funk music

Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: Heavy Chevy

Posted by funkatop On October - 16 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Heavy Chevy

Atlanta based Heavy Chevy is coming down the tracks swinging with a new 8 track album called Black Light. The vinyl release hits the streets on October 24th.

Priding themselves on the deep, raw flavor of the sound reminiscent of The Gap Band‘s deep tracks, Heavy Chevy is full on brass horns and key stabs. While mostly instrumental, vocals do make an appearance a couple times during the run.

Get a Hold, Music and You Got Me premiere the vocals of keyboardist Michelle Marshall. The latter features sampling of Chic in style, delivery and power, Michelle’s voice is powerful and strong. You Got Me was also released on Soundcloud here to get a feel as to what you can expect from the full album vibe.

The band consists of Skape Zilla (keys, samples), Luke Zollinger (bass), Mike Applebaum (keys, trumpet), Radley Fricker (drums), Travis Cottle (trombone, guitar), Tony James (percussion), and Michelle Marshall (keys, vocals).

HC_Cover_FinalThe album also features work from producer Graham Marsh (Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars), engineer Ralph Cacciurri (Alicia Keys, Outkast), and mastering engineer John Horesco (Lecrae, B.O.B.) who all lent a hand in the finalized release that people will get to hear come the end of October.

The collection of songs is raw and thick with leanings toward the cosmic synth lines and samples that weave throughout the album.  Heavy Chevy borrows heavily from all of the funk decades and pulls the best elements out of each to create a new raw funk edge.

Follow the band at to check out where you can snag a copy of the Black Light album soon when it hits the streets. As of this writing, you can get a copy at their live shows, so visit their website above to find out when they play next in your town.

We’ll be paying close attention to how this band progresses as their new release begins to get some traction here in the ATL.

Review: Turkuaz – Digitonium

Posted by funkatop On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

turkuazFunkatopia tries to pride ourselves on finding the next great funk band that will explode through the stratosphere and this month, there was a huge flurry of acts that landed on our doorstep. One of which is the super funky outfit Turkuaz and their new album Digitonium.

The new release is a massive 23 tracks with only a few segues in the mix. The concept of this new album appeared to be capturing that 80’s funk sound and unveiling new sways and riffs to fill in the decades while still maintaining tongue in cheek delivery.

This is a production. The whole showcase of performers from their outfits to the squeaky clean synth-focused production screams that funk specific era that blossomed in the decade of excess on the other side of the deep grungy funk of the 70’s.

The merging of sound derived from the 80’s Word Up version of Cameo and Roger‘s More Bounce To the Ounce and adding a dash of techno to boot, but short of stepping on the toes of The Floozies.

Spanning the watercolors of that era of funk to include the light jazz flavoring of Brand New Heavies, it’s a full fledged journey into a funkafied time machine. It’s a super polished production and with the immense amount of material, something they take very seriously.

turkuaz-digitoniumThe 9-piece band from Brooklyn, New York defines their sound as Powerfunk and along with their sense of funk laden melodies comes an unusual song naming convention.

With song titles like European Festivity Nightmare, Bijou Drains The Birddog, Percy Thrills The Moondog, and Murder Face, the titles alone will peak your curiosity.

The standout songs on the album are plentiful including my personal favorite Nightswimming with its dark meaty bump, and the Thomas Dolby new wave feel of the title track Digitonium which changes directions halfway through to slather on more funk layers.

The albums first single is The Generator which serves as the mile marker on the album where the songs take on a very distinct new wave funk slant to complete the journey for the last few songs. For those who couldn’t resist the new wave funk of Thomas Dolby, The Fixx and Peter Gabriel, Turkuaz has a little something for you as well.

The Digitonium album by Turkuaz is on sale right here on iTunes, so pick it up without delay and visit their website at on their extensive tour that most likely has them coming through your town soon.

