The Figgs “Other Planes of Here”
It’s hard to come up with another band that’s been playing great music for over twenty years with consistency like The Figgs. After 2013’s career-spanning Anthology, the trio of Mike Gent, Pete Donnelly and Pete Hayes move forward. And like an expensive Cabernet, these guys get better with age.
Donnelly is a perfect example of a music machine, between his own solo work, NRBQ and The Figgs he’s like the Energizer bunny and it’s perfectly illustrated on “Late Nights and Early Flights” where a catchy melody drifts off into an echoing chaotic piano coda. “Wealthy Women” is more standard barroom rock and roll that fits right in with The Rolling Stones or The Satisfactors. The thick wah-wah and funky bass leads into the excellent “Oh My.” However this short album (8 tracks) starts to mellow out after “In A Small Hospital” jams away. No matter what, I’ll always be psyched to listen to The Figgs.
The Zags “The Zags”
Last years excellent EPs give way to a full album for this retro influenced Portland band. The Zags approach relies on David Ricardo’s distinct vocal and it carries things on “Play It Loud” and “Still Life.” The retro feel is toned down a bit as The Zags find their own style here.
“Frozen Toes” is a memorable, prog influenced song and keyboardist Rachel Broach carries “Not Your Meant-to-be” really well. The Zags make each track compelling listening, standouts being “Waves,” “Get Smart” and the psychedelic end track “Secret Staircase.” Highly Recommended.