I love funk. It’s undeniable how enjoyable a solid funky jam is and I’m always ecstatic to find new artists that bring the funk through a variety of different mediums. Sadly, when it comes to browsing Bandcamp I have a pretty bad habit of looking through the same tags, letting a lot of gems pass me by. On the bright side, my good friend and housemate always seems to have his ear to the ground when it comes to these releases, keeping me well stocked with bangers like this.
X-Ray Zebras are a Quebec-based band who have been making music since 2010. “Raw Beat” is their newest EP and was released on January 15th. Musically they bring a stellar combination of sampled, live and electronic based jazz/funk jams to the dinner table. A diverse combination of styles, they blend everything from bottom-heavy modern electronic sounds to lighter guitar chords and a couple various examples of some hip-hop rhymes and beats.
The key to any type of musical mixing pot like this is being able to blend all of your chosen ingredients in a way that makes them greater than the sum of their parts. This is no small feat but is one Zebras pull of with considerable aplomb. These 4 tracks just groooove in all right the ways and make your backbone wiggle in all the right places. Even on a slower, more emotional track like “Bears”, they still manage to inject a bounce throughout the whole damn thing.
“Raw Beat” is also defined by a much mellower tone than you might here in other electro-funk releases. You’re not beat over the brain with insatiable rhythms and a wall-rockin’ beat, instead they choose to take a much more subtle and refined route. All their songs are heavily structured and take their time to get where they are going, layering different sounds and melodies, dipping and diving through your ears instead of just blowing the door wide open. Smooth would probably be the best word for these guys. Or suave. Yeah, I like that one better.
Probably the number reason I love music and bands like this is due to the amount of energy and just straight up fun that gets packed into the music. I love a blackened monolith of a guitar riff as much as the next person but limiting yourself to any set number of genres means you miss out on excellent releases like this. There is a time and place for every type of music and this is for those times you just wanna jam.
Name-your-price on Bandcamp, so don’t be a bum and throw these guys some coin. Links and stream below.