of those traditional sounds with a vibe of modern alternative and jam. It's a very chill sound. It's a very clean sound. The vocals are fucking incredible.

I gave their 2016 album Setting in the West a taste. It's a groove explosion. I can see why these guys are big in the festival scene because they have that mellow dance sound, but there is more to it than just a groove. Individually as musicians, these guys are stellar. They are strong individually and that lends itself to a full, clean sounds with a really modern groove.

As I said, the vocals are on point, inventive and soulful. The words are infectious and hopeful. The bass lines are funky and blended so well into the mix, but tasty enough that they stand alone. The horns are clean and so well placed. The drums are perfectly matched with the bass lines and lead the groove without being overdone. There are well placed and perfectly accenting keys. The thing is though that these guys have a formula that sets them apart from a lot of other bands. It's very well mixed and it makes me really want to see them live and get the full experience.

The songs are just GOOD. Well written and fun while still telling you something. The groove is so smooth. I want to grab a six pack of really good beer and sit in the sun with these guys playing without a worry in the world. You can escape into this sound. It takes you somewhere. It's got a strong primary reggae feel but it blends it with a very modern alt-rock feel that really does set it apart. At the same time, I am hearing the 90's ska feels that pulled me in way back when and I love that. I think that is what I love so much about this band. They have all these concepts and sounds thrown together in a blender for this perfect sound. I love how all of these components are woven together.

Suggested listening from the album: Surface Tension - I love the vocals on this song. It starts out quiet and soft but ups that soul and tempo for something just dancey enough to get your booty moving. Sober - This has that infectious groove. Its so good. This is that mellow, sunshine backyard with a cold one sound that I cannot wait to hear live. This is probably my favorite song on the album. The horns on this are fab. I listen to this song a LOT. Together Always - This song is sweet as hell. The smooth groove, the lyrics, the vocals, I run out of words trying to praise this band. Nothing I am coming up with is sufficient.

These guys are great. Amanda was late to the party again. Spiritual Rez is my new obsession. They sound like sunshine. They sound like high volume in the speakers with the windows down. They put forth an incredible sound that is not so easy to tag and label, and I love that. Give them a listen. You can find them here:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kung Fu - Joyride...Where the Hell Have I Been?

Where the hell have I been?

Under a rock, apparently. I didn't know who these guys were.

Have you heard of Kung Fu? No?

Do you like the funk? Gotta have that funk? You need this in your life. I think I have talked before about how my husband and I came from different musical worlds when we met - bonding over Bad Religion. He is from the jam scene. I am from the ska scene. Both of us are unbelievably loyal and unbelievably stubborn to what we love so it's pulling teeth when we want to share how amazing something is with one another.

Ok, ok. I will just throw Kung Fu into that mix too. I dropped the ball on this one. This is amazing.

This band is a fantastic mix of funk, soul, serious groove, and jazz. Imagine taking all the best parts of Sly and the Family Stone and throwing them into an elevator with Jamiroquai and letting Bootsy Collins push the buttons until everyone throws up. That's kind of what is happening in my head when I listen to Kung Fu.

I got my hands on the 2016 album Joyride. I am pretty much playing it until my head hurts. This is one of those bands that you cannot listen to without moving. I think I am damaging the springs in my desk chair just from moving around while I listen. It has a jam feel but it's so funky that you just get caught up in the motion. It's classic jazz tasty, but modern funk infused. It's got a dance party feel to it without that horrible electric monotony that makes you want to leave the party. This is a party you want to stay at.

I did a little digging into who these guys were. The band is comprised of Tim Palmieri doing guitars and vocals, Robert Somerville on tenor sax and vocals, Beau Sasser on keys and vocals, Chris DeAngelis on bass and vocals, and Adrian Tramontano on drums and percussion. So lets talk about that.

The sax on this album is sick. I am a veteran of the ska scene. I love brass and wood winds in all shapes and sizes. I am LOVING the sax on this whole album, It's clean, its funky, it's full and layered throughout the album like fine gold thread. I call your attention to the opening of Chin Music. Just...what?!

