Brand new press for "San Malo!"
"the graves brothers combine near-suicidal excess with hairpin-turn discipline to create
the most confounding and commanding rock album of the year."
– John Shelton ivany
Graves Brothers Deluxe
The Graves Brothers Deluxe, out of San Francisco, is maybe the best
band you never heard of, a bass-heavy, Beefheart-bent trio, reared on a steady diet of punk rock, New Orleans funk and late
night jazz. Stoo Odom, a veteran of Thin White Rope and Subarachnoid Space, leads from the low-end, thumping hallucinatory,
harried bass grooves while whispering sinisterly overtop. He's supported by Noel Redding's old touring band, long-time compatriots
Willie the Mailman on guitar and sax, and Marco Villalobos on drums.
Malo is the Graves Brothers' first album since Hurricane Katrina turned Odom's life upside down, and, as such, is darker,
bleaker, more devastating (and devasted) in its black-hearted humor. A New Orleans native, Odom spent days searching for his
mother and elderly stepfather after the storm. His stepfather had been in the hospital for spinal surgery when Katrina hit
and was eventually evacuated to Houston... though it was some time before anyone told Odom about it. The storm turns up periodically
throughout the album, both as a metaphor (usually for love) and as its own massively destructive real-world self. It's evident
in the slinky, skanky, krautishly driving "Five Foot Category Five," in a heart "never built to code"
in "My Heart Burned Down" and in a general aura of grin-and-bear-it survival. "I'm fine," Odom leers repeatedly,
though in the song of the same name, he is tethered to battered IV lines and anything but fine.
All this makes San Malo sound like a downer, but, in fact, it is manically entertaining.
The bass and drums lock into distended, body-moving grooves. The guitar sets off little firestorms of pedal-effected mayhem.
The lyrics curl up into smoke-clouds of surreal, elliptical imagery. It's a party fueled by world's last functioning generator,
a little giddy, a little desperate and ultimately doomed...but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable while it lasts. #San
Malo# is certainly brutal and unsparing, but also, in a weird way, extremely fun - a difficult balance, but one worth
DOWNLOAD: "San Malo National Anthem",
"Five Foot Category Five", "I'm Fine" JENNIFER KELLY
OX FANZINE (Germany):
Eine wilde Mischung aus Psychdelic, Psycho, Rock, Surf und Konzept liegt dem Album zugrunde. Vor allem gibt es
sogar eine Story, die die Songs nacherzählen, sie berichten von der versunkenen Piratenstadt San Malo.
sind die Geschichten der Songs sehr schräg, könnten manchmal ein wenig mehr zurücktreten hinter dem Sound.
Am besten sind die zurückgehaltenen Gitarren, die auf einen Einsatz warten, zögern und sich dann langsam in den
Vordergrund spielen und mit ihrem Sound manchmal unberechtigterweise hinter dem Gesang zurückbleiben.
dann sind da die Tracks, wo die Gitarren sich fast wie THE SURFARIS anhören, und dann wieder so freie Improvisationen,
dass man an Noise erinnert wird. Eigentlich müsste man es unter Psychedlic-Surf einordnen, wenn es die Kategorie geben
Ein cooles Fusion-Album der skizzierten Genres, für jeden Geschmack ist etwas dabei und zu einem
neuen Süppchen zusammengebrutzelt. Manchem mag es vielleicht ein wenig zu viel an Zutaten sein, aber man kann es gut
NEW YORK WASTE:
GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE triumph with San
Malo with deep dark basement sounds thumping their way thru your consciousness. There are serious grooves so turn the lights
to dim, switch yur brain off, ‘n strobe out…
verbaast het me dat The Graves Brothers Deluxe een niet al te grote naam is in bandjesland. Het kwartet uit San Francisco
doet namelijk vreselijk hun best om niet te klinken zoals al die andere bandjes. Dit doen ze door allerlei stijlen te mixen.
