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Superfrog – Year of the Frog CD

Superfrog blends pop, funk, jam and progressive rock in this addictive, head-bobbing collection.

Superfrog released a collection of 10 songs for their 2008 release, “Year of the Frog.”  The songs on this album employ excellent guitar and bass to create a likable, energetic collection.  The album begins on the strength of “Single Handed (But Double Jointed)” and employs rollicking bass lines, soulful guitar, and expressive vocals.  This song is airy and likable, and starts the album off in optimistic waters.  “Traveler” lopes along with loose horn play before drums ratchet up the intensity, ultimately landing in a harbor laced with Andrew Mendola’s likable blues guitar.  The title track picks up the intensity, as the light-hearted melody of the previous song shifts into tinges of progressive rock and metal, with strong guitar and excellent work on bass from Nate Proper.  This song changes gears frequently, shifting from energetic bass lines that sound like notes in some sort of “spy movie,” into the realm of hair metal and extroverted guitar.  The variety is pleasing and garners my attention. 

“Wally Show” begins with playful guitar and vocals, and culminates with a Mendola guitar solo that could quite possibly “peel paint.”  This clever little number sounds like a tongue-in-cheek “garage rock” classic, but the guitar and Wendy Crosier’s vocals are amazingly well delivered, making for a fun diversion on the album.  “So Much Pain” further demonstrates Mendola’s guitar skills, as he shifts from stratospheric, yearning notes to blistering shows of fret board firepower.  Lingering horns and guitar color the perimeter of “Honeywell Nation” as this song employs a subtle, methodical pace and soulful vocals.  “Jalopy” displays bluesy guitar and upbeat contributions from the rhythm section.  “Get Back,” like several tracks on the album, features incredibly funky, tight bass lines from Nate Proper.  This song is accentuated by fun vocals, Mendola’s screaming guitar and energetic percussion as it slides towards its carefree, bouncy conclusion.  The album concludes with “When It All Goes Down,” which displays airy work on guitar and a fun drum interlude that would be really fun to witness in a live environment.

 

Superfrog’s recording seems warm and well-produced, and the band can be praised for their level of musicianship in crafting fun, danceable songs.  Songs like “Single Handled (But Double Jointed),” “Year of the Frog,” “Get Back,” and “Wally Show” display excellent contributions from the band, as they deftly maneuver between funk, jam, and progressive rock.  The combinations seem especially sweet on these songs.  Andrew Mendola’s guitar skills really add a nice punch to the album, as he blends his excellent blues guitar tones with other styles to create a varied and sonically interesting palate.  The contributions of Nate Proper are also especially evident, as his bass lines have a real vitality, bounce, and “pop” that drive these songs forward.  In viewing the album as a whole, it can be noted that these songs are all varied in tempo, style and delivery.  Songs like “Year of the Frog” shift in about five different directions and blend different musical styles.  The overall tone and presentation of “The Year of the Frog” result in a likable, energetic package with lots of fun attractions.   

- By J. Evan Wade

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Fri 6/26/2009 2:01 PM
Superfrog 05.08.2009
Superfrog recently stopped by The Hill in Portsmouth, NH and played a full night of music to the enthusiastic spring crowd at The Blue Mermaid.
- By: B.B. Miller

With the addition of Adam on percussion, the impressive now 6-piece has ramped things up again; Increasing to a size that encroaches the walls and competes for space within the Maid's dancing/dining area. The tight quarters didn't stop or even slow them down however, as they opened with a tasty new styling on Get Back. The interesting vocal changes added a touch of newness to the familiar favorite. Moving swiftly out of the opener to tight vocal harmonies in Fire on the mtn, which was then followed by a "fantastical" Float, it was clear the night's performance was going to focus on the vocal work the band has obviously been working on. The vocal power in the band has grown ten fold as the band has increased in members. All 6 performers have vocal parts throughout the repertoire with a majority of the weight being carried in force by Proper and Grob.

A retooled Jalopy made a return in the first set with an intro that hearkened back to the early days of Frog when Wendy would share in the harmonies. As the mood lifted out of the slower serenade they picked it up with the brightest and bubbliest Armageddon tune I've ever heard, When It All Goes Down. Complete with a full band drum/percussion break that lead into a Super Mario 3 tickle. Then the song shifted into the Shane/Adam drum solo that fueled the remainder of the song. Superfrog's chops have been polished to a fine-tuned shine and this end of day’s anthem shows it.

After a trip on the Astronautical train, Nate moved over as Adam took the lead to cover Bad Fish. Though only his first performance with the band, the percussionist sang with added flair to the known SF cover. A shaky start on Wish was swiftly erased by the powerful presence of the congas and bongos in the very horn centered; Latin infused original which ended the first set.

With the newest original opening the second set, the band slowly gathered together joining their instruments one by one. The soft, mellow tune welcomed the patrons back from the set break. The mellow stepped aside, however, and quickly made room for the more upbeat Tequilador > Year of the Frog pair of originals. With updates and edits in the arrangement of the opening of YOTF, the song was much different from the recording on their album of the same name. When it comes to updating from their album though, not a single song has changed as much as Traveler. This is not a bad thing at all. The effects, production, harmonies and depth that unveils itself from the belly of this tripped out space beast might just be the damp dark magic that fuels the melting memories of our fungus days gone by. The sonic journey brought forth by this slow and relaxed, yet heavy and powerful tune is reminiscent of something Floyd may have left off of Saucer or Meddle. Cormier's slide work and peddle mastery combined with the driving Comer beat and off handed fills mixed with the walking bass line of Proper sound like a B side off of a Gilmore/Waters/Mason creation. After the impressive performance an almost equally stunning 20 minute Whipping Post closed out the set in full face melting fashion as only Superfrog could do. Superfrog will be at Sullivan Hall in NYC on Tuesday, May 12th. If you are going to be in the area do yourself a solid; go see this band and enjoy original music again.

