In the two years they’ve been together, the members of Indianapolis-born trio Cosby Sweater have exploded onto the national jam-based music scene. Constant touring has been the key, unsurprisingly.
The band – Nicholas Gerlach on sax, EWI and keys; David Embry on vocals, live mixing and production; and Richard “Sleepy” Floyd on drums – has shared the stage with jam-band royalty like Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, EoTo and others. All of this has helped endear the trio to fans of danceable jams. But it was clearly Cosby Sweater’s well-received sets at some major 2013 summer festivals – Summer Camp, Camp Bisco and Electric Forest, where the band was joined by Umphrey’s keyboardist Joel Cummins – that pushed the group to the forefront of the current crop of improve-heavy combos.
Cosby Sweater’s ace in the hole – aside from its hilarious band name – is the manner in which it brings the deepest strains of classic funk to bear on EDM and jam-tronica. As has been proven time and time again, a laptop just can’t groove like a smoking live drummer, and in Floyd, Cosby Sweater’s got one of the funkiest tub-thumpers extant.
Recently, Cosby Sweater joined with friend Jay Murphy – aka Athens, Ga., EDM artist Up Until Now – for a tour known as “Together Again For the First Time.” It kicked off in Colorado, and is making its way to the Northeast, where it will pause for a night of revelry at 8 tonight in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.). “You can expect a night of edgy dance music accompanied by affordable tickets,” according to the Cosby Sweater website.
If you’ve read me at all during the 13 years I’ve been here at The News, you most likely know that one of my very favorite bands to have emerged from Buffalo over the past decade-plus is/was Girlpope. That band’s power-pop/garage-rock blend was documented on a pair of brilliant recordings – “Cheeses of Nazareth” and “The Whole Scene Going” – and celebrated in area concert clubs (mostly Mohawk Place) prior to the band members going their separate ways.
The group splintered into several notable new projects, among them Mark Norris & the Backpeddlers, Son of the Sun and 50 Amp Fuse. These post-Girlpope bands had something strong to offer, but it’s more than nice to see that a new project, conceived and grown in an organic manner, finds Girlpope’s Brandon Delmont and Mark Norris collaborating as the Lindbergh Babies.
The group grew from recordings Delmont made in his studio, performing instrumental takes on songs he’d written. Eventually, those recordings were played for Norris, who offered his own writing and arranging ideas, as well as the majority of the album’s lead vocals. (Girlpope bassist Richie Campagna guests on several tracks as well.)
The result is a distinct departure from Girlpope’s ebullient garage rock, favoring instead gorgeous washes of keyboards, atmospheric production and beautiful melodies that recall the Mercury Rev of “Deserter’s Songs” in spots. The first single from the album, “Only In A Dream (You Set the Scenery)” offers a suitable entry point for this moving collection. You can listen and download the track now through www.thelindberghbabies.bandcamp.com.
On Friday, the Good Neighborhood is presenting its third annual “Johnny Cash Birthday Bash,” in honor of the late, great father figure of American country music.
As has been the case for the first two years, the all-Cash celebration takes place in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) with a host of the finest regulars from that Allentown local music institution gathering to get their Man In Black on. This year, the Steam Donkeys, the Country Punk Xtravaganza, Ten Cent Howl, Pamela Ryder & John Brady and David Michael Miller of Dive House Union will keep the music flowing from 10 p.m. onward Friday.
Expect a variety of interpretations of Cash’s influence, which remains as wide, deep and strong as the “Big River” he sang about for decades.
Love, loss, funky Sauce
I’m struggling with the notion that it has been 20 years since the debut album from G Love & Special Sauce hit the streets.
I recall at the time of first hearing that the group’s marriage of acoustic blues and funk, jazzy upright bass lines, and hip-hop cadences struck me as one of the coolest groove-centric sounds that side of Soul Coughing, a band that was exploring similar terrain. I can actually picture the stereo system and see the room where I first heard both bands.
Alas, the calendar doesn’t lie. Nor, it seems relatively safe to assume, does the band’s website, which tells us that the original lineup – frontman/vocalist/guitarist G. Love, upright bassist James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott and drummer Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens – is reuniting for the first time in eight years to tour in honor of that self-titled debut’s 1994 release.
The tour, which includes a stop at 8 p.m. Sunday in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), will find the band performing that debut in full, along with a selection of favorites from the rest of the Special Sauce catalog. Kristy Lee will open the show. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show (box office, Tickets.com).