Aanvankelijk lijkt het op hun derde schijf San Malo om post-rock te gaan, maar al snel worden er andere wegen bewandeld. Er
is bijvoorbeeld veel variatie door de mix van new wave, noise, jazz, blues, psychedelica en avant-garde. Toch is er een grote
overeenkomst tussen alle stijlen: ze klinken 'dirty'. San Malo is door de afwisseling geen gemakkelijk album, maar wel een
album waarop je nieuwe dingen blijft ontdekken en dat is wat mij betreft heel wat waard. Vreemd genoeg wordt dit album uitgebracht
op een Grieks label, maar dat het al uitgebracht wordt, is al heel wat waard. Het zou namelijk zonde zijn als we hiervan verstoken
waren gebleven. Nederland doen ze trouwens eenmalig aan. Om precies te zijn staan ze (gratis te zien!) op 18 juni in de Patronaat
in Haarlem. Als ik in de buurt woonde dan ging ik zeker kijken, maar drie uur reizen lijkt me dan weer wat overdreven. Al
ben ik zeer benieuwd wat ze er live van weten te maken.
Brothers Deluxe - San Malo
I first encountered
Graves Brothers Deluxe a couple years ago on a split with Boxcar Satan, so I kind of knew what I was getting when the new
album San Malo arrived. That being said, the band is not any easier to classify than it was at first. I know this
much. If you are looking for 3-minute pop nuggets, keep looking.
The guitar on this album is rather hypnotic, particularly in the first couple tracks. Frankly,
if you can think of a better word for the guitar on "I'm Fine," I'd love to hear it. When this song is playing,
it doesn't feel so much like you are listening to it, but rather that it is washing over you. The distorted guitar and the
uptempo drums seem to surround you. The band follows that with "Splinters," one of a couple songs that features
some skronking saxophone. Maybe it's the saxophone, and maybe it's the lyrics, or quite possibly, it's the utter chaos,
but something about this song feels a bit like beat poetry. Performed by Captain Beefheart. An even better example of that
beat poetry feel is "Song for Mating Mailmen." (And you thought no one would ever write a song for that particular
group of people.) It is real easy to imagine some guy in a beret with a French cigarette hanging from his lips reciting a
poem while this song plays in the background. Perhaps there is no better example of the difficult to describe quality than
"Papio Papio (the Swamp Ape Again)." This is just a song with all-out blazing energy and a fair amount of discord.
I doubt you have too many songs like this one on your iPod.
The thing about this band and this album is that as you go through it, you realize you're
hearing something completely different. You'll probably also realize that you won't really know how to explain this album
to your friends. But let's face it, that's one of the great things about music: passing along music that is truly different
and perhaps a little challenging to listen to. I mean, if everyone sounded like a Grammy winner (that is to say, bland and
safe), music wouldn't be worth exploring. Suffice it to say that if you explore music that is not easily pigeonholed or
compared, this is a band and an album that you'll want to check out.
Graves Brothers Deluxe - San Malo (gravesbrothers.com)
Not only is “San Malo” inventive,
but it’s also an enjoyable throwback to bands like Nick Cave
& The Bad Seeds, Southern Culture on the Skids, or any of those
cool-as-fuck, demi-punk garagey bands. You know what I mean, like
the bands who’s vinyl albums you have a hard time trying to
get rid of, because you know they’ll never come up with a
band as eclectic as they are.
Enthusiasm and melody are certainly not a
problem here. Songs like “I’m Fine,” “Vulture
Sing,” or “Noisy King of Nothing” are low-brow,
compressed with high energy, and have a polite blowtorch vocals that
could boil over at any minute.
When the tempo
slows down on numbers like “Vulture Sing,” or “My Heart
Burned Down Today,” they draw you in like a hypnotist.-
Tantalizing, taunt, and tight.
