Skip to main content

Tossing Out My Preconceived Notions with Big Something - Tumbleweed

I used to think I understood what this whole jam scene thing was, and I was so sure it was not my thing. In my younger days, I refused to listen to bands like Phish and moe. because I was so very sure the music was something I wouldn't relate to. I had all these preconceived notions of what the crowds were like at festivals, what the bands were like when you met them, and what the scene was as a whole. I was so wrong, it's kind of painful.

I mention a lot that my husband is a big reason for my open mind in music. I have always had a very eclectic taste. I love everything from classical to hip hop. I found myself as a teen in punk and industrial. I found my home in ska/reggae. I have always carried a love for folk. Never did I realize that all these sounds can be found in the least likely scene, at least in my mind at that time. Over the last five years, my husband (a nasty jam bassist in his own right) has been slyly pulling me into the scene one band at a time. Never has my mind been so open. I have seen incredible musicians, met wonderful people, and feel honestly fulfilled by what I find a little more every day. I give credit where credit is due.

I happened to stumble on Big Something recently. They came up as a suggestion on Spotify and never having heard of them, my curiosity got me. With a name like Big Something, I came equipped with my big expectations. They do not at all disappoint. I pulled up their 2017 album Tumbleweed and was taken VERY MUCH by surprise. These guys are an incredible medley of sounds, inspirations, and insights. I get bored easily and I guess that is why I thought I would never find myself in the jam scene (stupid assumption, I now know). I thought 20 minute songs to get lost in was all it was. Never did I expect to find such inventive vocals and body moving grooves in one package. You will not be bored with this record. You will not be bored with this band. Every song is an exploration. Every time the track changed on my first listen, I was a little more excited with what I might hear. The songs are so different. They are another story with each beginning.

This album has so many sounds, I am having trouble figuring out where to start in describing it for a reader. I honestly have never had this problem. Do me a favor and go pull up this record so you can play along at home.
Got it? Ready? Here we go. Pull up the song Passenger. This one has a really fun bluegrass/country undertone but incredible vocals and keys over top. You think you know what you are listening to for a quick second, and then your mind is a little more blown. Skip on over to Song for Us. There is a trippy key sound with a reggae groove underneath layered with an almost New Wave-ish flavor sprinkled in for good measure. You hear that? There truly is something for everyone here. Again, those vocals. It's exciting for me to find something so versatile and creative. Big Something takes a piece from a dozen puzzle boxes to make their own picture and it works. It creates an artful balance of changes and grooves. Its so crazy and so so so good.

For being one band and one record, there are so many sounds running together. The guitar is rocking and edgy with intense soaring solos, the drums are tight and expertly placed just hard enough in some places and just enough beat in other places to keep the flow. Meanwhile there is that steady, body moving bass groove throughout. The keys are outstanding and lend to that electric dance feel that moves you. There are elements of trumpet and sax on the record as well and if you follow this blog, you know my ears perk up immediately for that. It's so well balanced with nothing more prominent than anything else. Every sound is equally as important. I love that.

The vocals are varied in their intensity and impressive in their versatility. I am reminded of Brandon Boyd and I hope that doesn't offend this gentleman because that is honestly one of my all time favorite vocalists across the scenes. I can't pigeon hole this dude though because his sound is way more than that. There are elements of 90's rock, reggae, and 80's pop smoothness mixed in there as well.The word inventive is probably getting overused in this piece, but it's honestly what rings out in my mind with every song I listen to. This is such a cool record.

Essential Listening:

Blue Dream: It's a really sweet mix of electronic skill and outstanding guitar. It's a move your body while your mind drifts to a different place kind of song. It highlights one corner of what Big Something can do, and its a cool corner.

Tumbleweed: I always assume a title track is going to have to be something special because it has this strange representation of the whole album, so I go in expecting big and I was not let down. Elements of jam groove, but with an edge.

The Flood: I'm married to a bass player. I love a good bass line, and this song has it. The song as a whole is incredible and moving. I really want to see this live. It's jam with edge.

I popped on over to their website to learn a little more. These gents are presently doing a spring tour with Umphreys McGee and have some great festivals coming up. I took a look at their tour page and was immediately bummed because they are not playing anywhere near me at all. (New Jersey!) I will be watching for when they are. Big Something is now essential viewing on my list of must see bands. Put them on yours too. 


Popular posts from this blog

Smooth Reggae Feels with The Elovaters: The Cornerstone

If anyone has been following along for the last 7 years, I started this journey doing an Internet radio show out of Stroudsburg, PA. I was blogging mostly local NJ artists slowly, and my format was "alternative" which gave me the freedom to take it wherever it went...and went, it did. One Sunday I decided to go full ska and had two of my dearest friends in the studio with me. My FM DJ girlfriend Lindsay and my friend in music and giant cans of pudding, Rob. I would be doing on-air interviews with Steve Jackson from the Pietasters and Travis from Hub City Stompers. There was beer. There was laughing. More than anything, there was a realization that this has always been the music that got deepest into my soul and why in the hell was this not my focus?

After a roof collapse and two station location shifts, our home base disbanded and a few of us, like myself, decided to hop into podcasting and continue with blogging reviews. I somehow garnered myself a lot of support in the sk…

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 min…

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 sho…