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Amanda Chaudhary — Meow Meow Band
(Bandcamp Catsynth Records ACHS 6174, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-02-08

Meow Meow Band Cover art

One has to wonder whether any of the construction crews or excavation teams who built the BART system (Bay Area Rapid Transit) in the late 60s ever thought that someday, 50+ years on, someone would write a song about one of the stations in the BART system? Well, wonder no more... one of the highlights of Amanda Chaudhary’s Meow Meow Band is a song called “North Berkeley BART,” a catchy jazz-pop number that’s almost certain to get stuck in the listener’s consciousness and come back to haunt at 4:30 in the morning! Chaudhary is a keyboardist and synthesist, and composed all of the six tracks on this, her second album, although she is also a member of Nubdug Ensemble, and the later Vacuum Tree Head releases before that. Many members of Nubdug Ensemble support here as well, specifically guitarist Myles Boisen, saxophonist Steve Adams, and drummer G.Calvin Weston, plus Jasom Berry cowrote two of the tunes here (including the aforementioned); they are joined by bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, bass clarinetist Sheldon Brown on one track, singer Amy X Neuberg on two others, and the late Serena Toxicat (who passed away in 2020) sang and co-wrote the opening track “Invocation (French Miaou Bast)” and is featured on the closer “Donershtik.” The material here is roughly divided between arty jazz-pop with lyrics (“White Wine,” “North Berkeley BART”) or without lyrics (“Under the Cieling Fan,” significantly more jazz than pop), some experimental pieces prominently featuring Chaudhary’s electronics (the aforementioned opener and “Cables and Carafes”), and “Donershtik” co-written with Tacuma, a supremely funky almost-dance number with a heavy beat and popping bass, featuring an abundance of electronic sounds to carry the listener through its seven minute duration. Meow Meow Band is an album of radical contrasts but one that rewards the listener with an open mind.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Amy X Neuburg, Amanda Chaudhary, Grant Calvin Weston

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