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(Tru Thoughts; US: 21 Apr 2009; UK: 20 Apr 2009)

Tru Thoughts never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think the keg has been drained, they throw something strong like this in your face. Coming out of nowhere, Stonephace is practically a super group. Take the guitar of Portishead’s Adrian Utley, the bass of Jim Barr, the saxophone of project coordinator and Working Weekend founder Larry Stabbins, and Cornish noise monger Krysztof Oktalski, condense it all into gritty, funky nu-jazz form and slap a name on it… instant gold. Choice hip-hop beats abound throughout their debut record, nurturing opium den grooves and wild soloing, including an exploration of trumpet by Guy Barker (Dizzy Gillespie). It makes Madlib’s Yesterdays New Quintet project seem as straight lace as a “Just Say No” ad. With a fat joint, this record might have you believing they tore Stax Records down and reassembled it, brick by brick, in Brighton. Certainly, with or without extra stimulation, Stonephace will make you smile.


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

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