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Promoting music in school

To a hip-hop rhythm, students at Manuel Pérez School in Pilsen celebrate the continuation of their music program

By Leticia Espinosa
March 12, 2009

The majority of those living in Pilsen are from modest means, and in days past, they would strain to pass state measurement exams. They are students at Manuel Pérez Jr. School, who yesterday received a dose of inspiration and motivation to carry on.

A mini-concert of music in the gym of the school raised them from their seats. Upon hearing news that they would have another year in the after-school music program, they rose shouting with jubilation. And with their songs and dances, the men of Swamphouse, a hip-hop band, inspired them.

Marco Arce, a 13-year-old eighth-grade student, wants to be a musician and is one of the participants in the program sponsored by the George S. May Foundation for the Arts, which was developed by the PAUSE initiative (Positive Actions Using Self-Expression).

Arce commented that the program, which began at Manuel Pérez School, 1241 W. 19th St., during the 2008-2009 school year, inspired him to “analyze the possibilities of being a professional musician.”

For Sylvia Stamatoglou, principal of Pérez, it’s “important to rely on this program in the school curriculum” in the Pilsen neighborhood.

“The program motivates the students, and gives them an opportunity to write music, play instruments, and get involved in the idea of a universal language that everyone understands: music,” the principal added.

Daniel Hernández, 13 and a seventh grade student, said that this program helped him “fight stress.” He added that “it’s a good opportunity for those who don’t have another opportunity to study music.”

For the members of Swamphouse, it’s important to work with school-age children and other youth, they said, because “music can make miracles, save lives, and inspire students to not drop out of school and reach their goals,” said Pause, lead singer of the group.

“Do something positive”

“If we help one young person spend his or her free time off the streets, out of gangs and away from other problems, that is sufficient payment for us,” said a member of the group.

After playing “Good Girl” and “Look at Me Now,” the group told the students to “do something positive with your lives, do something that you love and that makes you happy, and stay near good influences.”

“They say that music inspires people, and is a vehicle to generate higher grades in school; at Pérez school we appreciate the ability to get our students involved, which is a unique opportunity for many of the students,” said Principal Stamatoglou.

According to data from Chicago Public Schools, almost 99 percent of students at the school are of Hispanic origin, and the majority come from modest means.

Jenny Estephani León, 12, said that she is excited and ready to join next year. Paula Rocha, mother of three students at Pérez School, said that she is pleased with this initiative, and considers the program “important in the academic development of my three children.”

“Our Foundation is very pleased to announce a new round of funds for classes at Pérez School,” said Donna Werner, director of the Foundation. “We have placed the program in schools that never had opportunities to offer this type of program to its students,” she added.



- Hoy!

The Swamphouse – The Fade / 2009 Self / http://www.theswamphouse.com

What The Swamphouse do on “The Fade” is create a completely unique style
of music that will have listeners’ turning their heads when the first
notes of “The Fade” come on. “Break Down” ties together funk, soul, and
rap into something that really stretches over the course of the last
thirty years in music. The flow that is achieved during the track is
tight as all get out, providing an extra bump to the harmony even as it
gives listeners a narrative. Each element of The Swamphouse is a cog in
a tightly-oiled machine, crafting a style of music that will keep
listeners up and bouncing. Whether it is the guitar, bass, or percussive
elements of The Swamphouse, each track on “The Fade” provides further
evidence that the person behind the respective element is pouring their
heart and soul out.

“Good Girl” brings The Swamphouse into Prince territory, as listeners
can hear the inclusion of electronic arrangements to the mix. The
charismatic vocals here further the comparison to Prince, while at
moments The Swamphouse ride a New Wave type of sound. Regardless of what
style they may actively be pushing, The Swamphouse zero in on a funky,
intense, and impressive sound. Impressive during “Good Girl” has to be
the presence of rap alongside the aforementioned New Wave sound; despite
coming from two very different traditions, the band is able to make the
two pieces work together in a flawless manner. “This Is My Life” givers
listeners a good ten second view into exactly how impressive the
instrumentation on “The Fade” can be, before going into a delivery style
that bounces back and forth between funk and rap. Any of the songs on
“The Fade” could be #1 on an R&B, college, or alternative station: there
are just so many different waves that listeners could conceivably begin
to appreciate this act.

