Grillade
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Grillade

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Funk

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Ever since I heard about this group I’ve been waiting to hear the next track available from ‘em. So you can’t blame me for wanting to post this immediately after catching it over at the seemingly always-on, never-off site Yours Truly. Grillade is the combination of three acts — The Park, Keelay, and Ragen Fykes — coming together to make some innovative and altogether fantastic music. And here they’re delivering a live performance of “Remain the Same”, a track that blends all the right elements of soul, funk, R&B, and even jazz to create something new. I love how Fykes voice is never too over-stated and remains the perfect complement to the music. That’s rare these days, when too many vocalists want to dominate a record rather than let the band breathe. - Potholes In My Blog


Along with an increasingly less predictable hip-hop scene, there's something else special happening in the Bay Area thanks to acts such as Grillade. And after dropping off a few successful singles over the past few months, including a killer cover of "Just a Sad Christmas," the band has released live footage of their performance at Portland's the Fix on Sept. 23. The show was actually a homecoming for singer Ragen Fykes, who delivers the divine vocals on "Remains the Same." Tracks like these are not just swoon-worthy ballads but also examples of the group's musical diversity as they can also get pretty damn funky, too.

Check out the visuals over at the V-Tech website. - Prefix Magazine


GRILLADE
Hello power vocalist diva with the extra fierce steez! Ragen Fykes is the vivacious and vibrant cherry on top (think Jill Scott with a more Jaguar Wright fierceness) of the already killer band the Park and versatile producer/DJ Keelay. There are three incredible elements at play here, for those who are not privy. You have Keelay, producer and DJ of the hip-hop production team Keelay and Zaire, The Park—a super tight and incredibly versatile jazz/funk/hip-hop band, and Ragen Fykes—a sensual and bold vocalist out of Portland (Oregon) who has collaborated with the likes of artists like Ohmega Watts. The grouping of these three elements is monumental, and their performance at Karma the other night proved to be the first of many buzzworthy collaborations. What started off as a brilliant melding of various tastes, can only become even more phenomenal and flavorful over time. Live music never felt so good, looked so good, and sounded so good. - Beyond Race Magazine


Ever since I’ve been down with the URB set, the mag and the dot com have always been about what’s “next.”

You know the history. For 15+ years, URB Magazine’s Annual Next 100 Issue has been an institution in the emerging music & culture landscape… You already know this.

So, keeping with the idea that this is a blog, the URB Blog, I’ll keep this brief, and save the verbosity for something more in-depth down the road.

Meet Grillade [pronounced: gree-yahd], the new collab project consisting of Ragen Fykes (vocals), Keelay (production), and The Park (instrumentals). We briefly intro’d them recently when they were announced on the SXSN bill, and after seeing them out in Austin we’re more than happy to drop this sampler for the masses.

The music really can’t be described as anything but fresh soul music. Their sound was a necessary change of pace to the frenetic tempo of SXSW, and personally, I can’t wait to hear whats on deck.

Enjoy. - URB


"'Dream of You' is something we were all really excited to share with everybody," Grillade's producer Keelay tells Spinner. "The song just feels good and it we had a great time creating the visuals for that feeling with French Press Films." Listen to the smooth vocals of Ragen Fykes set to visuals of friends chilling in San Fransisco. - AOL: Spinner


On Thursday, September 23rd – VTech Phones & Fresh Selects presented yet another live band’s debut in Portland, where else could it happen at but The Fix. Although, this debut was actually a little bit more of a homecoming – as Grillade’s lead singer is actually Portland’s own Ragen Fykes, however – she & her San Francisco counterparts, Keelay, The Park and Nate Mercerau – had yet to bring this latest project of theirs home just yet, despite already playing all around San Francisco, L.A. and both SXSW and CMJ festivals in 2010.

Captured above is Grillade’s blues ballad romp, “Remain The Same” – highlighting both Ragen’s heartwrenching vocals which brought the crowd to church & herself to her knees, as well as axeman Nate Mercerau entering what Ragen dubbed “the shred zone” for an incredible guitar solo.

Check out the video and let us know what you think of one of our favorite new groups – Grillade.

