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October 2014
Tetherball
"Whimsy
"
mp3

 

Steve Voss paints the picture of a mid-aughts major label stalwart that eventually buckled under the weight of feedback from the mess of people involved in the process. Framed with this context, the moniker Tetherball comes into sharp relief. At the end of his rope and refusing to be swatted back and forth into submission, Voss withdrew from Atlantic Records and his home state of Colorado. He receded to a studio in an industrial neck of Nashville, still tinkering with sound but with a very cracked perspective; essentially the industry version of Lazlo Hollyfeld.

 

Tetherball's album will officially drop October 28th via Silver Point Recods. Even if this backstory weren’t true, “Whimsy” still sounds like someone reveling in their eccentricity. It’s weird, and deals it out its peculiarity in mid-tempo canters and clearly-baked moseys. Sci-fi plays just as big of a thematic influence as personal experience, so if you have a taste for the slightly off-center, parts of this album will have you clapping your hands in delight. The guitar tone has a tendency to do infectiously cool things, like the jangle at the opening of “Vegetarian” or the tit for tat that kicks off “Bootss.” This album could probably play in tandem with any South Park episode and mirror it with frightening accuracy.

 

This is not to say that Voss has lost all awareness of pop sensibility. For very Primus off-note there is an alternative snarl, which makes for an interesting and palatable listen. Tetherball maintains a high level of theatrics throughout, from the grand sweeping boredom of “Hometown” to the Western swing of "Boulderado" the big top rhythm of “Spring Chicken,” a track that had me playing indie-rock matchmaker and wondering for a second how cool it would be to see them on tour with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.

 

“Whimsy” is an amazing first statement from this fledgling band. It’s clear that this is a pin pulled from a grenade, and that the Tetherball dimension is something that will only expand. We can’t wait to see how this band evolves. Stream the album HERE, and check out their website at: www.tetherballmusic.com


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Album Review: LoCura - Dale De Comer

Difficult to characterize and resistant of traditional genre definitions, San Francisco based chameleons, LoCura have steadily been creating their own sound. Built on the diversity of both musicians and styles, the band’s latest release Dale De Comer is no exception. Elements of son, cumbia, ska, rumba flamenca, afrobeat, and even reggaeton are distilled into the self-described “Califas Flamenkito”group’s third record. This provides for an infectious, multi-layered effort that is a testament to their continual evolution. Started in 2009 by lead singer Kata Miletich and guitarist Bob Sanders in Angel’s Camp, California, the band originally set out to play rumba flamenco-but exposure to San Francisco’s highly charged Latin music, culture, and arts scene opened up possibilities for much more. Bassist Izzy Sergio Duran, trumpeter Danny Cao, and drummer Carrie Jahde joined the group shortly after the duo moved there-a change that greatly intensified both live performances and the stylistic mixture of the band. Unlike their previous records, Dale De Comer is fairly short- the seven tracks total 28 minutes, roughly half the length of their previous efforts. Kata’s voice calls from a reverb-laden megaphone, introducing both “Amarantos” and the start of the colossal, revolutionary swing pervasive throughout the album. “No Ves” begins with a gentle Frusciante- inspired guitar riff, opening up as Miletich criticizes the politics and industrialization of consumerism. “Dos Lobos” conjures the image of an embattled soul struggling with anger and love-the latter part of the song musically evoking what had previously been laid out lyrically. “Dale De Comer” is perhaps the steepest brew of LoCura’s many influences-the reggaeton beat, mariachi horn section accents, and flamenco guitar solo give way to a Sufi-inspired chant in Spanish. Language barriers are broken throughout the lyrics too, as the well-seasoned Miletich switches between both Spanish and English- at times even using a few Italian words. Though less material than their previous works, this album is no less potent. The band reps their Bay Area roots and defines themselves by their constant stylistic ambiguity, keeping in mind that most of it is pure madness.  - Justin Kohlberg

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