“Twisted” tops off “The Fade”, and does it in a way that continues to
further the band’s range while following some trends previously broached
on earlier tracks. The rap flow of the act here moves back to a
decidedly eighties sound, while the rest of the band provides this flow
with a straight funk background. Listeners will not know where exactly
The Swamphouse will go with each subsequent track on “The Fade”, but
they will understand that what follows is nothing less than amazing.

Top Tracks: Break Down, Good Girl

Rating: 8.7/10

-James McQuiston
Editor, NeuFutur (print magazine)
Editor, http://www.neufutur.com (e-magazine)

AIM: enderjam
Phone:(740) 475-8979

NeuFutur Magazine
Attn: James McQuiston
650 Morris Road
Apt. #6
Kent, Ohio 44240 - Neufutur Magazine

HOLLYWOOD - Last Sunday, Nov. 13th, Hollywood’s The Gig hosted the U.S. Finals of the World Battle of the Bands. Competing for a trip to Hong Kong to participate in the World Finals along with bands from Singapore, the Phillipines, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong itself were L.A. representatives InTension, Something To Burn, SWAMPHOUSE, and Echoes Fade.
...The third band to take the stage took us out of the rock realm and into Planet Funk. SWAMPHOUSE – made up of trumpet, saxophone, guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard players, and led by R&B singers Murray “PK” Whitaker, Devin “Bashful” Mares, and rapper Dan Kushnir (aka, Pause) – provided a reinvigorating vibe and some fresh party grooves. Full of high energy, playful theatrics, and fun lyrics replacing those of pain, their big-band performance was in the tradition of fellow multiethnic L.A. groups Ozomatli and Jurassic 5. Their charisma won the hearts of girls instantaneously, but, unlike Something To Burn, they had guys’ heads bobbing as well and quite a buzz stirring for hours to come... - Canyon News

Swamphouse joins the EU radio company LAST.FM as a featured artist. Last.FM brings radio quality streams of many artists who seek alternative methods of bringing their music to the masses. With just a sprinkle of the LA Funk available, fans whet their appetites and scour the internet in search of more of the best new funky hip-hop in a generation.

www.theswamphouse.com - Last.FM

Nectoxic is an alternative webzine/talent agency. So why did we revive a request to review a Hip Hop / Funk / R&B band? It makes no sense!

But, Nectoxic.com is not your average webzine. We never deny someone a review just based on their style, music, or taste! So let's start this review already!

Swamphouse. A mixture of musical talent as well as sounds. Included in this band are:

Pause - Lyricist
Devin - Vocals
Forrest P - Trumpet
Nick T - Trombone
DJ Navi - Bass guitar
John "JMFS" Stover - Guitar
Tuna Butter- Keyboard
Blewfoot - Drums

Now an average "Goth" would say they don't listen to rap, only heavy metal. Well here is some text copied off the swamped profile page:

"The beats make you want to move your feet, and the lyrics are so fun and catchy you find yourself singing along by the end of each song"

And that is exactly what happened when we started sampling their music! We were astonished by how amazing this band is! We were expecting some "Yo, yo, yo, Ill bust a cap in your ass and smoke some dope..yo" But that's far from what we got! Yes, Nectoxic.com will admit that we have enjoyed reviewing this band for several reasons. One being they are breaking the barriers for conjoining instruments, creating a remarkable sound. And two, the fact that there are eight guys in the band and they all seem to get along, and are not caught up in the fame of becoming ego maniacs! That's rare!

