REVIEW: “FU*K MONSTER Battles the Universe & Rescues Aphrodite from the Throngs of Heresy”

 photo TeddyPresbergFUCK_cover_zps5eda51d6.jpg First off, here’s the deal. I see a group who call themselves FU*K MONSTER and I’m going “what is this?” The album is called FU*K MONSTER Battles the Universe & Rescues Aphrodite from the Throngs of Heresy and then I’m thinking “holy crap, what is this?” When I discover the man behind the name, I then think “wait a minute, what is this?” Do I pronounce this as “FUCK MONSTER” and if so, why censor it as FU*K because when censored, it still reveals FUK. I’m listening to the music, and I’m thinking “this is very nice, so is this a suggestive way of saying that this is a FUNK MONSTER, with the N censored in a silly way so that it will reveal the funk?” There is a brief interlude where a female voice reveals that this is indeed FUCK MONSTER and I’m going “okay, what the fuck? FUCK MONSTER it is.”

Teddy Presberg has made some mighty fine music over the years, crossing a number of genres and perceived boundaries that have made me anticipate anything he releases. However, I was not aware Presberg had anything to do with FU*K MONSTER until I started reading more into the project. FU*K MONSTER could have been some experimental trippiness I may or may not have loved, but there had to be a reason for the moniker. I don’t know what it is yet but I was ready to listen to it anyway, knowing Presberg was involved. Even if it was called FUNK MONSTER, the first batch of songs sound like the type of funk George Clinton and friends would have played from 1969 to 1972, the primal psychedelic funk that also showed a richness for Detroit garage and acid rock, and it’s gritty too. As the album moves along, things chance a bit and I’m hearing electronic influences. Eventually we get into something that sounds a bit like jazzy reggae but wait… is it a step into Nigeria with a bit of Fela Kuti-flavored Afrobeat? I think it may be exactly that. The consistency here is the energy and the musicianship, the musical vibe may change throughout but it’s solid from start to finish and I found myself wanting to hear FU*K MONSTER in a live setting. Or whatever way Presberg wants to present himself as. His guitar work, as always, is sharp and I like how he feels comfortable with playing a bit of everything, with a need to expand his outlook and output. The name may be a means to catch the eye of potential listeners who are flooded with an overwhelming wealth of music, but this one is worth stopping for.

REVIEW: The Resistance Organ Trio “Does Led Zeppelin”

Most of the time when I hear Led Zeppelin covers, it’s usually just hard rock and heavy metal bands recreating the songs, although they covered folk, country, soul, and funk along the way as well. One can’t deny their influence on countless artists (Heart, Tori Amos, The Black Crowes) and a generation of fans who appreciated the hammer of the Gods, but I think because of the power and myths of their music, people stay away for whatever reason. Guitarist Teddy Presberg decided to show his love of the band by creating The Resistance Organ Trio with Leclare Stevenson (organ, bass, and piano) and drummer Kyle Honeycutt to show people how LZ’s music can be reinterpreted, and without vocals.

The Resistance Organ Trio Does Led Zeppelin (Outright) adds a little… I was going to say the trio adds elements of soul, funk, and gospel to Led Zeppelin’s music, but I think what they’re doing is playing the role of the music doctor by extracting it from the original songs, and reveal to people what they’ve really been hearing all these years. “Your Time Is Gonan Come” is known for its church organ vibe courtesy of John Paul Jones, and here it remains in the church. With the vocals being replaced by Presberg’s guitar, you hear him play not only the vocal melody but add his own brilliant solo to it, not as a means to upstage Jimmy Page but to just add a new perspective, as any musician would. “What Is And What Should Never Be” gets into a blues/jazz motif wit ha major boost from Stevenson taking it deep into Jimmy Smith territory. Bonus points for the panning at the end of the song where guitar is on the left, complimented by Stevenson on the right, bouncing back and forth. In “The Immigrant Song” (free download), I liked how the ending of the song is extended and explored, which is what Zeppelin did when they performed the song. The thing I felt was lacking was the intense bass riffs played by Jones, for me one of the best bass riffs Zeppelin ever made.

As a lifelong fan of LZ, I love everything they did. The uptempo tracks are performed honorable to the originals, but Presberg and friends take the slower and mellower songs and really go on the voyages LZ’s songs did on their own. I would have loved to have heard a medley that finally united “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Tea For One” in some fashion, but maybe they could do that in a live setting. As it stands, The Resistance Organ Trio Does Led Zeppelin is a tribute album that will hopefully make people listen to LZ’s songs in an all new light, or maybe notice things that have existed but not have been highlighted until they heard this. It would be interesting if someone’s first exposure to the work of LZ was with this tribute. In turn, the album shows the continued progression of Presberg as a musician, and also shows Stevenson and Honeycutt as musicians that should be recognized for their talents as well. The name of the trio is meant to focus on the organ, which you can interpret as is or as a metaphor, so Stevenson may a primary focus but listen to the trio as a collective with individual talents. If the “organ” did Led Zeppelin as if LZ was a passionate woman who was confident of all of her capabilities, then it did it until it was content, although I’d like to think she would want a lot more. Musically, LZ’s last musical words was “I’m Gonna Crawl” so Presberg, Honeycutt, Stevenson: you know what to do. Boogie chillens.

(The album will be released digitally on September 17th, CD version two weeks later.)

REVIEW: Teddy Presberg’s “Outcries From A Sea Of Red”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic When Teddy Presberg released Blueprint Of Soul two years ago, I felt that his style of jazz-meets-blues-with-hints-of-rock was really good, and that I could hear the potential of someone who could become brilliant. I felt at the time that his work had the free spirit of a jam band, but that with a bit of structure it might reveal a new side of his musicianship.

Outcries From A Sea Of Red (Outright) is an album that seems to have taken some of this constructive criticism, and turned around to create something that is very good. Things are structured, and at times reserved but it’s a calm reserve that only leads to some fierce guitar playing from Presberg. In “Timebomb” it may sound like an old Paul Butterfield-style boogie, but it then develops into something else and takes off into something seductive. He moves comfortably around different styles and time signatures, it isn’t the jazz equivalent of math rock but if those words will move people to listen to Presberg and his way of playing with tempos and time signatures, proceed. It’s not dominant, but there’s even a bit of electronic tomfoolery in “Beyond Busted”, where it sounds like Medeski, Martin & Wood hanging out with MC 900 Ft. Jesus.

I enjoy the different roads Presberg walks on with this new album, and it never strays too far from the kind of jazz and blues he loves to play.