Credits:
Executive Producer: Fresh Selects
Filmed by Paulius Kontijevas & Daniel Evans
Edited by Paulius Kontijevas
Audio Mixed by Doc Adam
Hosted by Ronin Roc
Opening Act: Dibia$e - vTech


Sandwiched in between two indie hip-hop acts at the Quality Control Marketing showcase at Southpaw in Brooklyn, Grillade gave the mostly die-hard hip-hop crowd something they didn’t even know they wanted, a six-piece soul-rock band from the Bay.

Fronted by the indelibly charming vocalist Ragen Fykes and backed by the Bay’s go-to rhythm section, The Park, and the production wizardry of Keelay, the group has nailed down the basics in a very impressive way. At their core, the band is extremely tight, the songwriting is both catchy and timeless and the musicianship is sharp. It’s a little bit classic rock, a little bit Motown, but mostly a lot of soul.

Highlights included the bluesy “Remain the Same” and on another track, a riffing on the Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” guitar solo, and it sounded good, really good. These guys have some serious chops. I’m interested to see how Grillade’s sound develops. The band is currently preparing their debut full-length Fresh Out Of Nowhere. - Okayplayer: The Revivalist


Here, the jazzy, funky dudes of Grillade bring us a new video (with French Press Films) for the song "Dream Of You (Emotionally Yours)." The clip begins in an S.F. apartment, and follows the crew throughout a chill day in San Francisco. The song simmers along pleasantly, laying smooth whispers over a circular, Rhodes-flavored groove. It's a good tune, but we were kinda distracted by watching fun things in the video. Such as:

1. The messy apartment -- it's not home without burrito wrappings from the night before.

2. Sriracha hot sauce in the background -- it belongs in every household.

3. Drums set up in the kitchen -- we wish we could play drums in our kitchen.

4) Rooky Ricardo's Records -- one of the finest dealers of vinyl platters in the city, possibly the universe (and a very fine place to spend an afternoon).

5) Papalote (Fulton) -- do we even need to say anything here?

Now watch the video, and ponder the almost Jamiroquai-like smoothness with which the crew moves from one locale to another: - SF Weekly


Christmas music has soul. Sure, you could dismiss the festive genre as a cloying mix of schmaltzy lyrics, tired references to comically named reindeer, and saccharine sentiments about returning to one's place of origin. And sure, Mariah Carey's recently rekindled commitment to holiday music, Merry Christmas II You, might be the sickly aural equivalent of sprinkling too much cinnamon into the pumpkin pie mix. But the Christmas season has also inspired some compellingly soulful music — whether by the illustrious likes of Marvin Gaye and James Brown, or curios such as Honey and the Bees' bells-propelled "Jing Jing a Ling." You just need to dig a little to find the season's real spirit.

San Francisco's Grillade ensemble — producer Keelay, singer Ragen Fykes, and rhythm section the Park — has just released its own addition to the valid holiday vault, "Just A Sad Christmas." Originally slated for a Christmas-themed compilation project that petered out, it's a cover of an obscure late-'60s, single-only release by the Soul Duo. Bluesy and cut through with a damp melancholy, the lyrics deal with estrangement and somber feelings during the season of goodwill: "Green, red, and blue are the colors of the lights and decor I see/Gray, [grim] gray and black are my moods 'cause you're not here with me."

Authentically soulful Christmas music like Grillade's is rare these days, but it wasn't always that way. Hearing Donny Hathaway's turn-of-the-'70s "This Christmas" invokes a sincere feeling of joy, for example. Asked about the contemporary aversion to the genre, Grillade's Keelay chalks it up to the stigma attached to Christmas music. But holiday clichés and corny imagery existed long before artists started making great songs about the season. The best musicians simply used those elements for inspiration. Marvin Gaye's "Purple Snowflakes," from 1964, evokes a beguilingly frosty take on wintertime, with lyrics that refer to "blankets of white" and the conclusion, "I'm sure that snowflakes fall from the gloom." Five years later, James Brown whisked Santa away from his seemingly natural, idyllic setting — small villages of snow-topped cottages — for the reality check "Santa Claus Goes to the Ghetto." It's a punchy piece of festive funk that at one point sees the soul icon hollering, "Tell 'em James Brown sent you!" (For humorous kicks, check out Gary Walker's "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag," a Yuletide reworking of Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag": "Come on children, dig the crazy scene/He's oh so fat, but his beard is pretty clean," the lyrics inform us in a not-totally-reassuring manner.) Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas" takes the idea of an invite to a party, extends it into a bittersweet lament on lost love, and wraps it up in cute phrasing: "My best friend's having a party and everybody's going/I know it's gonna be a lot of fun," she sings, then, as an exquisite a cappella aside, "Oh, by the way, it's snowing."

