Fuck yeah, Easter! Means I get to go to church and spend quality time reflecting on Jesus and life and stuff. Or, it means I get a long weekend to drink beers and slack off before exams, you can probably guess which route I’m taking.
Church, slacking, obviously.
So. The Dukes Are Dead are a blues rock band from Cincinnati OH. They currently have two albums out right now, “The Shot Heard Round The World” and “Ultra Session 002”. The latter is the one I found via Bandcamp and it’s concept is quite interesting. Taken quite literally it is an “Ultra” jam session. All of the tracks were recorded in one take in front of a studio audience, the driving force behind this was to provide a mix of studio quality sound and the organic nature of a live performance.
The Dukes pull it off in a most excellent fashion, accomplishing exactly what they set out to do. Musically they play a heavily blues tilted flavor of rock ‘n’ roll which is one of the main reasons they pulled this recording off so well. Blues is one of the few genres that sounds exponentially better when played live, it’s then the true grit and emotion can get conveyed through the music without getting lost in the production process.
And that is exactly what the Ultrasession does. Everything sounds crisp and listenable but still very organic in nature. The perfect amount of crackle and distortion from the guitars and vocals add a welcome patina to the music. It’s this close to perfect sound that makes this record stand out among others, it has a certain charm that would have been lost in a normal recording.
All of The Duke’s jams play perfectly along with the organic recording. Heaping helpings of blues riffs jangle and crash along, creating some truly tasty licks and soulful grooves. The vocals are on point as well, the rougher recording helping to give that much extra soul and power. It doesn’t sound crystal clear but that’s the point, the distortion and fuzz is part of what makes it so enjoyable.
“UltraSession 002” is up on Bandcamp for $5 and it’ll go perfect with an Easter egg hunt or idol worship, whatever your into.