Jam By Number Edition: Mattson 2, Monkey3, Fredrico7, Elephant9 & Tengger
Mattson 2: Paradise
The RecommNeds are here to do a number on you with some great jams from one to 10. We’ll start with , i.e. Jared (guitars) and Jonathan Mattson (drums), a previously recommended twin-brother duo out of Los Angeles. Their last two records included a collaboration with Toro Y Moi and a full-cover version of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, so it’s nice to see them doing an album of original music, especially one that’s as good as Paradise. This is a just-in-time-for-summer, brisk set of bright-sunny-day half-instrumental music. Not quite jazz, not quite groove, it’s in a sweet spot, a perfect temperature for a midsummer swim. I think you’ll dig.
For something a little heavier … OK, OK, it’s a lot heavier, we jump from two to three, and from L.A. to Lausanne, Switzerland. There we find Monkey3, some ridiculous in-your-face jammers bringing you the very best in quality Eurojams. Their newest album is Sphere and it hits all your favorite psych-rock high points, with atmospheric let-your-mind-leave-the-body passages and fight-or-flight hard-rocking ragers. I don’t know what it is about these European jambands, the quantity and quality is impressive, but keep ‘em coming! Enjoy!
Fredrico7: Exótico Americano
Skipping over four, five and six (actually, a couple weeks ago we featured Alameda 5 and if you missed that, then you can go check that one out now), we find . Frederico is an Austin-based musician who has called Brazil and Mexico home, speaks three languages and has somehow fused all of that into an appropriately titled solo debut, Exótico Americano. You can go through this one with a fine-toothed comb and pick out all the influences and sounds, trace the lineage of the music from one culture to the next, the origins of the grooves and the lyrics, figure out where each rhythm comes from and what tradition the melodies derive from. Or you can just crank it up and enjoy the funktastic worldly vibes from top to bottom. Up to you!
Elephant9: Psychedelic Backfire I & II
The punchline goes “because 7 8 9,” but when it comes to our next rec, it’s more likely that it’ll eat you up. The group is Elephant9 and their last studio album was a personal favorite of last year and a recommNed feature. The Norwegian trio is back with not one but two flippin’-fantastic live albums and while I don’t usually put live releases in here, these are so good that I couldn’t keep ‘em to myself. They’re called Psychedelic Backfire and they perfectly encapsulate the power of this trio. Think MMW or old school Benevento/Russo duo, keys/bass/drum jams, masterful hair-raising improvisation — the kind of music you’re not sure if you should dance to or close your eyes and wander to. This is some A+ shit, both must listens (vol II includes a guest guitarist and … watch out that’s good shit!). Check it out and see for yourself.
Tengger: Spiritual 2
Which brings us to number 10. Or, in this case, Tengger. These are the newest latest/greatest on RecommNed favorite Beyond Beyond Is Beyond label, folks who just know how to find the good shit. Once again, they have done just that, bringing us Tennger from Seoul, South Korea. Their new album and first on BBIB is Spiritual 2, which is an appropriate bring-us-back-full-circle title for this week’s installment and also appropriate, because it is a kind of modern-day spiritual music. When you climb the highest mountain peak to seek wisdom from the guru who resides there, this is the album he hands you. Psychedelic groovy drone ambient, it cycles and layers, rhythms and melodies, simplicity becoming complexity and vice versa, getting deeper with each cycle, revealing new truths. A fitting way to end our count to ten this week.