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July 23, 2024

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New Blood Revival
The Slip (Exit Nine Records)

By: Brian Barry

So here I am. Smoking Indonesian cigarettes, drinking diet Pepsi, wearing the same clothes for the last few days, saying hello to a beard in the mirror, a razor on the sink, a shower. Miles Davis spinning in the CD player across the room atop of a red triangle table I managed to squeeze out of a packed IKEA. Leaving the corporate world wasn't my idea but hey, it's been a good one. Yeah, advertising. That's one field you want to get into. The key is, however, to join a company that actually wants to succeed. Sure, you can write copy, fiddle with graphics and the client will hate it all, but it's something nice to do for 8 hours and you earn a decent buck. Anyhow, I'm in Philly. After strolling the dirt paths of Africa two years ago, then strolling the dirt paths of New Brunswick, NJ a year ago, I am now knee deep in 76er flags, cheese steaks, and bike races. It's been a while since I wrote for Alex and the crew at IMWT but like a bleeding cold sore, my article has shown it's rotted, somewhat curious face once again. This time around? Why, I'm pleased you asked. This time around I will be exploring the ditties of bands of the future and present. Hopefully, my mind and my fingers will not reach into the swampy abyss that is my record collection for musicians such as Jeffrey Osbourne or Michael Jackson. I'm motivating myself to review actually living, breathing musicians. This time around it is the swanky, tongue in cheek, way too sexy, bastion of groove - Mr. Matt Witte, front man for the New Brunswick, NJ dirt path jive bunch, "New Blood Revival."

I first saw NBR about 2 years ago below a softly lit bar in New Brunswick. Matt's guitar work wasn't that special - but who was I to say anything - I never played guitar - but the lyrics were amazing and the energy of the band (at that time it was just a bassist, Matt, the Reverend Andy Chen on sax, and a whack-ass ball of energy on drums). There weren't many people there - mostly a few locals at a round table and a hip-chick standing in the front alone and grooving to the melody (every time I came back from the toilet a friend of mine commented about how nice her ass was) but the group played as if the place were packed. I like that.

The second time I saw NBR, I started off the night freezing outside of a packed Stone Pony where Matt and the band were having their CD release party for their second album, "this is Matt Witte's New Blood Revival." It was a complete turnaround for me. Let me tell you, the bar must have sold out of bottled stamina when Matt took the stage - imagine a giant hopping. knocking ball of flesh with loose fitting clothing and a thousand drooling mouths sharing the same breath as the man on stage - I held onto my beer tight and took deeper drags - the groove was way too real. The masses sang along and when Andy Chen stepped up for his sax solos, every chick in a 10 mile radius changed their panties. Amazing. The perfect performance, crowd participation band.

Now, a year later, I have in my hands, NBR's latest release, "The Slip." Let me tell you a little bit of what I believe the band to sound like and what I've gotten from other people - just in case you're saying to yourself, "Come on idiot, give us the gist - what does this Matt Witte guy sound like?" My first impression was M. Doughty (Soul Coughing) meets Phish. However, Phish is more of a jam band - whereas NBR isn't. More like M. and cake meet Dave Matthews and Wilco at a party full of adoring gals. "The Slip" is a slight twist from some of their older stuff, which you can get a glimpse of at, hitting more on the hazy boundary between early Dylan-esque country and early folk - basted in a funk malaise. Less "in your face" and more "put this on your face", "The Slip" offers listeners a walk through a life they may wish they never had - but feel it would be nice to wear the shoes. In the first track, "The Lift" , a super sultry piece about a super sultry piece, Matt reassures doubting fathers and sons that "Every man needs a Diane." The song is so catchy that it took weeks of alcohol and a few spins of PYT to get it out of my head.

"Mona" swings into a lounge-Traffic-esque-keyboard driven, fast paced ditty that features Matt's light vocal touch that makes the audiences go crazy - to tell you the truth, the man was born to sing to women and chosen to sing about them. "Rick" is a another favorite of mine - featuring Matt's intelligence, poetry and ever-changing mood about discovering a girl's infidelity - "Out of boredom I was sifting through the odds and ends and drawers labeled junk or miscellaneous in hope that I might score a stack of old forgotten photographs of younger me and you - maybe something of us naked I could reminisce back to. But instead I found an envelope - inside was a cassette with a note that read - 'here's to a night I won't forget love always Rick' it's showing on my spine and I form in my stomach as I try not to think of Ricky but the reason you had done it. Rick! I'll find out who and where you are!" and so on and so on - it's too good for me to kill it in this review - pick it up for yourself and get charged up. The song, like the entire album is hilarious, poetic and oh so relate-able. It gives the guys something to agree to and the girls something to slyly snicker at.

The whole deal? So glad you asked. Get on your horses and see them now - the live show is amazing - the fans are high energy - the band - phenomenal.

Feel like shaking things up and returning to a lyric driven danceable style of music? Catch NBR's message - the band injects a "new blood" into the scene right now - with an ironic return to an older style of music - a funky contagious folk - inspired by the lyrical genius that is Matt Witte.

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