A COSMIC JAZZ FUNK ADVENTURE
Summoning Detroit’s rich musical history of jazz, Motown, funk, and rock & roll—with a chaser of hip-hop and rap—this two-headed conglomerate of contemporary Detroit musicians throws down a record rife with real playing, led by the bodacious bass work of Kern Brantley (with the United Sound Studios team) and Lige Curry (with present members of Parliament–Funkadelic). Brantley, who will handle the bottom on Detroit Rising’s 2018 tour dates, shines on the Jamiroquai-esque dance burner “Little Bit” via bubbling finger-funk and slapped accents, while the slow trip-hop groove of “Rocket Love” allows for his creative stretching in tandem with drummer Gabe Gonzalez. Curry’s effects-laden bass provides serious sextuplet-based ostinatos and stretching on “My Heart Is Frozen” and “Fly to Freedom,” and he mines Larry Graham’s “Hair” on “What’s That You Heard.”
A PERFECT CIRCLE
EAT THE ELEPHANT
Emerging from the studio for the first time in 14 years, A Perfect Circle has released its fourth album, which spans the merciless, charging war cries of “Judith” and “The Outsider” to mellower, thoughtful compositions. The powerful messages, however, are carried through the heavy bass work of Billy Howerdel and Matt McJunkins. As always with APC, tone is paramount, and Howerdel and McJunkins dig in properly on the fast-picked “The Doomed” and the brooding “By and Down the River.”
FOUR STRINGS, PHONY PROOF, AND 300 45s
Sal Maida might not be a household name, but he’s played with plenty of rock royalty, including Roxy Music, Sparks, and Cracker. Four Strings is all about being in the right place at the right time: Maida recalls his adventures in late-’60s/early-’70s London, where he cut his teeth with several groundbreaking bands. Whether you lived through that era or not, you can’t help but feel a twinge of nostalgia as Maida taps into the zeitgeist of rock & roll’s halcyon days.
THE BAD PLUS
NEVER STOP II
Many Bad Plus fans were nervous when pianist and co-founder Ethan Iverson left the avant-garde jazz trio in 2017—but thanks to Reid Anderson, drummer Dave King, and the newest addition, pianist Orrin Evans, things are right on track. Having composed most of the album’s material on bass, Anderson commands the band’s new incarnation expertly, as the usual twists, turns, and musical backbends keep the listener on edge in the best way possible.
NATIONAL WRECKING CO.
Riff-oriented, bass-driven songs with effects-heavy bass lines are the hallmark of National Wrecking Co.’s eponymous debut. Randy Pratt (the Lizards, Cactus) has always had a knack for dialing in harmonically rich bass tones and finding the musical sweet spot between Black Sabbath and P-Funk. Now he’s sprinkled a layer of cosmic dust on top of his fat, creamy tone with swirling phasers, dynamic envelope filters, and polyphonic synths, adding an intergalactic dimension to songs with far-out titles like “Supersonic,” “Beast,” “Molotov,” “Holy Creatures,” and “Return to Jesus.”
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
You just can’t seem to keep Robert DeLeo and Stone Temple Pilots down: Even after tragically losing singers Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington, STP is rising once again with a self-titled, seventh album that features recent addition Jeff Gutt on vocals. DeLeo and his brother, guitarist Dean, co-produced the album, which boasts scorching hits like “Meadow,” “Guilty,” and “Six Eight,” each a showcase for Robert’s blues and Motown-inspired pocket and tasty bass runs.
CHRIS DAVE & DRUMHEDZ
While you might not know his name, you’ve most likely heard Chris Dave’s drumming alongside D’Angelo, Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello, and many other artists. So it’s no surprise that when he finally set out to make his debut, nearly 50 of the industry’s finest made cameos. On the bass front, that means none other than longtime collaborator Pino Palladino, who tears down the house with his impeccable groove and feel on “Dat Feelin,’” “Black Hole,” and “Job Well Done.”