“This record is a version of what a van ride with us would be like,” says The Pietasters’ bassist and songwriter Jorge Pezzimenti of their soul roots, rock and reggae-inspired new album, All Day.
Stephen Jackson, the band’s founder, vocalist and co-songwriter seconds his bandmate’s review of the fresh-baked tracks. “We’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in the studio. I think it’s evident in the vibe of this album.”
All Day, The Pietasters’ first album of new tracks in five years, captures the high energy, brotherly camaraderie and attention to detail on which they’ve built their rock-steady name as an explosive live attraction.
Traveling the miles along a star-kissed path, the first break came early for D.C.’s ska darlings, when they landed a 1992 tour opening for ska originals, Bad Manners. In 1997, Rancid’s Tim Armstrong signed them to Hellcat/Epitaph where they recorded two albums with producer Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion): the genre-defining Willis (SPIN Magazine called it “An equal opportunity dancehall crasher — part ‘60s keg rock, part 2Tone and part Motown”) and Awesome Mix Tape #6 (CMJ noted it for “lacing a Stax shout-out feel with Caribbean rhythms”). The soul-charged Turbo was released in 2002 by Fueled by Ramen. The Pietasters shared bills with NOFX and Less Than Jake on the epic ’98 and ’99 Warped Tours, and followed with a stateside run with punk legend Joe Strummer Three years later, they worked as James Brown’s back-up band for one surreal evening (All Day was produced by James Brown’s engineer, Todd Harris). Not bad for a bunch of guys who started out as a teenaged underground band from D.C.
“We may not be rich but we can claim some amazing experiences,” says Jackson. It’s that experience, combined with a commitment to expand beyond their humble beginnings as a ska band, which are at the foundation of All Day, a journey through the swingin’ ‘60s and the soulful ‘70s that sounds right on time.
While The ‘tasters have always favored a little bit o’soul, they have not left their signature skank or die style behind for All Day. While the song “Change My Ways” may ring with notes of Northern Soul, “Don’t Wanna Know” riffs on the high-stepping style of an earlier era.
The Avon Junkies
In a saturated music scene like New York City, standing apart takes a good mixture of originality, talent and balls. Already possessing these components, take one part punk rock, ska, classic rock with a hint of metal and blend them together with a chainsaw. The end result is Avon Junkies.
The intricate, methodical sound is the brainchild of singer/guitarist/songwriter Adam Tilzer. Like a chemist, he's combined the right parts to create the perfect formula for a full-fledged, sonic assault. Along with fellow founding member and drummer, Mike Reinhart, Tilzer recruited the bass talents of Julian Salvador to fill out the Junkies rhythm-heavy drive. To top it all off, the use of a talented horn section, consisting of trombonist, James Castoro, and trumpet players Stefanie Azzarelli and Anthony Napoletano complete the circle and musically punch you in the face.
The band's sophomore effort, "The Merchant's Tale", is the representation of a band at the top of its musical form. A twisted, near-true life tale intertwined with a barrage of audio acuity has begun the transformation for Avon Junkies rise to rock and roll greatness. If you haven't heard Avon Junkies yet, you will soon. Once you let them in, you can expect them to be rummaging through your cabinets and rearranging your eardrums, helping them to forget everything you thought you knew about good music.