Saturday May 14, The Staxx Brothers will release their 3rd album, Jungle Cat on the independent label Soul United. Their previous releases were all acclaimed by critics on a national level. The Seattle P.I. called their debut The 12th Street Blues “…something
distinct and genuine, a road map of a diverse musical Odyssey.” Jambase.com declared their
sophomore effort We Are The Blaxstonz one of the best 25 records of 2009. Jungle Cat far exceeds all expectation and offers to put Seattle back on the R&B map, with a style that is at once familiar and daringly fresh. Built on the backs of giants, The Staxx Brothers did more than coin themselves HARD ASS SOUL. They went ahead and cashed the check with skill, substance, swagger --- and a catalog that proves them more than bank robbers.
Not satisfied with being the best Seattle band in circulation at San Francisco’s legendary Boom
Boom Room, Jungle Cat wants the world.
With Indie rock hero Scott Colburn on board as producer for the second straight LP, the listener
gets a sense that The Staxx Brothers have found their stroke. With a swagger & sound that
convinces San Francisco audiences this is a band that can only be from Oakland – Seattle finally has a voice to push its bastard child style of Hip Hop, Motown, and Memphis Country Funk far beyond the breeding grounds of King, Snohomish, and Whatcom County.
In the liner notes for the album, the co-editor of Jambase and founder of Dirtyimpound.com
Dennis Cook could not have summed this album up any better:
“These are national anthems for a new nation under a finer, kinder, pussy-positive groove. Play
it loud and get out there and DO SOMETHING.”
Davin Michael Stedman - Harmonica, Lead Vox
Ayo Ogunrinde - MC
Angela Rickard - Back Up Vocals
Michelle O'Connor - Back Up Vocals
Chris O'Connor - Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Jake Amster - Bass
Kevin Chryst - Drums & Percussion
Jungle Cat 2011
We are The Blaxstonz 2009
12th Street Blues 2007
The Staxx Brothers :: 11.19.09 :: Moe's Alley :: Santa Cruz, CA
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In funk music we find a pronounced commingling of elements, where rock, jazz and R&B bump uglies, mo...In funk music we find a pronounced commingling of elements, where rock, jazz and R&B bump uglies, moistened with soulful lubrication and powered by a church-like need to get folks onto their feet and out of their constrictions. When done right, funk hits one like happy lightning with a bumptious thunderclap that shakes our preconceptions and lights a fire in the pit of us. Not many contemporary practitioners truly honor the spirit of funk's founding fathers – Sly & The Family Stone, The Meters, Funkadelic – but one finds the same refined, lusty, socially conscious clamor ringing loudly in Seattle's Staxx Brothers, who further distinguish themselves by carving out their own mythology rather than riding the coattails of their ancestors.
Before the show, bandleader/lighting rod DP Staxx (aka Davin Michael Stedman) tested the length of his microphone cable to make sure he could reach the already retreating weeknight crowd. Coming up to a total stranger, he quipped, "I'm Davin with The Staxx Brothers from Seattle, and we came to party. We're gonna play our fuckin' hearts out." The look in his eye and casual, confident tone announced he meant business, and the great leaping "hoo-rah" of opener "Westsound Union," a glorious West Coast celebrating funk grenade, delivered on his word immediately. And then they never let up, not for a second, and this in spite of one of the most honky ass, hang back audiences Moe's Alley has ever witnessed. How one stands still with a bunch of thrusting, jiggling jumping beans like the Staxx kids capering onstage is simply beyond me, but if the general lethargy of the crowd bothered them it never showed, and DP brought the party right into folk's faces, busting down the proverbial fourth wall to force choruses and giggles out of some genuinely startled peeps. As an enthusiastic recipient of their back alley gospel flecked salaciousness, I found myself happily singing "Crimson & Clover" and skipping with DP when he scooped me up. One picks up on the same audience-bridging gusto one finds in Akron/Family and Surprise Me Mr. Davis, except much earthier in tone and more anxious to tweak your bottom like the Marx Brothers riding a bad ass bass line.
