For some of you, I suppose you might need a reason to check out new music you might not have heard before by a young group of super talented artists that are up and coming called Tank and the Bangas. If you saw and read my review of their fine new Verve Records album Green Balloon (click here) perhaps that was enough.
So here are some reasons to check these folks out:
- They are fun!
- They mash up a lot of genres, from hip hop to rock to soul to psychedelia to jazz to pop to... well ... you get the idea...
- They play real instruments!
- They sing!
- They have some smokin' horns!
- They are fun!
- Tank has a remarkable gift for storytelling, for singing a beautiful melody yet she can get weird, yet its all done with love, heart and soul...
- You can dance to it!
- You can tap your foot to it!
- They think!
- They make you think!
- They are fun!
Ok, so it is a bit curious when I stop to think about it. I haven't really heard an artist who has been able to pull off this sort of storytelling music jazz vibe since early Bruce Springsteen. Really. Now, Tank and The Bangas have nothing to do with Bruce musically but there is a vibe about them... about their fearlessness and willingness to embrace the potential of the live music stage. Like Bruce, they are able to create an immersive mood on stage and that jumps out of the recordings and comes through your speakers on Live Vibe 2.
And that is what makes their Record Store Day release "Live Vibe 2" such a jam for me. This is a live recording capturing this playful, sassy seductive sorcery of Tank and her band The Bangas. It is pretty remarkable how they shift from soft Barry White- smooth soul-jazz background groove-moods while she improvises song tales of the times a changing around us all ("DM Pretty") and then shifting into the mad freak pop abandon like "Bradys (Remix)."
The Bangas include drums, guitar, keyboards, bass, horns and multiple vocalists backing Tank.
This Record Store Day colored vinyl release actually sounds great for a modern live (probably digital soundboard) recording. It captures the live feel of the band and the performance yet its not super ambient (which I know that some of you out there in audiophile land prefer). It doesn't feel harsh or darkly digital-y (if you will). Crisp and clean, yes. It is a full bodied live recording which simply sounds nice, with nice live sounding acoustic drums, cymbals, fat Fender Rhodes type piano tones, rich vocals and an overall smooth vibe.
Did I mention that Tank and The Bangas are fun?
If you can't find the sweet, remarkably quiet standard-weight multi colored vinyl at your local independent music store, you can find the album streaming on popular music services in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit fidelity (click here for Qobuz HiRes and here for Tidal MQA).
Curiously you can also find Part 1 of Live Vibe which came out for Record Store Day in 2018 streaming there in 96 kHz, 24 bit fidelity. Click here for Qobuz and here for Tidal. Part 1 is apparently recorded in 2017 in New Orleans at a club called Gasa Gasa so I'm assuming Part 2 is from that same show.
If you like mixing up your musical touch stones, Tank and the Bangas might be a good group for you to explore. They live at this curious crossroads of lots of different influences, from jazz and funk to hip hop to soul to rock and blues and psychedelia.
But really, mostly Tank and the Bangas' music is a celebration of life, fun and joy. And isn't that what music is ultimately supposed to be about?