But even if you're content to just cover the classics — carols, clichés, and all — Christmas lyrics, with their simple rhymes and familiar imagery, offer a sturdy canvas for musical embellishment. Keelay cites the Jackson 5 Christmas Album as a starting template for how to "flip the traditional Christmas songs like 'The Little Drummer Boy' and make them soulful and into their own Jackson 5 sound." Likewise, Otis Redding's take on "White Christmas" sees him imbuing the standard with a vocal delivery that borders on pained staccato.

The strength of emotions invoked during Christmastime should inspire expressive and poignant songwriting. Sorrowful lows smart harder during the snowy season. The run-up to Dec. 25 can be a bountiful playground for artists who like to dwell in creative melancholia. Grillade's Fykes was first unswayed by the potential of Christmas music, but found herself won over by the honest feeling of the group's "Just a Sad Christmas." "It's true to me," she says. "It's not some fake happy Christmas song like, 'Happy Christmas! Yes, let's all have some egg nog!' It's some real, 'No, Christmas sucks this year, buddy.'"

Like the best Christmas music, it's a song whose quality shines bright despite the seasonal context, but whose soulful pull still comes from it. - SF Weekly


Discography

"Remain The Same" (Live at Southpaw)
"Dream Of You" (video)
"Just A Sad Christmas" (single)

Photos

Bio

In an era where artists' careers begin and end in the blink of an eye, Grillade (pronounced “gree-YAHD”) is building for the future. The six-piece Soul-Rock band from San Francisco was not built on blogs but on stages. They haven't churned out a series of a dozen mixtapes with disposable, forgettable songs to try and make a splash on the world wide web. They've, instead, been in the studio, crafting their art and sound as a band - and the results are stellar.

Borrowing their name from the traditional Creole dish made of meat braised in a rich sauce with vegetables, Grillade too is hearty and ?lling. Fronted by vocalist Ragen Fykes, the band is as many parts Betty Davis and Nancy Sinatra as it is Cream and Jefferson Airplane. Where Fykes' lyrics recall so many classic Rock and R&B refrains, the work of lead guitarist Nate Mercereau will call to mind the likes of Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Prince - not only for his virtuoso talent but also for the catchy, lasting melodies that he plays.

As the band continues to prepare their debut full-length release, they offer, as an introduction, “Dream Of You” and “The Meeting” which, while sweet and sophisticated, are only a small peek at what lies ahead. Producer, keyboardist and percussionist, Keelay offers up: “We're musicians - artists. Grillade is a band that was born in an era where bedroom producers, singers and rappers are a dime a dozen. But we are playing the gigs, we are spending the time in the studio, we are crafting a brand new sound”.

And that they are. Formed long before Grillade, Derek Taylor (drums), Ben Schwier (keys) and Josh Lippi (bass) are The Park, alongside axeman Nate Mercereau. The band has spent the better part of 5 years establishing themselves as San Francisco's premier rhythm section, continuing to back acts such as: international touring phenom Alice Russell, soul legend Darondo and more. The band's exceptional ability to seamlessly cross genres and master any style landed them in the target of Fykes and Keelay, and in collaborating, the sum has become well more than the parts involved.

Performing their ?rst string of shows in the winter of 2010, the band has already captured the attention of Beyond Race Magazine, URB, XLR8R and AOL and with an album in the works, plans on capturing the attention of the general population as well. Look for Grillade to perform at a venue near you this year and check their forthcoming debut LP, coming soon.