Exposé Online banner

Drums & Tuba — Battles Olé
(Righteous Babe RBR047-D, 2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

Battles Olé Cover artDrums and Tuba has to be one of the oddest bands active these days in terms of their basic instrumentation, which would be, um, drums, tuba, trumpet, trombone, guitar and electronics. The core trio (Brian Wolff, Tony Nozero, Neal McKeeby) are augmented on this studio recording, their sixth, by friends on organ, sax, and additional brass. In some ways they remind me of Medeski Martin & Wood at their most experimental if they replaced the keyboards with guitar and the bass with tuba, if that’s not too much of a stretch. The basic idea is that solid, slightly funky drumming keeps things going no matter how far out the rest of the playing gets. And far is how out it gets here, with bizarre loops and distortions, squiggly sounds from unidentifiable sources and angsty vocals. The vocals are a new thing for the band, and don’t detract from the instrumental base, as the lengthy tracks allow plenty of room for stretching out. For all the improvisation, there is no space wasted on noodling or showoffy stage-hogging – texture and sound are favored over technique or flash. The centerpiece is the ten-minute gem with a loping Afrobeat triplet rhythm called “Magnum Opie,” which ranges from a quiet staccato build-up with acoustic guitar to an amazing climax of avant guitar, swooshing noises, and echoing trumpets. Amazing stuff.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Drums & Tuba

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tomorrow - 50 Minute Technicolour Dream – Tomorrow is currently a hot psychedelic commodity on the market: many of the band's English UK singles fetch top dollar on the English collector's circuit. Adding to the frenzy is former...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues