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the bdinas

Album review: The B'Dinas - Fruitcakes

(Photo by Brandon Forrest Frederick)
The B’Dinas’ Fruitcakes is a creative juggernaut of hopeful turmoil; heavy groove and sexy vocal driven filled longing. It is an instant local classic. 
“Fated,” the opening track, is an up-tempo rocker with a blazing guitar. It has a retro psychedelic keyboard reminiscent of the ‘60s San Francisco scene—a great way to kick off a record.
“Pretty Neat (Candy Store)” is the album’s second track, with some of my favorite lyrics on the entire collection. I love profanity in rock ‘n’ roll but it’s very rarely done with power and grace. Roger Waters may be the best at it, and while there are other singers with clever filthy mouths, The B’dinas has one for the books with the line, “All your promises don’t mean shit if I can’t hold the value in my hand.” True enough, it seems to be. I’ve been walking around for days singing this line. It’s tough but tender because it’s delivered by Katelyn Jamison’s forgiving voice.
“Nuts and Bolts” is one of the shortest tracks on the record. This is a tough tune that makes me want to walk down the street with a switchblade in one hand and a flower in another.
The tune “Crystal Ball” opens with lovers in the sack. The heroine is just lying there when she turns over to glare out the window at a blackbird. The song is a mid-tempo funky thing with an Edgar Allen Poe twist. This song moves from blues to ‘50s vocal pop into a light prog rock ending.
“Two Doves” is a gem, a mix of Little Feat and Marshall Tucker. It’s almost jam band in a retro Van Morrison way. The B’Dinas have two doves in their mind so it must be very peaceful there. They sing of doing “it” all night and everyone loves that idea… everyone! The guitar is terrific and the solo is so sleepy, soulful, and cold-blooded I’ve had to rewind it several times. The B’Dinas should shop this tune to Widespread Panic. It’s an absolute classic.
“Bread and Butter” conjures up a 90’s SoCal vibe mixed with a little Go-Gos meets Carole King. This one has a serious groove and great drums. “Can’t Shake It” has serious saxophone hooks and dark lyrics. Katy Guillen sings of wearing gray and having an unbearable burden baring down upon her chest she cannot shake. This one hints a bit of the Neville Brothers Yellow Moon era.
Goddamned” is another beautiful example how to use profanity the right way. “I see you got your eyes wide… you better hold on to your hi-fi,” and “I’ll be goddamned.” This one is going straight to the top of the list of songs to play and sing when things aren’t going my way.
The records closing track, “Answer Me,” is a dark soul tune with a guitar solo that probably peeled paint off the walls of the studio. It is the perfect way to say goodbye. 
The B’dinas Fruitcakes is worth it. It is obvious they have expended a tremendous amount of effort, musicianship, and creative songwriting talent into these eleven tracks. It has an intensely serious musical vibe with lighthearted narrative. It’s fun and it grooves. My only criticism so far of this record is I’m not listening to it on vinyl.
The B’Dinas are:
Katy Guillen – guitars/vocals/harmonica
Katelyn Jamison – keys/vocals/bass
Peter Lawless – bass/vocals/saxophone
Tess Jehle-Ray – drums/vocals
Fruitcakes was recorded by Jerod Rivers at Sangha Studios, and mastered by Bruce Barkelew at Mansion Studio.
-AJ Rider
AJ Rider was born in in the town where Jesse James died to a soldier and playboy bunny. His mother has let it slip on many drunken nights that he was conceived at the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair 1. He is a child of the sixties, has seen the grateful dead 126 times, and has a soft spot for the schoolteacher type.
Join The B’Dinas tonight at Coda, where they will be sharing the stage with Morningglories. Doors at 9:00 p.m. Facebook event page.

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Album review: The Clementines - Someday/Over (EP)

If one had not seen this band live, one would think that with the name The Clementines, this would be a roots country or bluegrass band. When you cue up the first song of their new EP Someday/Over, the first sounds you hear are a bass intro that sounds vaguely reggae-like, then the first song "Afraid" kicks in with a definite reggae feel. The next, "In Yesterday," changes the mood with some quiet folky acoustic guitar picking and understated vocal by Nicole Springer, then moves into a country shuffle. The addition of the rhythm section of Aaron Derrington and Travis Earnshaw has broadened the reach of this band, which started as an acoustic duo with Springer on vocals and guitar and Tim Jenkins on lead guitar.
The next song shifts gears once again with the instrumental portion of "Misery" sounding a little like middle-period Fairport Convention, with a driving beat and excellent vocals from Springer. This is followed by a quiet but passionate acoustic love song called "Only in The Darkness."
The EP ends with the sonic blast of the title track, which begins with some nice acoustic guitar and ethereal vocals, then builds to a galloping beat with lots of tasty lead guitar from Jenkins and a slight Spanish/flamenco feel.
Lots of bands lately are doing EP releases. Not only does this save them money, it's a good idea to keep new material coming out every few months in EP form instead of releasing a full-length album that would not likely be followed up for another year or so. This keeps bands in the public's eye (and ears) every few months with new releases, much like bands used to put out singles every three or four months back in the ‘60s. This new EP showcases The Clementines' versatility and works well as a nice introductory sampler for those not familiar with their work.
The Deli KC is helping present The Clementines’ album release show at Voodoo this Friday, May 9. Show starts at 8 p.m. The B’Dinas and Katy Guillen & the Girls will also be playing. Facebook event page. See below for a video of "In Yesterday," the first single off the EP. 

--Barry Lee
Barry is host of KKFI 90.1's Signal To Noise Sundays at 8 p.m. During the day he's Station Manager at KKFI. 

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