When it comes to the entire scope of a band’s music, sometimes not all of it is recorded. This could be for a variety of reasons such as road testing songs before heading into the studio, not having the time to put certain tracks on a record or the first go-around with the recording process not going as planned. The convenience of this dilemma comes with the reality that there’s always an opportunity to put a few staples of a live set into a recording sometime down the line. This is the approach that Providence progressive alt-funk act Northeast Traffic took with their self-titled album that came out on July 2. A lot of the songs on it are ones the quintet of guitarist & vocalist Alex Claros, drummer Joe Krapf, guitar Samuel Clemens, bassist Burke White and keyboardist Nick Parisi have been playing since they were in their teens.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Anthony Cimino at the Mojo Music Studio in Franconia, New Hampshire. It was initially supposed to celebrate a monumental occasion for Northeast Traffic, but COVID-19 screwed that up so they decided to release it at a later date.
“We recorded this record alongside our previous release Magnet Man with the hopes of releasing it in 2020 to mark our 10 year anniversary,” says Parisi, who is also a Cranston native. “Because of the pandemic we weren’t able to celebrate the occasion, but we really wanted to ensure that all of this music was available to stream for everyone who wants to hear it. We’re excited to finally bring these songs that fans have been listening to for years to the modern age.”
Listening to the album transports the ears to an actual live Northeast Traffic show in the sense of each song often being part of the band’s setlist. Tracks like “Higher Up”, “Firewalker” “Senses” and “DTF” are infectiously groovy while “Burning Clouds”, “4b4” and “Overpass” are a little more proggy and multi-structural. It’s kind of like a greatest hits album but it leans more to being reimaginings and fresh takes of established songs. It’s also very cohesive, which goes back to my initial point of mirroring the band’s live performance. Every band during the recording process aims to capture that improvisational atmosphere that only comes with playing out in front of an audience and this local quintet accomplishes that.
Northeast Traffic’s next gig is at TroutStock happening at the Magic Forest Farm in Coeymans Hollow, New York from August 5 - 7. Boston jam band Leon Trout organizes the whole thing and they’ll be playing a set during each day of the festival. Other bands taking part include Dirtwire, Magic Beans, Bella’s Bartok, Strange Machines, Swimmer, Good Trees River Band, The Stupid Robots and The Cosmic Factory just to name a few. If you’re heading up there next month, make sure to check out Northeast Traffic when they get on stage. Before that, log on to their Bandcamp page at northeasttraffic.bandcamp.com to download and stream the new album.
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