As rock music became "really big business", radio station playlists shrunk to the point were the most "popular" songs and/or groups were heard numerous times during the day because...well, that's what the listeners really want. So, radio stations found their niche and stayed there until their ratings dropped then the station would find a new niche (the higher the ratings, the more it cost to advertise.) It became harder and harder for local groups to get radio play and many groups started to plays lots of "covers" so that they could still get gigs.
But I must admit that I still like rock music and, even though I write about jazz and have a Jewish Music radio show, every once in a while I just need to hear something with a hard beat, hot guitar or wailing sax and lyrics I need to strain to hear (think "Exiles on Main Street" by The Rolling Stones.)
Several years ago, I met Kevin Day and Jason Krug who had just released a CD under the monicker "DayDrug." I liked the "poppy" tunes, the strong rhythms and guitar work, and the irony in the lyrics. Both played in various bands or did solo gigs and were "DIY-ers" (do it yourself.) Composer/guitarist Day has a sextet known as Gigglejuice and they have just self-released a new recording, "Driving Around In Circles." The use of acoustic guitar and saxophone may remind some of the Dave Matthews Band - that influence is there but I hear echoes of 70s British group like Family or the West Coast sound of Arthur Lee & Love. The agile rhythm section of Brendan Kearney (bass) and Juan Rivera (drums) plus the fine percussion work of Chill-i Tulimieri (who adds didgeridoo to one song)gives the music its heartbeat and solid bottom while the saxophone and flute playing of John Higgins permeates the tunes (he plays behind the vocals and doesn't just wait for his solo.) The blend of the two guitarists (Day on acoustic and Justin Jackson on electric) really fills out the sound - they understand the give-and-take that gives tracks such as "D Minor" and "You Draw Me In" its dynamic tension. The latter track plus "Frozen In Time" are true burners and under the right circumstances, could be hit singles (do they even have those anymore.)
Recorded at home in East Hampton and mastered by Michael Arafeh at The Coffeehouse Recording Studio in Middletown, "Driving Around In Circles" is quite enjoyable and no throwback to earlier eras in rock music (influenced by, yes - imitation, no way.) To find out more, go to www.gigglejuice.com. Even better, the group is playing this Saturday night (July 24) at The Governor's Tavern, 26 East High Street in East Hampton. Call 866-578-8508 for the time the band hits the stage.
An acoustic version of the band will be appearing at the 2010 Heirloom Tomato Fest, held on Sunday August 22 on the grounds of Upper Forty Farm, 86 Nooks Hill Road in Cromwell. For more information, call 860-632-9029.