The Graves Brothers Deluxe’s pull out
all the stops for the neo-psychedelic, spiderwebed sound of “Noisy
Kind of Nothing.” A running bass line (just about every song
here), is dominate, but not forceful, and is well supported by a
pulsating drum kit, marked by cymbal rolls and floor tom flourishes.
Playing with punky venom, but without pop
slickness, the band’s goth-horror edge offers doses of
humor, and tongue-in-cheek-truths.
Bands like The Graves Brothers Deluxe are sometimes viewed
as a novelty act, but they easily avoid such trappings by remaining uniquely
cool. “Song for Mating Mailmen” squashes any
thought of pigeon-holing this band. Creative and fun, it’s time to
turn off the TV, unplug the video games, and tune into something
unique and original!
Graves Brothers Deluxe - San Malo (Greek import
CD, Green Cookie, Progressive)
So many bands either go for a total pop/rock approach...or experimental music so weird that
it alienates most listeners. The guys in Graves Brothers Deluxe manage to tread on the fine line that separates
both worlds. The band has been very busy over the past few years recording their own music and working with a wild array of
different artists in all kinds of different mediums. San Malo is right up there with the Brothers' best recordings.
Some of these tracks are moody distorted pop/rock...while others feature more abstract sounds and ideas. Interestingly, the
album is being released on the Greek Green Cookie label. Strange how many cool credible American bands find far more support
in other countries (?). Ten groovy cuts here that glide all over the audio map. Our favorite tracks include "I'm Fine,"
"My Heart Burned Down Today," "The Ballad of San Malo," and "Noisy Kind of Nothing." Another
killer release from one of the true American classic underground bands. TOP PICK.
ORANGE COUNTY MUSIC EXAMINER:
Schwindy's indie music spotlight: Graves Brothers Deluxe (4 of 5 stars) Let's start this off with a little quiz. Choose the best answer. You know you are an
indie music artist when:
a. You play a gig for a
dozen or fewer people.
b. You sell your merchandise from the back of a van.
c. You end up on a Greek record label.
OK, I don't know exactly how Graves Brothers Deluxe ended up on Green Cookie Records from Thessaloniki, Greece. However, it's not surprising to me that the band couldn't find a label in the US. This is a band that plays the
antithesis of 3-minute pop songs. San Malo is a collection of songs that includes a lot of heavily distorted, hypnotic guitar, and skronking saxophone. Oh, and lyrics
that sound like they should be recited by some beat poet smoking a French cigarette and topping off an all-black outfit
with a black beret. Either that or Captain Beefheart. A couple examples of the sort of far-out beat feel are "Splinters"
and especially the last song on the album, "Song for Mating Mailmen." Yes, someone wrote a song for mating mailmen.
(It's about time.) And yes, it's easy to imagine this song being the backdrop for someone's poetry reading.
But that isn't even the song I would classify as the most unusual on
the album. That designation belongs to "Papio Papio (the Swamp Ape Again)." This song has tremendous energy. And
tremendous discord. This is not the sort of song you play for people who enjoy the Grammys. Well, it is if you want to chase that person away. Trust me, I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean, quite simply
that this song is the perfect antithesis of all things Grammy and pop.
I have never seen your music collection, but I think it is fair to assume that you don't have many albums
like this in your collection. According to the one-sheet, this is a "post-Katrina retelling of St. Malo, Louisiana,
a swamp village founded in 1763 by Filipino deserters of Spanish galleons." All I can say is that if this is the soundtrack
of a village, it must be one really unusual place. WARNING: This album will take some getting used to. It's not one that
you can sit down with and immediately start singing along. But if you ask me, it's this sort of album that makes music worth
exploring. The musical world would be pretty dull if every band played easily digestible pop songs. Graves Brothers Deluxe
most certainly does not. If you are looking for something different, and a little challenging, give this album a try. I
think you'll find it's worth the challenge.
