Mike Montoya, of Fatigo fame, released a six-track EP last summer and we’ve revisited it countless times over the months that followed. From the very start of Montoya’s KIND, there is a distinctive southwestern vibe from its Latin sound infusion to its dusty storytelling style. In a mere six tracks, Montoya manages to leave a deep and lasting impression. If you haven’t spent any time with KIND yet, I suggest you do yourself the favor and give it a spin. Right now. You can listen here. As an added bonus, two of the tracks feature the late Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl.
Are you fucking kidding me? That was my very first thought as I starting listening to the new EP from Mike Montoya, formerly known as Fatigo. KIND is one of the best things I’ve heard this year. From the moment it starts through to the very end, Montoya proves his commitment to unique and thoughtful songcraft, delivered in distinctive, southwestern folk. The EP opens with the song “Trailboss” which features Nowhere Man and a Whisky Girl (as does the closing track). The duo’s posthumous appearance only add to the subtlety embedded mystical undercurrent felt throughout this completely unassuming EP. “Catch a Fly” has an easy-going summer feel that made it an early favorite. “Hold Mine” and “Copters” are shorter tracks, each clocking in under a minute and a half, but they are every bit as compelling as the longer songs heard on KIND. “Cactus Grave” closes the EP and offers listeners the second appearance of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl. I would say it’s my favorite song, but I realize that I’ve changed my mind on each and every listen. From beginning to end, KIND is my kind of album: a dusty, desert folk masterpiece. Find out for yourself here.
The hiphop-jazz-funk fusion of The Stakes has been making its way around the Valley scene for a few years now honing their skills and solidifying their sound. The release of The Stakes Music Vol. 1 earlier this year was the culmination of that work. The six-track EP offers the smoothly flowing hiphop that has defined the band’s live sound. Mixing the emcee styles of ZeeDubb and Lord Kash with vocal powerhouse Holly Pyle, The Stakes achieves a perfect symbiosis of sound. Ben Scolaro (keyboards), Caleb Veazey (guitar), Alex Meltzer (bass, MPC), and Kevin Phillips (drums) are the talented players that complete The Stakes’ lineup. The release opens with “Hi-Lo”, a super cool number that starts with a meandering pace but quickly gets amped up. Other emcees should take notes on lyrical prowess from The Stakes Music Vol. 1. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” offers a perfect example of the successful sharing of vocal duties that really sets The Stakes apart from other hiphop acts making their way around the Valley circuit. Holly Pyle’s move from smokey and sultry to an all-out flurry of energy and power. Fans of hiphop, jazz, and good music in general will enjoy this first collection of music from The Stakes. Let’s hope this is just the first of many releases to come. Listen for yourself here and get ahold of your very own copy.
The psychedelic indierockers known as Sunset Voodoo have been hard at work on new material. They released their EP, Strange Things, earlier this year. Sunset Voodoo has a sound made for those of us that kept our Incubus albums past 2003. Lots of folks beyond this grouping will find Sunset Voodoo jam worthy, but if you fall into this aforementioned category, Sunset Voodoo will be your new favorite locals. They have that same style of melody-heavy alt-rock, but with their own modern take. The EP opens with the title track; a song that dynamically shifts throughout, a signature move for the band. “Summer Haze”, one of the singles from the album, achieves that listless summer mellow that defines the season with its thoughtfully restrained rock. You can sample tracks from Strange Things here. The EP is also available for purchase through iTunes here. Sunset Voodoo is a band you have to see live. While you’re at it, I suggest checking out the music video for “Summer Haze” as well. You can view that here.