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The Illin' Music Thread

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Tag Archives: bass

Grant, after reading your last post and remembering the way that we always drive around the suburbs/city at night blasting music (which is one of my favorite activities,) I couldn’t help but putting up two tracks that I have been absolutely loving recently that would definitely fit into this same category of late night stereo blasting.

The band in question is Banner Pilot, a Minneapolis punk band with members who have deep roots in other pop punk bands from the area.  Minneapolis is noteworthy for my musical taste specifically because it is also the birthplace of another band that I love: The Replacements.  Something about the city just breeds great music, and Banner Pilot is no exception.  The impassioned vocalist yells out meaningful lyrics about being young, confused, and generally not sober with the perfect amount of grit to keep the poppy melodies edgy.  From the very first lines of “Skeleton Key” and “Greenwood,” I knew that I would love this band.  Listen to that guy’s voice!  You may not love it, but you have to agree that it has so much character, it’s astounding.  The lead vocalist has definitely been places, and has things to say about where he has come from and where he is going.

The main thing that distinguishes midwestern punk bands from bands from other parts of the country is the presence and timbre of the bass in the mix.  On every single track of Banner Pilot’s new album, “Collapser,” the bass has enough high end to noticeably stand out in the mix, but enough low end to sound like a chugging freight train that is on its way off the tracks.  Just check out how it thunders below when the entire band comes in during the first verse of “Greenwood.”  The distinctive bass presence has definitely become one of my favorite elements of Banner Pilot’s sound.

Another thing that is noteworthy about the band is that they look just like average guys.  There is no punk rock pretense about these dudes.  They are the real deal.  No spiked hair, no studded belts, and definitely no safety pins.  Banner Pilot sticks true to their music without subscribing to any prefabricated image about what they should look like.  And damn, is their music good.

They also manage to say a lot in some very brief phrases.  My favorite line: “No my dear, nothing much grows ’round here.  We carry our roots with us, a couple of weeds pulled up.” – Skeleton Key.

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I came across this group totally randomly, after a friend of mine suggested that I should check out more Indian drumming. Seriously, tabla drumming is one of the most incredible things in the world and to see a master play is an absolutely unforgettable experience. I remember that one time I went to the Arts First festival at Harvard and saw three guys who played tabla together – their memorization and coordination skills were beyond comprehension.

Tabla is not a hit in the states such as other Indian styles of music / dance (for example, bhangra). However, these guys tried to put a different spin on tabla music, and gain some more popularity by doing something totally craaaaaaazy! To me it sounds like a decision they made after having a few shots of absolut at the bhangra party  – “Dude, let’s do a mix of Hindustani music, Asian Underground, Ambient, Drum and Bass, and Electronica! It’ll be failproof!

Though it may sound like a somewhat odd mix of styles, it’s really cohesive sounding. The tabla playing is totally badass, the beats are awesome, and it’s a fun way to get into some world music without venturing into the realm of totally unlistenable music for our westernized ears.

Enjoy a track from their album “Tala Matrix” called Palmistry by clicking here! This particular one has more of an opium den vibe to it than the rest of the album, but it’s amazingly relaxing and trance-like.

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