For just a few folks, they made a hellacious amount of sound. With just three instrumentalists - Chris O'Connor (guitar), Denali Williams (drums), and Shane Smith (bass) – the focus often rested on the four-strong vocal frontline of DP Staxx (MC, lead vocals, awesome, shameless clownin'), explosive, direct and darkly adventurous rapper DC Staxx (aka Amin Tony Hester), and The Staquelettes (comprised of Angela Rickard and Michelle O'Connor). However, the richness of their sound is a smartly designed, cleverly interwoven relationship between all elements, where tight, satisfying solos and perfect, humorous refrains arrive right on time, every time, and the whole thing rides like a cherry Caddy with top line hydraulics. Even the best of their funk contemporaries usually relies heavily on showy musicianship or obvious cover tunes to woo audiences, but Staxx has it all over most of them compositionally, vocally, and intellectually, and their showmanship puts them in the stratosphere of vintage P-Funk (on a no-frills budget - one dizzies to think what they might do if they had 'flying saucer' production money). Decked out in a Run-DMC tee, DP was balanced out by the curvaceous Staquelettes in "RIP JMJ" shirts, and it's sly little touches like coordinated fashions and a growing stock of stage props, costumes, etc. that make time with the Staxx crew so hugely entertaining. Good music is wonderful but if one can have good music and a good time, isn't that better still?
It would be enough that they're so bloody fun and engaging live but there's a deep bottom depth to their music. While not initially clear in the heat of a concert, Staxx's studio work - 2008's keenly shaped, Parliament-esque 12th Street Blues and 2009's heady snapshot of the band in fiery action We Are The Blaxstonz (produced by Scott Colburn, who's worked with Arcade Fire, Mudhoney and Animal Collective) – reveals slave narratives, close encounters with death, country and hard rock leanings, and way more as one commits to sussing out the nitty and the gritty in their grooves. And like Funkadelic's '70s recorded output, just as one finds they're shimmying they often also discover that some succinct yet important socially or culturally aware nugget has suddenly lodged itself in their dome. Frequently while singing along, perhaps unconsciously, as happened to me a few times at Moe's, one stumbles across a quality laugh AND something that gives one pause.
And this creative arc looks to be on a continuing upward spiral based on the new numbers they rolled out at this set from their forthcoming third album, Jungle Cats, which showed the band delving into even more diverse musical terrain but keeping things sticky sweet and dance floor ready.
"Jungle Cats is our own mythology that we aren't actually black, white, Puerto Rican/Creole, or even gypsy, but rather the last of the North American jungle cats, thought to be extinct, no longer running for cover - out of the shadows (of Bigfoot) and kicking ass," says DP Staxx. "Plus we have crazy cool medallions, sweet ass capes, and a fur coat made of actual possum."
Their lustiness, hell, their PLAIN OLD DIRTINESS is essential to their appeal. As the world grows increasingly more desiccated, ball-less, insular and individually focused, it's heartening to find a band that openly and anxiously proclaims their love of pussy, nasty pounding, and other carnal delights that create connection, union, and vibrant, immediate sensation. Staxx is a post hip hop unit, and the street vibe is strong in this bunch. That often means they cut to the chase where others tiptoe, and more power to them on this front. It does not hurt that they have The Staquelettes, who undulate oh-so-winningly, moving hypnotically like some lost Motown sisters that might just give it up if you played your cards right. When I told the girls after their set that despite being a happily married man I had it bad for them both, they smiled and said, "Well good, that's our job!"
From an absolutely blazing, tough as nails cover of "Red Hot Mamma" to irresistible new compositions like "Bad Neighborhood" and "Sugarwalls," The Staxx Brothers reaffirmed funk's relevance and potency in Santa Cruz. Going straight for that g-spot and doing The Running Man with zero irony, they poured out all they had in them, truly playing their "fuckin' hearts out," just as promised. Their apostolic character inspires healthy fanaticism for their cause. Their general delightful demeanor and blooming mythology, full of multiple nicknames and a strange, expanding geography, provide multiple points of entry, and wherever you come in the music is on point and rewarding. Theirs is a sound and mood that might stir you to dry hump the nearest GILF, toilet paper Timothy Geithner's house, or some other form of beautiful mayhem. The Staxx Brothers are reaching out, anxious to take your hand and get into it, and they're game for anything.
