Some music just sounds better played live than in the studio. Part of the appeal lies in the spontaneity and energy that comes with playing a live show. The Brass-A-Holics know how powerful their live energy is, and capture it quite well on their debut release, I Am A Brass-A-Holic. The album flows like one of their live shows, sans jamming, complete with band shout outs and interjections of crowd chants. The pseudo-live nature of the disc gives the recordings a definitive stamp of identity.
In an earlier interview, the Brass-A-Holics discussed how they bring a grab bag of musical elements to the table, and the album captures these well. Of course, the primary element remains the brass band, with the sax, trumpet and trombone at the forefront of many of the tracks. The guitar leaps between funky strumming and shredding solos, while the keyboard embodies both Santana and electric jazz piano. The drums and persuasion are the other great work horses of the LP, as the band needs that Go-Go beat to keep them going.
The Brass-A-Holics also take the time to showcase their members’ diverse musical backgrounds. Track four, “Theme from Lupin III,” is the band’s spin on the theme song to the 70′s Japanese anime Lupin III – a nod to the background of keyboardist Keiko Komacki. One of the disc’s stand out tracks is “Hoochie Coochie Man (A.K.A Mannish Boy),” a cover of the Muddy Waters song performed in tribute to DC Go-Go legend Chuck Brown. The Brass-A-Holics add their own twist to the potent blues number with dirty, distorted guitar and punching horn lines.
Though they showcase their talents on these diverse tracks, the band still gels best on their own material. The album’s stand out track is “Get It In”, which allows the band to introduce their musical influences and balance them incredibly well. Hip-hop, soul, jazz, funk and the rest are brought together and gel effortlessly on the track, and the band truly shines.
New Orleans is known for hot weather, hot food and hot music, and the Brass-A-Holics are definitely one of the hottest things out of New Orleans now. After listening to this album, you too will say “I am a Brass-A-Holic.”
Key Tracks: “Get It In [feat. Heata Beast],” “A Good Night,” “Hoochie Coochie Man (A.K.A Mannish Boy) Tribute To Chuck Brown [Ft. $KK$]”
Originally Published on The Rotation, WGTB Georgetown Radio's Music Blog, on 10/28/13