Eggs, the debut album from up-and-coming Italian trio Otakusuite, is a delicious stew of prog rock, psychedelia, and jazz. What more could you want in an indie band? With only 7 tracks, Eggs may appear to be an easy listen on the surface, but the full listening time totals up to a solid 48 minutes of genre-blending instrumental jams.
Chicken Caravan Deluxe opens up the album to introduce you to the band’s signature sound, which can only be described as jazz fusion meets jam band. The funky riffs, extended chords, and fuzzed-out guitars on this track would not feel out of place at a Eugene house show. What follows is an epic, almost 10-minute long psychedelic experience in the form of Manannan Mac Lir, my personal favorite. Killer Monk, the shortest track at 2:24 showcases the band’s prowess in the stoner rock sphere, not wasting any time to melt your face. Country Cousins Meets the Wolf is reminiscent of some of the more experimental bands of the 70’s, exploring the evolution of a nostalgic melody through various time signatures and tempos. The final track, The Curse of the Bready Bready Flute, although a wonderful song, leaves me with my only complaint about the album: it closes with a fade out.
Regardless, Otakusuite manages to consistently deliver a distinctly unique fusion sound throughout this album, somehow blending the dichotomy of jazz fusion and stoner rock into a refreshing marriage laden with heady, quasi-improvised guitar solos and my only fear looking forward is that the band won’t be able to top this with their future releases. I don’t necessarily have frequently correct predictions so take this with a grain of salt, but I really feel Otakusuite has the potential to become the next big name in college radio. Just in case, you should all listen to this album so you can say you heard them before they were cool.
C.H.E.W. In Due Time (2020) Review by Ben Goldstein
Following their 2018 LP Feeding Frenzy, Chicago hardcore band C.H.E.W. is back with their new EP, In Due Time, and it may be their strongest release yet.
When I first started listening to punk, I didn’t care as much about the musical skill of the musicians as I did their ability to play loud and aggressively; I wanted to feel a certain way. I still have a soft spot for the untamed, DIY sloppiness of bands like the Mentally Ill and the Germs, but I’ve learned to appreciate technical skill over the years. C.H.E.W. stands out to me in the realm of modern punk because they bring the noise with unparalleled musicianship. Their approach to hardcore sits in the threshold between conventional and unconventional. They do their own thing and also stay true to that which makes the genre great. While I hear traces of traditional hardcore acts like Negative Approach and Die Kreuzen (and even some D-beat) when listening to In Due Time, no comparison can accurately capture the spirit of C.H.E.W. and the forceful catharsis this EP pressures its listeners into experiencing.
Doris Jeane spews lyrical angst like Poly Styrene dialed to eleven — or perhaps a snarling feral creature. The opener, “Knucklehead,” thrusts you forward into ten minutes of what will likely prove to be some of the rawest punk of the year. Punishing drum fills on “King Kurtis” will make you convulse, and the transition into “Toxoplasmosis,” a slower, heaving beast of a song, could not be more seamless. The satirical “Baby Don’t Fear the Reaper” will do more than relieve you of any fear you might have of shuffling off this mortal coil; it’ll make you want to fight the reaper! And lastly, “Noise Square,” arguably the best song on the EP, features Jeane shouting schoolyard-taunting vocals in a murder hornet’s nest of fuzzed-out guitars.
If you don’t listen to punk, In Due Time will awaken something in you — and if you already do, it’ll make you fall in love with the genre all over again.