The Staxx Brothers :: 11.19.09 :: Moe's Alley :: Santa Cruz, CA
Westsound Union, G Spot, Game Recognize Game, Red Hot Mamma, Roll Wit' Me, Sugarwalls, Money, Bad Neighborhood, Back Home, On Ice, 1992, Name Dropper, Keep The Motor Runnin', Jesus In Adidas, Detroit
JamBase | Sweet Spot
Go See Live Music!
Jambase Review, Summer Meltdown
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Snatching up the enormous goodwill in the air after Flowmotion's blowout, Washington's Staxx Brother...Snatching up the enormous goodwill in the air after Flowmotion's blowout, Washington's Staxx Brothers proved the closest thing to vintage Funkadelic I've ever witnessed, right down to the janky thrift store costumes and impolite wilding. A huge mob on stage, they've imbibed whatever elixir Bootsy, George and Bernie swallowed back in the day, getting up there and proudly playing rump rattlin' cartoons and then backing it up with whomping good musicianship and tunes you gotta be dead to resist. Full of keen-edged female vocals, a rapper full of shirtless craziness and a fleshy frontman with a swell voice and the moxie to ask things like, "Where's my pimps at? Where's my gangsta bitches at?" while not offending people. All originals except for a roaring cover of "Red Hot Mama" that truly honored their ancestors, Staxx Brothers were stupendous good times that had backfields in motion as far as the eye could see. Festival planners: Book these guys! You will not be sorry.
The Staxx Brothers fill the hole in your soul
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Take a look in GO! Magazine from week to week, and chances are decent you’ll find me touting the dan...Take a look in GO! Magazine from week to week, and chances are decent you’ll find me touting the danceability of some band’s music.
That was before I heard The Staxx Brothers. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at dance music the same way again.
This Seattle band plays face-melting, heavy soul music that grunts and sweats and boogies like few bands can. It’s old-school stuff that sounds about like the Rolling Stones might’ve sounded if they’d grown up surrounded by the hard rock and hip-hop of the late 20th century. And yes, it’s gonna make you shake your thing.
The Staxx Brothers are coming to Bend to celebrate the release of their new album “We are The Blaxstonz,” and they promise two (or more) full sets of “hard ass soul,” along with a little reggae and even country. Plus, they’ll almost certainly play the song “Almost Got Shot in North Minneapolis,” a hard-driving tune about wandering into the wrong part of town that’s as engaging as it is menacing. Plus, there’s a Beastie Boys reference in there.
You can find out more about The Staxx Brothers — who happen to also be the latest signing to local booking agency In The Pocket Artists — by checking out www.staxxbrothers.com.
The Staxx Brothers ; 9 p.m. Thursday; $5; Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom, 24 N.W. Greenwood Ave., Bend; 541-388-8331.
— Ben Salmon
Going Out- Editor's Choice
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As a group they have shared the stage with the likes of Blake Lewis, Maktub, Panda Conspiracy and DJ...As a group they have shared the stage with the likes of Blake Lewis, Maktub, Panda Conspiracy and DJ Tina T. Individual members have performed alongside artists Tone Loc, the Drifters and Ray Charles. Thus, it's not hard to understand how the talents of the Staxx Brothers are accomodating to a variety of styles. This is clear in their recently released album, "The 12th street Blues." A labor of love that took several years to complete, the album takes a number of musical genres-blues, country, soul and classic rock among them- and sends them through a filter of hip-hop rhymes and vocals. And while they freely borrow from such a broad selection of styles, it results in something distinct and genuine, a road map of a diverse musical odyssey.
Local band launches CD, has high hopes
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Hip-hop and Soul is the next Rock 'n' Roll. That's how Davin Michael Stedman describes the Staxx ...Hip-hop and Soul is the next Rock 'n' Roll.
That's how Davin Michael Stedman describes the Staxx Brothers.
