One thing I love about DIY music is that it comes at you from every direction at any time. You always have to be looking, or you’ll miss 99% of it. The bands don’t have to adhere to a release schedule, so they just drop a single or album whenever they want. That’s what happened this week, as Oliver Ignatius let loose another collection of bands that have been recording at his studio-Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen. This one is a 23-track behemoth with a lot of familiar bands. Since I’ve talked extensively here about some of them, I’ll just focus on some new ones.
The first track is a new single from The Great American Novel that coincided with this release. It’s great, but I’m on record as a fan of Layne Montgomery’s punk/pop style. The Dough Rollers provide the second track, “Always.” It’s a blues/soul number that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard out of MCFK before. If you’re old enough to remember Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise, that’s the kind of thing it reminds me of (or, for younger listeners maybe if Antony Hegarty fronted a blues band). A quick search tells me that these guys are a lot younger than they sound, which doesn’t surprise me at all.
I never did get around to reviewing The Jean Jackets latest release Jean Jacques. Consider that my bad, because the song they have here is fantastic. It has a bit of a Ben Folds vibe. I love the line “You’d think that I’d get sick of being nickeled and dimed, but I’m not happy until I’m penniless.” The breakdown that starts around the minute forty-five mark is awesome, going back and forth over “The Myth Of Sisyphus.”
Singer/songwriter David Pollack threw me off a bit. Maybe it’s just me, but this song “What Do I Do?” sounds a little like a Bon Jovi song in parts. It’s probably just his voice, because once the band really kicks in it doesn’t sound anything like BJ. I really like the guitar line that starts after the chorus the first time through.
I actually had the opportunity to see Swaii Boys when I went to NYC the weekend after Thanksgiving (along with Ghost Pal, The Great American Novel, and Dr. Skinnybones). I didn’t like them at first, but they grew on me more and more with every song. They have a nice 60’s pop kinda thing going on-a lot of Graceland-era Paul Simon as well. I haven’t heard a proper release by them yet, but “Watumbatu” is a good start.
Really fun to hear Layne Montgomery’s dad Todd Montgomery breaking out a little punkabilly on “Rocket To Memphis.” This is actually one of my favorites on the compilation, which just goes to show that dads can rock just like the kids. There’s some blistering guitar on this one. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer.
Damfino deliver a dynamic tune that’s part Donovan, part NOFX. It’s actually a little on the sad side, with lyrics like “When you danced and sang to me, it really broke my heart, because I have to confront that I’m falling in love.” The fast pace undercuts the emotion a bit, but it still packs a punch.
As usual with these collections, there are just too many good songs to mention them all here. I left out tunes by Anna Bradley, No Shoes, Injun Magic, and many more. The whole thing is capped by a wild jam party featuring the Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen All-Stars called “The Opera House.” If the compilation is supposed to act as a kind of commercial for the studio, then this track is definitely perfect for making people want to come in and hear more. Honestly I would probably pay money to rent out the studio and then say, “Why don’t you guys just jam for a while until I think of something.”
As always, this is a free download. Can’t beat the price, and I guarantee there’s something on here that you’ll like-probably a few things. If you haven’t already, now is the time to take the plunge. Life is too short to deny yourself amazing music!