TOC’s Point of Reference // Gonzo Review

Point of Reference, The Orange Constant’s sophomore studio album, manages to surpass their very clean and professional release from August: Live at Sit-N-Spin Studios. This is an experimental thread that takes you off the beaten path through one person’s experience of the album, we hope you enjoy. Oh and stream the album while you read by scrolling to the bottom and playing the Bandcamp plugin.

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Front to Back

“Float” – The softly spoken intro built on Andrew’s melodic guitar entrenched upon syncopated drum & bass over the high end organ hum. The sound swells into the crest of a high and beautiful wave till it hits that place where water finally breaks and rolls back. Broken by Lee’s technically pleasing drum paradiddle queued on top of hi-hat breaks as Andrew sings softly painting a lyrical painting with gentle strokes accompanied by classy piano.

Nick’s driving guitar and Chris’s key breakdowns are reminiscent to an old PGroove styling, back when they were still a Statesboro/Savannah area jam band. Like “walking in place” or  “sun dog” the band jumps into another inversion that lands them in a positive pocket of good vibrations; including eloquently phased lyrics cherried atop, completing the sweet sundae-like song that even includes perfectly placed electric hi-hats sprinkled in. For those of you not streaming the album from the bottom of the review while reading, hopefully you can imagine this all around perfect intro track.

“Something we can use” incorporates well used horns and percussion that diverts from the typical funk or jazz sound that normally goes hand in hand with brass. Instead they bring it back to an early 90s era, post grunge-back to basics rock structure that will remind some of the relaxed rockers with, Cake.

“Sir Martin’ is by far my favorite Track on record due to shear ingenuity, truthfully original structure, and intimate passion that can be felt emanating from the band whilst making a legitimate connection to the listener.

The title track “Point of Reference” leads with Tyler’s multi-step bassline that does a little more than walking. Singing about 441 which is near and dear to many of our hearts, brings back nostalgic memories that float about through the brain like the ebb & flow of this tune. Whether you are Jack Kerouac, a touring a band, or hell just been on a road trip through GA then you will be able to relate to this intentful track. 

As your body acclimates to the dreamy blanket that whooshes through your ears, be weary; there is a sharp turn ahead. The car derails, only for a moment, and drops you into a Mad Hatter trip down into a deep dark K hole only to lead back into a place of content because “the stars will guide you”.

“Ego Chatter” comes in hot, hitting a funky intro with building horns and would be an absolute treat to see live. The verse kicks in with a backing reggae vibe and is given the signature TOC treatment with washes of dark paint pallets providing more character than your typical ska, irey, or dub song.

“Red Ryder” struts in packing a GA Southern twang that is served with a healthy helping of psychedelic breakfast with Syd. The down tuned mood gets entwisted in a somber dead confederate sigh; with their last breath they squeeze out a scream for a single sip of drink. The final drop of water drips onto the desert dwelling of Morrison, as the keys are surpassed only by the vocal echoes throughout the cave for one last rebel yell before the light sinks beneath the earth. Rest in peace Red Ryder.

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Insight about the Band

The Orange Constant formed in August 2012 and quickly made a name for themselves in Statesboro, GA. Now, The Orange Constant resides in Athens, GA and performs in venues all over the Southeast and continues to grow their fan-base with their contemporary yet vintage rock sound. TOC recorded their debut album, Time to Go with Grammy nominated producer John Keane (REM, Widespread Panic) which was released June 19th, 2015. Time to Go garnered praise from many publications, including Relix Magazine, who included TOC in their “On the Verge” column in the October-November 2015 issue. In addition, they have played on bills that include Perpetual Groove, TAUK, The Mantras, and Atlas Road Crew. TOC won the 2016 Flagpole Athens Music Award for best “Jam/ Funk”. Their second LP Point of Reference, out in March 2017, demonstrates their urge to break genre restrictions and find a sound to call their own.

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Credits

The album was recorded at Chase Park Transduction in Athens during October – December 2016 with Drew Vandenberg (discography includes of Montreal, Mothers, Kishi Bashi), and was mastered by Joe Lambert (catalog includes Animal Collective, Local Natives, The Black Crowes).

Containing songs written over a span of four years, Point of Reference displays a striking maturity in TOC’s songwriting. Compared to their debut album Time to Go, this release embraces more risk taking in the studio, fueled by Vandenberg’s experimental leanings. Although TOC has been labeled a jam band in the past, this release demonstrates that they are more likely to be inspired by 70’s AOR and contemporaries like My Morning Jacket than Phish.

