Album Release Event: Zen Robbi’s “Dead Man’s Hand” January 9th
2016-01-03 · By Deana Rodriguez
If you live near Long Beach and aren’t yet familiar with Zen Robbi, you’ve been missing a world-class, local-good thing. Local rock band Zen Robbi’s fifth album, Dead Man’s Hand, drops on January 5th 2016, and they are ringing-in their new tunes with a January 9th live performance that’s not to be missed!
The band consists of Mic Dangerously on guitar and lead vocals; Scotty Wittenberg on drums and backing vocals; Timmy Too Tall on bass and backing vocals; and Jamie Bullock on keyboards and backing vocals. If you want to hear their latest collection of rock-funky-disco-metal-reggae-jazzy songs, make sure to get to the OPM Lounge in Huntington Beach for the Dead Man’s Hand January 9th release party.
I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release listen to their new music. All the songs on the album are good fun; they’re diverse and full of clever lyrics and creative music played by honest-to-goodness, seasoned musicians. Here’s my song-by-song aural eval in wordy form.
MY ALBUM EXPERIENCE
Refreshingly, the vibes and styles on Dead Man’s Hand change with each tune. One of my favorite things about this album is the collection of social, musical, and local references that add to the feel-good thrum in those Mic Dangerously vocals. I dare you to try and catch them all!
When I started listening to the album, I had two 13-year-old boys in the room, swinging their heads up and down to the intro song, “Dead Man’s Hand.” It’s a solid and muscular song, with a guitar that meets you at the door like a tattooed, 7-foot-tall bouncer who smiles toothlessly and lets you into the club.
And then… The room lights up. The disco ball drops down. The shoes come off: “That’s My Jam” starts playing! Honestly, any song that includes reference to the “Humpty Dance” (and so much more!) is automatically on my list of favorites.
The moods and styles on the album change with ease. “A Sunny Day on Broadway” includes a little Zeppelin feel, a touch of Gorillaz, and some Snoop off in the background. Slip some falsetto and some LBC rapping in while the top is down, and I can feel the sunshine and the sand in my shoes. Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah! The next song, “Disco Addict” kicks off with a Bon-Jovi-like desert vibe and moves in a direction that’s heavy enough to fill your ears and give you a musical fix.
By the fourth song, you may have assumed that those two 13-year-olds I mentioned earlier had moved on to their KSP gaming or Minecrafting – but no. They stuck around to listen. That’s saying a lot, people.
My son Robbie (no relation to Zen) particularly enjoyed “Lazy Boy.” He called it fun and lighthearted, and he said “it sounds like there’s a little bit of Whitewood’s ‘Beach Walk’ in there.” Considering that I’d never heard of Whitewood, I googled it (and I totally prefer “Lazy Boy”).
The next song, “Rollercoaster Junkie,” starts off fast and fun – it has a Carnival-robot-churchy-keyboard-vibe with a tasty, Timberlakey glissando added to the ride… It’s a rollercoaster of a song with the chunky sax hitting all the turns.
Robbie’s buddy says he preferred the next song, “Fire.” He heard the Weezer influence right away, but when I mentioned that I heard a Spandau Ballet guitar-echo in there, he just glanced sideways at me … And then the song picked up and went full-on rock & roll on us, so I just stopped talking. When the next song, “My Baby” came on, I thought “Ha! What is that … Ska? Metal? … Yes, please!” Where’s the mosh pit?
And to top-off the lyrical Zen Robbi cake, they provide you with “The Privateer.” It’s pirate-storytelling made fun. It’s got a throaty, repeated Yo-HOOOOO throughout, and the word booty in the lyrics, and a guitar that keeps up with the yummy, jungle-drum beat. Enough said? Never! I could go on, but I’ve got plans to go learn all the lyrics by heart now.
Zen Robbi. Check ‘em out online at iTunes, Amazon, etc. Physical CDs will be available for purchase at www.ZenRobbi.com and at their live shows. Zen Robbi is also on facebook and twitter @ZenRobbi. Their release party will be on January 9, 2016 at the OPM Lounge in Huntington Beach. Email ZenRobbiMusic@gmail.com to find out how you can get a VIP wristband for the show!