REVIEW: The OF’s “Escape Goat”

The OF photo TheOF2015_cover_zpskwvowaxm.jpg The adventures of The OF have returned with a new album taht has them even more adventurous than they were before and if Escape Goat (Green Monkey) is an accurate description of where they are right now, they are going to remain tripping around anywhere and everywhere for the next few years. The mixed bag of styles and textures are a bit like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa with Sun Ra and Hellcows, the latter a Portland, Oregon band that I loved who twisted things from any and all sources, turning their music into unpredictable things before you’re left wondering where you are and eventually not caring. What I love about the sound of the production is that it sounds like an independent album, it’s direct without elaborate echo or reverb, it sounds slightly raw but very polished at the same time. It comes off like the kind of party album you might find accidentally but upon listening, you do not want to return it from the place you stole it from. “Bottom Feeder” sounds like a more elaborate version of The Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”, complete with dual guitar/saxophone solos and its eleven minute duration doesn’t allow itself to slow down for anyone or anything. If you are to look at the cover, you might say “eight songs? Is that it?” With two 11 minute songs and one 13 minute song, “that’s it” is much more elaborate than you assume. Pat Nevin’s vocals and John Carey’s primary songwriting (Nevil co-wrote “Damn Dirty Hippy” with Carey) is slightly twisted upon first listen but let it soak in and it will be understood. Then when The OF get locked in instrumental mode, it’s about exploring different zones and wondering where they themselves will end out of. In other words, it’s the kind of uneasy rock that enjoys going on travels with you and themselves, and they’re not ready to be comfortable by staying in one spot. Escape Goat is that goat being spanked on a mountain on a road to who knows where, the fun part is to watch where it plans on ending up.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=281317570/size=large/bgcol=CE9A0A/linkcol=FFD702/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

REVIEW: Zs’ “Xe”

Xs photo Zs_cover_zpsxt1y2kmx.jpg Zs are a Brooklyn based trio who come off as a group who like to throw in anything into the mix at any given time. There is a bit of spontaneity in what they do but there’s some sonic choreography so people can be sure they are on their mission to go through the music from star to finish. With the use of the saxophone, they may come off like the ghosts of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, Smegma, or Hell Cows and while those comparisons are/can be impressive, they show something that opens them up to the possibility of everything, which is what they do on Ze. The guitar work may sound like random doodling in spots while it may find its way to a goal in other portions, but the thing is the listener isn’t sure where things bein, end, or came from somewhere else. Or at least that’s one way of describing what they do. There are times when the rhythms go well beyond the math rock quota but a few seconds later, they may get into experimental mode and it sounds like a sandpaper circle being played at 78rpm.

What I also found impressive is that if you don’t pay attention to when the songs change, you will not know when songs actually begin or end. I would love to see how these guys do it in a live setting for while the noisy parts is what I love, I also really like when there are general melodies, as they do in “Corps” complete with unique rhythms and a twisted sax solo. Hearing this made me want to be deliberately on the edge. We’re just wrapping up month two of 2015 but I have already found one of my favorite albums of the year.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4020678438/size=large/bgcol=333333/linkcol=C4C4C4/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/