Music Reviews: Christian McBride, End of Fashion, Liquid Soul, Bastards of Young

Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat. There’s a movie recommendation this month too.

Christian McBride

Live at Tonic

Music: For all us sorry slubs who can’t make it out to the really hip live gigs, here’s the next best thing: a three-CD set from bass monster Christian McBride. Primarily known for outstanding acoustic noodling, McBride plugs in and gets positively badass on this funk-filled effort recorded over two nights in New York. Stand-out tracks include the first disc’s powerhouse opener, “Technicolor Nightmare,” and the second disc’s lick-laden closer, “Mwandishi Outcome Jam.” The eclectic third CD includes guest spots from turntablist DJ Logic and beatbox master Scratch, and if you’re wondering about that funny feeling in your pants, blame it on the sexy rhythms of Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. 

Drumming: Haven’t heard Terreon “Tank” Gully thunder his way around a kit? Then count Tonic as your fast ticket out of drumming limbo. Hold on tight though: The big fella’s hands have speed to spare. 

The Straight Poop: More than three hours of licks and grooves you’ll probably never be able to play. Here’s a tissue.

End of Fashion

End of Fashion

Music: We haven’t figured out yet what musicians are being fed Down Under, but we could use a little of it stateside. Yes, you’ve heard all these old-fashioned, catchy rock sounds before (listen first off to the sing-along chorus of “O Yeah”), and there’s a reason why: They’re damn great. Do not fear, though, because Fashion does offer more than first tickles the ear. The balladish tune “Anymore” is one of those nuanced, textured songs that, strangely, seem just perfect for either kissing or wrist slitting: Somewhere in the tension between hormone and heartbreak fine rock tunes are made. 

Drumming: Stickman Nick Jonsson is solid, sharp, and skilled, but his sound is loose and open, with an appealingly sloppy-cool vibe. Spin “Love Comes In” for one of his typical 2-and-4 grooves that’s subtly spiced with controlled, barking hi-hats. 

The Straight Poop: Are kangaroo comparisons still cool? Let’s hope so, because these Australian rockers are without a doubt … hoppin’. 

Liquid Soul

One-Two Punch

Music: Fattening up scrawny, funk-starved booties for about a dozen years now, Chicago-based combo Liquid Soul returns as an eight-piece band with a jamming disc that doesn’t disappoint. This new bunch of funky electro-swing tunes is all about hot horns and crazy guitars and… 

Drumming: …lots and lots of drums. Tony “Kick Drum” Taylor occupies the throne for most of the album, and once you’ve heard his fancy footwork on “Peanut Head,” you’ll appreciate the nickname. On every tune, Taylor manages to accomplish that most difficult of fine fusion tricks—getting in lots of licks but leaving plenty of space for the groove to grow on you. See what we mean by digging into the deep pocket of “Sex God.” Fun drum fact: Matt Walker, who survived a stint with Smashing Pumpkins, fills in on the rocking final track, “Kong.”

The Straight Poop: You knew this one was coming but still didn’t duck: One-Two Punch is a knockout.

Bastards of Young

Bastards of Young

It doesn’t matter if you’re more emo or more screamo: run out and grab this two-disc documentary on the rise of the modern punk movement. Featuring over three hours of performance clips and backstage chatter with neo heavies such as Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, Matchbook Romance, Midtown, and From Autumn to Ashes (as well as interview footage with Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate, and Jimmy Eat World), Bastards puts you right in the middle of the scene—from basement shows in New Jersey to front-row arena gigs around the country. The filmed performances are so up-close, personal, and energetic you’ll feel like part of the band. And best of all, there’s plenty of great drumming to dig on (fast-forward to Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie whacking his ride so hard that the boom stand collapses and Eugene’s drummer making mush of his kit). Viewer beware: After three hours of this stuff, you’ll be wringing sweat from your shorts. 

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