New Album Pick: Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2

The 21st century keeps coming up with fresh ingredients to add to the jambalaya stew we call Rock Music. It’s all about how the ingredients blend together. Individually, the collaborators on this fascinating album may not technically call Rock their primary residence, but together they have created something new and exciting that fits comfortably into Rock’s living room.

Chaz Bundick is a pop phenom who has gained popularity performing as Toro Y Moi, where he has carved out a niche bringing contemporary R&B together with Chillwave in new and interesting ways. He plays guitar, bass and keyboards more soulfully than masterfully perhaps, but he’s a pretty good songwriter and sings in an ethereal Todd Rundgren/Sufjan Stevens register.

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The Mattson 2 is a Southern California twin-brother jazz duo, with Jared Mattson dishing out liquid Metheny-like layered guitar sounds while brother Jonathan holds down sophisticated world-influenced jazz rhythms. Together with Bundick they have created a mostly instrumental album with the warm loose feel of great artists experimenting in a semi-structured environment.

The first two tracks may be a little too chill for some but they come from opposite sides of town. “Son Moi” devolves from ambience into 60’s-style psych rock, while “A Search” conjures 70’s Soul. “JBS” continues in the 70’s vein, hooking on a delicious reverby lick and riding on top of Bundick’s wistful lyrics about alienation and confusion on the road. “Star Stuff” is the most accessible track in the collection with its standard pop structure, desert rock feel, and some really fantastic guitar interplay between Mattson and Bundick.

That interplay is the real star of this album. There are some really beautiful guitar tones in play, and a real sensitive touch to their arrangement. Sometimes the guitars come cascading in ringing ambient rolls, other times they are serving up new takes on jazz or blues riffs. With its intense virtuosity “Disco Kid” even ventures into Prog territory. Who would have guessed that a Chillwave act and a jazz duo could Rock so hard? Well you better get used to it. It is the 21st Century after all.

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