Bluecher: “The Shopping Cart” EP Review

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Written By: Ethan Griggs

My Music: ethangriggsmusic.virb.com

New York’s Bluecher makes blues-rock with a bite. Not coincidentally, they know how to channel the funk. They mix classic blues guitar riffage with a slamming horn section and blends it all into a stew that tastes like Spoon and Foxygen joined forces to usurp the Black Keys from their current reign as the blues kings of the modern world. The band themselves describe it as “the music that the youth likes.” On their debut EP The Shopping Cart, all this is on display in a visceral, raw form, and the listener is taken on a roller-coaster ride of lo-fi blues and vocals that sound like they have had some brews.

One major influence that is clear on the EP is that of Jimi Hendrix. If Hendrix ended up living long enough to see the punk movement and artists like the Ramones, this is maybe what could’ve come out of that. This idea is most prominent on fierce opening track “Turned Around” – which sounds like Hendrix’s take on “Wild Thang” – as well as the EP’s last track, a demo of the song “Let Go” – its guitar is heavily indebted to the sound of both Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love.

This isn’t to say that the band doesn’t have their own unique take on the blues, though. The trio consisting of singer/guitarist Tam Stockton, bassist Matias Van Order Gonzalez, and drummer Arya Popli have augmented their sound with their own original horn arrangements. The presence of saxophones, trumpets, and trombones on the standout “DFWM” make it sound like Frank Zappa could’ve written the track for Hot Rats. The song’s fun arrangement and surprising syncopation in its interlude sustains the listener’s interest for multiple listens.

Sometimes it can be hard to make out what is being wailed out by Stockton, but when it’s clear the songs are given tones of angst and apathy. Stockton is front and center on “Split”, which is the track that really made me think of the Spoon comparison – practically their debut album Telephono and its accompanying EP Soft Effects when Brit Daniel was more into primal emotion than pop songwriting.

In any case, there will be a grab bag of musical comparisons to make about the wonderful debut release from Bluecher. I hear Hendrix and Zappa, but other listeners will surly find other influences on this EP as well. If you’re in the New York area, be sure to keep an ear out for the name Bluecher, as they will be up and coming in the blues circuit in the next year or so!