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Fluttr Effect

Fluttr Effect
Live Review

So, lets see. Guitar, check. Drums, check. Bass… Umm, I don’t see a bass. Is that some sort of electric stand-up bass over there? I don’t think it is, it does not look big enough. Well, moving on. Electric Marimba, check. Lead singer, check. Wait, what? Electric marimba check? What in the world? We have, drums, guitar, electric cello, singer and electric marimba. Who do these guys think they are, some sort of mish mash of Neoclassical-Baroque-Carnatic style? What does that even mean?

I am not really sure what I hear when they start playing, but I AM sure like it. I would try to describe their sound but I don’t have a commanding knowledge of any words in the English language. Instead I suggest you go hear them for yourself. You decide what they sound like.

I don’t really care how you describe Fluttr Effect. Just make sure you use the words “extremely” and “delightful” somewhere in that description. Oh, and use “Talented” that is a good word too. You might also want to toss in “catchy.” I mean; I don’t want to tell you how to write your own description of Fluttr Effect. Who am I anyway? But a few more… “Amazing vocals”, “well thought out arrangements” and “fun”

Do yourself a favor, go see them, listen to them, love them and Google Carnatic.

Rating: 7.8
To see for yourself go to http://www.fluttreffect.com

Duty Free

Duty Free
Live Review/CD Review
Barley House Concord NH
February 2007

I am pissed. I am SO pissed. I am not pissed because my puppy just piddled on the floor, although that wasn’t pleasant. I am PISSED at Duty Free. I went to the Barley House in Concord and saw this great band called, yep, Duty Free. They played amazing tunes just like a band should. They were, well, good little boys and girls, with out the girls part… and change good to talented… and boys to men, back again doing a little east cost swing.

Quite frankly they put on a magnificent live show. All the members of Duty Free are proficient at their instrument; guitars, bass, keys, vocals and drums. They kept myself and the crowd very much entertained. If they come back to my area, I will go check them out again. Yet, I am pissed.

I take one of their FREE Duty Free CDs, although I may have misunderstood. They could have said, “our Duty Free CDs” and I just thought there were totally free. Maybe I owe them money. Hey guys, if I was suppose to pay for this let me know. It is quite a fantastic CD full of amazing guitar solos with keys and sometimes trumpet added in. The songs mix it up between a Dave Mathews feel to an almost jazz approach. The bass player kicks my ass, not in a “stop hitting me” way but in that “good groove” way. Anyway, we are getting off track, I am pissed.

People were mad when Michael Jackson sold Beatles tunes to Nike so they could market their new cross trainer. And we all shine on like the moon and the stars and this is worse; Duty Free has a Beatles cover on their album. BUT, it is only singing… no drums, no guitar, no bass, no tuna fish sandwich, and NO harmonies. Just a guy singing a Beatles song, live. I am actually lying a little bit. They did have the crowd clapping… A little.

Now, here, this is where I really, really, get pissed. The singer doesn’t keep time! He speeds up, slows down, he is all over the place. One thing my dad always said is, “Don’t include a live Beatles song on a CD when you don’t follow the audience’s beat when they are clapping along.” Ok my dad didn’t say that, the way he phrased it was “Take out the trash.” Don’t get me wrong he is a fine singer, but WHY destroy this classic piece of music. And why put it on his otherwise terrific CD.

If the CD wasn’t free Duty Free, let me know and I’ll give it back. Just let me burn those 11 of the 12 songs to my I-Pod first.

Rating: 7.2
To see for yourself go to http://www.dutyfreejams.biz/

Drift Session

The MUSIC page of Drift Session’s website offers up a bevy of tracks with names like “Convex Blues”, “Black Candles”, “Dog Leg” and “On Holliday”. On Holliday? Is this quartet of funkers from Canada? Perhaps England or Whales? Don’t think so. Very few U.K. natives actually hang their hats in Lowell Massachusetts.

But it is just this kind intentional persona building exemplified by a group of New Englanders using a term like “On Holiday” which seems to be standard operating procedure for a band like of Drift Session. The band describes itself thus:

Drift Session's sound is a combination of the 60's and 70's era of classic rock, blues, disco, and island sounds, fused together with a modern tone. Our blend of sounds and tunes make for a rhythmic groove on an winding path. Basically, we’ll shred, swing, and drift through the night.

It’s beautiful dream, I will admit. I read this description, then close my eyes and imagine an updated Wild Cherry or perhaps Blind Faith with a harder edge. Maybe I am just too hopeful in my imaginings. Alas, clicking on the above mentioned track yields not much more than the tried and true, wak-a-tik-a guitar rhythm which is the stock and trade of every axe man who has learned how to play bar chords and is saving up for a Wahwah pedal—can’t you just see the jar on some bookshelf in Lowell being filled with loose change and Rock n’ Roll fantasies?

“Convex Blues” is very much the same, but when the vocal kicks in, I am put in mind of a more forced and wearier Groove Child, a New Hampshire band that achieved some local acclaim when I was in high school…twelve years ago. It was that crazy couple of years in the mid nineties when my contemporaries had discovered Mom’s beads and Dad’s granny glasses and hippy nostalgia became more prominent than the original wave of actual hippy culture ever had been. I guess we can blame bands like Groove Child and others in that vein for stealing those couple of years from America’s youth. Perhaps not Phish, but Phish culture and Phish nation.

We can absolutely blame this stable of jam band retreads for handing down a stock-pile of influence to current ensembles like Drift Session. I am not saying that this is a completely worthless band, and if you enjoy recordings in witch the snare drum is right at the front of the mix, than these Mp3s are for you. But one might hope that this group would take some time out and learn to speak with it’s own voice before resurrecting the wak-a-tik-a another time.

Rating: 3.9
To see for yourself go to http://www.driftsessionband.com/