Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Strange Tones Take Port Angeles

Crisp late summer day, perfect for a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula for the Port Angeles Blues Festival. As we cruised through a grove of sunlit fir trees and slid into the parking lot, we could hear the sound of rock music. Oh, I mean Blues, 'scuse me.

Strange Tones do it up at Blues Festival

That's the thing about The Strange Tones. They're one of those hip retro bands that easily moves between genres: rockabilly, blues, rock, pop, even a little country. Playing ALL THEIR OWN ORIGINAL MATERIAL! With so many tribute bands and cover bands out there, it was refreshing and very interesting to listen to a full set of original songs. And they can really write. The husband-wife team of Julie and Andy Strange (easy to name your band when "Strange" is your real last name) write a nice mix of catchy, danceable, and melodic songs that harken back to music you'd hear in those little surfside roadhouses in southern California.

And on top of the great writing, their musicianship is top-notch. Julie plays a rockin' turquoise blue Strat, while husband Andy holds and rolls it on bass, and Suburban Slim growls and scowls a fine rhythm guitar and vocals. J.D. is one of those fine (and rare) drummers who knows dynamics, with that tricky combination of soft hands and a pounding bass, making it look easy. But wait! Remember those Pete Townsend guitar moves? All three (including bass) strut and arch in a line-up, coming at the audience. Love it!!

Their disk "Crime-a-billy," recorded in a secret, under-volcano location "to protect and serve your ears," literally takes control of your shuck and jive dancing feet. I especially like the fun and funny song "Something Stinks" which reminded me of early Brian Setzer material when he was at his finest. Melodic while punchy, the song deserves a better name! Get their "Crime-a-billy" disk on Meteor Sonic Records.

From Portland, Oregon, this band tours from Vancouver to Southern California in the summertime. They're back in their secret studio recording now. I'll be looking for their next gig!

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