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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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Review of Gabrahm Vitek's, "Soular Flares"

Review of Gabrahm Vitek's, "Soular Flares"

It seems Gabrahm Vitek was hardly resistant to the band of gypsies that captured him in his sleep. Feeding him nothing but soul, Mr. Vitek has been munchin’ on some funky jazz with some jivy cats. Marginally different from anything I remember hearing at Christopher’s Pizza in 2007, I can assure you that soul-tapped and face-lifted, Mr. Vitek has seen the light.

His latest full length album, Soular Flares, flows as smooth as the lively licks it encases. Gabe has put some serious concentration into making an album that transitions flawlessly. Intentionally starting things out on a train ride to the heart of the record, he breaks things up with three instrumental interludes, showcasing his dive into compositional experimentation as he swims around sounds like Radiohead’s MK1 and Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors.

Sandwiching these Radiohead-esque interludes are effortlessly catchy songs like “Your Turn”, “It’s On”, “You Got Fire” and “No Look Dancing”. (Check out the music video for "No Look Dancing" here). Up-beat and full of soul, you can expect to hear some vibrant horn solos, powerhouse backup vocals, and classic Gabrahm Vitek piano riffs. A delightfully interesting match-up, Gabe’s poppy vocals (at times Ben Folds, at times Jamie Cullum, at times straight Vitek) have a way of jumping around on a bed of jazzy instrumentation, yielding some very fresh originality.

Gabe dresses up his thoughts on love, women, and coming of age through his contagiously danceable beats - however, he doesn’t forget to slow things down with intimate and personal tracks like “Needle + Thread”. Despite this healthy combination, it’s obvious that “No Look Dancing” is the core of the album – allowing listeners to kick off their shoes and let go of the reins.

Soular Flares feels like one of those records where one lightbulb led one artist deep into a cave of invention – remaining reclusive until the music baby was ready to be born. Lucky for us, Gabrahm Vitek will be releasing this gem, polished and perfected, October 22nd at The Basement. Not to mention he has roped in a solid A-team of Nashville’s finest rhythm and groove players. I’ll see you there.--Mackenzie Grosser

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