The Blues Brothers of Miami Band Juke
Authentic and original blues and oogie are about as plentiful in South Florida as fans of Dick Cheney are in the Oval Office. Sure, there's the occasional cover band that emulates the tried and true, but as far as a band that bases itself in the blues and serves up original material... Well, it suffices to say they are few and far between.
All of which makes Miami's Juke especially enticing. The three-year-old Miami band is helmed by singer, harpist, and local club promoter Eric Garcia, along with drummer Ulysses Perez, with a revolving cast of drummers and bassists. Juke's current incarnation is prepping its formal studio album debut for sometime later this year. But in the interim, they're offering an opportunity to catch up with the story so far via a collection of early home demos somewhat rudely titled Lungbutter... the Basement Blues Tapes. "Lungbutter is the stuff you cough up when you're sick, and this is kind of a coughing-up of our recordings," Garcia explains. (On second thought, maybe that clarification would have been better left unsaid.)
Fortunately, the seven songs contained herein mitigate the gross-out factor. They're ignited by an unabashed bluesy bluster, echoing the kind of aggressive edge, menace, and mayhem that would likely find Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf wailing their approval.
Opening track "Burnin' Hell" provides truth in advertising, with Garcia spearheading a rousing, carousing onslaught with a fierce guttural snarl. "Mile High Freak" and "That Last One" pay heed to deliberation via sinewy rhythms and restless rumination. The sprightly back-alley shuffle of "Tiem" contrasts with the swinging tempo of "On Notice," while each song shows the band's ability to vary the template and manage the mood. Ultimately, it's that assertive stance that helps keep this Juke jumping.
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