Euphonic Brew
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Euphonic Brew

Band Rock Funk

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"Brew Who? Find out at Hard Rock tonight as two Rochester natives celebrate new CD"

The Euphonic Brew recipe: jam-rock, heartily seasoned with keyboards and a liberal dose of Beatles-inspired harmonics.
It's a stimulating blend, which earlier this month earned Euphonic Brew gigs at HempFest in Maine and at Paul Smiths, which isn't a club, but a tiny village in the Adirondacks.
In the past few years, Euphonic Brew has spread its jam in 200 shows as far away as Kansas. On Friday, the Beaver County-Pittsburgh quartet will entertain hometown fans during a CD release bash at the Hard Rock Cafe.
The $10 cover includes a copy of "In a Sea of Stained Glass," Euphonic Brew's 14-cut sophomore album, which from its opening moments showcases a band conscientious about its songcraft.
Leadoff track "Green, Red, Gray, Pink" launches with a Deep Purple-ish organ riff soon joined by xylophone and a sitar-guitar hybrid instrument borrowed from Rusted Root's Liz Berlin. The 80-second song - an instrumental piece, except for the slowly loudening din of background party chatter - pours without pause into "A Social Scene," a funky guitar-fueled diatribe against prosaic party-goers uttering "incoherent babble like a multi-screen TV." The song ends with a brief reprise of the disc's opening instrumental piece, which flows into "I Wanna Know," a slinky number about a green-eyed temptress.
Bassist-vocalist Brandon Matsook's musical influences are evident in his Paul McCartney-ish vocalizing on "Love Is Animation," while Mike Willis conjures up Widespread Panic with his jaunty playing on "Verbal Parade."
Matsook and Willis, both Rochester natives, began collaborating musically in 1999, moving to Pittsburgh three years ago to forge a band with like-minded guitarist Todd Knepp of Etna. The lineup solidified last fall with a Web ad that brought aboard Needmore, PA's Mitchell Thompson, whose percussion arsenal includes a djembe, a West African hand drum.
One taste of Euphonic Brew, and you might find yourself hooked. Find out Friday, as the band takes the Hard Rock stage following a set by Boulevard of the Allies, featuring Joel Lindsay, the British born singer now dwelling on Pittsburgh's South Side. - Beaver County Times


"Euphonic Brew: In a Sea of Stained Glass"

The moment that Euphonic Brew’s lead track, “Green, Red, Gray, Pink” off the Summer 2008 release, “In a Sea of Stained Glass” starts to spin, one is immediately transported ahead in time…or is it back? Standing in the Queue, waiting to take a seat for a ride that resembles the wooden rollercoaster of yesteryear; a sharp contrast to the twisted steel of today’s anonymous music scene.

Steadily making that initial climb with “A Social Scene”, Mike Willis' keyboard and Brandon Matsook’s Bass are sewn together into one movement, reflected again and again through out the album. The heart rate gains momentum as we are effortlessly lifted to the top of the ride.

Launching into “I Wanna Know”, Todd Knepp pounds out six strings of attitude, with Matsook and Willis bringing together a familiar feel. Think, “Sgt. Pepper’s meets Stray Cats”.

We really start to hear Knepp and Matsook get punchy with a lingering lead and jazzy bottom end on “Giddykick”. This is also our first chance to hear drummer Mitch Thompson take control before the band decidedly changes direction. Willis assumes the lead and shows that Euphonic Brew isn’t just an engine charging down the tracks. Whimsical lyrics and booty-shakin’ rhythms discovered in “Delusions” promise you’ll be humming that chorus the rest of the day. Willis continues with a George Harrison-like story of real life trials, a day in the life, with “Storytellers”.

A brief ascent, almost out of nowhere, “Trying to See What I’ve Found” mixes the machine-gun leads of Ted Nugent with the smoky undertones of Dr. John’s New Orleans backbone. When you “gotta have more cowbell”, this song delivers!

Calming, mesmerizing lyrics found in “Saltless Tears” and “Death of a Leprechaun” gives us time to reflect upon our own lives with a swell of ivory and bass, melodically coasting up and down as the rollercoaster seems to float:

When I was young my innocence was the core of me Now look at me, I'm lost at sea Waiting for something to rescue me But I'm not at home, you see; I'm not the one alone I've lost another love but I've gained another fear to hold What can I do, what can I do To get back to the blank slate I had in the womb

Raw harmonies and honest themes continue through “Laissez Faire” and quickly escalate into “Love Is Animation”, combining Knepp’s lead, Matsook’s effortless vocals, and Willis’ roving piano holding our hand, leading our way.

