MELTING INTO THE BANQUET

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1/28/2013 photo by Carlos Garcia

Artist: Feeding People

Venue: The Echo – Echo Park, Los Angeles, California

Date: Monday, January 28th, 2013

LURED BY THE SIRENS’ SONGS…DINOSAUR DYNAMICS, HEAVY METAL LULLABIES AND BIG TIME POWERHOUSE POTENTIAL…MELTING INTO THE BANQUET WITH FEEDING PEOPLE

In her book The Myths Of Greece And Rome, scholar Helene Adeline Guerber defines the Sirens as “maidens who allured mariners with their wondrous songs” (pg. 393). The adventures of the hero Ulysses include an episode when his ship sails near the rocky ledges where the Sirens are known to dwell. Their music is so enchanting, the only way he can get his entire crew to survive the encounter is by first plugging the ears of every single person onboard with wax, then instructing them to tie Ulysses high up on the ship mast. Most importantly, Ulysses insists they must ignore and refuse all his cries and demands to be set free once he falls under the spell of the Sirens’ song. The ship passes by the Sirens, they sing their haunting melodies and drive Ulysses mad. As he thrashes and wails on the mast to be set loose to go to the Sirens, the temporarily deaf crew rows on.

Listening to the band Feeding People is like enjoying the sounds of the Sirens from the comfort of your own favorite listening place, without the risk of being lured to fatally drowning. Maybe don’t bring it in the bath or far out at sea. You can’t listen to just one track from Feeding People. They blend and flow and take you on a journey where the stops are not defined, the destinations are yet unknown, and the melodies along the way charge with stampeding roars and snake around corners in chanted whispers.

I was turned on to this fantastic new group by my advisor and confidant, Mr. X. I must confess I’ve had the lucky chance to get to know the music of Feeding People a little bit more than most have yet, since I was entrusted with a preview copy of their soon-to-be-released debut album; Island Universe, on the Innovative Leisure label. This record has thoroughly impressed me, even surprised me at times. One sunny LA afternoon I suddenly realized I was playing the album for the third time through in a row. It started to hit me; “Who the hell is this band?”

In this exciting year of 2013, it is relevant to current music culture that I repeat how I listened to the entire album of Island Universe, every track without skipping, and became heavily entranced. It’s a fun trip of soothing moments of calm between surging storms of psychedelic volcanic lava. Like every album I groove on some songs better than others, but Island Universe really works as whole. They have the acid-rock sound going with enough bounce and spunk to keep it moving and fresh. With one guitar, one bassist, one keyboard player and a drummer, they create an ocean of music that is ideally both catchy and foreboding. All the musicians in the band are very good. I hesitate to single out any above the others, because they’re all very strong and form a cohesive unit of sound that beckons you in and cracks your mind with a bullwhip tidal wave.

Feeding People are very skilled with dynamics. They don’t rush things. It’s patient and alluring how the songs take time to build. The crescendos are always worth the wait, and the overall effect even when you’re listening cold sober is surreal and otherworldly. A perfect example is the album’s title track; “Island Universe.”

“Island Universe… Babe you’ll never get hurt…”

When they played this one live, multiple people started hooting and hollering before the intro was finished. It’s a standout melody. You have to hear the delicate slither of the guitar line in this song to really feel it. But take heed, children of the night, the tracks are not all trippy, floating visions. Some are outright thundering dinosaurs of angry guitar and howling vocals.

“Big Mother – Ain’t no other – Ain’t no other like Big Mother…”

Reading that line on paper without the music, it doesn’t seem so spectacular. Hearing Jessie Jones belt it with the boys raging out on their gear makes me almost shudder because I’m suddenly afraid a nine-foot tall muscle-bound monster lady is creeping up behind me to bash my head in, for no good reason other than she’s Big Mother and I’m in her way. Terrifying. So very cool.

Front-woman Jessie Jones has some serious vocal talent. I am not kidding you in the slightest that Jones’ voice and vocal style have a direct thread to Janis Joplin. It’s not all Janis, for sure Jessie has her own thing going, but close your eyes and it’s not far off. Imagine Janis without the excess of sad habits that dimmed her light, re-born as a fresh-faced upstart for the New Millennium generation. Jessie’s range and control of her voice are startling for someone not yet old enough to legally buy a drink in the venues she’s playing. In some songs it’s sweet and charming, trilling along and easing you into a lullaby. At other times her voice is aggressive and threatening.  It’s a beguiling combination, for her to convincingly present a graceful, childlike tone and then veer off with the escalating music to become totally intimidating and even a little scary.

One of Jessie’s best moves is to let loose long, sustained, melodic and untamed banshee howls over the band frantically jamming. These banshee shrieks go on longer than you’d expect, but they’re beautiful and just a bit alarming. Several times during the live shows, Jessie tilts her head back and looks out somewhere above the crowd, her eyes wide like saucers. In these moments she truly looks possessed. The polite young lady who calmly meandered the stage before the show is long gone, replaced by a genuine siren who inspires fans to happily mosh, rock their heads madly and completely fall under the spell of Feeding People.

Another classic band Feeding People remind me of is the Jefferson Airplane. Hard-rock psychedelia is not something I’ve heard a ton of lately, although some cool names come to mind. Remember Wolfmother? Here and now, Feeding People give me a great blast of a style I’m not getting anywhere else. These kids are not superstars yet, but a steady delivery of quality like this album could actually make that a possibility. The album’s an 8.5 out of 10, whatever that measurement exactly means to you. They’re a terrific band, and the singer is phenomenal. What more do you want? Go find Feeding People!

Just promise me you’ll beware the Sirens’ call. You’ll know what I mean if you don’t already. Island Universe is released Tuesday February 5th, 2013 on Innovative Leisure records.

______________________________________________________________________

*All song lyrics copyright 2013 Feeding People.

-Guerber, Helene Adeline. The Myths Of Greece And Rome. Dover Publications, New York. 1929.

***Important Disclaimer;

I’m not affiliated in any way with the artists I write about or employed by the labels they are supported by. I’ve paid for all my own drinks at all the shows I’ve seen and do not personally know any of the musicians involved, though I’m sure they’re probably all pretty cool.

My friend Mr. X also does not work for a record label, publishing company or any other entity that would pose a conflict of interest to the name of genuine trustworthy journalism. I am in no way paid or compensated for my work on these pages, but of course I’d be interested to write for your blog, magazine or whatever so feel free to drop me a line in those regards.

“I hear…inside voices…I hear…in-side voices…I HEAR IN-SIDE VOOOOIIIIIyyyyyyyCCCCESSSSSSSssssss”

2 thoughts on “MELTING INTO THE BANQUET

  1. Let me repeat – “Wow” what a great writer”… I think this is funny, insightful, right on accurate and one of the best, honest profound reviews I have read on Feeding People. the writer does not even leave his/her name. Classy is what classy does.

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