Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday Spin: Mike Glendinning "Random Acts of Grunge Jazz"

Even after 5 years in Seattle I never did see a “grunge” show. I saw a few rock shows in between copious amounts of rap shows. But hey, the Saturday spin column has always been about the stuff a little left of center I find myself listening too at all hours of the night. So what better way to bring it back to life than with some like this: Mike Glendinning, Random Acts of Grunge Jazz.

My initial suspicions were proven slightly wrong as this meandering record will prove to be an very unique listen, if nothing else. Mike seems to be a talented musician playing guitar and holding down vocal duties and he has an decent line up behind him. Filled with fuzzy guitar chords, hard drums and some well placed strings this album comes off like Nirvana (sue me, I don't know another "grunge" band) meets Meg Christian and Herbie Hancock.

While it's never quite as catchy as Nirvana proved to be, it is as loud. It's never quite as experimental as Herbie proved he could be, but Mike and his band are certainly trying new things and working with rhythms in ways familiar to any number of Jazz bands. And while it's certainly never as pristinely quiet and serenely welcoming as the folk music of Meg Christian, they certainly do know how to convey a beautiful moment in between the pure chaos that can pervade some tracks.

“Dead Red Summer” proves the perfect example, after the noisy and screeching “Fade” we are given a bubbly, almost pop number that instantly brings to mind the The Beach Boys sound. Mike Glendinning has an uncanny ability to imitate a number of styles from a number of genres and he exercises that skill admirably here delivering a project that holds much to be found. Never repeating the same thought twice, everything is connected by his guitar.

You can get the album here.

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