8/3/08: Seth Kauffman

Park The Van Records
Release Date: July 15, 2008
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Sounds like: A looser, less-obsessive Beck; a little indie rock, a little slouching jazz, a lot of spectacular instrumentation. "Lo-fi North Carolina funk."

North Carolina soul rocker and multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman delivers a sparkling batch of eclectic jazz-inflected warmth. Kauffman recorded the many pieces of Research himself, resulting in dense layers of far-flung percussion, beautiful guitar riffs, fuzzy keyboards and sprawling college-rock lyrics. Violins, calypso drumming, and soul choruses bump shoulders on opener “Absolute Sway”; vinyl hisses, hip-hop beats, and a beautiful falsetto worthy of My Morning Jacket make “Not Much Left To Give” glimmer; and “Summertime Bossa Nova” loops acid-jazz percussion, space-noir guitars, and a moody, minor-key atmosphere over sensual keys. Research only gains steam as it moves briskly along, with other stops including the ‘50s garage-rock/trash-blues team-up “Ron Ben-Isreal Blues,” the all-too-brief early-‘70s reggae shamble “Wafting Sands,” and the hootin’ and hollerin’ fun of “Ain’t No Tellin’.” “I Bleed Easy” symbolizes Seth Kauffman’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink mantra, combining countrified alternative rock with beautifully distorted slide guitar and plaintive beg-for-mercy lyrics. All of these influences blend together so effortlessly it’s hard to pick one defining genre for Kauffman; he may not be as popular as Beck, but Seth's got a comparable set of extensive and all-encompassing chops. His first-rate drumming alone could steer any modern jazz quartet.

Official site: www.sethkauffman.com
Myspace: www.myspace.com/sethkauffman
Label: www.parkthevan.com/sethkauffman
"Absolute Sway" video

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