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Mon 5/11/2009 10:01 AM
Superfrog at The Blue Mermaid--The Wire
Written by Matt Kanner   
Thursday, 15 May 2008

In many respects, Superfrog is like a live, retro jukebox filled with records hand selected by stoner hippies of the late 1960s. During the band’s two sets at The Blue Mermaid in Portsmouth last Friday, the six members covered songs by Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin, to name but a few. The only thing that keeps Frog outside the realm of a “cover band” is a smattering of original tunes, which the group will soon convert into its first full-length album.

In a demonstration of its musical training, Superfrog tuned its instruments and loosened up with “So What,” off of Miles Davis’ classic “Kind of Blue.” Once the band members were satisfied with the sound, they kicked off the show with “Badfish,” the first of two Sublime covers of the night. Midway through the song, guitarists Andy Mendola and Jeremy “Fuzzy” Grob dueled playfully on their six-strings, the former on electric and the latter on acoustic. Meanwhile, bassist Nate Proper and drummer Shane Comer maintained the beat, while trumpeter Tony DiBurto ornamented the tune with his horn. 

It was quickly evident that the musicians, most of whom are in their early 20s, strive to replicate the frolicking party atmosphere that Sublime imbued in the 1990s. While the band paid frequent tribute to its classic rock forefathers, it also tipped its cap to modern jam acts like moe. Interspersed between the covers were occasional originals that carried a similarly jammy, funk-rock sound.

In many respects, Superfrog is like a live, retro jukebox filled with records hand selected by stoner hippies of the late 1960s. During the band’s two sets at The Blue Mermaid in Portsmouth last Friday, the six members covered songs by Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin, to name but a few. The only thing that keeps Frog outside the realm of a “cover band” is a smattering of original tunes, which the group will soon convert into its first full-length album.

In a demonstration of its musical training, Superfrog tuned its instruments and loosened up with “So What,” off of Miles Davis’ classic “Kind of Blue.” Once the band members were satisfied with the sound, they kicked off the show with “Badfish,” the first of two Sublime covers of the night. Midway through the song, guitarists Andy Mendola and Jeremy “Fuzzy” Grob dueled playfully on their six-strings, the former on electric and the latter on acoustic. Meanwhile, bassist Nate Proper and drummer Shane Comer maintained the beat, while trumpeter Tony DiBurto ornamented the tune with his horn. 

It was quickly evident that the musicians, most of whom are in their early 20s, strive to replicate the frolicking party atmosphere that Sublime imbued in the 1990s. While the band paid frequent tribute to its classic rock forefathers, it also tipped its cap to modern jam acts like moe. Interspersed between the covers were occasional originals that carried a similarly jammy, funk-rock sound.

Superfrog formed about two years ago in South Berwick, Maine, where Proper and Comer played in a high school band together. Equipped with an acoustic five-string and electric six-string bass, Proper serves as front man, showcasing a voice that is not far removed from Sublime’s Brad Nowell. Proper splits vocal duties with the able-voiced Wendy Crosier and the two often harmonize together, with both guitarists pitching in occasional vocals, as well.

Over the last year, the group has heavily increased its gigging schedule, playing shows throughout the greater Seacoast. The band completed an album for the RPM Challenge in February and is working with producer Aaron Katz (of Percy Hill) on a new CD. According to Proper, the studio sessions should be completed by the end of May. There is also a live recording in the works, consisting of several monthly shows played at Bourbon’s in Portsmouth. The band added a second guitarist last month in Grob, of the recently departed Funkfoot. Superfrog seems poised to occupy the local jam slot recently vacated by Grob’s former band.

The second song performed on Friday was an original with a breezy, psychedelic opening that paved the way for Crosier’s introduction. Like the rest of the band, it took Crosier a little while to capture the music’s spirit and reign in the audience, but she kicked her vocals up a notch for a slick cover of Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and later killed the room with a growling rendition of Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.”
Proper played the first set seated, thumping the five strings of his ivory-colored acoustic bass on his lap. After roping in the crowd with covers of Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er” and the Dead’s “Fire on the Mountain,” Proper switched to his six-string in time for a fast-paced moe cover, followed by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Mendola played an invigorated solo in the style of the late legend, prepping fans for Crosier’s channeling of Grace Slick on “Somebody to Love.”
After a short set break during which the musicians seemed unable to stray too far from their instruments, Frog dove into the second set with a hyped up ska version of Paul Simon’s “If You Be My Bodyguard.” Grob sat out most of the second set, while Proper rose to his feet to sing and play with renewed tenacity on Sublime’s “Santeria.” Next came “Piece of My Heart,” which may have been the single biggest crowd pleaser of the night. Another original followed, featuring a rapid fire high-hat rhythm from Comer, who played a drum set with one cymbal that looked like a shark had taken a bite out of it.
The next tune, a cover of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” featured a simmering vocal exchange between Proper and Crosier. Mendola launched into a heavy metal intro to The Kink’s classic “You Really Got Me,” playing more in the style of Eddie Van Halen, who famously covered the song. Mendola later pulled off an admirable solo on Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” to close the evening.
If you’re hungry for an evening of hippie rock, Superfrog has upcoming gigs at The Grog in Newburyport on Thursday, May 15, and at The Barley Pub in Dover on Saturday, June 7. Visit www.superfrogmusic.com.

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Fri 6/27/2008 1:42 PM