So if Necotixc visitors want to call us "Posers" for listening to a little bit of hip-hop, then you should be shot! You know nothing! Check these guys out before you open your mouth! - Unknown

This LA-based group of EIGHT is bringing an invigorating sound to the table with their latest EP, The Fade. Swamphouse is made up of: Pause-rapper, Devin-vocals, John M F Stover-guitar, Mike Navarette-bass, Blewfoot-drums, Nick-trombone, Forrest-trumpet and Tuna Butter-keys. This large group of musicians offers up so many styles of music that it will make your head spin! I hear hip-hop, rapping, soul, pop, light rock, R&B, funk and even some jazz all meshed together perfectly.

This fresh and hip sound that Pause likes to refer to as “funk hop” definitely makes you move. The music is fun with party-like grooves, but also provides a deeper sense of meaning & purpose. Jams that you can get down to and also take in like fine wine seems to be the best way to describe The Fade. Two of Swamphouse’s songs have already received recognition from VH1. “Break Down” and “Good Girl” were monthly award winners in the VH1-sponsored Song of the Year Contest.

I have to say I just loved the mix of hip-hop, rap, funk & soul because it made for such a cooler than cool connection. That icy-cool flow travels gracefully throughout the whole record. Swamphouse seemingly wants to take their music to the next level by messing around with numerous musical genres. You get Pause rappin’ some lines while the horn section is whaling away. You’ll also get a dose of Devin singing some soulfully, rich lyrics to the backbeat of Blewfoot pumpin’ the beat. Finally, as a bonus you’ll also receive some funky-ass bass playing, hella guitar riffs and some right-on-keys melodies. So…you’ll get the funk…you’ll get the rap/hip-hop…the soulful R&B…the pop…a tint of rock…and they’ll even throw in a touch of jazz all for one low price! So, CALL now!! For anyone that didn’t catch on, this was just one big joke, ha-ha, so please don’t call 4 real because there is no #. End of message.

The five-song EP starts up with “Break Down”, which has a funky, fresh hip-hop presence while adding in some music from the soul and for the soul. Next up is “She Wants to Move” that moves at a pretty fast tempo while churning in some smoothness for added flavor. This track proves to be full of zesty spice that will “make you sweat ‘till you bleed” (C&C Music Factory). Song three, “Good Girl”, appears to have more of a pop appeal while cut #4, “Twisted”, is a perfect title for what Swamphouse has done here. What they have done is twisted styles together and they appear to be making it happen. In my opinion, Swamphouse won’t be fading out anytime soon. The sound they’ve created is just too damn cool to ignore, so get yours now!

For more on Swamphouse and their latest EP, The Fade, SKOPE out www.theswamphouse.com.

By Jimmy Rae


4.5 out of 5 - www.skopemag.com

In the beginning, DAN KUSHNIR was a white boy who certainly didn’t mind playing that funky music. It was a sound that propelled him from his sweltering basement studio in Colorado and into some of the hottest clubs in LA after he nicked himself PAUSE and let the spotlight shine proudly on his charismatic band SWAMPHOUSE. In speaking with KUSHNIR, one learns that this ain’t some MARK WAHLBERG film that comically yet earnestly demonstrates how one becomes successful without really having to try. It is the story of entirely different musical backgrounds coming together to make some of the funkiest music this side of FISHBONE. The band’s blood, sweat, and tears in the studio (not a big one reminds KUSHNIR) results in their EP THE FADE which kicks off with the BREAK DOWN – an explosive single that touches on almost every genre within the last twenty years of music effortlessly.

ROCKWIRED spoke with DAN KUSHNIR over the phone. Here is how it went.

Now that all of the work is behind you guys in terms of getting the E.P. out there for people to hear, how do you feel about the work?
You know, I was nervous at first but the longer it’s been out there, I feel a lot better about it. We’ve taken great pains to spread the word out and every single review comes out sounding more positive than anything I could imagine. So, I’m getting increasingly more happy with it.

What made you nervous in the first place?
Well, it’s like having a baby. This was a project that took some time to put together. It took the band a while to get to this place and so when we finally put something out with our name on it, of course things were going to be a little nerve wracking. That just comes with the territory in putting your name out there.

