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Electronic/Dance - Released March 2, 2015 | Tru Thoughts


Electronic/Dance - Released February 10, 2014 | Tru Thoughts

Ben Lamdin introduced vocalist Josa Peit to Nostalgia 77's audiences on 2011's excellent pop-jazz offering Sleepwalking Society. Her throaty yet breezy alto was the perfect companion for his horn and keyboard-rich ensemble. A Journey Too Far, their second album-length offering, is arresting. It's also -- as has come to be expected from the producer, composer, and conceptualist -- a musically different animal than any of his previous albums. Here, psychedelic pop and soul, cinematic jazz and blues, and more contribute to this septet's already expansive palette. Opener "What Do You Know" is rambling, funky horns and Rhodes-driven jazz-pop, with cinematic undertones and explosive, swirling, rhythmic strings (think Richard Evans). Peit's smoky voice fills the track's spaces, but never oversells the lyric. "Your Love Weighs a Tonne" is grimy, bluesy, psych-flavored soul that could have come from an early-'70s British film score. Her singing is as beat-conscious as it is expressive: she hits the band's deep punchy grooves, settles in, and works it hard before vocalizing in an intoxicated fashion on the refrain. "Ramshackle Rose" is raw souled-out funk, with Lamdin's guitar vying for domination with Tim Giles' tight breaks. Fulvio Sigurta's trumpets, though low-key, add a color that makes the entire proceeding soar. It's the only track where the band supercedes Peit's delivery. Though Jeb Loy Nichols appears twice here, including on the reggae-tinged "Don't Run," his presence is an outlier; it feels out of place in this collection. Pre-release single "An Angel with No Halo" is an elegant, off-kilter ballad that walks a line between psychedelic folk and Jimmy Webb-esque pop. "One" openly suggests the folk-soul of Minnie Riperton as married to a string chart by Charles Stepney -- but the melody and harmonies bear Lamdin's signature while Peit's performance pays a subtle tribute to Dusty Springfield as well. The acoustic duet between his slide guitar and her rootsy, tender vocal on closer "Like Dark to Light" sends the set off on a tender, sexy whisper. A Journey Too Far is decidedly retro, but Lamdin's career has been one of looking back, combining elements he finds there, and creating something unmistakably Nostalgia 77's. That is certainly the case here, where colors, timbres, textures, genres, and spaces are utilized to (mostly) magnificent effect. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Electronic/Dance - Released December 9, 2013 | Tru Thoughts


Electronic/Dance - Released July 25, 2011 | Tru Thoughts


Electronic/Dance - Released March 21, 2011 | Tru Thoughts


Electronic/Dance - Released February 28, 2011 | Tru Thoughts


Dance - Released March 21, 2005 | Tru Thoughts

The difference in spirit between Ben Lamdin's first and second Nostalgia 77 albums is tipped off by their titles. While 2004's Songs for My Funeral was fittingly downcast, The Garden is instead saturated with bright, vibrant energy. They're quite dissimilar in setup as well, with the debut's hip-hop roots exchanged for a combination of programming and actual live humans creating groove-driven jazz indebted to a range of recordings from the late '50s through the '70s. Any given cut, save for a thick, neck-winding take on the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" (featuring Alice Russell, a vocalist who stomps all over fellow Brit Joss Stone), is likely to fool the average jazz head into thinking it was waxed at least three decades ago. When filed alongside the likeminded releases by Yesterday's New Quintet, Quantic, and Cinematic Orchestra, The Garden will have no trouble holding its own. The sleeve artwork ironically looks a lot more like Rhythm Corps' Common Ground than Don Cherry's Complete Communion, so don't be surprised if a half-awake record-store clerk puts the disc in the "R" section. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Dance - Released December 1, 2004 | Tru Thoughts