Thursday, November 10, 2011

CD Review: “Coyote” by Terraplane Sun




Venice, California-based Terraplane Sun is billed as a Blue-Rock outfit, but they have more in common with The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, , Gram Parsons era Byrds, and by association The Flying Burrito Brothers. the band features Ben Rothbard on vocals and guitar, Johnny Zambetti on lead guitar and mandolin, Cecil on bass, Lyle Riddle on drums and Gabe Feenberg on piano, accordion and trombone, will perform several songs from their ambitious second album, “Coyote.” Recorded live in three days at their Venice rehearsal space, “Coyote” was released earlier this year to much critical acclaim.

As you can see from the instrumentation, these guys aren’t necessarily your average blues or rock line up. they have that somewhat fatal country/skiffle feel of the Grateful Dead, a dash of psychedelic era Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan and The Band era electric folk blues. though they clearly owe a debt to the blues, and who doesn’t? There’s a bit more in the stew than that.

Terraplane Sun “Slow Train” from the album “Coyote”

These guys just finished a successful residency at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas and several live dates in Amsterdam, Terraplane Sun is hitting their west coast tour with shows at the Echo, Bootleg Theater, Hotel Cafe, Malibu Inn and more to come. 

Terraplane Sun splits their rehearsal time between Venice and Malibu, where they've honed in a sound that conveys a swampy southern delta feel as much as it does the "California Sound" of the 1960's.  All of the band members have a distinct musical background. Ben grew up on Motown and later began an overall obsession with Delta Blues and Blues artists in general (Robert Johnson, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Ali Farka Toure). 

Johnny is "Pet Sounds" The Beatles and CSN, while both Lyle and Cecil have strong roots in punk and Motown. Gabe is the well-educated prodigy player of the band.  This broad-based approach allows them to draw on a multitude of techniques that give the band their unique sound.

All of that makes for a band that is very tight in their looseness, if you get my drift. It’s a studied laid back, sneering, proclamation. Rothbard’s voice will bring to mind Sky Saxon (if Saxon could ever really sing) in his delivery. And with great lyrics and arrangements that just flat out rock, all these guys need is a little exposure to hit the big time.

Terraplane Sun “LA Blues”

Terraplane Sun has been featured on several major television shows. "Is There A Way" was featured on the Showtime series "Nurse Jackie," "Selfish Ways" was on FX's show "Damages" and "Bloodshot Eyes" and "Hey Rat" were featured on FX's show "The League." Most recently, their song "Trouble" was picked up as the theme song for the new A&E show "Relapse."

In addition to playing live gigs and sharing the stage with artists including Fitz and the Tantrums, Robert Randolph and The Family Band and Foster the People, the band are working on a new EP in advance of their third full-length album. “Our last album was really raw and organic.  While definitely maintaining that approach, we've naturally progressed as a band and it will show on our next record,” says Ben. “If people are expecting what came from the last album, they might be surprised,” adds Cecil.

Look for them, here and at all the usual places. Here’s what’s left of the current tour for this year, but watch their website (linked above) for updates.

10/28            Malibu Inn                         (Malibu)

11/3              Belly-Up                             (San Diego)

11/14            Bootleg Theater               (LA)

11/23            The Cosmopolitan            (Las Vegas)

11/24            The Cosmopolitan            (Las Vegas)

11/25            Malibu Inn                          (Malibu)

12/14            The Cosmopolitan            (Las Vegas)

12/15            The Cosmopolitan            (Las Vegas)

You heard it here, and that is…

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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