How long has this project been in existence?
SWAMPHOUSE originated as an idea that I had back in 2001 when I was living in Colorado and I brought it out here to Los Angeles. What I planned on doing when moving out to California was doing a solo thing with a DJ and I had a couple of cats that sang with me. I moved out here on my own and I had been out here for a year and I couldn’t get any gigs. It was really odd because I was in Colorado performing everywhere and I couldn’t get any gigs here. So I called my buddies from Colorado and asked them to come out and do a show with me and they did and it went really well. After that gig, we got a manager and everyone else moved out here. Officially, the band started in 2005 and after that, the band has been together since later that year. We had decided that there weren’t going to be any gigs unless we had a band put together.

Why the name?
The studio that I used to record in – which was the basement of my house in Colorado – had this heater gong and it would just get really swampy in there. It would just get really muggy and hot and there would be no way to cool it down as we were in there recording. As the air around us got swampy we just got into this whole vibe out of it and that was how we came up with the name SWAMPHOUSE.

What drew you to music specifically?
My mom played bass and my dad was an avid music fan who just recently started taking up piano. My mom played bass and was a singer. I always did theater and my mom always wanted me to get into playing an instrument. I told her that I didn’t want to. I was a kid at the time and had no interest in learning an instrument. Then one day, I really, really wanted this new pair of shoes and my mom said that it wasn’t going to happen. She was like ‘You don’t need to buy another pair of sneakers’ and I was like ‘Mom, I really need them.’ And with that my mom came up with an ultimatum. I could get the shoes if I took three years of piano. That was what got me into music actually. The more I played, the more I began to love it.

Was there a specific artist or a group of artists that pushed you in the direction that you are in now?
No, there really isn’t. My whole life people have been asking me ‘what’s you favorite type of music?’ and my answer is ‘something that people put passion into’. I’m attracted to things that you can hear the musicality in. I like all types of music and I always have. There is no one artist that I could say inspired me. MICHAEL JACKSON was one of the people that made me want to do what I do now, but there is such a wide variety of artists. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Talk about the current members of SWAMPHOUSE and what you think each of them brings to the table both musically and personality-wise?
There is a ton of personality in this band! The drummer is a cat that we call BLEWFOOT. He’s from New York but he’s lived in South Central for the past twenty years. He is super into funk and he was the one that got SWAMPHOUSE on that funk tip. He is funk drummer. It’s what he does and it’s what he listens to. He’s turned us onto all kinds of music. He is the heart and soul of the band when it comes to the funk. He is a guy that has led a very trying life and because of t he has the most incredible personality. He’s happy-go-lucky and he lives life day-to-day, purely for music. The bass player is the newest member of the band and is also a very good friend of mine. His name is MIKE NAVARETTE but we call him DJ NAV and he’s suck with it. He doesn’t DJ but we call him that anyway. He is the perfect fit for this band. We play funky music, which can get kind of technical at times. He’s trained at CSUN at the jazz program but he just plays funky soulful stuff. He’s there to play. The keyboard player TIMOTHY ARMSTRONG goes by TUNA BUTTER. We call him that because he is funky like tuna and smooth like butter. He is an incredibly talented piano player. He is a great songwriter too. He and I did a lot of the early collaborations on the songs. I used to write all of the songs in the band before I got with TUNA. Lately, he and I will start things off and work it out and then the band will add their own thing to it. He is a great songwriter and a great producer and he’s the reason that the EP sounds so good. It wasn’t like we were recording in some crazy, big studio. He helped us to make this thing sound really tight. Both horn players are graduates of the CSUN JAZZ PROGRAM. FOREST is the trumpet player and is one of the most talented trumpet players that I know. Although he has done a lot of classical stuff, he does great solo stuff and some great improv stuff. When we are jamming live, he really gets into these crazy licks. Both of our horn players like each other and that’s important that the two of them get along. There are so many frickin’ members in the band. Last but not least, we have DEVIN who has got an incredible voice. He’s got an incredible range. He can growl and he can get really sweet at the same time. He’s a very energetic person and when you get him onstage or in the studio that is when the passion in his voice really gets unleashed.