Review: Caboose – Coupe

Posted by funkatop On October - 12 - 2015 1 COMMENT
It’s very rare that a new band comes out swinging unless you see them coming from a mile away, but nowadays discovering new music has become easier with the advent of Spotify, Tidal, Pandora and the like.
But it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when that band is an act like Caboose that tracks you down with their new album entitled Coupe and it’s unmistakably super funky.
While the entire story is unknown, Caboose is based out of Ventura, California and consists of Eric Walters (Guitar), Mike Thomas (Drums), Brian Boom Carroll (Bass) and the late Jonathan Cooper (Keys).  It was  Jonathan’s final album before his passing that was recorded in 2014.
While the entire band is showcased by their immense talent and impressive chops, Jonathan Cooper is by far center stage on these recordings with every track spotlighting keys and organ stabs. All of which are impeccable and he can rest in peace knowing that this album firmly establishes his prominence as an undeniable master keyboardist.
Engineer Chris DeNogean spent some quiet time to properly capturing and polishing those recordings to construct a true funk-jazz masterpiece that would be an amazing addition to any funkateers collection.
Caboose - CoupeThe end result is a blend of The Meters and Headhunters with bursts of moody diversions like Zuma that take the Herbie Hancock references up to a second tier.
This album will live in infamy because all of these songs will be sampled from here into eternity. The arrangements are super strong and are all perfectly mixed and there isnt a weak song in the mix out of the collection.
With incredible standouts like The Drop which hearken back to Traffic‘s Glad, smooth barn burners like Top Down and Yap, and moody offshoots like Zuma, there isn’t wasted space to be found.
Whether Caboose will use this mountain of awesome to establish something moving forward or if it was simply designed to show homage to Jonathan Cooper, it’s yet to be seen.
But what we can see is a whopping 5 Afro award from Funkatopia for hand delivering one of the best funk albums of the year onto our doorstep.
5 out of 5 afros


Review: Prince – HITnRUN Phase One

Posted by funkatop On September - 7 - 2015 4 COMMENTS

Prince HITnRUN Phase OneOn September 7th, Prince released another new album exclusively on Tidal entitled HITnRUN Phase One. Out of the gate, everything seems different about the album including the fact that the One in Phase One wasn’t changed to the number 1, which concerns us for some reason. It screams different right on the cover. It also insinuates that there may be other “phases” that we can expect in the very near future. Color us super happy because any music from Prince is welcome.

To start, the album was produced by Joshua Welton, husband of 3rd Eye Girl drummer Hannah Ford Welton. Prince giving up the production reigns is groundbreaking if only because Prince is so incredibly protective over how his music is represented. Joshua’s involvement doesn’t stop there since he also shares writing credits as well. The end result is the boost in music variety and because it allows Prince to focus on the creation process and Joshua brings a fresh set of eyes to the process.

The album opens with clips of classics like 1999 and Let’s Go Crazy before diving into the Judith Hill led Million $ Show.  That sets the stage for a superb collection of tunes and offers up glimpses of some great things that may be built on later down the road.

The first of which is when Prince brings in new faces and voices like Rita Ora, rapper Curly Fryz, Judith Hill and Lianne La Havas. The latter two who themselves have put out some of the best albums in 2015 and now share the stage with his purple majesty.  This trend is very welcome.

Lianne La Havas who is my new favorite obsession, brought life, vibe and dramatics to the beautiful Art Official Age. Some of her excerpts along with pieces of Clouds are brought into the mood-setting Mr. Nelson. It’s also one of the more techno offerings on the album while still providing a lot of musical gymnastics at the same time.

Our second favorite change is that we especially love when Prince doesn’t worry about closing up a song and let’s the groove run for an extended period of time to simply let it flow and give the listener a chance to appreciate the song structure. It was what made the B sides of yesteryear so epic.  Those long breaths of musical nirvana that don’t require words.  The extended musical breaks come back in various samplings such as the final minutes of This Could B Us, and the insanely funky Ain’t About To Stop. And we can’t go without mentioning how great it is to hear Prince figure out a way use the word taffeta in a song.

There are many standouts on the album, but if we had a gold plated microphone gun to our head, we would choose our new personal favorite X’s Face and the closing song June.

X’s Face is the techno king of the album going to territory that doesn’t get a lot of of time from Prince. We love when he gets experimental and delves into unusual landscapes. Those are the pieces that have always made Prince such an eclectic character whether he’s aware of it or not. Over his career, those songs that grab handfuls of your hair and insist that you to listen like All The Critics Love YouDarling Nikki, Annie Christian, Something In The Water, and similar songs are always those songs that end up on those Prince mixtapes. X’s Face is your new addition to those tapes. Here’s hoping that more are on the way. We know what polished sounds like. Give us more of that raw experimental white knuckle dirty vibe and we’re in.