The bass on The Get Down is ridiculous. I married a bass player. I am a bit of a snob in that respect, and I admit that fully. Mr. DeAngelis, have it. This is just crazy good. My ass is shaking. It just gets better and better as the album progresses. Slap funky crazy sounds.

Keys. I don't even know where to start there. They are carrying through every single song giving bursts of flavor everywhere. It's a never-too-in-your-face sound that while modest is so fresh and funky that it's impossible to ignore.

Drums. Speed Bump of Your Love. There is a really fantastic break down in there about 2 minutes and 40 seconds in that blew my mind. Now, I was pretty drunky drunk so I don't remember this actually happening, but apparently Mr. Tramontano was at the Twiddle show in New Haven this past September that I was at doing percussion. I went back and listened to  the recording and yeah. Wow, dude!

It's funny to me to be getting to vocals pretty much last in a review because I am obsessed with a good front vocal, but there is SO much going on in this sound. Speed Bump of Your Love is my favorite track on this album. It's got a rough, pushy sound that is smooth enough to still sound silky and sexy. The vocals are written in such a way that you can sing along and still be dancing and I like that.

Other tracks you need to give your attention to: the title track Joyride. Futuristic sounds layered with pure funk bass and Graham Central Station flavor. Groove on. Are you listening? Are you standing still? No. No, you are not.
Daddy D. This song broke me into this band. I think my exact words to my husband were HOLY SHIT. That scratchy guitar pinging along with smooth bass, keys, and drum beat. And the back ups on this whole album and fab.

I am getting all stupid and fan girly now because I seriously just want to put this album on, turn it up real loud, and dance all over my office right now. My best advice to you is get yourself this album and shake what the good Lord gave you. YOU. WILL. NOT. STAND. STILL. That is a promise.

Apparently I was in fact Kung Fu Fighting. Now I am Kung Fun Dancing.

You can get their album information as well as show info on their website

Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Ears

Sometimes I think we are too hard on one another.

My husband likes to say "There is an ass for every seat." I like to think of music that way. There is a sound for every ear. Something out there can speak to everyone. You just need to find that special sound to you. You would think that with all the sounds in this world, we would be content with the music we love. That is not the case. Every time I log onto any sort of social media, I see a lot of one person ripping on another for their choice of what they put in their ears. I guess they think there is a choice.

So we are clear, I don't think there is.

We don't choose music. Music chooses us. There are bands and artists I actively tried to avoid liking and found myself fully engulfed in. The fact is, music is spiritual. Music speaks to the soul. Sometimes when we desperately need someone, anyone, to understand what we are going through we find our refuge in a song. I don't believe that is an accident. I think music chooses us.

I have always been eclectic in my choices of music. My tastes go from the sublime to the ridiculous and everywhere in between and I kind of like that. I find myself pulled towards very moving and vocally driven music but I am delighted by anything I can shake my ass to. At the same time, I like to hear a sound that gets into my soul, far under my skin, and pokes at my heart until it bleeds. I want to feel what the writer was feeling. Some people hate that shit.

All that being said, why in the world do we feel the need to knock other people for the sounds that speak to them? I get it...there are images to uphold and vanities to cater to, but at the end of the day the song you think nothing of might be the one thing that gets someone else through one day and into another.

Stop being to judgmental, kids. This life is too short and there is enough ear food for everyone.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Don't Lie to Me About Your Scene Unity Anymore

I have said before that I am fairly new to the jam scene as an active participant. My husband is a jam guy and I resisted the scene for a while, mostly because I had not found a band that resonated with me yet. That changed in the last year when he introduced me to Twiddle. Mind you, I had already been to several festivals with him that he was playing and got to experience for myself the colorful people and welcoming vibe that the scene not only presents, but actively promotes. It's billed as being a welcoming place for everyone to come and get down. It's represented as a modern day Woodstock feel in the hearts and minds of its attendees and that no matter your color, your preference, your manner of dress or your aspirations, if you are cool, it's all cool. Honestly, it's refreshing and quite delightful. I guess that is why I am so surprised by the recent things I am reading.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a Facebook group that follows the band moe. I know a bit of moe. as my husband plays them often for our daughter and there have been times when the ONLY thing that has calmed her on a car ride was moe. I am still getting my feet wet with the band myself as they are not something I would normally like, but I respect the sound and the talent within that group. I thought I also had respect for what seems to be a rabid fan base. I saw them as an extension of the jam scene I had come to know. The welcoming warmth of good people looking to hang with like minded fans and enjoy the world and the music. Apparently, I was wrong.