Describe how songwriting gets accomplished in this band?
Right now, we’ve just finished a song called SLOW DOWN and it started with me driving on my way to the studio for rehearsal. I got his good lick in my head and I instantly had words to it and when I got into the studio I got TUNA BUTTER to lay down some chords for it on the piano and then the bass player MIKE joined in with a few licks and then came the guitar player. As it was all coming together, I was like ‘This is perfect!’

From THE FADE, what songs stand out for you the most and why?
I would have to say BREAKDOWN because everyone played their asses off on that song and it was the first song that we all wrote together. Nobody came up with any ideas for it. We were in the middle of practicing another songs and we were trying to figure out some stuff with the horns and MIKE the bass player was going crazy on his bass and started doing this little lick and TUNA BUTTER was like ‘what was that?’ MIKE started playing it again, TUNA BUTTER added something to it and before you knew it, everybody added something to it. It is a complete, 100% written SWAMPHOUSE song. And it’s funky as hell and it’s fun to listen to.

How are live shows going at the moment?
The shows right now are incredible. They are the best that they have been. We are playing the best we’ve played live ever. We’re gigging quite a bit right now. We had held off a bit while we were recording but right now we’ll be heading off to Chicago for an event up there and we’re heading back to LA for another show and I’m working on finalizing a tour of the West Coast with another band but I don’t want to talk about it because it’s not done yet.

What would you like someone to come away with after they’ve heard this EP?
I’d like for people to think ‘Wow! That was something I’ve never heard before! I don’t quite know how to place it but I like it!’
- www.rockwired.com

I am a firm believer that everybody needs a little funk in their lives. This is why when I first heard Swamphouse’s The Fade EP it brought both a smile to my face and movement to my feet. The eight man group from Los Angeles knows how to crank out the funk and they do it with aplomb. The Swamphouse team consists of (back row L to R) rapper Pause, piano player TunaButter, who likes to say he’s “funky like tuna, smooth like butter,” bassist Mike aka DJ Navi, trumpet player Forrest aka Forrest Trump, (front row L to R) singer Devin, trombone player Nick T, guitarist Jmfs and drummer Blewfoot. This week I caught up with the majority of the group to find out more about their music, what makes funk so special, and how a Polish beer company inadvertently helped set the stage for one of the most interesting nights of their lives.

Adam Bernard: Start everyone off by talking a bit about the music of Swamphouse. For someone who’s never heard a Swamphouse record, describe the sound they’ll hear and the vibe they’ll get when they put one on.
Pause: Swamphouse is the secret love child between the son of Tupac and Tower of Power and the daughter of Jamiroquai and George Clinton.

Adam Bernard: What aspects of Swamphouse do you feel people will connect with most?
DJ Navi: I think when people hear Swamphouse it’s easy to connect with the feel good vibe. We make upbeat, funky, Hip-Hop, soul pop jams that I honestly can't help but bob my head to. It's hard not to like music that reverberates in your soul.
Pause: There really are so many aspects that appeal to so many different people. There have been multiple times that we have been playing at a festival and after we’re done, as I'm meandering around in the crowd, a younger kid will spot me and walk up with his mother, or even grandma, and I end up jabbering on with his grandma about old school tunes. A lot of times I end up getting the feeling that the grandma dug the show even more than the grandson. I always joke that I'm gonna make t-shirts that read "Swamphouse - your grandma loves us."