Friday night was a moment for celebration and live music as the Pullman band held a release party on B Street in honor of their first album.
A little bit of soul was missing, as the Staxx Brothers themselves did not play.
With a newfound sponsor in the Pacific Rim Brewery, the pieces were all in place for a wild time.
I caught up with Stedman Friday afternoon, only a few hours before show time. After a rundown of the night, polishing off the large calzone in front of him seemed to be the biggest worry of the day.
"Tonight's going to be fun," Stedman said. "The music scene in Pullman sucks right now, and this is an opportunity where we can begin to bring it back."
Stedman also refers to the Staxx Brothers' music as "black market music."
The Staxx Brothers rose to popularity in Pullman by playing in houses and other private parties.
"We are the undisputed kings of the illegal dance club, because we can't play at bars or any other public places," Stedman said. "The town of Pullman has a prohibition against music through oppressive laws and the only way to stop it is for the scene to happen. How can you call a university 'World Class, Face-to-Face‚' without supporting a local music scene?"
The Dad's Weekend party was, ideally, one more big step in the rise of local music.
Friday night wasn't only an opportunity to get their name familiar to more people, but it was the inaugural "Staxxtoberfest," which Stedman hopes becomes a tradition in Pullman.
"Already in the works is a plan for another "MILFstock‚" for Mom's Weekend, said Stedman. "We held a show last year that weekend which was great."
Staxxtoberfest 2003 featured Seattle band Sambusa, a Sublime-influenced rock group which spent most of the night translating reggae styles into an abundance of cover tunes. Everything from Sublime to Bob Marley were revisited.
"This is our second time in Pullman in less than a month, and if it weren't for Davin and the band, we wouldn't be here," said Sambusa lead singer and guitarist Jason Crockett.
Comparing them to Sublime may be a little generous. They sounded a lot like current popular frat rockers O.A.R. They were well-received, as walking through the venue was near impossible. The catchy melodies carrying out to the street attracted a packed house.
A freak arm injury to saxophonist Malcolm Lewis prevented the Staxx Brothers from performing.
Helping their live cause is the release of the band's first album, appropriately titled Black Market Music.
Recorded live in Seattle this past August, each song captures the diverse spirit of the band well. Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the blues, hip-hop and with many other genres and groups are represented.
The first track, a smooth version of "On Ice," sets a slick tone for the remainder of the five track disc. Announced tributes to artists, including Hendrix and master producer Quincy Jones, are performed well.
Shining the most is the confident vocal delivery of Stedman and MC Decurrian, along with the wild saxophone sound of Lewis.
Stedman admits he lost track of how many copies of the album he passed out over the weekend, but they will be available exclusively at Bob's Corner Market in Adam's Mall for the next two weeks.
An evening with Staxx Brothers
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Positive vibrations and innovations combined with smooth lyrics create the flavor of Pullman's own S...Positive vibrations and innovations combined with smooth lyrics create the flavor of Pullman's own Staxx Brothers. The sound is hot and ties hints of hip-hop and soul with reggae beats, but the style doesn't stray from other genres. At 8 p.m Saturday, the Staxx Brothers play their final show of the year at the corner of Whitman and Kamiaken; the party is on.
The Staxx Brothers can be recognized from previous shows ranging all over the Pullman area. Recall the shows on Monroe or Spaulding, Mom's Weekend - all covered by these brothers.
"We're serious musicians," said WSU sophomore music major and Staxx Brothers drummer Liam O'Connor. "We take what people enjoy and bring it live."
The group is comprised of an array of talents and personalities; junior Decurrian is the MC, senior Davin Michael Stedman provides vocals, Malcolm Lewis is on the saxophone, J.D. is on guitar and Lucus Weber plays bass.
"We have a very diverse group of people," Stedman said. "Now that we have solidified this line up, there is a mutual admiration and love of performing. It really shows on stage."
The Staxx Brothers keep it real by spreading a unique quality that touches on a flurry of different music interests. All songs are upbeat and create a strong flow.
