Where in the fuck does the time go? When I saw that Deep Fried 5 was releasing its sophomore album tonight, my first thought was, “Wait, didn’t I just review their debut?” Nope, I did not just review their debut album — I reviewed it four freaking years ago. I sprouted a new patch of grey hair just thinking about that. Four years. An entire presidential term. This is blowing my mind. But then again, so is everything I’ve heard from the new album, Right Around the Corner. In these past four years, the Deep Fried 5 have honed their chops to the point where now the funk just flows through them, spilling onto tape with sweaty, gritty mastery. DF5 are joined by DeRobert and the Half Truths and Chris West and the Junkyard Horns.
—SEAN L. MALONEY
This time last year, we were referring to these local groups as “newcomers” and “fresh faces,” but now it seems like we’re bumping into them every time we turn around. That’s perfectly OK, though, as they leave us with a big ol’ grin every time that happens. Surfy, poppy post-punks Repeat Repeat released their debut full-length Bad Latitude in March, but they’ve been too busy touring the Southwest to have a proper hometown release party. They rectify that tonight with help from their friends, starting with lady rockers Churchyard, who enhance the grungy bounce of ’90s alterna-pop with interlocking guitar parts and unusual vocal harmonies. Next up, Bonnaroo-bound big band El El makes a seamless, infectiously danceable blend of Afrobeat and electro-pop. Rounding out the bill is Blank Range, who flavor their scrappy rock concoction with alt-country and a tastefully applied avant-garde sensibility, and who are also headed for the big field in Manchester this June.
— Stephen Trageser
For four years, Whit Hubner’s Mando Blues Show has been rollin’ and rockin’ on the airwaves of Radio Free Nashville. Recorded at Omega Lab, a full-service recording studio in an army tent tucked away in the wilds of western Davidson County, the show treats the blues as a thriving free-range critter rather than a sawdust-stuffed bit of musical taxidermy. This special birthday celebration brings the gutbucket out the woods and plops it down right at the gateway to Music Row. The festivities will feature 16 bands on two stages for a daylong jumpin’ juke of hittin’, gittin’ and 12-bar blues.
You know who had a helluva a 2013? Al-motherfuckin’-D, that’s who. The dude has been playing all sorts of shows — art, hip-hop, whatever kinda shows you’ve got — dropped a dope mixtape, and won a Best of Nashville. But 2014 has ushered in the same old plan for ol’ Al-to-the-D: Hustle, hustle, hustle. His first gig of the year features some of the city’s finest and funkiest bands and DJs, plus a whole slew of MCs, all throwing down in one giant orgy of a hip-hop night. Plus it’s all hosted by Music City’s Sultan of Suave, the Duke of Dashing, the one the only Grand Marshal of Gummy Soul, Mr. Wally Clark. Which is a damn solid way to start off your new year. The show is free, and it’s presented by Nashville Fringe Festival.
—Sean L. Maloney
Is it 2014 yet? No? Shit. Because we’ve heard that local funk crew Deep Fried 5 are releasing a new record in ’14, and we just can’t wait. It’s been almost four years since the last one — four years of constant shows and nonstop hustle, but no new tunes to bump at the crib — and we’re getting a little impatient. Oh, what’s that you say? Deep Fried 5 are playing a free show at The High Watt to film a new video that will accompany said new album? All right, that works for us, as long as the film crew is ready to spend its entire night capturing all of our funky-fresh dance moves. We’re like a Soul Train line in and of ourselves — think flailing limbs and massive amounts of polyester — and we could definitely turn that clip into the viral sensation of the year.
While steeped in musical history, Nashville has never taken to jazz as it has other American-bred genres of music — we’ve always favored twang over trumpets. Despite the city’s hillbilly heritage, local trombonist Oscar Utterstrom seems primed to find the audience fellow instrumentalists Philip Glass and Steve Reich have enjoyed over the past few decades. While Glass and Reich skew more orchestral, Utterstrom’s trombone playing channels the same sparse minimalism and restraint that’s helped the two composers earn much of their acclaim. Utterstrom’s 2012 release Departure comes across as a deconstructed and updated take on Kind of Blue or Mingus Ah Um, with its unhurried melodies and spacious accompaniment. At The 5 Spot, local pianist/composer/movie-score-man Michael Whittaker will join Utterstrom and his quartet for a night of seasonal tunes as part of the Nashville Fringe Festival.
What do you get when you cross South Park, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, King of the Hill and The Ricky Gervais Show? Frankly, I’m not sure either, but you can see it for yourself at the latest installment of angel of the arts Jan Bossing’s Nashville Fringe Festival. That’s when saxophonist Chris West and his criminally funky JunkYard Horns will debut a new cartoon — starring none other than themselves, along with a cast of fictional characters — during their performance at The Building in East Nashville. We’ve raved about the JunkYard Horns in these pages before, and for good reason: With seven of Nashville’s best horn players backed by one of the nastiest rhythm sections this side of Jupiter, they could peel the gold leaf off the Athena statue in Centennial Park. In fact, according to cartoon character Kyle Goldstein, they even made his scrotum bleed a bit. We always thought of The JunkYard Horns as an animated band, but this takes it to a new level. (In a related development, bassist Jerry Navarro’s bitchin’ ’fro finally gets the cinematic treatment it deserves!)