Adam Bernard: Make it happen! Speaking of making things happen, you’re in a position to help funk make a comeback. Do you feel you have any peers in your own generation, or do you mostly see yourself as an extension of the George Clintons of the world?
Nick T: A little of both, really. We all have our roots in various kinds of music like jazz, soul, gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop, etc., so to say that we're not an extension of our mentors and the people that we grew up listening to would be a lie. But, on the other hand, we're taking our eight different styles and creating something that is new and unique. We're combining new technology and ideas with some of the old classic styles to create something that I feel most of the world can really dig.
TunaButter: We occasionally drew comparisons when this lineup was starting out (Swamphouse is on their second lineup) to live Hip-Hop acts such as The Roots or Gym Class Heroes, as far as contemporary acts go. However, I haven't caught on to anything yet that compares to the current sound that we've developed. We are a fusion of each individual’s influences and playing style and considering that there are eight of us, that's a lot of elements that we've managed to effectively mix into a tangible presentation. In that sense, as that’s what George Clinton did with his various projects, I would say that we are in that spirit of what George has done and hopefully one day those founders of funk will be happy to claim us as part of that community, as well.

Adam Bernard: What does funk music provide that no other genre can?
Pause: Interesting question. I would say an atmosphere that actually welcomes the mix of beer and acid.
Blewfoot: Funk music is a way of life. Funk is space and you create funk out of space and that gives you time to relax, listen, and just have a good time.
TunaButter: For me funk is as ubiquitous and hard to define as soul. It gives you the rawness of rock, but also the hard hitting or slinky grooves that soul and gospel give you. At the end of the day, what matters most is the groove. I came from a Gospel church background where music has a transcendent effect on your body and mind. In the secular sense, Funk gives you that if it’s done correctly. The groove hits the gut when you hear the bass and percussive elements lock in, then you can do nothin' but shake yo stank ass.

Adam Bernard: I’m guessing your live shows are pretty crazy. Do you have any stories you can legally share about an especially wild moment or happening from a Swamphouse show?
Nick T: I'll never forget the time that we did an X Games/dirt bike style show. The stage was in-between two ramps with three dirt bike riders doing back flips and crazy tricks over us. Then there was the time we first went to Chicago to play for a Polish festival called Taste of Polonia. We got sponsored by a Polish beer company called Okocim. Awesome, right? Well, they kept wheeling in cases of this free beer. One was a pale ale and one was dark and not only were they all in tall cans, but the dark was like eight or nine percent (alcohol). So after our first show we were all just kicking it in the tent and drinking our free beer until we had to go back on stage for our second show. I don't think any of us realized the damage that had been done until we hit that stage. After the first song we all just kind of looked at each other and knew that it was going to be a rough one. Later, all sorts of crazy mishaps happened. We found an awesome bar and grill, talked shit to people, Forrest threw up in Dan's parents' car… what a great weekend and what a great beer! Go Okocim!

Adam Bernard: Sounds like a lot of potential YouTube moments. Now, before I let ya go, take 30 seconds to convince all the readers out there to pick up The Fade EP.
Nick T: If you like any kind of music from the last 40 years, even if you get down to the likes of T-Pain and Kanye West, you are going to dig this album! We've got the funky grooves, the polished sound, and the music and lyrics to back up all of the talk.
TunaButter: Our music is all about having fun and it comes across the speakers as efficiently as it does live. Holla at thine Tuna!
Blewfoot: Even the cover alone will get you {laughs}. I had my man Double K from People Under The Stairs over the other day and he looked at it and was like “yeah, that says you right there.”
Pause: And remember, your grandma will love it, too!
- www.adamsworldblog.com

Swamphouse brings their visionary mix of Hip-Hop, Soul and R&B to market with their EP, The Fade. February Winners in VH-1's Song Of The Year Contest for 2009 (Break Down), Swamphouse has been mixing it up in Los Angeles and its environs since a 2005 coming out at B.B. King's. Led by rapper Pause, Swamphouse has one of those sounds that's so infectious and original that people stop what they're doing to find out who that band is. For The Fade, Swamphouse drafted three former students of Cal State Northridge's Jazz Performance Program as a horn section, adding a new layer to their already soul-satisfying sound. You'll dance 'til you're dizzy.