There is something going on and I don't get it. Maybe you can enlighten me. While I understand this sort of thing probably goes on in every scene, I have never seen it so hard, so gross, and so undeserved.

What is all this animosity towards Twiddle from the moe. fans? It's not just a case of "I get that you like them, but they are not my thing" comments. It is RABID, NASTY, HATEFUL comments. This is not what I thought the jam scene was about. What in the hell is going on here? I saw promotional art altered to be disgusting and tasteless insults. I saw people ripping apart other people who proclaimed their like for the band. I saw name calling. I saw people being really, truly ugly to one another. And for what?

What I did not see, however, was a source. I could not find through ample searching where this is coming from. It left me increasingly confused. Mostly, it left me disappointed. This is not only juvenile, it's a slap in the face to people who want to be acquainted with this scene. It's telling people they don't belong. That's not what I thought this was all about. That was not what I had come to know. Now I wonder if I had been wrong.

To the best of my knowledge, the bands are friends. Collaborators. Teammates. The way so many bands in so many scenes are. So what is the root of this? Is there something I am missing? Did one of the guys in Twiddle kick your sister? Did their music inspire a rampage of criminals who steal everyone's left shoe and remove the elastic from their underpants? Someone please tell me what this is all about because I can't understand how a scene that almost brands itself on fierce feelings of peace and unity could find so much enjoyment in tearing other people down. In a truly unified scene, people lift one another up. They don't push one another down. How can you tell me this is a unified scene?

Music is an insanely personal thing. I like to say there is music for everyone. While I might not like a particular artist, that same artists might be the sound that talked someone else off a ledge. While I might not find the motivation in what they say, someone else might find that sound to be the thing that lit up their darkest moments. For this reason, I would never say that music itself was bad - just that I don't like it. I don't like anchovies either. That doesn't mean someone else doesn't find them to be the greatest pizza topping ever and I most definitely would never breath insults all over someone because of their pizza topping preference. Isn't that what makes the world go round'? Choices? Variety? Just because music doesn't speak to me doesn't mean that the same music doesn't speak to you. Maybe it's the only thing that speaks to you. In that case, who am I to speak against it? Who would I be to insult you?

When someone rips on your music, it can feel like they are ripping on you. Tearing YOU down for being a fan. In a truly unified scene, there is no room for this negativity. It's counterproductive and quite honestly just makes you look like a giant asshole. Don't rip into other people and other bands' fans and then go hang out in the field talking about equality and justice. You are a liar. You are an embarrassment to this beautiful scene that people have worked to make a place of welcome and a place of refuge. There is no room in a united scene for hate and negative shit, so why are you bringing it?

You don't have to like a band, but if you are going to call yourself a member of the scene, you need to speak the respect. It's a language we all know. If you don't dig the sound, take that set to go empty your bladder, get a beer, or make some new friends. Buy some artwork. Take a nap. Just stop with the chatter. Stop with the negative. Stop with the hate.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Pomps - Indie Rock is Dying

I have felt for a year or so like I was in a music drought in our scene. It's not that there wasn't anything happening, it's just that there wasn't anything exciting happening. Don't get me wrong. There have been some great releases and incredible shows, but it's been kinda ho-hum for a little while. I took a couple years off from the podcast and the blog while I recovered from illness, got married, and had my daughter.

Maybe it was me who was ho-hum, but I feel like I am slowly reanimating when I hear music like what I am about to throw at you.

Now, I'm a Jersey Girl and a Yankee fan, so as hard as it is for me to throw love North, I have to say again and again that Boston kicks us down some amazing music. I will ALWAYS give love to Boston for music. (I hear the food up there is pretty amazing too...) They do not disappoint.

