The Step Kids: New Psychedelica

Photograph courtesy of swipelife

What happens when you play for someone else for so long, and then finally decide to form a band and play your own good music? What happens when the music you decide to play is compared to early Sly Stone, the Free Design, and Rotary Connection? I’ll tell you what happens when these bands are combined as your father: The Stepkids are born. A trio based out of Bridgeport, CT, the Stepkids are no strangers to the music industry. Members Dan Edinberg (bass and keyboards), Tim Walsh (drums), and Jeff Gitelman (guitar) have been playing and making music with artists such as 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, the punk band Zox, as well as scoring music for commercials and movies. Their decision to form this band was collective, and when I say collective, I mean it. No egos allowed. “It’s not either of us; it’s about creating an entity where the entity itself is what’s important” says Dan Edinberg. All three members write and sing equally, a task that really goes back to the time of their sound, late 60’s/ early 70’s, where free love and togetherness ruled part of the airwaves. It’s ironic because at any point The Stepkids can have elements of Soul, Jazz, Folk, Psych, Funk, Fusion, and Hip Hop grooves. This is a sound that is really unheard of today, where solo artists and songwriters are prevalent in the industry. Although based out of CT with East Coast roots, West Coast label Stones Throw has scooped them up for their debut self-titled Lp, complete with a bonus 45.

“The Stepkids groove is a fusion of punk and jazz, West African and 1960s folk, neo and classic soul, classic funk and 20th century classical. The band produce, engineer and record themselves on a reel-to-reel. ”

The Stepkids could easily have fit on a label like Vertigo in between bands like Lighthouse and Aphrodite’s Child in 1971. However, it’s not 1971, it’s 2011, and The Stepkids are ushering in the sound of New Psychedelica. What I like the most about this band is that even though you can tell straight away the sound they were shooting for, it’s peppered with groovy and funky beats as well as elements of Soul Jazz throughout. It’s a headphone record for sure, so put it on after Dark Side of the Moon or The Trap Door Mix and listen to it blend in. That’s the great thing about this band, one second you think you’re hearing a snippet of “Dreamweaver” on “Shadows on Behalf”, the next second “La La” has you floating on a cloud like Gábor Szabó and The California Dreamers’s before it breaks into a live drummer Hip Hop beat that Kanye would want to swipe (and he might, afterall he did grab Spookytooth and Kyuss). I also applaud them for recording on reel-to-reel, digging deeper into this music’s history to get just the right sound. The Stepkids are about unity. The unity of three band members who are equal parts of the whole, bringing in their version of an old sound to the masses. An old sound can sound fresh, and the Stepkids nailed it this time. Keep Diggin’.

The Stepkids – Legend In My Own Mind

The Stepkids Live on KCRW Web Exclusive

Buy from the Stones Throw Store

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