With contributions from Cooper Swartzentruber, Harold Cui, and Ben Fremin, the latest single, When You’re Around, by Gabe Kuchan is a riot of swanky and sun-soaked funk rock euphoria. The dazzling funk-rock masterpiece delivers a soulful essence reminiscent of Bill Withers, encapsulated in deep, groove-filled pockets constructed by the Chicago-born, Berklee College of Music-educated artist.
Driven by dynamic guitar work and the robust flair of tight rock riffs, the refreshingly nostalgic offering is a rich multi-layered soul-sating experience which sees the wild sax solos as one of the standout features around the vocal zeal as they inject an infectious energy that elevates the track to new heights.
Kuchan, frontman of Gabe Kuchan and the Funky Doctors, brings his extensive experience in funk, rock, and blues to the forefront in When You’re Around. His skill as a guitarist and vocalist, honed through years of busking and playing in various ensembles, shines through in this single. The influence of artists like Cory Wong and The Yellowjackets is evident, yet Kuchan’s unique style and interpretation make the song distinctly his own.
When You’re Not Around was officially released on November 18 stream it on Spotify.
For their latest release, Wednesday Night, the trailblazing outfit, Master Splinter, which is hell-bent on being the breakthrough outfit out of the year funked up a sludgy and clamorous alt-rock aesthetic reminiscent of Mudhoney, Melvins and Soundgarden while proving once again that Mike Patton isn’t the only one capable of delivering the Mr Bungle effect.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would sound like if a 70s funk rock ensemble had a violent acid trip with instruments in hand while being caught in the throes of lust, indulge in the Portland, Oregon-hailing troubadours of rhythmically tight, face-melting aggression’s latest offering, which punches through hip-hop-inspired drums and uses the devil may ensnare vocal lines to rile up the energy from the searing hot guitars and prowling basslines.
The 2023 Remaster of Wednesday Night hit the airwaves on October 26; stream it on Spotify.
The London-hailing prodigal sons Whitelocust brought the funk rock rapture with them when they released their debut single and music video, Your Way, on the 21st of July.
With the frontman emanating the energy of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Anthony Kiedis and the sultry grooves of early Faith No More material giving the raucousness a sensuous touch of soul, Your Way is a nostalgic rock revelation that will leave you itching for it to pour from your speakers once more from the first hit of the addictively vintage 70s grooves.
After starting out in 2021, Whitelocust hasn’t failed to garner all the right traction to give their illustrious career momentum. It is only a matter of time before they are revered as London’s premier funk-rock outfit – especially after this juggernaut of a strong debut that will reel you in hook, bassline, and sinker.
Stream the official music video for Your Way on YouTube.
As you can probably gather from their moniker, The Freaky Friday Jailhouse Gang is far from your average RnB ensemble. Their seminal single, Benign Lion, is a riot of funk and foot-stompin flavour, driven by the fiery vocal lines of Lorena Valta.
Valta knows just how to instil raucous rock elements into the groove pockets that are deep enough to leave the Grand Canyon green with cavernous envy. Adding to the eccentricity of the Austrian outfit are the layers of blues, which pay homage to the roots before embedding them in an amalgam that could only have been alchemised by The Freaky Friday Jailhouse Gang.
The serious superlative talent is one thing, but the evident fact that the powerhouse, which has kept the cogs turning since the early 2010s, doesn’t take themselves too seriously is quite another. There’s an undeniable sense that the Gang benefit from their feel-good euphonics as much as their fans.
Benign Lion is now available to stream on Spotify.
‘Hold On’is the latest slice of filmic funk born from the ingenuity and superlative talent possessed by the NYC alt-rock outfit, Underblue, who have been creating inner-city waves since 2016.
This seminal release is an undeniable testament that it is their time. The soulfully smoky siren-ESQUE vocal lines from Kimberly Torres, the devilishly jazzy basslines from Simon Luk, and the ornate flourishes from keyboardist Ilvi Calderon is almost too much alchemy to handle – almost. Entwined with the guitars that straddle the timbres of the Cramps and My Bloody Valentine and the drums that punctuate the soundscape with flair, Hold On is a progressively interstellar triumph.
With heavy, hopeful, happy, and heart-wrenching being the cornerstones of the ethos behind the upcoming LP, you’re damn right you should save space on your radar for the powerhouse, which has enough innovation between them to rival Mars Volta – not an overstatement.
Hold On will officially release on May 19th followed by the full album on June 9th. Hear it on SoundCloud.
After a brief recording hiatus, the international alt-rock outfit, Below Bermuda turned up the temperature with the blazing hot funk-dripped riffs with their first release since 2018, Wings. If you’re sick of four-chord rock, dig right into the complex rhythmic patterns in this hit that will dizzy you into mesmerism. Although you might want to batten down the hatches first, Below Bermuda is about as unreckonable as the Bermuda Triangle itself.
The Rise Against vocal reminiscence and melodically hooky instrumentals in the choruses around the frenetic punk rock pacing in the verses create a track that keeps on giving. After one hit of Wings, I knew that Below Bermuda is a band well-worth catching live. Their animated energy that pulls it together just enough to create a tight AF performance will undoubtedly make for an unforgettable live experience.
It just so happens that before lockdown crimped their touring and recording plans, Below Bermuda rip roared through venues and festivals in the UK, earning themselves the accolade of one of the hottest live acts on the scene.
