God Bless Ass Wiggling
THE HELMUT STEIN EXPERIENCE
There we were a few weeks ago, hanging out on the balcony of our spiffy apartment, trying to make sense of the vengeful, bloodthirsty world after another pointless go-round of CNN abuse, when we figured it was time to hear something calming and reassuring. A supermajority of our compatriots seem to be spinning recordings of "Imagine," but that maudlin tune has never worked for us. And what did it ultimately get Lennon? The thing's a damn downer—it really is. So we reached instead into our bulging mail bag and pulled out this magnificent EP from Long Beach's Helmut Stein Experience, a small combo put together by 00 Soul's R. Scott. While Scott's larger band is mostly centered on ass-wiggling dance grooves, the Experience is more purely soulful than the Double-O. "On Return" is a perfect three minutes of music, in which lovely, gentle organ notes carve a path for Scott's gruff, smoky vocals, which crash into some sweet New Orleans horn lines and Melinda Jones' goddess-like backup crooning, an immaculate melding of soulfulness and spirituality. "Big, Bad Feeling" is a beaten-down R&B/jazz number, with Jones singing like she's drowning in a frigid sea of heartbreak as Scott's vocals get very Tom Waits. "Overload" is a slow jam with a tasty little "La-da-da-die" chorus and heaps of potential for some great live improving—assuming they do this one live, and assuming they'd wanna jam. Fuck all this arrogant "God Bless America!" hooey—the Locals Only gods hereby bless the Helmut Stein Experience.
INFO: (562) 439-7975; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Helmut Stein Experience play DiPiazza's, 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461. Wed., 9 p.m. Call for cover. 21+. OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.
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