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The best kept secret in music


"Impressive first release"

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Moonbagg may just have achieved the impossible. The trio has somehow managed to infuse their sound with heavy doses of prog technique, jazz fusion and jam band noodling and still come out with a product that’s intensely engaging and free of boring self-indulgent nonsense. The five tracks that compromise the band’s self-titled EP are exciting, creative musical landscapes the listener can become lost in.
The three members of Moonbagg work together like clockwork to play music that is precise and exacting but leaves plenty of room to breathe. Vic Deluca fronts the group with incredible guitar work that is intricate but never labored. His vocals are smooth and clear, effortlessly slipping into an impressive falsetto. Bassist Stas Marchak and drummer James Naylor provide a rock solid rhythm section jammed with notes without ever overplaying.
The EP finds the band exploring a number of different directions. “What’s to Come” stands out as the most adventurous of the set, featuring a synthesizer intro and an extended end passage that builds up only to suddenly dissolve into a swirl of FM radio samples. “Cherokee” includes Native American chanting, while “Fold” builds itself upon a dizzying bass line full of finger tapping.
With solid musicianship and a clear direction, Moonbagg give the listener plenty to chew on.
- Gallery Of Sound

"One word. Two Gs."

Moonbagg doesn't sound like anyone else. Sure, you can find a riff that may remind you of something else (and I found several). But their overall sound is distinct. A major part of that distinction is the lack of power chords and slashing
metal-esque licks. Moonbagg's sound is basically acoustic. Still, it's far from "folkie." Maybe you can call them a more complicated John Mayer. Opener "Life As A Dime" borrows the intro from America's old "Ventura Highway" and adds a slight jazz tinge. The band is tight, which is especially evident in the several pauses. Deluca has a mid-octave tenor voice. But rather than being at the mercy of the tune's flow, he directs it. There's also a nice build-up to the end. "Have We Met" has more than just a tinge of fusion jazz. Pat Metheny jumps
to mind, though there's a funk factor, which Metheny doesn't often use.
Deluca's vocals have that same funk feel. They skip along the top, bringing to mind Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites, and maybe Bobby Wo-mack, though in a higher key. Deluca also takes a credible stab at scat singing. But, Naylor turns in the most outstanding performance here. We're not talking a slammin' 4/4 beat. This is complicated jazz drumming, pulled off flawlessly. Credit Deluca for a neat guitar lead part as well. There are tempo changes in "What's To Come." It's a somewhat choppy driver in the first verse. In the second verse (you could almost call it a bridge), the tune takes on a jazzish feel. Then it's back to original form. The ending is a fairly long instrument part, in a form similar to the bridge. Synthesizers and radio tuning noises are tossed in for effect. But frankly, they're unneeded distractions and lead to excessive length. "Cherokee" starts like acoustic Zeppelin (I'm thinking of "Over the Hills and Far Away"). While verses change rhyme scheme and become elongated, the
flow stays throughout. As the title indicates, lyrics are centered around the American Indian tribe. But they're not preachy and don't dabble in politics at all (mercifully). They're more along the lines of a poem or passage which may have been written by one a century ago. Backup vocals also have an Indian feel. They're augmented by a chant at the tune's end. It's an interesting and convincing mix. One drawback is the backup vocals are mixed too low. "Fold" is based around a Marchak bass rift which has a noticeable blues feel. But Deluca's guitar and Naylor's percussion are all Weather Report-ish jazz. Deluca's vocals are split - with verses delivered in quasi hip hop style, answered by refrains sung in high voice. It's a neat, absorbing and intellectual combination. The drawback here is Deluca's verse vocals are
delivered using that God awful Nine Inch Nail vocal effect, which - as has been noted often in the seven years this column is here - I've always despised. The cut ends with a refrain - sung an octave lower - over a choppy backdrop.
Through the five tracks, Moonbagg makes liberal use of clever lyrics and unusual rhyme schemes, avoiding the usual A-B-A-B. Playing it tight and on target throughout - and occasionally outstanding.
There's more original material recorded locally than is usually noted. Proof of that can be heard on Mike Naydock's "Cellarful O'Noise" Sunday nights on WKAB-FM, 103.5 FM. But, a majority of original material from these parts is aggressive, power chord driven, and quasi-metalish. Moonbagg's stuff is aggressive in spots, but is otherwise different from the rest of the pack. Their sound is unique. They make liberal use of clever lyrics, unusual rhyme schemes and not your everyday A-B-A-B, tight playing. - Standard Speaker

"Music flows from Moonbagg like some alternative energy source..."

Music flows from Moonbagg like some alternative energy source...a source that seems to stem from the band itself. Their self-titled debut EP captures that power and molds it into a creation of beautiful originality.
The band's music is as varied as it's influences. From the jazzy funk of "Have We Met", to the acoustically driven rock of "Cherokee", Moonbagg employs crisp guitars, classically sharp drumming, and probably the most melodic bass playing that I've ever heard. Add novel and imaginative lyrics delivered with resonance and conviction, and you get a debut album worth owning. Of particular interest is the track "What's To Come". With flawless times changes and much lyrical depth, the song is a shining example of Moonbagg's creative prowess.
Not only should people listen to this album, but also see this talented band live. The energy and musicality of the performance will affect you. Hopefully, Moonbagg will be punctual with a second release, as I want to hear more.


Moonbagg - Self-titled EP
released July 2003, 5 songs
The first song, "Life as a Dime" is currently receiving airplay on 3 commercial radio stations and 1 college station. We're in standard rotation on 2 of those stations.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Moonbagg has been playing for five years in the NEPA region. They have been described as rock with a progressive/indie edge and jazzy feel and have a wide array of influences ranging from Radiohead to James Brown.

Some of the venues they have played include The Abilene in Philadelphia, Kenny’s Castaway’s in NYC, The Underpass in NJ, and a variety of clubs around the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton area such as Murray’s Inn w/ Seth Yacovone, The Staircase, The Bog, and The River St. Jazz Café.

Moonbagg follows the songwriting ethic of not getting trapped in any certain genre and works toward letting the song present itself. They feel that removing themselves from the song is the only honest approach to songwriting, and will render a unique sound.