The Fade EP opens with Break Down, a delicious mix of Hip-Hop and Funk that will get your booty shaking and your feet moving. Pause smokes on rhymes and Devin is killer on vocals in the chorus. She Wants To Move will get you moving with heavy-duty Funk and a horn section that will have you grabbing for your platform shoes. Good Girl is a highly danceable day dream about finding the right kind of girl. It's refreshing in a genre know for misogyny to hear a song so positive about women (and consequently about self). Twisted is the perfect dance tune with a romantic component that will feed a lot of hormones on the dance floor without sounding like a come-on. Swamphouse closes out with This Is My Life, a highly danceable bit of autobiography that might just be the best song on the disc.

Swamphouse knows how to make you dance. In an era of tripped-out electronic dance music, Swamphouse brings it all old school on instruments played by people and creates some of the most fun dance music of 2009. Swamphouse is worth spending some time with. Bring The Fade to your next party!

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
- http://wildysworld.blogspot.com/2009/08/swamphouse-fade-ep.html


Still working on that hot first release.



Sometimes it’s just a matter of good luck. You’re there for a special watershed moment in time, invited to witness and live history and snag a cool glimpse of a bright and funky future. It’s an exclusive, exciting and unexpected “I was there” experience to pass on to the next generations. For a few hundred hip, progressive and open-minded modern and retro soul fans in Los Angeles, that night came in 2005 when they entered the Swamphouse at B.B. King’s club and found themselves seduced by a vibe that mixes organic hip-hop with the grooving attitude of funk and the soul of R&B. Driven by the vision of Bay Area bred rapper Pause, Swamphouse unveils its fresh new horn drenched eight piece lineup on the new five-track EP The Fade.

It’s a curious title for an infectious, tightly played and produced set that’s already got a lot of folks’ heads bobbin’ and fingers snappin’ while lingering like a high spirited summer party in their memories for a long time. Two of the songs have already won monthly awards in the VH1-sponsored Song of the Year Contest; the songs which win each month are eligible for the ultimate annual award at the end of 2009.

February’s winner “Break Down,” a soaring, bluesy-funk jam about a lover who gets off on bringing her partner down, was praised by the judges as “one awesome track! The sizzling mix of rap and funk makes for an incredibly original tune. The rap is full of attitude and the music is energetic and backs up the attitude.” April’s winner “Good Girl,” a high energy, tongue in cheek pop/rock/soul tune, was praised for its “addictive combination of hip-hop and pop that shows the craving for a virtuous woman. The music has a fantastic groove with excellent vocals, strong beat, perfect melodies and a sweet arrangement.”

These accolades are just the latest flowing for an ensemble that, in addition to original members Pause, Devin, guitarist John MF Stover and drummer Blewfoot, now includes three former students from the Cal State Northridge Jazz Performance Program (bassist Mike Navarette, trombonist Nick and trumpeter Forrest) and former Berklee College of Music student Tuna Butter (keyboards). Pioneering sounds that continuously take people by surprise, Swamphouse has funked up crowds of every age and ethnicity looking for a new sound that’s both slyly deviant and remarkably honest.

Over the past few years, the band has built a massive and loyal following (including many who have seen them again and again!) by performing regularly at hometown L.A. hotspots like House of Blues, Key Club, Knitting Factory and The Viper Room; up and down the West Coast, from Pause’s old stomping grounds in the Bay Area, where he launched his career as a young beatmaker,; in Chicago at the HOB, the Wild Hair, and the African Arts Festival; they’ve shared the stage with legendary hip-hop acts like Big Daddy Kane, Afrika Bambaataa and Lady of Rage as well new school leaders like Talib Kweli, Lil Flip, and Twista. In fact, after Swamphouse released its first indie CD Drinkin’ All Day in 2006 they traveled overseas to Israel to play for the 7500+ in attendance at University of Rehovot’s student day.

Swamphouse is currently working on new tracks that will be part of its upcoming full length album that is due to drop in September.