by Sam Spence
Jeff Kozelski is not the kind of guy to hide his influences. The Outervention singer and guitarist puts them out there for all to see, er, hear. Case in point: Mess Machine, the Outervention’s day-dreamy new LP, is in many ways a loving ode to the easy-listening alt-rock sounds of Ween, plus a stab of Elliot Smith and a flight of Wings-era McCartney. “I guess it’s really a sloppy mimic that turns out to be my style, like I almost sound like them but I don’t,” Kozelski says. “I don’t flat out take a chord progression from bands I like. It’s more getting the feel.” And boy oh boy, do he and his bandmates ever capture the feel of Ween’s more serious-minded songs, thanks in part to Mess Machine’s “Holy Mother,” “Bandstand,” and “Somebody,” three tracks that could have easily been outtakes from Gene and Dean Ween’s White Pepper and Quebec. Meanwhile, the specter of Elliot Smith rises on Mess’ “Don’t You Die on Me” and “Runaway,” two of the LP’s mellow gold highlights. In the end, Kozelski and company may be indebted to their influences, but dammit if they haven’t crafted a disc packed with an ample supply of quirky melodies and plenty of easy-breezy barefoot musicianship. —Chris Haire FRIDAY
Melissa McGinley and Chris Padgett, a.k.a. the Stereofidelics, want you to get off your ass and dance. And that’s not a request. It’s an order, albeit one that is delivered with a big dance beat, some super-slinky guitar, a bit of sexy soul appeal, and a whole lotta sass in the lead-off track to the Stereofidelics’ 2013 release Dynamite Fist, “Eye to Eye.” McGinley says, “It’s the best when you look out during that song and even the people who are sitting are still moving around.” And while “Eye to Eye” is sure to get booties bouncing, McGinley and Padgett have to pull off a full-band sound on stage with only two people. “We decided early on that we wanted to stick with a more organic setup, so computers and loops were out. From there, we experimented with some multiple instrument combinations until we found one that stuck,” McGinley says. “Chris sings and plays electric guitar as well as using his feet to play a Moog synth bass hooked up to a floor keyboard, like the kind you see organists playing. I play drums and electric violin — simultaneously a few times throughout a set — and sing.” Impressive. And very, very funky. —Chris Haire TUESDAY
Charleston-via-Charlotte band Brave Baby have been going non-stop since they played an epic record release show at the Pour House in January. That night they unleashed Forty Bells out into the world, an album for fans of earnest indie acts like the Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear. City Paper staff writer Paul Bowers called the debut “a triumph of chiming guitars and yearning vocals,” and their shows are as grand as you can get. Since then, Brave Baby has toured the Southeast and Midwest, did a Daytrotter session, headlined big local events like Dig South and Jailbreak, and appeared on a free sampler put out by their locally based label, Hearts and Plugs. The guys are supporting local songstress Jordan Igoe, who’s hoping to fund a record of her own using the money collected at the door. Blacktop Desert, otherwise known as Johnny Delaware, also opens. —Susan Cohen SATURDAY
The L.A.-based funk band Orgone is an enigma. Formed in 1999, the eight-piece group quietly built their name as a hip-hop backing band — playing behind Cee-Lo, Alicia Keys, and Estelle — while also releasing five mostly instrumental albums. This spring, they’re back on the road with original vocalist Fanny Franklin and touring behind the release of two new albums: New You Part One (available only at their show) and Fuzzed Up, a gritty collection of raw funk and soul released as a free download at deepeastmusic.com. Rounded out by two horns, two percussionists, bass, keys, and guitar, the ensemble sounds like a 21st century Parliament or Booker T. & The M.G.’s.
—Stratton Lawrence THURSDAY