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Tucked back in the woods of the Inland Northwest (Eastern Washington State, United States, World, for those not familiar) down in a hole (what? You have to go down in elevation to get there) is the city of Spokane. While it has its fair share of music, the overall quantity pales in comparison to its Westerly neighbor. And to grind it down even further, the best rock it has going for it at the moment is Quarter Monkey.
When I dove into Quarter Monkey’s previous release, Lucy, I was perplexed, even going as far as saying it “will make you cringe, maybe stare awkwardly at your stereo, but ultimately will grow on you and fascinate the ever living audiophile out of you.” It covered a lot of ground but moved in a consistent style. Now, with their newest release Got No Name Anthony Brickner, Jereme Riccelli and Vinnie Delforge (with guest appearances by Ty Pfundheller, Brittany Pfundheller and Deanar Ali Young) let go of, well, basically everything I thought held their sound together and made them so damn intriguing.
Now, it is replaced with a vast, sometimes wandering, rock sound that is about as good an album as you’re going to find in today’s independent market.
The thirteen-track record is absolutely everything I could have wished for in a follow up. It comes out swinging then builds on a well-developed sound before it rides off into the sunset with a refreshing air about it. Throughout, you can feel the progression of the band from Lucy. “74” drives the rock genre home as it explodes out of the gates. “Direct Miss” and “Seaside” dish up a softer side and become the turning point for not only the record but the feeling that this trio has grown exponentially. By the finish, “Like Wolves,” Got No Name becomes complete. Not in a yeah Greg, it’s the last track way, but a wow…that was a musical experience. Now what do I do with my day?
In contrast to their previous work Got No Name emanates rock with a sense of maturity. Not to downplay what they’ve accomplished in the past, but this album is all I could have hoped for from Quarter Monkey and then some. Check it out for yourself here.
Review by Greg. A regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot.
On the Beastie Boys’ 1986 track “Time to Get Ill,” rapper Mike D brags about his drinking abilities: “I can drink a quart of monkey and still stand still.”
If you only half-listen, it sounds like he could be saying “quarter monkey.” For the Spokane rock trio Quarter Monkey, the meaning of their name has had different interpretations over the years, but the kind-of Beastie Boys reference is their go-to explanation.
That’s not to say that the music of Quarter Monkey resembles that of the Beastie Boys, because the two couldn’t be more different. Quarter Monkey’s sound, with its thick guitar and crunchy bass and propulsive beats, is descended from the alt-rock of the early to mid-’90s, the music that the band members listened to in their formative years.
“We were raised through the grunge phase,” said the band’s bassist, Tony Brickner. “We all grew up on Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden.” You can hear hints of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alice in Chains, too, but the band’s sound isn’t defined to one era: Brickner says that they cull inspiration from classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream to newer acts such as Queens of the Stone Age and the Black Keys.
“It’s a conglomeration of a lot of influences, and you wouldn’t necessarily be able to pick out one thing or the other, but people hear a lot of different musicians in us,” Brickner said.
Quarter Monkey has been playing in various incarnations since 2007 and will release a new album, “Got No Name,” at the Bing Crosby Theater on Friday. It’s the band’s second LP – its first, “Lucy,” came out in 2008 – and the group recorded a collection of 22 original songs at local studio Amplified Wax before whittling it down to the current 13-song track list.
Since its last album, Quarter Monkey has gone from a four-member band to a three-piece, but Brickner says there are still similarities between the two records.
“We’ve definitely gotten significantly tighter as a band,” he said. “There’s nothing to hide behind as a three piece, so everything’s out front. But stylistically, you can tell it’s us on both albums.”
Along with the work the members have put into “Got No Name,” Quarter Monkey is representing and managing itself, and the members work as their own bookers, promoters and merchandisers.
“We’ve been working on figuring out what, if we had representation, they would be doing for us, and we’re just doing it ourselves,” Brickner said. “We’re trying to be as professional as we can about it, while trying not to let it interfere with the creative side of things. It’s a delicate balance, for sure.”
Written by Nathan Weinbender The Spokesman-Review