Hearing Aide: Cosby Sweater’s “Party Dad”

One of the rising stars in the ever expanding ‘jamtronica’ scene shares a name with the clothing choice of once of the most iconic television stars of the 1980s. Cosby Sweater is now starting to make itself known for not only a clever moniker, but also real good dance music. Fresh off the addition of a new drummer, Jeff Peterson, and a string of supporting gigs for Conspirator in the Northeast, the band has just released its new EP, Party Dad. In a fan-friendly move that Bill himself could even appreciate, they’ve also made the release available as a ‘name your price’ download. Seems like a great idea for a way to get a solid recording of easy to listen to yet infectious electronic dance music out to the masses and Huxtables everywhere.

The opening track ‘Pillow Talk’ grabs your ear right away with a simple drum and bass line with an overlay of digital effects courtesy of David Embry. Once a simplistic but steady groove is established, the group’s signature saxophone sound is brought into the mix rounding out this easy listen that kicks things off on the EP. While maintaining the same beat, the song delves into an almost dubstep-like theme before the sax is re-introduced, serving as a bookend of sorts. Right from Jump Street, the listener gets a little taste of just how versatile Cosby Sweater(s) can be.

‘Open Mouth Kiss 2.0’ follows and gives another great glimpse into the band’s ability to mesh different musical styles together. The sax takes a bit of a back seat at the outset of this one while a an electronic bass line with a simple drum beat accompaniment give the tune a house techno feel early. As the synthetic beat increases and then explodes, the ‘Kiss’ fully transitions back into one of the dubstep variety with a blistering saxophone line delivered by Nicholas Gerlach which serves as a delightful release to the aforementioned tension. This group seems to be at its musical peak when the saxophone is going full speed ahead on top of everything else.

Strangely, there are extended sections on this EP where the saxophone isn’t present at all. ‘Clappin’ ft. jFET’ is really just an electronic “filler” track of sorts, however, ‘No One But You’ is an incredibly catchy number and one that would seem to have limitless potential in a live festival setting. This acid-disco/funk/techno hybrid of a song is really well mixed and has all the elements needed for a proper late night dance party. Oddly, the emphasis on this one seems to be on the production end as there’s no real saxophone input present. Why this recording strays away from this element at points is somewhat mysterious but when the sax sound is called upon, it delivers in spades each time.

I think the lesson we learned here today is check out this EP as soon as possible for an amount you deem fit. Do your homework and then go see this band before they fully shed their ‘under the radar’ status. They’ll be playing SummerCamp and Electric Forest Festival as well as supporting Umphrey’s McGee for a gig later this summer on July 26th at White River State Park in Indianapolis.

Key tracks: Pillow Talk, Open Mouth Kiss 2.0, No One But You

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