"It's different than what other people do," Decurrian said. "It's like those cereal variety packs. One person likes the Cocoa Puffs and someone else likes the Cracker Jacks. You know, we got a little of everything."
The Staxx Brothers spread energy throughout all performances. It strives to deliver original songs, but also performs covers to enhance vivacity. Stedman sings, "Easy rider babe ... " as Decurrian adds lyrics and the other players keep the steady and fervent rhythm.
"We are not just a band at a party," O'Connor said. "We want people to feel like they are at a concert and just let go, let loose."
The group formed in November 2002 and plans on releasing its first album in the fall. The Warped Tour is on its list of future goals, as well as touring Asia and Europe.
"It's not like 'if we are going to make it' - we are serious about this," Stedman said. "We are trying to develop an audience at WSU and we want to open doors for college music."
Band manager and WSU junior Andrew Kolody believes the Staxx Brothers can go places.
"They are not in it for the money, but in it for the music," he said. "To get out there and have a good time is payment enough."
Opening for The Staxx Brothers Saturday is a new formation of artists, the G-sharps, featuring the Blaxstonz. Hip-hop combined with funk completes the feel of a laid-back groove. This show will be its debut.
"We want to make something that will make people dance 'til they sweat," said the Blaxstonz singer Preach.
All musicians look forward to the show.
"It's the last bash of the year," O'Connor said. "This is going to be the party of all parties."
More than meets the eye
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Ask any rapper how they come up with their lyrics, and most will tell you it takes hours of sitting ...Ask any rapper how they come up with their lyrics, and most will tell you it takes hours of sitting down with a pen and pad and working out rhymes.
There are also freestylers who create rhymes in their head and deliver them in the studio without writing them down.
Now imagine if you could not write them down to begin with.
The rhyming skills of Decurrian, a rapper in the band Staxx Brothers, depended on his ability to create lyrics in his head.
Decurrian, the stage name for Amin Tony Hester, has had poor vision since birth as a result of glaucoma. He chose to never write down his lyrics since he began rapping at 13.
"It's the way I've always done it," Decurrian said. "I've tried to write it down, but it's just easier in my head."
Decurrian chose to undergo a cornea transplant in February. The complications sidelined him from performing with the Staxx Brothers until this weekend for MILFstock II.
Decurrian, who was born and raised in Detroit's 4 Mile before moving to Tacoma, has been positioned on a couch in his living room waiting for broken blood vessels to clear out.
Decurrian said the vessels burst during surgery and the doctor thought the blood was cleaned out.
His planned trip to the doctor on Saturday means he will be commanding the stage Friday night for his screaming fans. He said he is usually not one to get hyped up for a show, but makes an exception for this one.
"Last year's MILFstock was fun so I really hope this one is too," Decurrian said. "It was the most fun show (I've done)."
That's surprising coming from somebody who has opened up for Sir Mix-A-Lot and Maktub.
"(Maktub) was off the hook," he said. "There was such a great crowd response."
Decurrian loves to play off the crowd when he's in the moment.
"I love to interact with the crowd," Decurrian said. "I keep the laid-back feel going, but if it's an uppity crowd, I keep it energetic."
Davin Michael Stedman, the Staxx Brothers' lead singer, met Decurrian after hearing him rap in 1999. Stedman invited him to the studio for his radio show, and after the show, they began working together.
Stedman admires Decurrian for everything he has been through.
"He's the bravest individual I know, not just musician," Stedman said. "I've seen him struggle for years with this. Nine out of 10 MCs would have given up."
Friday night's show will be the first performance for Decurrian with his old bandmates. Some personnel changes have occurred, the most significant being the addition of the 12th & Vine rhythm section sitting in with Stedman and Decurrian.
The Friday night show at 405 Colorado St., which is being sponsored by Pacific Rim Brewery, also includes 12th & Vine, Special T and The D Street All Stars.
The first band hits the stage at 9 p.m.
