Always being extremely skeptical when it comes to new music, I almost brushed aside the opportunity to see one of the most intriguing bands I've ever seen. The band was called Estradasphere, a bunch of strange guys from Santa Cruz, California, with an even stranger obsession with video games and deer hunting.
After ceaseless cries of “You gotta hear these guys!” I finally agreed to go to a show of theirs at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. The show that night was a release show for their new album entitled “Buck Fever“. Keep in mind that prior to this show, I'd never heard any of their material. What I saw that night was not only incredibly fun music, but the band was very tight and VERY technically good.
So what of the album? Needless to say, I bought it that night at the show and listened to it on the drive home from Los Angeles. “Buck Fever” is an insane mixture of surfer music, rockabilly, various types of jazz, traditional middle-eastern and Jewish themes, bluegrass, circus music, death metal, and other styles. Not that all the genres are thrown in at the same time, of course. The music resembles something akin to Mr. Bungle's album “California“, though there is a much heavier emphasis on the instruments, rather than vocals.
The album starts off with the namesake song of the album, “Buck Fever“, a rather impressive surfer/spy themed tune with a quick pace. I think that's the only song on the album that manages to stay within one genre of music. The rest of the tracks move in and out of styles, from slow jazz to circus music to death metal and then back to jazz… well, you get the picture. With each album, “Buck Fever” being the third and latest album, they progress in their abilities to keep incredibly tight during the rapid changes that permeate their music.
In a world where increasingly exotic fusion bands are flooding the underground scene, it takes something new or something extremely good to stand out. These guys aren't so much something new but are something INSANELY good. If you enjoy the music of bands like Mr. Bungle, Farmers Market, Charming Hostess, and other great fusion bands along those lines, then you'll definitely want to order their album from them. Due to the limited exposure to they get, you'll have to order the album either from Borders bookstores, or from the band itself at Estradasphere.com (The recommended method).
Also be sure to check out these three Estradasphere side projects: Ideal Social Situation, Don Salsa, as well as John Wooley's (accordian, saxophones, winds, lead vocals) solo project Woolicious. The albums from those side projects are also available through the band, as well as being available at Estradasphere shows.