Enter The Pomps.

These Boston cats have a great fusion of reggae, pop, trusty old new wave, and just groove. I was told to call it Island Power Punk? It's seriously fun and honestly, I have been looking for something like this. I heard their record Top of the Pomps a few years back, and I remember seeing their name on shows I was was announcing on the podcast around that time, but they were never nearby so I had not been able to catch them. Dude...MY LOSS! These guys are great! It's just enough pop injected into great dance-able reggae grooves. They have a kind of smiling punk attitude. I love it.

So, my attention was called back to them with their recent release, Indie Rock is Dying. It's got a third wave feel but without all that noise. It's like small club dance ska. In my opinion, the best kind. But it's not ska. It's ska-pop fusion? Who cares. It's fucking GOOD. The title track reminds me of some of the best pop-punk that came out of the 90's, but with a 60's Britpop flavor woven underneath. They have a really great energy. It's infectious! Honestly, this is "throw your gear in the trunk and get in, we are going on an adventure" kind of driving music.

This record has head bopping beats straight off some of my favorite 80's new wave, but it's also got that driving island flavor you find in bands like The Slackers and Westbound Train, which makes sense. The band is working with Rarebreed Recording Company, run in part by Westbound's Obi Fernandez. In fact, All My Guns popped up in my feed over the winter as part of Rarebreed's Winter Sampler. I was eager for more since then. I got it!

That song All My Guns is on repeat at my desk this morning. The harmonies are on point and the beat is smooth. If you read my reviews, you know I love vocals. Vocals are my bread and butter and if you can pull me in with that, you have my full, undivided attention. I dig the vocals on this song hard. This is a song you sing along with at the show. I look forward to doing just that. As hard as it is to put a title on what this music falls into categorically, it's so much fun to listen to. It makes you move, and it has me chomping at the bit for something live down here in the dirty Jersey.

I dig all of this. How to Lure People is a slower beat but you still can't help but move and sing along. Great keys too. There is even a little dub flavor happening with the track, Halo Vs. King Django.

They have some dates coming up next month with the Toasters, including one in at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on September 24th You can get your tickets for that one Here. Then they are back up to Mass for a show in Cambridge at the Middle East on September 25th. I am tapping my foot and waiting for the Jersey shows...

You can head on over to Paper+Plastic and pick up Indie Rock is Dying HERE. I suggest strongly that you do. This album is perfect summer groove music and we all need a little more of that in our life.

Check out The Pomps on FACEBOOK

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My thoughts on TWIDDLE - PLUMP CHAPTER 1 - (there is no good reason for not having this record)

I married a jam guy.

This ska/reggae/rocksteady enthusiast married a jam guy.

It's not news. We have been married a few years. We bonded over a shared love of Bad Religion and Irish coffees several years ago and the rest is history. He is a bass player and a Dead Head. Our musical tastes are both very eclectic and while they overlap in many places, we never had a really prominently shared adoration for a band that made us both go looking for shows and hotels in other cities to see them at. Well, until now.

 I have had a good time taking him on Slackers booze cruises and Pietasters shows over the last few years. I have enjoyed showing him my world and my terrible dancing. His love is in the jam scene. I have gone to see him play and equally enjoyed watching the crowds at these colorful festivals and listening to the incredible musicianship I have gotten the chance to see. The people are wonderful and welcoming, but I didn't feel that pulling in my heart the way I do at the shows in the scene I have followed for many years. That is not to say that I have not seen incredible bands. I have. It's just not my thing. But that is why music is amazing. There is literally something for everyone...and then some.

On this day last year, we were sitting in a large corner hospital room awaiting our daughter's birth. My procedure had been postponed due to an emergency with another patient so my husband was sitting nervously in the corner listening to music while I watched TV and the clock. He was digging hard on this band I have never heard of, telling me I should really give this a listen. It was like the perfect melding of our two scenes. There was jam and there was groove. There was a steady beat and reggae flavor infused throughout. He knows I adore anything vocal heavy, and he promised me vocals that don't quit and lyrics that made the hair on your arms stand up. I was hugely pregnant and relatively impatient, so I more or less dismissed him.