Get Out Tonight: Porter Batiste Stoltz and The Staxx Brothers at Nectar
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George Porter (of The Meters) and his band, Porter Batiste Stoltz, are descending upon Fremont's Nec...George Porter (of The Meters) and his band, Porter Batiste Stoltz, are descending upon Fremont's Nectar Lounge tonight, providing you with the opportunity to experience legendary New Orleans dirty funk right here in Seattle. Porter was the bass player for the original Meters back in the '60s and '70s. Russell Batiste, Jr., and Brian Stoltz jumped on the funk train with Porter in The Meters' late '80s reincarnation--the Funky Meters. George Porter, Jr.'s, bass is sexy as hell; have you heard "Cissy Strut"?
More to the point, have you heard PBS' "I Believe" or "All We Wanna Do"? What we've heard is luxuriously funky and lovingly long-cooked like good red beans and rice. It's a treat to have these guys in Seattle for a night.
A taste of PBS, a la YouTube:
The Staxx Brothers, from our own beloved Bothell, are opening up for Porter and his band. These guys combine hip-hop and soul to create what sounds like pure summer on the rocks. They're authentic soul (one of the guys is even blind!), deeply rooted in American funk, and proud to have finally produced an LP we're coveting, called The 12thStreet Blues.
From their website: "To put it to you straight, we sound like Outkast and Jimi Hendrix just chillin' at a BBQ, and the Rolling Stones crashed the party." We've seen them live before, over at some Irish bar in the UD, and we're expecting an equally awesome show tonight. Check out "I've Been Workin'" or "Easy Rider" on their Myspace profile.
As Seattlest's concert-going partner noted over breakfast, "It's Monday night, it's cold, and it's rainy. People should go dance." The Staxx Brothers will be starting around 8pm: don't be late!
7pm // Nectar Lounge // $14 adv. // 21+
By Katelyn in Arts & Events
THE STAXX BROTHERS: 12TH STREET BLUES
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I've known Davin for some time now, and even before we were formally introduced I knew him as associ...I've known Davin for some time now, and even before we were formally introduced I knew him as associated deeply within the multi-genre music scene in the college town of Pullman, WA. Back then there was the Mugicians, who blended hip hop with Marley-esque reggae and bar-room combo jazz. As the years passed, the group went in different directions, but the genre blend in Pullman lived on. Eventually, we were led to the hip hop / soul / blues mix that is The Staxx Brothers today.
In 12th Street Blues the title genre and even elements of jazz can be heard, though soul and hip hop reside at the forefront of the music for the most part. Where songs like "Easy Rider" drive home the soul/R&B sounds with backing female vocalists, others like "Keep The Motor Runnin'" include a string of improvisation (here, provided on organ and keys). "Slowdown (12th Street Blues)" finds The Staxx Brothers with a heavier hip hop focus, while the backing guitars have hints of funk.
The jazz elements return in "Toshin'" with a deep baritone sax. "Toshin'" breaks into jumpy rock in the middle before heading back to the smooth soulful sounds to conclude the song. Differing from the vast amount of hip hop of today, The Staxx Brothers lyrics focus on the intellectual as opposed to the bitches and hoes, the guns and money, and the glorification of gang life. Their use of standard instruments rather than manipulated computer generated beats, also give The Staxx Brothers and edge to traditional mainstream hip hop.
As with most multi-genre mash-ups, the music may take a small amount of getting used to, but The Staxx Brothers glide you into it much quicker than most. "Back Home" marks an interesting turn on the album, blending country-rock with soulful vocals (as odd as it may sound when described, the music itself is damn catchy).
It's almost fitting to conclude with "JMH", an epic 10-minute-plus tribute to Jimmy Hendrix, whose mastery of the guitar altered rock forever. Similarly, The Staxx Brothers progress and alter each genre they touch, manipulating various elements to create something holistically unique. Throughout 12th Street Blues, The Staxx Brothers excell at defining their own style, blending genres that once may have been considered stand-alone, and crafting songs that one day, if all goes well, will help them sell out the Apollo.
Detroit is Dead
Red Hot Momma
Game Recognize Game
Jesus in Adidas
Almost Got Shot
Little Big Time
Jesus in Adidas
Keep the Motor Runnin
There are no upcoming dates at this time.