This was another week where we had to be a little more forgiving in our sampling process. Despite that, there were a couple of albums that seemed like good possibilities for a review. By Tuesday, I had discovered another new release for 8/21, “Fast Forward” from L.A.’s El Ten Eleven. This duo has been on my radar for at least three years and have occupied my ears for many enjoyable hours, so of course pre-conceived notions were out the window and I had found my album for the week.
Album opener, “Point Breeze” is reminiscent of some of El Ten Eleven’s earlier work, but still different enough to be fresh. This track is sort of its own yin and yang. The drumming and programmed beats are infectious.
“Scott Township” has the feel of late 80’s, early 90’s alternative music. Like a coupling of The Cure and Joy Division for an instrumental number. This cut gets a little aggressive and dreamlike with tons of layers of auditory excellence to dig beneath.
Big bass lines begin “Battle Aves”, which immediately sounds ethereal psychedelic and uses some interesting effects, which sounds a little like being stuck inside an early Apple computer.
“We Lost A Giant” is millennial alternative music with an intriguing array of percussion throughout. It finds a nice place half-way through that puts the song on a beach around sunset.
Title track, “Fast Forward”, is a little prog-rockish, with a severe leaning in the proximity of New Order.
“Peter & Jack” makes me think of a couple of 80’s instrumental acts, Pell Mell and Love Tractor, both of which were underrated. It has a vibe that takes it southern, maybe Georgia, maybe Alabama, either way, it is a trip worth taking.
The early parts of “Be Kind, Rewind” almost feels exotic, with palm trees and blue water in the foreground. Then it gets more perpetual, as if riding around a tropical island, surrounded by green.
“Three Sides Of A Coin” has an international flavor and perfect bass lines under the best minimal guitar work. The percussion is the perfect blend of electricity and acoustics.
In the beginning, “Jd” is another cut that is influenced in some way by The Cure, but that only scratches the surface. This tune could be pop or psychedelic or alternative, but mostly it is just really good.
El Ten Eleven’s sixth full-length album, “Fast Forward” is more effectively uplifting music, that speaks to the everydays of life, as well as the once in a life time moments we sometimes encounter. Some of the themes sound familiar for a few seconds before taking on long full lives of their own. The California duo of guitarist/bassist, Kristian Dunn and drummer, Tim Fogarty, utilizes effects pedals, looping and double-neck guitar/basses to fill up the space, which they do with seeming ease. I would recommend this album to fans of Tycho and The Slip, not to mention those of Pell Mell and Love Tractor, as well. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!
A little over a month ago, I read a story on JamBase.com about the Philadelphia-based band The American Babies. They announced that they had just acquired the bass service’s of former “king of the low-end” for The Slip, Marc Friedman. I am a huge fan of Marc’s bass playing, so needless to say, I was intrigued. Then I heard that The American Babies were headed to Colorado and were playing a show at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins, my interest peaked even more. Now, I shouldn’t forget to mention that The American Babies are led by former Brothers Past frontman, Tom Hamilton. I only knew one or two songs from each of Hamilton’s projects and was impressed with both, despite some extreme differences in the music itself. I decided to take some time and explore some of their music on-line and became even more excited about the show. It was a cold Sunday night and the streets were pretty empty.
As I walked in around 9:30, I could hear the last couple minutes of a barroom, shed a tear in your beer original “Baby, Don’t Cry”. When they started into “Further On Up The Road” I knew we were in for one-hell of an eclectic show. There was some serious blues guitar and organ with a nice little jam woven in. The intimate crowd was informed that it was keyboardist, Adam Flicker’s birthday, so he got “Happy Birthday”. Then the band went back to Brothers Past material with the perfectly-constructed jam vehicle, “Simple Gift Of Man”, which allowed Marc to show-off his phenomenal skills. From the jam, they went into “Dance All Night”, with a vibe that’s like a sped-up, less controversial “Fire” by Springsteen. “The Sin” went all slow country crooner and Jimmy Cliff’s “Harder They Come” was done-up really well, with a short, but sweet organ solo. “Goddamn” had the feel as though it had been written by Don Henley and Jackson Browne, nice classic sound. They played “Fire Sale”, that had a little bit of indie with a jam that got dubtronic and Phishy, before heading back into “Simple Gift Of Man” to finish the song and the set.
When the second set began, I was instantly taken with how much the music for “They Sing Old Time Religion”, reminded me of The Allman Brothers, with that southern touch throughout. After a huge jam, they went into “Swimming At Night”, which sounded fantastic, and was followed by the travelling folk rock of “Bullseye Blues”. A very sweet “Scarlet Begonias” included yet another super-phat jam and turned into American Babies original “Boy”. Their version of “Atlantic City”, had touches of both The Band and Springsteen mixed in. “Old Fashioned” had a David Byrne meets Sonny Landreth kind of groove. They managed an impressive rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Easy Chair”. “This Thing Ain’t Goin’ Nowheres” has a pinch of Blood, Sweat & Tears blended nicely with the folk vibe. “State Police” was something like U2 with Jerry Garcia playing guitar, which segued back into “…Old Time Religion”, which they had started at the beginning of the set and used to finish the show.
I have to start, by expressing my gratitude to Dave, the drummer. I asked for one of their paper setlists, but he took the time to re-write it out for me, so I would be able to read it. Beyond that, this is a spectacular band with an eclectic sound that doesn’t let the listener, or the band for that matter, get too comfortable. Tom Hamilton played and sang his heart out. Marc Friedman is easily finding his fit, after only a month with the band. Adam Flicker was pretty incredible on the keys, especially during jams. Besides being a super-cool guy, Dave Butler kept the other three wanderers within reach at all times. They are playing at the 1 Up in Denver, tomorrow night for free and at the Little Bear Saloon on Thursday night in Evergreen. I highly recommend that you invite your friends to go check-them-out. Enjoy!!
HAPPY LISTENING!!!! 😉
Set I: When I Build My Fortune> Baby Don’t Cry, Further On Up The Road, Simple Gift Of Man> Dance All Night, The Sin, Harder They Come, Goddamn, Fire Sale> Simple Gift Of Man
Set II: They Sing Old Time Religion> Swimming At Night, Bullseye Blues, Scarlet Begonias> Boy, Atlantic City> Old Fashioned, Easy Chair, Ain’t Goin Nowheres, State Police> They Sing Old Time Religion