The electronic music genre is one that has grown quickly and vastly since we ushered in the new millennium. One unfortunate side effect is that the pool of talented and noteworthy musicians has been diluted; finding truly outstanding electronic music can be a struggle since everyone with a laptop is trying their hand in the scene.
For those on the search for something diverse, developed, and danceable, Skeetones are coming to the rescue with their first full-length album, “Retrospektive”.
Skeetones bring all of the hip-grooving, glow stick throwing, hands-in-the-air dancability of electronic music with the shredding, peaking, improv & funky flavor of a jam band. The “live dubstep” 5-piece doesn’t use any loops- everything is live, leaving lots of room to change things up and making no two shows the same. The band has used this to their advantage, constantly tweaking and re-arranging in their live shows, finally resulting in a solid 11-track debut that will make your brain tingle and your bass bump.
The first track “ ‘leven Hundred” starts the album off right with a catchy synth line, followed by Robby Brokamp dropping the beat on drums (yep, that’s right- live drums!). The hook will instantly get you moving and the melody of this Skeetones anthem will get stuck in your head, but you won’t mind. The track slips into “Knockout” with ninja style, bringing the tempo down and turning the bass up. The mix of ambient piano, down-tempo beats and wobbling bass is sneaky, mysterious, and just might give you goosebumps.
“Womped” seems like a misnomer when track three starts but once they set the mood with ambient chords and Mike Lees guitar effects, it happens- you get womped. The end of the song takes you into outer space and straight into the heavy guitar and rockin’ organ solo of “Linker”. The song starts off ambient and electronic but when Lees comes back in with the guitar melody it veers away from their electronic side and really displays their talents as a live band. This is a theme on the album, switching between songs that highlight their skills on the synthesizer, sample pad, and electronic drums and songs that show off what separates them from other dubstep artists- the live instruments. This ability to bring two different styles together, blending and jamming them, is the essence of Skeetones.
“Techtonics”, the title track of their first LP, has influences of sitar and world music, which are then joined by the band’s signature choppy vocal samples and screaming synthesizer. Track 6, “Stalagtite” is another great mix of digital and analog, with the electronics setting the tone beneath David Sweitzer on bass,Tyler Magnarini on organ, and Lees. The track drops down into the spooky sounds and eerie samples of “Victory”, one of their most standout songs in their live performances.
The groovy chords, funked out organ, and handclap beats of “General Sherman” will get you up and dancing, straight into the uptempo discreetly wompy “Retrospektive”. You may think you’re listening to a different band when “Cereal” begins, or perhaps that Magnarini is trying to seduce you, but it really is still Skeetones in their slow, chill jam band best. Until the middle of the song that is, when Lees busts out a head-banging heavy metal riff that takes the full band into a thrashing peak. The last track, “Big O”, opens with a dramatic piano solo before closing the album with a quick, untzed out dance track.
Each song on the album is unique and distinguishable, not only from each other, but from any other band in the Midwest scene. The album, which was released on Saturday, March 26, is available for download online or in CD form for $5. If you download it online, you can “name your price”, so even if your’e broke there’s no excuse for missing out on “Retrospektive”.