Clickable Links: Website. Soundcloud. Facebook

*All photos by Jacquelyn R. Griswold – check out her IG here*

Written By

Kyle Dee

Be Funky. Be Present. Be You.

#keepATLfunky

#keepATHENSfunky

#keepMILLYfunky

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ABV’s Drink & Doodle Vol. 40

ABV and Greg Mike‘s crew has cemented themselves into the leaders of Atlanta’s contemporary art scene since the birth of Drink & Doodle back in 2011. Their methods and mediums may not be as clear cut as MODA, but the shear attention to detail and connection to the community sets them apart. From the first time you step foot inside the doors, you can pick up on this creative vibration that is permutating off the artists amid their process through the air and reverberating off the walls. Taking in all of the color and style into your visual spectrum is quite exhilarating whether it is your 1st or 40th visit because the lineup and art collections are constantly changing and reinventing themselves.

12 artists create new work from 7-10 that goes up for silent auction throughout the night. Free and Open to the Public!

Featured Artists:
Aesek (@aesek)
BIGTEEFF (@bigteeff)
Buckethead
Catlanta (@cat_lanta)
Colin Sims (@colinsims)
Diego Penuela (@diegoillustration)
Janice Rago (@janiceragoart)
Jert (@mrjert)
Michael Mauldin (@mauldin_art)
Ted Murphy “Spooky Toons” (@spookytoons)
Travis Smith (@13_robots)
Wolfdog (@wolfdoglives)

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Running into Wolf at Terminal West is how I originally heard about the art happenings going on at ABV. I had always seen and heard about Greg Mike’s works going on throughout the city, but Wolf notified me about all the other artists going through ABV from local to world renowned international.

To give you a little background, Wolfdog was born and raised by a pack of wild wolves in the deep forests of Madison, Wisconsin. After a 4 year trek south, Wolfdog ended up settling in the Old Fourth Ward district of Atlanta, GA. With a expertise in all art forms visual, Wolfdog spends his time creating new works that push the boundaries of all things creative. From Graphic Design to Fine Art, Wolfdog has worked with over 200+ brands on various projects. When he’s not in the cave, Wolfdog lends his creative claws to ABV’s design studio or heads out to collect new tattoos.

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Another one of my favorite rising artists is Big Teeff who drew the new Wall Rat Crew shirt you can see below. I grabbed one and you can too if you visit the gallery in Studioplex off of Auburn Ave in person. If you would like to discover more work by Big Teeff check out his IG.

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“A BETTER VIEW” Winter group exhibition at my gallery, ABV. 60 artists from around the world will be showing new work in ATLANTA, many who have never shown in this market. The Winter Collection .

*All photos by Jacquelyn R. Griswold – check out her IG here*

 

Born and raised in Connecticut, childhood trips to NYC in the mid-’80s exposed Greg Mike to the creative potential of reinventing public spaces through art and design. Always obsessed with the boundless energy and crisp line work of iconic American mid-century cartoons, by his early teens Greg began using the walls of his native state to fuse these two passions together. Mixing the take-no-prisoners bombast of classic NYC street art with the eagle-eyed precision of mass market illustration and animation has been his goal from the beginning. Further inspired by his deep involvement with skate culture and his intersections with the fashion world, he has become known for pieces that incorporate vivid explosions of incandescent color filtered through a Surrealist Pop Art perspective. Populated by gleefully twisted characters, his world is unsettling, mischievous and uniquely captivating.

Currently based in Atlanta, GA, Greg Mike is the founder and creative director of ABV AGENCY / GALLERY, a multi-platform studio specializing in branding, apparel design and visual production. A hub for Atlanta innovators, ABV also functions as a gallery exhibiting artists from around the world,  highlighting emerging talents alongside globally recognized names.

Here is a link to Greg Mike’s latest print:

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Whether its street art around town or desinging badass music venues like Terminal West, ABV is your one stop shop. No job is too big or small – they have made logos for bands like Modern Measure and created installations for Global Brands including Heineken. Their ability to continually create fresh, powerful creative ventures while incorporating local artists is the backbone to their success. Click here for ABV’s website, check out this video recap, and go visit ABV at their next event!

Stay Funky my Friends,

~Mr. Nobody~

#keepATLfunky

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Funk Fest Photo Recap

Funk Fest 8 was a blast in the sleepy water front town of Punta Gorda, Florida yet everyone came to get down on March 3 and 4th including some of the best funk rock acts in the US! Father son duo, Matt and Nick Nemec, are the brains and brawn behind the this annual undertaking. They have managed to morph it from a small stage with some local acts to multiple stages with some of the nation’s top musical talent while still promoting the local music scene. The growing event has attracted all types of vendors and business owners alike to become part of the family and also contribute their own personal offering to add character to the weekend. The event supports local charities including United Way as well. There are 18 performances on two side-by-side stages, which means you don’t have to miss a single note!

