Refreshing, syncopated grooves with heartfelt lyrics, intriguing melodies, and enticing motifs which are supported by colorful chord progressions.
From their recording bunker, deep in the sandstone foothills outside Las Vegas, surrounded by Government property and Alien Jerky, comes forth the band, Melancholics. Turtlehead is the home base for this eclectic coop of musicians and song writers, who, during once or twice a week sessions, have managed to cobble together an impressive and well received collection of recordings, sampling the best of their nearly 200 original songs, and patiently creating a sound and a groove of their own. “Actually, there seems to be about 4 major grooves we work around in these songs,” says long time drummer Edward Malik. Along with pickin and strummin self-taught bassist, Dwight Aguinaldo, and electronic guitarist Phil Chamberlain (“Phil showed up for a keyboard audition with a guitar case, and hasn’t left yet”, says Aquinaldo), the rhythm section has been together on and off for nearly two decades and the only way I can describe what they produce is “precision funk”. Particularly on the upcoming material they have shared with me, the syncopated bass grooves from previous releases have been altered, ablated and streamlined to make just enough room for the strategic kick on the one from Malik. Aided on this release by Berklee master instrumentalist Brian Lusk, the guitar work is lush, gorgeous, jazzy, and with all the alt rock balls needed to drive this buss into the mainstream. Singer Talmadge Pearsall, the latest to fall into melancholia, brings a long history of Motown and East Coast grease to the mix, flying over the top of these infectious grooves with layers of vocal frosting, on a journey that can take the experienced listener from Smokey and the Temps, through the Chili Peppers and then back to TSOP, landing somewhere between Lenny Williams and Lenny Kravitz. Not surprising since they are all East Coast transplants. (Well, Dwight is from the East Coast of the Phillipines). The band is trying something inadvisable on this next studio project, “More than you can chew”. They are posting the new songs on ReverbNation as they are created. Sometimes they tell me, they may even post the first night recording, raw music in the moment of creation, unmixed and untreated. Since the band has been known to write songs on the way to shows, during and after sound-check in the parking lot, and even during the performance, this may not be such a bad idea. “We prefer to write with Turner Classic Movies in the background” adds Malik. “Funny how the moods and themes can affect the music.” Fans can check back regularly to hear the newest mixes. And considering that the tracks posted on ReverbNation right now are not yet done, they still have reached the top 5 on the charts! This has helped gain them a rep in the Jam Band community. “I’ll never forget the night Jack Cassady (Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix) sat and watched our entire set, like a high school band director, and couldn’t come up with any advice for Dwight!” says Malik. The band performs live from time to time, generally when invited by friends like Bare Naked Ladies, with whom they shared the Vegas stop on their 20th anniversary tour, or Bamboo from River Maya, or with Bay area super group, MoonAlice, opening the bands very first performance. The Melancholics are currently in the studio with producer Dino Madalone working on the final mixes. Once these new songs drop for us all to hear, the industry may have to make some room, and we look forward to their someday return to the East Coast. Are the Melancholics the next band to be leaving Las Vegas? Stay tuned.
Marblehead, MA summer 2015
Talmadge Pearsall, Phil Chamberlain, Brian Lusk, Dwight Aguinaldo, Edward Malik, Neal MacIntosh
“The Melancholics have built a solid reputation as a tight, groove oriented quintet, drawing on diverse influences, blending alternative rock with world beat, island folk, jam band and Brit-pop. The group has performed regularly in Las Vegas and on the West Coast, appeared on several industry compilations, garnered North American and International radio play including the Dr. Demento Radio Show, scored a soundtrack single for the skateboard movie, “Beyond the Neon”, appeared at several industry showcases, festivals, and battle of the bands. They were finalists in the Gig (Musician) Magazine Best Unsigned Band competition. Live performances have ranged from clubs and coffee houses to appearances at the Joint at the Hard Rock, House of Blues, the Palms Hotel, and the LA Fairplex. They have performed live with Bamboo and appeared on syndicated television shows Back Stage Live and N-Side Track. The band has an international presence on the internet. Their current catalog contains over one hundred songs in three languages.”
— Las Vegas Weekly