And then there is the closing song June which hearkens back to the story filled lyricism of Ballad of Dorothy Parker and Sometimes It Snows In April. It’s that line where emotion and music perfectly make love and dance together. June appears to be Prince‘s reflection on his birthday and how he feels as if he were born too late. He feels that he should have been part of the Woodstock era, but we firmly disagree. He single-handedly made the 80’s bearable and even decades later is still churning out phenomenal music. The song itself is very introspective and filled with moody energy that’s beautifully balanced with the music.  That type of layering make the song irresistible.

Overall, Joshua Welton has done a fantastic job behind the board and capturing the mixology that Prince has perfected over the years.  Here’s to many more productions from Joshua that will free up Prince to focus on creating. After this release, Prince should feel confident enough in Joshua’s process to start enjoying himself even more and we look forward to those oncoming phases.

Regardless, this is yet another Prince album that’s worthy of checking out. Even if you have to experiment using Tidal to get to it, it’s worth the trouble. You knew it was going to happen, Prince has earned yet another 5 star afro award from Funkatopia.

5 out of 5 afros

Review: Lianne La Havas – Blood

Posted by funkatop On July - 31 - 2015 1 COMMENT

Lianne La Havas Blood reviewOne of the benefits of frequently going to concerts is that every now and then, the artist will bestow upon you an awesome gift. In exchange for me purchasing a VIP ticket to Lianne La Havas‘s show in Atlanta in October was a download of her new album Blood as soon as it hit the streets, which was today.

God’s honest truth, I swear that Lianne’s first album Is Your Love Big Enough was easily one of the best albums I had heard in many years, so I was expecting no less from her newest release that’s been over 3 years coming to the month.

The new album features a lot of great surprises like the album opener Unstoppable which was built on top of an instrumental from the trio The Invisible. A thick and richly chocolate infused groove. Plus that the song Green and Gold was cowritten and coproduced by one of our favorite performers, Jamie Lidell.

The entire album is full of incredible rich production that fills the sound waves with smooth wide bass riffs, soft drum patterns, intricate acoustic guitar walks, and vocal layers poured over like syrup on pancakes. All of which blend to create a vibrant handheld tour through a very broad and detailed pallette of colors.

All of the songs stand on their own as powerful testaments to heavy production work. The overall result is a full neo-soul release said to be inspired by her Jamaican and Greek roots although there’s no reggae infusion to speak of. Although all of the songs serve as a standard as the perfect background music to digging your toes into the sand.

Some highlights include the track Wonderful which features Disclosure‘s Howard Lawrence who brings the same breadth of vibe that he helped deliver on Latch with Sam Smith.

Midnight is one of a few featured upbeat tracks that showcases Lianne’s vocal reach as she hollers and stretches her range to take it into another realm not previously recorded on any of her previous releases which makes it all the more surprising.

From the locomotive rush of Grow to the surprising Never Get Enough that jumps back and forth from ambient acoustic to a muffled techno rocker, the album is riddled with brilliance. Haunting acoustic guitar work trickling all over on tracks and gorgeous strategically placed string sections in songs like Good Goodbye that continue to fill out her acoustic stylings that made her first release such a dominant presence in the music world.

This album has hits all through it like the already released single of Unstoppable and even the amazing catchy What You Don’t Do.  Terrestrial radio will undoubtedly ignore this yet another great release and we’ll all scream “Travesty!” that will fall upon deaf ears.

If you have to have the best of what’s left of the neo-soul movement with current tech edged flavor and gorgeous vocals from a beautiful woman who is filled with passion and verve, look no further than Lianne La Havas‘s newest Blood offering.

Get it like right now.

Review: Rock Candy Funk Party – Groove Is King

Posted by funkatop On July - 28 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Rock Candy Funk Party - Groove Is KingSupergroup Rock Candy Funk Party (RCFP) has done it yet again with their instrumental funk rager called Groove is King(due on the streets 7/31). The more deadly nasty funk grooves from the first offering slid into the back seat and taking the steering wheel is the groove-laden jazz riffs that are the right side of tasty and the left side of hot sauce.

