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Beware the Swarm!

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The Bees (aka. Band Of Bees): Got To Let Go, Listening Man and Stand
Taken from the album Octopus on Astralwerks (2007)

Owing to the distance separating me from my records, I’m going to have delve into my Itunes library if I’m to stay at all current with my blogging duties. Which is nice because it may force me to present a more current selection of releases (believe it or not, I do listen to albums recorded after 1974.)

Take this Bees’record for example. So what if it sounds like it could be as old as the last good Kinks album. It’s new! And it psychy and funky and about a hundred other things… and it’s hot to death.

My boy Dave Greene (psyche-guru, fellow record geek, and indie label CEO) turned me on to these cats and, after hearing “Listening Man” that first go-round (and the subsequent 300 go-rounds), I was sold. (I swear that first phrase sounds just like Sam Cooke.)

And seriously, who can resist? Which is kind of the point…

It is after all a pop record, and meant for general consumption. But it’s throwback pop, and a special kind of that: “Octopus” manages to avoid the pitfalls of being a strictly throwback record, mainly in that it kind of defies any one particular category to throw back to. The psych and R&B influences are for sure (crusty break drums? horns a la Mussel Shoals?). But I also hear Fela on “Gotta Hold On”, Lee Perry on “Left Foot Stepdown”, and other tracks infused with a bluesy Rolling Stones-type flavor. Poppy hooks, even country twang: these tracks run the whole gamut.

I like pumping up a record like this because The Bees are filling a much needed void in the new music scene, reminding us how broad is the scope of excellent music, how rich a spectrum of style and genre we have to borrow from, and, when it’s done right, how well it can all be pieced together.