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The Flying Ballerina

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Album Review

Creating a musical concoction that mixes Minutemen-like arrangements with a high-school marching-band sensibility, this second volume from Drums & Tuba's Water Damage reissue series is a refreshingly unique entry into the rock canon. With Neal McKeeby lassoing guitar lines around Brian Wolff's tuba as D. Boon once did with Mike Watt's basslines, images of the Minutemen are conjured through tight grooves and sharp improvisation. Still, nothing about this band is typical, as the changing tempos of the propulsive attack in "Chummus, a Challah, and a Whole Lot of Chutzpah" creates a mournful quality, which at times seems almost akin to that of a spaghetti western. Further, the guitar seizures and somewhat progressive movements of "Blazevitch" filter early Led Zeppelin-like eeriness through Captain Beefheart dissonance. Interestingly, the breakneck rendition of Charles Mingus' "Boogie Stop Shuffle" and a faithful version of the Minutemen's "God Bows to Math" show a band that is just as comfortable paying tribute to influences. Overall, much more than a novelty, Drums & Tuba make for strangely compelling listening.


Formed: 1995

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Drums & Tuba tapped a variety of musical traditions and experimentation to forge its eclectic identity. The New York-based trio carried its message home by combining rock, Afro-beat, jazz, punk, electronica, New Orleans brass band traditions, and funk into a heady mix of grooves and song-structured instrumental music. Drums & Tuba, consisting of Brian Wolff (tuba, trumpet, trombone), Anthony Nozero (drums, percussion, electronics), and Neal McKeeby (guitars), started to focus more attention on electronica...
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The Flying Ballerina, Drums & Tuba
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