Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground - Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground Label: Suburban Home/Vinyl Collective
Release Date: May 26, 2009 (physical release)
Everyday Listeners beware, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground created an album not easily consumed by the common ear. Instead, they put fourth a collection of songs that are nothing short of ear candy status. They can be easily ingested by music junkies with ease, but for newcomers it is best to take these songs dose by dose. After Gatsby's American Dream went on hiatus, their bassist Kirk Huffaman, along with colleagues Kyle O’Quinn and Phil Peterson united to create a playful frolic, a self-titled album that expands beyond the typical register.
The physical release of Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground comes at an odd time. With unreleased songs floating around the Internet, Suburban Home Records released a CD version of an album that had been released on vinyl and digital mediums over a year before. Nonetheless, the nontraditional effort gives the very few listeners who would buy a physical copy of a digital release a chance to rock out in their cars, workspace, or wherever a compact disc is still the primary resource of audio. It doesn't matter the medium of the art, there is something inherently genius about this album that has been overlooked to this point.
Announcing, “Hey mamma, I’m such a selfish bastard” over a nimble acoustic guitar riff is a quirky, albeit worthy, means of introducing the scrambled mindset that dominates Kay Kay And His Weathered Underground. Set to a ragtime tempo, “Hey Mamma” pulls out all the stops with subtle maturity starting with a guitar shuffling through chords over Huffman’s throaty tone, transitioning to a muted trumpet solo, then to a reggae back beat, and finally to a grandiose closing. It’s hard to resist the magic being pumped through your ears.
On “Birds (On a Day Like Today)”, the piano plays its lively tune though its dreary undertone begins to appear just before the sound of vocalist Huffman clearing his throat. Though it seems a ballad about the Seattle rain is about to ensue, a bouncy rhythm drops, a smiling hook appears, and all of a sudden an irresistible head bobbing occurs. Half of the time it doesn’t even matter what is being said, the cadence of the melody is enough to drive the song’s most human capacity, the vocals. This kind of reaction is typical. As each song is introduced a different, voice intensive, and somewhat familiar musical setting appears. “Santa Cruz Lined Pockets” recollects the Indian influence made popular by the Beatles in the 1970s and“Ol’ Rum Davies” playfully mimics parlor music from the early 1900s. A focused use of effects and transitions throughout the album accentuate the sonic landscape, leading the listener from one moment of blissful obscurity to the next. There is a vision shown on this album that might never have come to fruition had Gatsby’s American Dream never gone on hiatus. Diligently mixed by the late Tom Pfaeffle, this album is a masterwork in tone and atmosphere.
The music beckons the listener's incorporation; be it dancing, finger snapping, hand clapping, chanting, or whatever the psychedelic current desires. Huffman, O'Quinn, Peterson, and company present (for your amused enjoyment) a delicately tangled mess; may you behold it with wonder.
I just finally downloaded this album like 2 minutes ago from that free digital album code Suburban Home sent me a month ago for signing up on their mailing list or whatever before I saw this review on the front page. Pretty coincidental. Anyways, I'm definately gonna give this album a listen tomorrow because of this review and all the praise everone on Ap.net is giving it.