The RCFP supergroup consists of Tal Bergman on drums (Chaka Khan, BB King, Billy Idol), the legendary Joe Bonamassa on guitar, Ron DeJesus also on guitar (The Emotions, Tito Puente), and Mike Merrit on bass who some may recognize as the bass player from Conan O’Brien’s Late Night show band The Basic Cable Band, but who has also shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughn and many others.

The group also features collaborations from other musicians that round things out on various tracks such as keyboardist Renato Neto (Prince, Rod Stewart) who was part of the core during RCFP‘s first release, sax player Ada Rovatti & trumpeter Randy Brecker (Brecker Brothers), James Campagnola also on sax (Eric Clapton, David Sanborn), Daniel Sadownick on percussion (Brecker Brothers, Steely Dan), and Fred Kron on keys (Family Force 5).

The 16 track album is technically 13 due to 3 segues from the gravelly-throated Mr. Funkadamus who sets the tone for the audio assault you’re about to experience. Here’s a taste;

The song selections jump from laid back stompers like East Village and The 6 Train To The Bronx over to songs such as Don’t Be Stingy With The SMPTE that some may call flat out disco in the vain of Jamiroquai style string stabs.

There are many great standouts on this release such as Rock Candy with its quick finger keyboard chops backed by a East St. Louis Toodaloo horn section, and the fantastic title track Groove Is King that is dark, bassy, super deep and thick.

There is one strange bird in the mix and that would be the cover of Peter Gabriel‘s Digging In The Dirt. While at first it seemed out of place, you began to quickly realize the funky nuances of the song that you probably missed in the original. Outside of the Mr. Funkadamus segues, it’s also the only song that features vocals from powerhouse vocalist Zia.

For fans of the styling of old school Headhunters or Tower of Power, you’ll definitely feel at home with the jazz funk flair of Don’t Funk With Me. For 80’s funk fans of The Gap Band or Lakeside, you’ll have a shot to the jugular as well with the synth pop laden C You On The Flip Side or alternately the 80’s keyboard stab filled Low Tide.

The album is filled front to back with great bouncy grooves and sweet meaty riffs including great surprises like the closing techno/hard rock tag team of The Fabulous Tales Of Two Bands.

It’s simply packed full of great tunes that will quench the funk quota for both funk fanatics and jazz-funk afficianados.

Groove is King hits the streets on July 31, 2015 and you can nab the CD as well as a Bonus DVD which contains over 50 minutes of footage from the studio sessions, interviews with the members, as well as some other surprises.

Hit their site at for all of the details and snatch a free song download in the process.

Rock Candy Funk Party yet again snags our illustrious 5 out of 5 afros. Well done funky brethren.

5 out of 5 afros

Review: The Purple Xperience – John’s Creek, GA

Posted by funkatop On July - 12 - 2015 1 COMMENT

When you live near a major metropolitan area and Prince avoids your town for over 14 years (unintentionally or not), you take your fix where you can get it. So, I was thrilled when I heard that a Prince tribute band was coming to town named The Purple Xperience and even more thrilled to find out that at the helm of the keyboards was the one and only original Prince and the Revolution member Matt “Doctor” Fink.

Photo by Christine Swanson Photography

Photo by Christine Swanson Photography

Imagine my surprise when all of the preconceived notions I may have had went out the window. I knew they would open with Let’s Go Crazy. They didn’t.  I knew that they would close the entire show with Purple Rain. They didn’t. And I also knew that I would have to have a massive suspension of disbelief to feel like I was at a Prince concert. It wasn’t that massive at all and the biggest misconception was that it would not sound at all like Prince vocally. Shockingly, it did.

Fronted by the very talented Marshall Charloff, he hits all of the falsettos and screams and switches wardrobes a few times during the evening to keep the ladies in swoon. And unlike other Prince tribute bands, Marshall plays amazingly fluid guitar and great piano work as well.  The most impressive of which is the vocal work which he has nailed down to a science. Not to mention the sing alongs he leads the crowd through and the audience banter he’s nailed.

Dr. Fink was also at the top of his game with all of his trademark sound patches and riffs. When you consider that Fink actually co-wrote many of the songs you hear during the evening including Dirty Mind, America, Computer Blue and many others, it becomes much more satisfying. And let’s not forget that he is one of the pioneers of that buzzy funk we’ve all grown to love and adore. The innovator was in the house.