3-11 p.m. March 3

The Motet
The Black Honkeys
VooDoo Visionary
Walker Lukens
Black Taxi
Greg Billings Band
The Fritz
Soulixer

1-11:30 p.m. March 4

Dumpstaphunk
Here Come the Mummies
Tim Reynolds & TR3
Naughty Professor
Das Funk Haus
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
The Motet
Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Dumpstaphunk represents New Orleans funk — with Crescent City royalty in the form of Ivan and Ian Neville (keyboards and guitar, respectively). They and their bandmates — Tony Hall (bass and guitar), Nick Daniels (bass), and Alvin Ford, Jr. (drums) — play titanic shows so deep in funk and rock that you simply get lost in the music. They do play covers, but the real strength of the band lies in their original compositions. This is what real power sounds like.

Bringing the funk from Denver are The Motet, who regularly throw down massive sets of jazz, Afrobeat, funk and rock. Mostly, though their shows are just one big dance party, and they invite everybody to join them in the groove. Backed by one the nastiest rhythm sections ever in Dave Watts (drums) and Garrett Sayers (bass), The Motet will keep you on your feet start to finish. New vocalist Lyle Divinsky is great, and Joey Porter (keys), Ryan Jalbert (guitar), Gabe Mervine (trumpet), and Drew Sayers (sax) will blow your mind.

Here Come the Mummies might strike you as a put-on or a gimmick, but these guys flat-out will funk you to pieces. Once you’ve appreciated the brilliance of their wrappings, dig into the deep funk they play, often loaded with brilliant double-entendres. Who’s in the band? Mummy Cass(anova), Eddie Mummy, K.W. TuT, Spaz, The Flu, Ra, B.B.Queen, The Pole, Midnight, & Will Pharaoh. Now you know!

If you’re looking for a “rock funk power trio,” then you want TR3 featuring Tim Reynolds. Reynolds is a brilliant guitarist, once a partner with Dave Matthews in an acoustic duo setting. He is revered as a master. This will be a plugged-in, rock-out set from the North Carolina three.

Big Sam’s Funky Nation is the brainchild of Big Sam, former trombone player for Dirty Dozen Brass Band and hands down (feet down) the best dancer with a trombone ever. Their best description? NOLAdelic Powerfunk!

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad deliver psychedelic roots from Rochester, but of course there is much more to their sound than that, with roots reggae and dub, sweet vocals and an infectious sound.

It has been more than a year since Voodoo Visionary (Atlanta) released their excellent first album, Spirit of the Groove. Since then, they have toured extensively, playing with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, TAUK, The Main Squeeze and more, with festival appearances at 420 Sweetwater and many others. Their music is jammed full of Southern-style rock and funk.

Black Taxi is “one of NYC’s most prominent live acts, smashing an anything-goes punk ethos together with pop sensibilities and unparalleled energy.” Now you know this is going to be a blast!

From Clearwater come The Black Honkeys, a nine-member band who pack shows with their great takes on “Motown, funk, soul, rock & roll.” Try sitting still. As if…

The Greg Billings Band flat-out rock. And they’ve been rocking — for a long time. They play their 35th-anniversary show at the end of January! This is pure energy! AARP be damned!

Asheville’s prime funk export is a five-man juggernaut called The Fritz. They have toured relentlessly, playing festivals all over, headlining quite a few. Their infectious enthusiasm sweeps over the crowd in tsunamis. Fronted by singer Jamar Woods and his command center of keyboards, this band is a non-stop party.

If you want to hear the past and the future of New Orleans, look no further than Naughty Professor. This incredible young sextet play with one foot in the rich history of the Crescent City and the other on the forefront of funky jazz. They are, in every sense, the real deal.

Das Funk Haus is a Bradenton quintet playing eclectic psychedelic funk. With Juanjamon on sax and keyboards, that’s for certain!

Representing hometown, Cape Coral’s Soulixer is a trio whose mission is to deliver “a high-energy, cosmic concoction of funk and soul assembled with the full intention of greasing your ear whistle.” We have no reason to doubt them!

Walter Lukens is an Austin singer-songwriter who plays “indie rock, R&B, and AM pop.” He released Never Understood in October and is touring with his “favorite band of sweet and tender hooligans,” The Sidearms.

Stay Funky my Friends,

~Mr. Nobody~

#keepFLAfunky

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