Weekly Abysmal Videos – 7/19/10 (O Canada!)

One of my two favorite new albums is the debut by Canadian rockers Crash Karma.  All four members have histories in excellent Canadian bands going back into the 90’s and my intention for this week’s WAV was to post the video for my favorite song by Crash Karma front man Edwin’s former band I Mother Earth.  Then, I thought it would be cooler to take a moment to celebrate the histories of all four members.

Yeah, I’m a fan just looking for an excuse to write something more about them…and in doing so, I discovered that bassist Amir Epstein’s previous band Zygote had some great jam, too.   And with that, enjoy (Abysmally, of course) 4 of my favorite songs from the pasts of Edwin, Mike Turner, Jeff Burrows and Amir Epstein…then check out their official video for Fight from the Crash Karma CD.






The Tea Party – Exotic Instrument Demonstration

This was a really classy move by a young and extremely talented band.

This video was included as a multi-media piece on The Tea Party’s Alhambra acoustic CD and is a 9 minute demonstration and explanation of the exotic instruments they used on their seminal The Edges of Twilight CD.

I remember interviewing these guys back in my radio days before their November 1995 show at The Varsity in Baton Rouge, LA and if memory serves me correctly they told me they blew most of their recording budget on these exotic instruments.  If this is true, it was money well spent.  Enjoy Abysmally…

The Tea Party – LIVE: Intimate & Interactive (DVD)

i&i 2007 Linus Entertainment

I’ve liked this band since I first heard their debut single “The River” from their Splendor Solis disc back in 1993.  I’ve been a total fan since their classic The Edges of Twilight disc was released in 1995.  A band of total pros making incredible music, if perhaps taking themselves a tad too seriously at times.

Live: Intimate & Interactive was recorded for the Canadian program MuchMusic (in 1998 following the Transmission CD and 2000 following Triptych), in a very intimate setting with a very appreciative audience.  Watching this DVD was a reminder of why The Tea Party’s performance in November 1995 at The Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, LA (opening for Ian Moore) remains to this day the best live performance I’ve seen from any band in my life.   The variety of instruments and sounds was/is just incredible…especially when you consider that they’re a three piece.

While Jeff Martin is the front man and definitely a stylish guitar player (he’s known for numerous alternate tunings) with plenty of chops, it’s Jeff Burrows and Stuart Chatwood who steal the show for me;  Burrows with his tasteful and powerful drumming and Chatwood with his multi-instrumental talents to go with his excellent bass playing.

These guys are in total command of their experimental, yet still ROCK, sound and it’s evident right off the bat on “Army Ants” where Martin’s guitar doesn’t sound like a guitar at all in certain parts.   From there, it’s into the classic “Fire in the Head” and on to one strong performance after another.

Highlights for me include their performances of “Transmission,” “Save Me” and the show centerpiece “Sister Awake.” As I said in the opening paragraph, at times these guys seem to take themselves a little too seriously, but the bottom line is they always deliver.  Consummate professionals and songwriters who are willing to take risks.  I only wish they were still together…

Rating:  4.5 out of 5


The Tea Party – The Edges of Twilight

1995 EMI/Chrysalis

Anyone who knows me knows how absolutely nuts I am about The Tea Party, one of my favorite bands ever.  On ‘The Edges of Twilight’ Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows accomplish the unthinkable.  Take the middle-eastern vibe and diversity of classic Led Zeppelin, throw in husky vocals from the darker side of Jim Morrison and that will give you a good idea of the kind of sound you can expect.

This would be a sound deserving of a pronounced rolling of the eyes if not for the stellar songwriting, musicianship and conviction of all three members of the band.  Rather than sounding derivitave, the music is an inspired and original sounding natural progression of the aforementioned influences.

From the first notes of grandiose and downright classic opener “Fire in the Head” (a live concert staple), everything about the sound is huge on this disc.  Even acoustic-laden tracks like “Shadows on the Mountainside” wrap themselves around you in a dark and seductive embrace with their hugeness of sound.

Track after track just has ‘classic’ written all over it.  “The Bazaar,” “Silence,” “Inanna,” “Coming Home” and the showstopping “Sister Awake” all provide nice peaks on an album that proudly wears its rock, classical and world music influences for all to see, paying immense tribute to them through inspired performances and songwriting.

I still maintain to this day that the best performance I’ve ever seen by any rock band (and unfortunately the only time I ever got to see The Tea Party live) was when The Tea Party opened for Ian Moore at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on November 29, 1995.  I still have the ticket stub, and I have to crack a smile every time I look at it.  And I still hope for an eventual reunion.

Rating:  5 out of 5