The rest of the band also does up the outfits to re-enact the nostalgia and complete the picture. The band stays tight and does great backup vocal work and at some points even picking up vocal nuances for Marshall to round out the sound.  From Dez’s trademark headband to Bobby Z’s perm. It was all there.

Purple Xperience 7-10-2015-026

Photo by Funkatopia

As you would expect, the band took on a very large chunk of the hits including Kiss, Let’s Go Crazy, Take Me With U, Raspberry Beret, Uptown and the likes, but also broke out occasional surprises like Darling Nikki, Pop Life complete with the audio segues you hear on the album, a revamped piano version of Ballad Of Dorothy Parker, and other delights we won’t ruin for you.

In short, the Minneapolis based tribute band isn’t just any other act. It is a full blown performance juggernaut and well worth the price of admission. And for hardcore Prince fans, having Dr. Fink at the helm makes the entire experience fun and nostalgic. To make it even more incredible, it sounds truly fantastic.

If they’re coming through your town, it will definitely be worth it and the perfect itch for those towns that get neglected. Cough, cough, Atlanta, cough.

Be sure to check the full photo album on our Facebook page!

And check out their Facebook page to find out where they’re playing next!

Review: Orgone – Beyond The Sun

Posted by funkatop On May - 12 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

orgone-beyond-the-sunFunk music was only perceived to have its “heyday” in the 70’s if for no other reason that it was a new genre of music that smacked on the one, rotated around the bass, and was magnificently easy to dance to no matter what your mood.

Fast forward 50 years later and the true funk genre has gotten buried as back drops for hip hop that people didn’t even realize how much they wanted and desired until Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars revived it with the chart breaking Uptown Funk.

But during those lost years, many bands have committed themselves to the sound and one of the most outstanding of which is Orgone that are creeping up on 15 years since their debut release and almost a decade since their historic album The Killion Floor.

Their newest release Beyond The Sun continues the funk tradition and takes it to an entirely new level by recreating the overall feel that takes the listener back to the original era.

The production is filled with warm tones that give the vibe that you’re sitting in front of your old record player. It creates a smooth hazy mood delivering super funky riffs and clean crisp soulful vocals laid out by new vocalist Adryon De Leon.

Adryon’s addition to Orgone continues their tradition of finding phenomenal vocalists to front the band and she does it with style, grace and power that lights up the tracks where she’s featured.

The 12 track album is a nice mix of instrumental grooves along with the solid bounce tracks that connect the dots. The album opens with the thump stomper Don’t Push Your Luck that introduces you to their new frontlady Adryon De Leon.

There are also a great bit of upbeat hoppy tunes such as Losin You, Take You Higher, pop classic-to-be’s such as People Beyond The Sun and tracks rooted in Mother’s Finest territory like I’m a Woman (I’m a Backbone).

There are also plenty of standouts including the closing Santana-esque Sabi and Meat Machine that sounds as if it was a lost cut from Super Fly.

Once again, we have no choice but to award Orgone‘s latest funkafied offering Beyond The Sun with the illustrious 5 Afros. They deserve it.

Get this album now.

5 out of 5 afros

20 Best Funk Albums of 2014

Posted by funkatop On January - 1 - 2015 25 COMMENTS

20 best funk albums of 2014

The best funk band releases of 2014 are listed here in all their glory.

We love putting together lists of great funk music, because there is so much out there that you can easily miss since terrestrial and even satellite radio completely ignore many of the bands on our list with very few exceptions.

So break out your wallets and get ready for the funkiest bands in 2014.  We purposely didn’t add numbers in order to make sure that all are created equal in their funkiness. Enjoy this list, complete with links to check the albums on iTunes and in some cases even get and listen to the albums for free!