“All Thoughts on the Table” is a tune that reflects one’s beliefs in what a Jam Band can capture. Unpolished, growing on its own volition, lead guitar, cymbals, and harmonies keep moving and moving…and just when you think it’s done, Euphonic Brew turns up the volume and sets it free.

Every rollercoaster ride must come to an end, but hopefully not before gripping you and pushing you into the back of your seat. “Verbal Parade” does just that with the combination of all 4 musicians, marrying an eclectic pool of piano, hidden guitar licks, trombone, harmonica, wispy flutophone, clavinet, scale-stretching bass, and a toe tapping back beat. Complexity and control are what’s best with this song.

Willis’ xylophone brings us back to the beginning of this ride with head-bobbing bass in “Tale of a Man Who Can’t Think”. Squeaky clean vocals meld with fluid melody, pausing for one last smile, adding the first female voices on the album.

One thing is for certain, after listening to “In a Sea of Stained Glass”, ask Euphonic Brew who their influences are, and you are sure to be handed a full spectrum of artists spanning decades and genres.

It will be exciting to watch these boys grow, putting mile after mile under those warn out sneakers, lyrics shaping new horizons while the foundation of Pittsburgh’s Euphonic Brew seems to be unshakable.

- By E.G. Harris
Home Grown Music Network
- Leeway's Home Grown Music Network


"The Short List"

Talk about hitting the ground running: In its first year together, local funk and jam-rock band Euphonic Brew logged some serious miles and loads of live performances. Hear the evidence tonight as the band celebrates the release of Color Wheel at Club Cafe. On this studio debut, [the] funky clavinet and organ spar with [the] gravelly vocals and guitar leads over a limber rhythm section, with results variously reminiscent of Stevie Wonder, Phish, and Steppenwolf. - Pittsburgh City Paper (Aaron Jentzen)


Discography

Euphonic Brew- Premium Blend Music (Demo)
Euphonic Brew- Live at The Mad Frog: Cincinnati, OH (3/30/06)
Euphonic Brew-Live at Scarlet & Grey Cafe: Columbus, OH (9/21/06)
Euphonic Brew-Color Wheel (2007)
Euphonic Brew-In a Sea of Stained Glass (2008)

Photos

Bio

Pittsburgh’s Euphonic Brew, a member of Leeway's Homegrown Music Network, ranks among the fastest growing, most exciting and versatile bands to emerge from the Western Pennsylvania music scene. Boasting an electrifying ultra-kinetic live set, this four-piece act is set on mobilizing a nationwide fan base.

Euphonic Brew is Todd Knepp on guitar/vocals, Brandon Matsook on bass/vocals, Mike Willis on keyboards, and Mitchell Thompson on drums. Since their conception in Jan. 2006, they’ve played nearly 200 shows and festivals each year. From Kansas City to Columbus, through Pennsylvania and on to the Northeast, Euphonic Brew has been devoted to making new fans out of casual listeners with their spirited shows and solid grooves.

Combining their innate playing talents with an incredibly strong sense of melody and chordal composition, EB avoids pigeonholing through genre-bending syntheses of their many different influences. “It’s about variety,” explains Willis. “We’ve got three distinctive songwriters all writing in their own way, so this band is definitely about variety.” These guys switch between funky riff-rockers, improvised jams, and pop mini-suites with ease. The result: listeners are treated to an array of styles, further augmented by their use of non-traditional instruments such as African percussion and the trombone.

True to their name, Euphonic Brew cooks up a musical concoction that might be described as synaesthetic, a harmony of the senses. This comes through in the title of their debut album, Color Wheel, and especially in their new album, In a Sea of Stained Glass, a collection which highlights their tremendous songwriting skills and irresistible melodies. EB is a group of musicians melting their styles into an ever-morphing groove, hard to pin down, but always melodic and always funky. As one fan put it, “Typically this is not the music I listen to, but these guys made me DANCE!”

All of this contributes to Euphonic Brew being poised on the brink of domination as they continue to establish their powerful presence in the eastern U.S. music scene. This band is pure earphoria.