Then he played it for me. It was Twiddle.

He was listening to a song called Lost in the Cold and with the emotions of bringing a life into the world and feeling ours change, it had brought him to tears. I knew that feeling. The way music gets under your skin and feels like thousands of electrodes bringing you to life as if prior to this moment, you had never actually lived. I felt it. I felt that pulling in my heart. I have not been able to stop that feeling since.

From that day forth, I kept hearing the songs from this album popping up. I would be driving in the car and listening to Jam On on satellite radio and songs would come on. Every single time it was like hearing something amazing for the first time. That feeling where you have to stop, clear your head, and really take it in. This was something special and it has been a while since I have had this experience with music. That was it. Hooked.

Lost in the Cold is easily my favorite track on the album. It's got solid groove and you cannot help but move with it, but more than that, it's in the words. These guys have a way with words and a way to bring them into your ears that is something both unique and exceptional. The vocals are on point. The bass line is killer. As my introduction to this band's talents, I had a high standard as my listening continued.

There is a lot of self reflection on this record. There is a lot of looking at the world and it's people with hope and confusion and determination all at once. I love that in music. I love to think and feel as I listen and it's something that seems to lack so heavy in a lot of today's music. Every Soul has a great line, "So much love when you let go of your sanity". YES! Dude. Exactly. Sometimes you have to remove the shackles of what we hold ourselves down with and let the current carry us.

The whole song is a lesson in letting go of your every day to just feel the world around you. Stop worrying about what everyone expects you to be and open your senses to enjoy the world happening around you. It's not just the words with Twiddle though. The music plays along with this concept perfectly. The lively keys kind of give you that impression that you are being carried along. These guys put it together in a way that welcomes you in like an old friend. They are songs you can get lost in like a good book.

It's been a long time since I have listened to an album from start to finish and could not skip a single song because they are all just that stellar. Another track, Complacent Race, seems incredibly appropriate for what is happening right now both socially and politically in our country and how it feels from the inside. You just want to live life in peace but it feels like things are just exploding around you from so much that we could conquer if we could just love hard enough. These incredible, simple but precise words that hit hard over a groove that makes you want to dance the world into peace. An outstanding blend of styles with good bass love and keys.

Twiddle themselves are an outstanding blend of musicians. Vocalist Mihali has just enough grit behind incredible melodies to convey that emotion packed vocal in a way that makes you not just hear, but feel. He has incredible range. In addition to his voice, he lends the guitar to this sound. Creative and symphonic. On keys is Ryan Dempsey. And OH the keys on this record. He has a presence on these songs that carries you somewhere else. Keys either sit in the background and decorate a song or they come out front an march along with it, throwing batons and confetti. Dempsey is no decorative keyboardist. He lends his talents to the music like brush strokes. It's one of the things I really like about this record. Listen to Amidst The Myst. It's gorgeous.

Brook Jordan is tops on drums and percussion. For someone like me who has immersed herself in the scene that I have, hearing someone bring those familiar hits and beats in such a smooth and different form is something that makes me smile so huge. But then he has a style that I don't know like I know reggae and rocksteady. It's these beats that synch up perfectly with the bass. Light touches like rain drops and then rolls like thunder. Again...listen to Amidst the Myst. Speaking of bass by the way, our final corner in this tower of awesome is Zdenek Gubb. The bass lines in this entire record are incredible. I married a bass player. I have become sort of a bass snob. I admit it. Gubb's got it down. He layers so well in between the drums and keys, it's like finely woven silk. It's a perfect mixture of deep groove and hard beat and the bass in these songs calls to you.

Have I gushed enough? One last suggestion, especially to my fellow devotees in the ska and reggae scene. Listen to Polluted Beauty. It's got the groove. The horns. The chat. It's got the perfect singalong hook. This song is everything I love about music. It hits hard while it sings you lullabies. Thank you, Twiddle. Thank you for being that breath of fresh air.

I can't wait to get out there and see you do this live.

Head on over to Twiddle's website and get yourself the album. I cannot recommend it enough