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, sir...you 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 https://www.kungfumusic.com/







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.