PIRATE CAT RADIO:
THE GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE
/ San Malo CD / Green Cookie Records / 2009
Brilliant bad-attitude rock expertly produced by L.A. legends Geza X and Paul Roessler. World-weary
in a totally pissed-off way that’s also very funny, with some of the tastiest slide guitar I’ve heard in years.
BONUS: Features PCR ace DJ STOO ODUM on stringed instruments, vocals, and way-offbeat songwriting.
1 “San Malo National Anthem” (instrumental goodness)
4 “Five Foot Category Five”
6 “My Heart Burned Down Today” (catchy and danceable – a hit!)
EAR CANDY MAGAZINE:
The Graves Brothers Deluxe, “San Malo” (Green
Cookie Records) Rating: 4
I kept scratching my head on this one. I love
it, no question about it, but I was puzzled at why I was so drawn in. Then it hit me. The stripped down, beat driven arrangements
and haunting lyrics remind me of the late great Mark Sandman and his jazz/experimental work with Morphine. If you can imagine
a musical stew of Morphine, Beck and Wall of Voodoo with a pinch of Gang Of Four and the Sex Pistols thrown in. Now picture
Frank Zappa stirring the pot then you’re about halfway there.
This album is the musical re-telling of
a swamp village in Louisiana founded in 1763 by Filipino deserters of the Spanish galleons. Heady stuff indeed but these guys
not only pull it off, they’ve created an album that the listener can really sink their teeth into for years to come.
This isn’t disposable music that loses its flavor after a few listenings.
Foot Category Five” has an eerie swamp groove that will have you checking the skies and battening down the hatches.
“My Heart Burned Down Today” sounds a bit like the Sex Pistols “Submission” covered by a young Talking
Heads. “The Ballad Of San Malo” is a mesmerizing personal favorite. Highly recommended stuff.
THE BIG TAKEOVER:
Big Takeover > essays
DENNING (FEATURING STOO ODOM OF THE GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE), PART II
16 January 2010
The Graves Brothers Deluxe were one of the first three rock bands I got into when I moved
to the Bay Area, the only one not named after a front-man (in contrast to Kelley Stoltz and fellow Mississippi Exile, Hudson
Bell), and the only one for which I jumped around in an Apesuit, on our package shows for the now defunct Good Forks record
label (before my accident).
one of the most danceable of the Bay Area bands, the band’s first release in 5 years, SAN MALO, and their first on Greece’s GREEN COOKIErecords (an implicit commentary
on the paucity of quality/viable Bay Area independent labels), has even tighter grooves, from the rhythm section of Marco
Villalobos and Stoo Odom, while stepping their “noise rock” jams up a notch; the glorious melodic
cacophony of Willie The Mailman’s (ex-Residents ) sinuous and jagged guitar/saxophone lines recall Albert Ayler, as
“backed” by the rhythm section of The Minutemen, if not Firehose). Perhaps it’s a result of 5 years of touring
since 2005’s FILTER FEEDERS, or their work on the MAHIKARI album (Birdman 2008),
with Japanese noise-rock legends SEIICHI YAMOMOTO and MAKOTO KAWABATA, but many of the tracks on SAN MALO have a much more expansive
instrumentalization, while the words—-never a central aspect to GBD—-take even more of a
backseat. Perhaps because GBD’s singer is first and foremost its bassist, the words are usually only important insofar
as they call attention, often playfully, to the inadequacy of words, as on FILTER FEEDER’s “…And
The Conversation Turned To Sex” or SAN MALO’s “Noisy Kind Of Nothing.”
At the same time, San Malo is the most melodic,
and tuneful LP in the GBD’s catalogue—-not that melody was ever that important for GBD. But, with the addition of
Allison Lovejoy on keyboards, many of the new GBDcompositions are much more “college radio”
friendly, without sacrificing anything about what makes them such an engaging live band. I recently sat down with Stoo Odom
to talk about GBD and
his work with Nara Denning. Here’s some videos.
“It came from the Id,”
Interview, with Stoo and Nara