  • Brand New Heavies – Sweet Freaks (album link)
    Some of the pioneers of acid jazz funk are back to their original order with new vocalist Dawn Joseph at the helm.
  • Rock Candy Funk Party – Live At The Iridium (album link)
    Rock Candy Funk Party is a conglomeration of great musicians and here they are performing live and captured and glorious.
  • New Mastersounds – Therapy (album link)
    The funky Englishmen hit the world with a great release and are even already in the process of creating a new album. They never stop.
  • Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket – Bucket Express (album link)
    On the flip side of a recent band shakeup, the band still released one of the best funk albums of the year. Here’s hoping it’s not their last. You can even listen to the full album on their website.
  • Freekbass – Everybody’s Feelin’ Real (album link)
    One of the funkiest bassists on the planet kills it with this crazy thumping journey.
  • Mike Zabrin – Funktastic (album link)
    We covered this debut album back in the summer of 2014 from the insane new bassist with incredibly catchy songs. An impressive launch.
  • Five Alarm Funk – Abandon Earth (album link)
    Canadian funk band Five Alarm Funk strikes again with another energized release that will blow up your speakers.
  • Analog Son – (album link)
    Analog Son got our attention earlier in the year and we still can’t take it out of our CD player..
  • Polyrhythmics – Live From The Banana Stand (oct. 2013) (album link)
    The Polyrhythmics take their amazing Libra Stripes album on the road and it’s insanely funky.
  • The Motet (album link )
    The Motet is simply fantastic and this album showcases a flash of the funkiness of their live shows.
  • Dopegems – necksnappin (album link)
    The necksnappin’ technically will come from all of the head bobbing you’ll be doing.
  • fo/mo/deep – groovy goodness (album link)
    Super infused with jazz elements, it’s magnificently laid back.
  • Floozies – Tell Your Mother (album link)
    This duo is super 80’s style funky and even better, use the album link and get it free. Yeah, we said it.
  • Earphunk – Sweet Nasty (album link)
    Another free album from Earphunk and it’s super duper funkafied goodness. Listen or download from their site.
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation – Evolution (album link | website)
    The band that burns more calories in their live shows than anyone we know puts out another funky masterpiece.
  • Karl Densons Tiny Universe – New Ammo (album link)
    Killer new album from multi-instrumentalist Karl Denson that even features appearances from Mike Dillon, The White Stripes and more.
  • The Budos Band – Burnt Offering  (album link)
    Deep heavy ominous grooves and thick horns with a south of the border flair that could serve as the backdrop for a Quentin Tarantino movie.
  • Mingo Fishtrap – On Time (album link)
    If Gavin deGraw got stuck in the New Orleans bayou for a few years of his life, this is what his next album would sound like. But better.
  • Brownout – Brown Sabbath (album link)
    Funk band Brownout takes the tunes of Black Sabbath and recrafts them for their own purpose.  It’s dark, brooding and masterfully classic.
  • Kung Fu – Tsar Bomba (album link)
    Energized funky jazz music flair with crisp New Orleans style vocals and tasty Leslie licks and snap riffs.


Funkadelic – First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate (album link)
A huge oversight and literally coming in during the last week of December 2014, George Clinton and the boys slapped out a 3 CD collection of songs for the first time in 34 years. When you guys are right, you’re right.

Extra Bonuses
Check the suggestions below from our readers.

Did we miss some more? Add them to the comments below!  Hook us up and remember, the albums had to have been released in 2014 to qualify for the list.

Review: 3rd Eye Girl – PLECTRUMELECTRUM

Posted by funkatop On September - 29 - 2014 2 COMMENTS

Plectrum Electrum coverPrince releases a rock and roll album with the help of 3 amazing ladies.

Far be it from us to wonder why Prince ever does the things that he does. We’ve been pretty harsh critics in the past about his marketing decisions and other strange choice he’s made. But in the midst of those critiques are simply hard core Prince fans that, like you, are frustrated that this amazing talent gets ignored by radio and simply refuses to play nice with the powers that be that can change that.

And in that spirit, PLECTRUMELECTRUM will not change that trend. Nothing radio friendly here. Just flat out awesome songs perfectly blended and laid out to wow his fans without a care about whether or not it will be embraced by mass media. Because in the end, who really cares what they think?

On PLECTRUMELECTRUM, Prince joins forces with three amazing female counterparts to dish out a fist to the face blast of raw rock and roll and the end result is pretty frigging awesome. There isn’t any heavy handed production here which just lets the music speak for itself and it does a great job at keeping everything balanced and out front. No matter which band member you’re a fan of, you’ll hear them crisp and clear.

