Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the stepkids - direct to vinyl

I walked into Capsule Labs on Saturday night and my friend Cindy pointed out the downstairs room where the mixing for the evening would be taking place and directly above it, the upstairs space where it would be recorded straight to vinyl.

There’s something about Stones Throw Records (which I’ve mentioned before in my Aloe Blacc post), they have their finger to the pulse of what is just plain cool. It’s seen in their choice of artists, their choice of DJs, and in events like this show I went to - the second in their series Direct-to-Disc celebrating their 15 year anniversary (15 years?! They’re so young still and already have so much cache. I love it!).

The first installment featured Mayer Hawthorne (love) and Saturday night it was all about The Stepkids with an opening set from Gary Wilson and The Blind Dates.

I think all I can really say about Gary Wilson is that all of the members in his band came out in furry bear/huge afro/scary mask costumes and that one of the members on stage held a blow up doll for the entire performance. Their funky rhythms and upbeat melodies in their songs kept me interested without a doubt, and for those who love some freaky lyrics (i.e. “six foot four equals make out”) or bands who collapse into noise-making psychedelic reverie (i.e. taking the head of the blow up doll and “playing” the piano with it), it doesn’t get much better than Gary Wilson.

Gary Wilson - 6.4 = Make Out by planned_obsolescence

Reading about who The Stepkids are is to look through a hefty set of resumes for sure. Lead guitarist Jeff Gitelman, bassist and keyboardist Dan Edinberg, and drummer Tim Walsh have individually been on stages with people like Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, Lauryn Hill, and Zox, have scored movies and commercials, and have produced solo albums of their own before becoming the R&B, Funk force we know as The Stepkids.

Words in the blogosphere used to describe them are things like psychedelic, funk, R&B, and soul. These all fit for sure and they all invoke the retro feeling to their songs - like you could take out the music from the opening credits to any popular 70s sitcom and replace it with pretty much any Stepkids song and nothing would look out of place. Mid-way through the performance (when the people in the vinyl recording room were switching the disc over to side B causing a little break in performance...so flipping cool) I turned to Cindy and said, “They’re like if you had The Beegees, took away most of their falsetto, and injected them with funk and soul and took out their Disco DNA.”

Whatever they sounded like, the entire audience was eating out of their hands all evening. It shows that these guys have spent a lot of time on stages, they were very comfortable and their live sound was full and rich as a result.

Right now The Stepkids have a 12” single out with “Shadows on Behalf” and “La La.” Expect to hear more from these guys very soon.

The Stepkids - Shadows On Behalf by stonesthrow

Wilcox Sessions - The Stepkids (Santos & Ken) from Wilcox Sessions on Vimeo.

P.S. The girl in this video is distracting, sorry. Everything else about it was too cool to pass up.

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