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Twelve Stories High

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Album Review

While many alt-rock bands of the late '90s were doing the rage-filled, rap-rock-funk thing, few of them realized that not all funk was turbo-charged. The debut from New York City's Extra Virgin, Twelve Stories High, shows that they're one of the few bands who know how to truly let laid-back funk groove and breath, and how to combine it all with a hard rock edge. Imagining what a jam session between Blind Melon and the Authority — former bands of Extra Virgin's two leading members, guitarist Rogers Stevens and singer Rene Lopez — might sound like is not far from the new band's style. There's even more to this promising new band, however. Drum loops/beat boxes serve as the percussion on several tracks like "Fat Laces" and "20 Days," giving the music a hip-hop feel (or even Sly Stone circa Fresh). Stevens' hard rock roots surface on such tracks as "Goin Deep," but more serene compositions like "Sacrifice," "20 Days," "Hi-Fi Hearts," and the undisputed highlight, "My Universe," balance out the album. Also, Lopez's admiration for "the purple one," Prince, can be detected on such enjoyable funky tracks as the album opener "Rubber Chin" and "Hollow." In Twelve Stories High, Extra Virgin show that they might very well be on to a fresh, original style.


Formed: 1997

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s

After the unfortunate demise of Blind Melon in 1995, its surviving members eventually went on to other projects. A couple members formed the Seattle-based Luma, while guitarist Rogers Stevens formed the New York City-based Extra Virgin, with local singer Rene Lopez. Introduced by a mutual friend in late-1997, the pair automatically hit it off. Lopez's previous band, The Authority, was a popular funk-rock band in the area, and Extra Virgin's sound is often a merger between both Stevens' and Lopez's...
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Twelve Stories High, Extra Virgin
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