We’re a bit late on our coverage of Tweed’s debut studio release, but what better timing to put in our two cents on The Chunky Life than the night before the young jam band’s album release party at American Beauty? Tomorrow night in New York City, the Philadelphia-based / University of Delaware-conceived “jamchronica” band will take the stage with support from Brooklyn’s Cousin Earth and New Haven’s The Mushroom Cloud to showcase the new music of their 5-track EP, which was released independently on September 30th (RSVP to the show on Facebook). After listening to The Chunky Life several times over the past two weeks, it’s hard to believe AJ (guitar), Joe (drums), Dan (bass) and Jon (keys) just recently decided to commit to Tweed full-time in January. The raw volume of live performances they’ve rocked in 2016 paired with the professional precision of this debut studio recording reeks of a veteran jam band that’s been in the scene for several years.
One of my personal favorite songs on the album has to be the first track, “Big Sky.” The song’s funky build up featuring Daft Punk-like riffs and vocal samples lays the perfect framework for Jon’s energetic vocals to almost unexpectedly rip through an electronic haze. After this opening segment the band displays impressive chemistry while jamming through an entertaining call-and-response reprise. It’s not surprising to me that Joe and A.J. first met at a Disco Biscuits concert, because the entire EP displays Biscuit influences, as well as Lotus-like parallels. The sheer quality and uncanny resemblances of these three bands leads me to wonder, “what the hell do they dump in the water in Philadelphia?” The swooping synths, funky bass lines, tight drumming and playful strumming bestows an intergalactic aura to The Chunky Life that projects its listener to a utopic planet in a different galaxy where the music kicks ass. Another aspect I really enjoy about this album is the humor peppered throughout the EP. While “Big Sky” is euphoric and carefree, “Best Thing On the Menu” and “RL WRLD” are funny tracks that showcase the goofy character of each band member. After listening to The Chunky Life from front-to-back, it’s blatantly evident the guys are self-ascribed “best friends.”
I personally got to know the band this summer at different live performances and festivals across the Northeast. My first encounter with Tweed was at this summer’s Backwoods Pondfest, where they powered throw a torrential rainstorm to pull off their late-night performance for a crowd of devoted fans. Tweed’s live show is incredibly energetic, tight, and unpredictable, and consistently showcases unique improvisation that simply can’t be replicated night-after-night. This all being said, I got into Tweed based on their live performance, so this debut studio release only deepened my appreciation of the up-and-coming band. So don’t miss your opportunity at American Beauty tomorrow night to see Tweed animate this crisp debut release in one of their most comfortable environments, and if you can’t make it, take a good look at the remaining leg of their tour. Learn more about Tweed by reading our recent excslusive interview, and support the band by purchasing the album on BandCamp.