The Moog: “Seasons in the Underground” album review

THE MOOG

Seasons in the Underground

MuSick Recordings

Seasons in the Underground

Say “Hungarian” and goulash likely comes next to mind. Rock music, not so much. But with their latest effort, Season in the Underground, Budapest natives the Moog prove that rock runs through their blood thick as a kolbász. Long worshipped by the band, England’s legendary engineer Ken Scott (David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Beatles, George Harrison, Jeff Beck), takes the helm as producer. Scott perfectly marries their raucous garage essence with synthesizer-driven 70s rock and pop hook sensibilities. Though opening track, “Seasons Change in the Underground,” offers uninspired chord progressions and a less-than-catchy chorus, things quickly turn around. The third tune, “I Wanna Take You to Paris,” opens with a bright synthesizer and expands into a sunshine melody, pleasantly accentuated by honey sweet, 1960s-inspired xylophone pings. “Highway” boasts an irresistible bouncy hook recalling hints of early Velvet Underground. Gergő Dorozsmai repeatedly chirps, “This country is too small for meeee/I wanna be roaming free …”—sincere words from a band living in a landlocked Central European zone. “We Walk in Slow” glows as the album’s hidden gem: taking an unexpectedly mature and reflective tone, Tonyó “the Baron” Szabó’s vocals are stripped naked in an inspired delivery, punctuated in all the right spots by soaring guitar licks recalling the same 70s greats Scott knows so well. The band has been known to partake in rock-star shenanigans themselves, like when they got jumped by Lady Gaga’s security guards. Keep an eye out for more tomfoolery after their SXSW set March 17.

—Linda Rapka

As published by L.A. RECORD

Ravi Shankar @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 9/29/11

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Though he doesn’t look much like a typical rock star, at 91, Ravi Shankar could have fooled anyone during his mesmerizing performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Uniquely worthy of the term “living legend,” he first amassed attention outside of his native India after befriending George Harrison in the 1960s, whose enamor with Shankar and the transfixing sounds he produced on the sitar sparked the rise of raga-rock embraced by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things, Jimi Hendrix and many other rock musicians of the time. The venerated sitar master captivated the Los Angeles audience Sept. 29, at long last. One year and two cancellations since the originally scheduled concert, ticketholders grew anxious we’d never see the venerated Indian sitar master — he’s not getting any younger, after all — a fact which also raised questions about what a performance by a nonagenarian would be like. Would his playing be as impressive as in decades past? Could it be? Continue reading

How Neil Hamburger made me drink out of my shoe

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Neil Hamburger guest bartended at my beloved Cha Cha Lounge on Sunday night. Here’s my tale of the evening as published by losanjealous.com:

Neil Hamburger served up drinks with his inimitable brand of humor last night as guest bartender at the Cha Cha Lounge. Continue reading