By Logan "The Beard" Standard
This one goes out to all the Funk, Jazz, Latin rock, and Salsa lovers out there. With elements derived from all of these realms, the up-and-coming ten-man jam band, Brownout, transcends a myriad of genres to deliver songs that will groove and shake you to your core. Their high-intensity beat waves and smooth, yet crunchy baselines will melt your face and energize your spirit. However, accurately conveying their musical niche is somewhat of an enigma. The band’s array of capabilities cannot be defined by one or two genres. The drummers, guitarists, and bassist lay out a velvety rhythm while quartet consisting of a trumpet, a trombone, a saxophone and a baritone saxophone sensually lace the beat with jazzy breakdowns and brass fluctuations. Just play “Stormy Weather” or “I Won’t Lie” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
The Austin, Texas based band got their start as a Latin Funk/Rock band called Grupo Fantasma (who I also highly recommend looking into), releasing 5 albums in the early 2000’s and refashioned themselves into Brownout in 2005, turning up the funk level a couple notches. They had been experimenting with new styles, predominantly drawing inspiration from Carlos Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, James Brown, and Funkadelic, and their hard work on their first 7” LP gained so much support that a follow up album was demanded by the fans. Homenaje was released in 2008 and exploded in the local Austin music arena. The album won an Austin Music Award for Best Latin Contemporary Band in the same year, actually beating out themselves (as Grupo Fantasma).
Brownout has been exploding ever since, releasing two more albums, Aguilas y Cobras in 2010 and Oozy in 2012. Simply put, their music forces you to groove. The jazzy latin instrumentals blend perfectly with the idiosyncratic guitar riffs and sweaty brass sections. Adrian Quesada, guitarist of the band, described Oozy as “big, bombastic, and at times psychedelic”. Personally, I think “at times psychedelic” is putting it lightly, seeing as their music could be a drug in and of itself. Oozy is explosive and intoxicating from start to finish. Currently, Brownout is experimenting with a different style, touring the American Southwest, as they’re prone to do, as a Black Sabbath cover band rightly dubbed Brown Sabbath. Oozy could even be Brownout’s way of paying homage to the legendary Ozzy Osbourne. Regardless, I urge any seeking to delve out of the mainstream into a jazzy, funky, salsa breakdown machine to try Brownout. And for fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, if you brown out at a Brownout concert, you get bonus points.
Edited by Valerie Reich
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