Animal Pants (independent). Experimental rock can go two ways: great or painful. Luckily, local experimental/hiphop/soul group Animal Pants got the right combination of weird, ethereal and rocking on their eponymous debut album.
The group has a knack for tossing subtle effects and gentle sounds that grow like ripples from a drop of water in songs such as “Yellow Stripes.” Yet more demanding and forceful tracks like “Deflowered Sheets” hark back to the sounds of old Radiohead albums, with touches of psychedelic rockers Portugal. The Man and The Postal Service, albeit with a much darker edge. Animal Pants declares to listeners, “What I wanna do is smash your face in the ground,” with self-analyzing lyrics like “I’m not violent/ But I like to think I am/ That’s just something that I grew up with, man,” right from the first track, “Desert Without My Dad.”
The colorful album art, done by local artist Thomas Ward III, helps add to the overall oddness, although it’s hard to distinguish if they’re images of people or monsters or aliens and it’s even harder to determine what’s actually happening in the scenes. Yet it all works for the Animal Pants group of drummer, vocalist and percussionist Giovanni Giardina, guitarist, vocalist, effects/samples master and per cussonist Jeffrey York, Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ player Nick Mazzeo, current bassist Matthew Golombisky and former bassist Jeremy Vecchi (who is featured on half of the album), who will celebrate with a CD release party at Al’s Wine and Whiskey, 319 S. Clinton St., on Thursday, Oct. 27, 10 p.m. Call 703- 4773 for details.
Even though the Thanksgiving holiday weekend show is still a month away, tickets are reportedly selling out fast to see a concert starring local stalwarts Gary Frenay and George Rossi plus a batch of special guests at the 200-seat Auburn Public Theater, 8 Exchange St., Auburn. The show, slated for Saturday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m., has lured an impressive group of friends to join them on stage, such as Loren Barrigar, Pete Heitzman and Karen Savoca, The Dean Brothers, Ted Williams and Cathy Lamanna, plus Frenay’s musician-son Nick Frenay and Li’l Georgie’s band mates from The Hungarian Horns, including Jeff Stockham, Frank Grosso and Don Williams.
According to Gary Frenay, “The response and feedback have been extremely positive,” and the show promises to be an intimate experience for all those in attendance. Tickets are $15 and available online at www.auburnpublictheater.org. For more information, call 253-6669.
Cause and Effect
Local trio Johnson & Company will bring the funk and their new independent CD Funky Guitar Man to a fundraiser supporting the Stevens-Swan Humane Society of Oneida County on Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 p.m., at Club Monarch, 16 Erie St., Yorkville. Costumes are welcome at the double-whammy benefit/CD release party and the $5 admission will go directly to the shelter.
The humane society began in the early 20th century when founders Gustavus Swan and James N. Steven combined their two agencies, both of which were concerned with protecting animal welfare. The first animal shelter was purchased in 1949 and although the organization has evolved since then, the mission to care for homeless, unwanted, abused and injured animals has remained the same.
For more on the event, visit www.stevens-swan.org or call 738-4357. And to check out information on the band, visit www.johnsonandcompanyband.com, and keep an eye peeled for a Local Hop review of Funky Guitar Man in an upcoming issue of the Syracuse New Times.
The Music Buzz
• Since its debut in January 2008, the Words and Music Songwriter Showcase series has been bringing artists together with listeners on a personal level, as the likes of Joe Driscoll, Mike Powell, Dusty Pas’cal, Loren Barrigar, Ashley Cox, Isreal Hagan and many more have performed intimate sets of acoustic music. The series, which is co-sponsored by the Folkus Project and WAER-FM 88.3, begins a new season on Saturday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m., as Liz Strodel, drummer and vocalist of The Super Delinquents, and Steven T. Winston, bassist and vocalist of Los Blancos, will fire up solo performances at Jazz Central, 441 E. Washington St. Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers returns to host the showcase as Strodel and Winston swap songs and stories throughout the night. Tickets are $10.
For reservations, e-mail email@example.com and visit www.wordsand music.info to listen to songs.
• The band Mark Doyle and the Maniacs is accepting applications to join their blues party. There will be no open auditions, only auditions held after an initial screening process. Applicants should be comfortable with vocals. A multi-instrumental second guitarist with skills on keyboards and/or harp is preferred. Chops, necessary gear and a professional positive attitude are required. A current bio and photos as well as flexible day-job hours and a video link of a live performance are necessary. An MP3 or CD demonstrating examples of British blues-style playing and singing is also recommended. Submit applications to Maniacs manager Greg Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Central New York Bluegrass Association presents another day full of bluegrass jamming and showcases on Sunday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m., at the American Legion, 13 E. Main St., Marcellus. The day kicks off with a “slow jam” from noon to 2 p.m. for beginners and those who enjoy a slower pace to work on their craft. Showcase group Cincinnati Creek, based in the Adirondack foothills, will perform from 3 to 5 p.m. with their mix of bluegrass, original tunes and gospel. With Lori Thompson on mandolin, Chris Pepe on banjo, Gary Dygert on guitar and Cathy Martin on bass, the quartet delivers songs, many written by Thompson, inspired by family, friends and local folklore. Admission is $10, with children under age 16 and accompanied by an adult getting in for free. For more information, visit www.cnyba.com or call Kathy Kinney at 572-2247.
—Compiled by Jessica Novak