Coming hot off of three national tours in 2016, jamtronica act Tweed has just dropped their first studio release, The Chunky Life. Blending styles from Daft Punk to Rage Against The Machine and Phish to the New Deal, Tweed shows they’re not afraid to get a little weird when layering a track. Unexpected twists pepper The Chunky Life bringing some of the best highlights of a live Tweed show to your personal music player.
Tweed rolls into the first track on The Chunky Life, “Big Sky,” with a tight bass groove laid down in synergy by bassist Dan McDonald and keyboardist Jon Tomczak. Once the song opens up it really makes you want to dance, with the heavy hitting beats of drummer Joe Vela balanced by AJ DiBiase’s alternation between lead and rhythm guitar. Vocals on this track are really strong unlike many bands in this genre. A solid kick off.
One thing noticeable as you dig deeper into The Chunky Life, is how Tweed has intentionally translated their live sound to studio recordings—a high level of energy dominates the tracks with plenty of variation to keep it interesting. The band comes together for tight comprehensive jams with funky transitions that cross the boundary between albums like Lotus’ self-titled release and The Disco Biscuits’ Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens.
On nearly every track, bassist Dan McDonald delivers thick rolling bass grooves punctuated with funk reminiscent of The New Deal’s Dan Kurtz. With a style that’s distinctly Tweed, AJ shreds unique solos on guitar, shining through in tracks “Loup-Garou” and “You.” His vocals are clear, smooth and perfectly accented by backup from the band and some awesome call and response with Jon, the resident synth wizard. Joe Vela lays down the drums with pristine precision throwing down a pocket that is both driving and laid back.
Tweed finishes in their truest form with “Loup-Garou,” starting with a super dancey funk rhythm that drops off about halfway through into a dark and spacy jam. Nearly threatening to drive you off the rails, AJ’s guitar comes screaming through to pull you back in for the final stretch of the song, showing that Tweed can get weird while maintaining style.
Overall Tweed’s first studio release is an action-packed thrill ride full of depth and high energy moments. Every element that makes a live Tweed show special is represented on The Chunky Life with the smooth finesse Tweed brought to the studio. I think it’s a good sign that I couldn’t help but listen to the EP multiple times through on my first sitting and I am now living. the. chunky. life.