Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Mr. Unstable - The District
From the District Weekly - (7/22/09)
When mutton-chopped bassist Derek Smalls attempted to usher in Spinal Tap Mach II as a realization of his lifelong musical dream “Jazz Odyssey,” it should be remembered that the phase was introduced and immediately abandoned before a theme-park crowd assembled to watch a performance by puppets. The New Rome Quartet play hazy, fuzz-soaked jams of bended strings and bossa beats intended to evoke decades of facial hair and weightlessness in a self-proclaimed “intergalactic porno jazz odyssey.” Comprised of two members of pogo-ing Salton Sea rockers Throw Rag (Dan “Scorcho” Lapham on samples, “Franco” Cronin on bass) plus strummer Todd “Hornshark” Murdock and drummer “Stevo” Monroe, the quartet aims for a level of comfort approximately elbow-deep in a bag of Cheetos, free of such oppressive societal restrictions as drink coasters or pants, with the intention of providing the “soundtrack to your new-millennium nervous breakdown.”
Sonically, the New Rome Quartet snatches a lock from every cigarette-singed instrumental genre worth its weight in polyester. While the drummer propels a sand-swept vibe of starlight and sugar cane, circa 2525, the songs dip their toes in everything from Dick Dale’s first slide into infamy to the throbbing other-worldliness of ’70s camp classic Vampyros Lesbos. Fittingly, their music is best put to use as a soundtrack to something beyond complete mental collapse. The quartet performs on the fringes of a projector’s glow, backs turned to a towering psychedelic reel that befits their groove-oriented workouts engulfed in a cloud of jazz cigarettes and PBR.
Although this project does not appear to be a priority for most of these gentlemen, it does serve as a considerably less-strenuous form of self-expression than the globe-trotting whomp rock they do to pay the rent. With song titles like “Sir Pothead,” “Beer on Ice” and “Mr. Unstable,” it is obvious that they are not relying on this venture to pay for much beyond a few drinks and a night out of the house. So as the columnated Madison trembles under the weight of their loungey vibe, remember to just stay mellow.
Mr. Unstable @ the District