The liner notes for TAUK’s new album don’t identify the band’s singer.
There isn’t one.
Likewise, video clips for the New York-based band’s songs—like their killer cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”—find the cameras lingering on the guys’ instruments longer than their faces.
That’s because TAUK is about music, not ego, and Matt Jalbert (guitar), Charlie Dolan (bass), Alric “AC” Carter (keys / organ), and Issac Teel (drums) would rather focus on the sounds they weave together rather than their own identities or group image.
Stylist? No thanks, we’re tuning up over here.
The quartet has opened for “jam” bands like OAR, moe. and Robert Randolph & The Family Band and played at gatherings like Bonnaroo, Great South Bay, Maz Fest and Floyd Fest since its mid-2000s inception. Earlier this month TAUK supported The Allman Brothers. Gov’t Mule, and The Black Crows at Peach Fest.
Now they’re headlining small venues across the U.S. in support of Homunculus, released in April on their own label—which means fans and newcomers will have another chance to witness the four-piece up-close in intimate environs, like Mahalls 20 Lanes in Lakewood on September 6th.
Better check ‘em out now while the venue is comfy-cozy and the tickets are cheap. TAUK won’t be on the small-hall circuit for long. Their music is just too big.
You don’t have to be a Deadhead to appreciate TAUK’s nimble noodling. Fans of virtuosic jazz fusion by Mahavishnu Orchestra, Santana, Jaco Pastorius will dig TAUK’s meandering melodies. But folks into trip-hop and electronica (AM & Shawn Lee) can also ease into the group’s prodigious beats. And sure, if you enjoy Phish or Widespread Panic you’ll probably latch onto these guys, too.
Watch TAUK perform The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy):” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifn4mUae95A&feature=player_embedded
Produced by Robert Carranza (Jack Johnson, The Mars Volta), Homunculus is a tour de force of technical facility. These cats have been playing together since middle school, and it shows. Jalbert’s guitar tones range from trebly, brittle, and clean to crunchy, serrated and sharp and employ a variety of effects (wah-wah, delay, reverb) to keep things interested. The string-picker engages a lot of call-and-response dynamics with Carter, who echoes Jalbert’s fluid runs on synthesizer and organ. Dolan and Teel support the lead instruments with big beats and sinewy bass, but both rhythm-makers indulge in a bit of fancy footwork and fret-play of their own.
“Dead Signal” opens with stuttering, palm-muted guitar and builds as Jalbert introduces a jazzy chord progression. His leads—cascading over Carter’s airy Wurlitzer-like flourishes—snarl and hiss. Dolan and Teel propel “Afro-Tonic” with a warbling bass line and busy snare. Elsewhere, as on “Carpentino’s Rebirth” and “Curtain Call,” they shadowbox around the beats to pour a funky foundation for Jalbert’s rapid-fire guitar licks and Carter’s quirky keys.
Carter employs electric piano on the creepy—then giddy—“Hello Narwhal,” whose pulse increases to a giddy-up pace by song’s end. His pastiches are shimmery and dreamlike on “The Spot” and “When In Doubt,” but Jalbert’s fuzzy classic rock chords keep things grounds. Manic laughter prefaces “The Chemist” before whirling Casiotone keys co-opt the wacka-wack grind for a salute to ‘70s cop show music. “Dirty Mouth” packs a bright, happy hook without sacrificing a slick performance and smart changes. Album-capper “Basement of The Alamo” coalesces into a brazen, bluesy showcase for Jalbert’s gritty guitar runs.
It’ll be interesting—and possibly mind-expanding—to see (and hear) how these fellows pull it off in concert.
TAUK with Bad Racket, Electric Sunshine. Friday, September 6, 2013 at Mahalls 20 Lanes (13200 Madison Avenue, Lakewood OH 44107). $7.00 admission, show at 8:00pm.
Advance tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/7652463725