The band consists of Prince on lead vocals and guitar, Ida Nielsen on bass (pronounced ‘eeda’), Hannah Ford on drums and vocals, and Donna Grantis on guitar. And while Prince has always had a penchant for female artists, this is one of the first times that he really went all out to construct a full female backing band that not only brought the “pretty quotient”, but all of which were also masters of their instruments.

Donna Grantis delivers a raw energy on guitar that takes us back to Bambi days. Her chops are tight and loud giving Prince the backseat, which is probably by his design. Ida Neilson‘s thump bass delivery keeps the rock feel driving that defines the sound as more of a Ford Mustang and less of a Porsche, which is exactly what you want in an all out rock band. Then rounding it out is Hannah Ford on drums who not only knows how to be a masterful time keeper, but she doesn’t overplay and she’s also a great vocalist to boot.

The 12 track album is filled with primarily rock songs starting with a mid-tempo barn burner called WOW that flows in and out of rowdy controlled raucous into a soft flowing bluesy styled romp. That’s followed by PRETZELBODYLOGIC which was one of the early sneak peek releases delivering a boot stomping hard rock head bounce.

Next up is AINTTURNINROUND which is the first appearance of Hannah Ford on vocals and her Pat Benatar rock singing chops. There is only one instrumental in the bunch and that would be the title track PLECTRUMELECTRUM, which blends a Zeppelin rock-blues formula with a dash of Mother’s Finest and one cup of Black Crowes style for good measure.

Hannah Ford then takes the mike again to deliver a softer side and churns out the song WHITECAPS which really showcases her vocal talent and puts her in the same vocal arena as Andy Allo and Elisa Fiorillo Dease. Prince was truly wise to let her shine on this album which will serve her well in the future. We can definitely foresee solo albums coming out of the Park in the not so distant future.

FIXURLIFEUP was one of the first 3rd Eye Girl tracks released into the public and it uses the same great ebb and flow rock formula that many rock artists are drawn to, but it’s done seamlessly well here.

3rd-eye-girlOne of the standout tracks (of which there are actually many) is BOYTROUBLE which features rappers Lizzo and Sophia Eris. Even though PLECTRUMELECTRUM has a good bit of bluesy-funk throughout, BOYTROUBLE is technically the first dose of actual funk on the album which is made even more funky by the the whoeww whoeww instrument effect made infamous on the Madhouse 8 album on the song 2.

STOPTHISTRAIN (featuring Hannah on vocals again) and TICTACTOE are mid-tempo romps that are the album’s lightest and most pop-sensible moments.  And while there always appears to be on on each of his releases, TICTACTOE is the over-popped song where Prince unleashes his musical theatrics (think Rainbow Children‘s Wedding Feast) which mutate the song into sounding as if it were stripped from a musical, although the song structure manages to keep it from going off the rails. Those songs are split up by ANOTHERLOVE which starts off in a slower kilter, which then rocks out of control towards its last half.

Among the last two songs is MARZ which brings back that loose, raw rock sound, but only clocks in under 2 minutes. Then FUNKNROLL closes out the album and at the start, the track begins exactly the same as the FUNKNROLL featured on Art Official Age (see our review here), but then it quickly separates itself and settles into a rocked up version similar to what was unveiled at the Arsenio Hall show. While there are a lot of similarities, there are also a wealth of differences.

Overall, PLECTRUMELECTRUM is probably exactly what Prince intended for this release. A raucous rocker that showcases the talents of 3 lovely ladies and lets him appease his rock monster. We’re going to give this album 4-1/2 out of 5 afros and not because it doesn’t deserve 5, but there were some expectations set on song inclusions that didn’t happen such as Screwdriver, Octopus Heart, Live Out Loud, Menstrual Cycle, Groovy Potential, and some others that were teased out to the masses, but never came to fruition in the release.

For those that haven’t been suckling at every bit of information that was offered, you’re going to love everything PLECTRUMELECTRUM has to offer. For the hard core masses, this album is a phenomenal addition to the collection, but we were surprised at the omission of not just a couple songs, but a lot. The addition of which would have really made this album more definitive. That is the only reason this album loses a half an afro and an oversight that shouldn’t diminish the excellence of this album.

Here’s hoping we will see a lot more of the girls on the road, because this release is fantastic. It’s set to hit the streets on 9/30/2014, so get your butt over to iTunes or Amazon and Get It Now .


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