Lamenting modern times is easy, and truth-depicting snapshots have their place, but to fuel optimism while serotonin supplies are running low for everyone with the slightest view of the bigger picture, as CLOUDS OF CLARITY did with their single, Back to Sanity, is nothing short of exhilarating.
The soaring seminal single taken from the Swedish-based alt-rock band’s album, Superficial Society, comes with a euphoria guarantee. As the newly formed outfit deliver the funk, grooves and guitar riffs that are so out of this world they deserve their own Sci-Fi franchise, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the sanctum orchestrated by one of the most theatrically out-there outfits on any scene.
If any artist deserves the accolade of the 21st-century version of Queen, it is CLOUDS OF CLARITY. When histrionic flair is on par with lyrical intellectualism and juicy choruses that can spill light into the most melancholy souls, putting them on your playlists is the ultimate act of self-care.
‘Promises’is the debut feat of filthy prog funk rock from the supergroup Cash Machine, which comprises artists from several of Upstate SC’s most successful bands. Members of The Consumers, The Grateful Brothers and Buffalohead all converged to throw back to the raucous era of funk-rock in one of the grittiest time-hops you could sink into in 2022.
With the ragged vocal timbre of Joe Power raucously grating across the smoky groove pockets carved by guitarists Daniel Collins and Zach Thigpen, Promises oozes raunchy swagger that is slick enough to leave you hot under the collar.
Promises was unleashed on September 9th ahead of their debut self-titled album, which is set to release on October 14th. Funk-rock aficionados will want to head to Spotify to indulge and make radar room accordingly.
With guitars that wouldn’t be out of place in The Cure’s earlier records, rock n roll synthetics oozing from the synths and the funk-chopped basslines, Tommy Trull’s standout single, Citizen Freak, from his sophomore album, Nobody Else in the World, gorgeously drips with unapologetic autonomy.
The North Carolina-hailing multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter is known to hop between genres. With his second album, he paid a genre-fluid ode to the transformations we undergo when separations force our hands into parting ways with co-creators of our worlds that weren’t cut out for perpetuity.
Expression runs at the core of Citizen Freak; the experimental alchemy unfolds as refreshingly as Bowie’s did in his funk pop prime (that will sound hyperbolic until you delve in yourselves).
Citizen Freak is now available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp.
Interest in the LP format may have waned in recent years. If anyone can make a case for them in 2022, it is the Sydney singer-songwriter Robbie Maroon, with his riotously eclectic blend of funk, pop, RnB and rock in his third album, Reckoning.
The opening single, The Fighter,doesn’t set the tone for the album that throws everything from soulful ballads to rock anthems to groove-led jams. Instead, it throws you head-first into the captivating energy and expressive soul that Reckoning was created with. The consistently evolving nature of the release never allows you to get complacent with the unpredictable transitions in tone, style and lyrical influence. Yet, each visceral piece of the puzzle binds together seamlessly.
After the early Faith No More meets Go West opener, the album careers into funkier and playfully synthy territory with Track 2, Cyberlovestory, which will resonate with everyone who had the displeasure of experiencing the surrealism of dating during the lockdowns. Crafting the track in the form of an 80s synthwave love song was cunningly clever. I think the extent of the ridiculousness of the past few years finally just hit me with its full force.
After two infectiously protestive tracks, in track 3, Maria, Maroon delivers the indie funk-pop ballad, which celebrates the sanctuary that only certain people can open the door to. The upraising vocal layering, Men at Work-reminiscent horn stabs, and the sticky sweet melodious essence is enough to make you pick up your phone and tell your favourite person you love them.
Track 4, Rewind, is the perennial soul-pop earworm of the album that gives you a view into just how much command the Prince-inspired artist has over funk-bridled rhythm. From rap bars to vocal lines that would give Seal’s soul a run for its impassioned currency, the vocals stick to your synapses like superglue.
Track 5, My Love, allows Maroon to wear his James Brown and George Michael influences on his sleeve through the slick-with-salacious-funk-disco-grooves. The hand claps against the Nile Rodgers-Esque chops bolster the nostalgic euphoria, while the smooth vocals and equally as smooth lyrics scribe Maroon’s unrelentingly sonic signature.
With track 6, Falling out of Love, Maroon proves that love goes as quickly as it comes in quick to burn love affairs before he grooves into the striking funk aesthetics of Stand. Track 7 gives plenty of limelight to the female backing vocals that raise the energy throughout the album with their shimmering old-school soul.
Track 8, I Won’t Be Doing That, leaves a similar question springing to mind as Meatloaf’s I Won’t Do That. The intriguing ambiguity in the rock-licked track grips onto grooves reminiscent of Hall & Oats, and there is plenty of room for the unpretentiously virtuoso solos. Strangely, they amplify the sense morality mystery while you wait for more clues.
In Track 9, Maroon is out of his funk in the harbingering 80s rock title single, which grieves the normalcy that forgot to get a return ticket after the pandemic. I can quite honestly say that listening to The Reckoning was one of the most vindicating and affirming aural experiences I’ve indulged in this year. While the mainstream media keeps trying to sell us fear and hate, the masses find new brands of tribalism, and everyone secretly loses their sanity in the privacy of their bedrooms; it is impossible to find a voice of reason. Thank god one exists on my playlists now.
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the closing single, Take a Bow before, but my tear ducts still opened the floodgates to the ode to Prince. Simultaneously a celebration of his legacy and an illustration of the impact that inspirational people have on us, the subtle and quiescently yearning single is a tribute like no other. Hell, it’s a ballad like no other.