Friday, July 4, 2008

Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G-Strings - Velour on the Floor

I recently was lucky enough to meet the guys in Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G-Strings in an unrelated place, literally still sweating from the stage lights after they had played a show at a downtown venue in Manhattan. I was immediately drawn in by the loose, upbeat, positive vibe I got off of these guys; it was only then that I introduced myself as a writer and reviewer of music.

My initial impressions of these guys were not made disingenuous by the flavor of their tunes. Danceable, upbeat, rollicking, splashy, loud, soulful, militant. The singer, Seth Casana, tries to pull off a John Popper but sounds a little more like early Anthony Kiedis or Les Claypool. It’s almost as though he’s still searching for that one sound he will call his own (or I could be still searching for that one perfect adjective to anoint this band; it won’t happen) The sound he spews will no doubt mature as his songwriting does.

This is sort of an album which starts out with seemingly bold ambitions and then descends into the wild party that it always planned on being. Just listen to the song “Don’t Mind If I Do;” the protagonist singer’s devolution into a sexual encounter with just about anyone who passes by.

What always keeps this singer from becoming too self-congratulatory is the fact that he’s backed by some wipe-the-floor-with-your-ass musicians. The driving kick drum, the steady backbeat bass, the underscoring organs, and the triumphant horn section all add to the melding of worlds. An instrument that sometimes gets lost in jazz is the guitar but not on this record (if you’d call this record “jazz”) as it trades the lead line pretty evenly with the horns.

While this is not a traditional record by any stretch of the imagination, that’s probably what makes it so damn interesting to listen to. If you’ve bored of the standard fare on Hot AC Top 40 Radio or if you’ve heard all of your top 10 favorite Lil’ Wayne songs and you’re ready for the symbiotic dissonance of crashing, splashing, happy times, you should check out Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G-Strings.