Greener Grounds claims to be a jamtronica quintet from Denver. The quintet part is right, as is the quintet part. Their claim as a jamtronic band is accurate as far as it goes, but they are so much more than that. Imagine mixing Lotus, TAUK, STS9 and Widespread Panic and distilling the result. You’d get Greener Grounds.
This superb group includes: Joe Shur, guitar; Mathew Buelt, rhythm guitar; Roland Hanson, keyboards; Jay Rieder, bass; and A.J. Gillman, drums. For this recording, Will Trask (Jaden Carlson Band, Analog Son, The RunniKine) plays percussion.
Momentous is the second album from Greener Grounds, following their excellent debut recording Photosynthesis. And this new one is brilliant. We’ll examine each track, but these comments are constant: guitar-playing soars, the synths swirl, bass propels each track, and drumming is relentlessly magical.
[MOMENTOUS: 1 Resonate, 2 Jumbabalya, 3 Invisiball, 4 Interlude in E Minor, 5 Brainwash, 6 Momentous, 7 Sun Tan Snow Day, 8 Komodo]
“Resonate” enters at a gallop, not a trot, with bouncy synth, very uptempo. Shur’s guitar achieves a watery effect at one point, and the drums are jamtronic perfection. The synths are ethereal, the guitar lines clean, every note shimmering.
Just when you were expecting jamtronica all the way through, Greener Grounds shifts gears almost entirely on the next two tunes, both dripping with Widespread Panic-like jam. “Jumbabalya” features some fine piano work from Hanson and slow wah-wah guitar. The song drives forward without letup, guitars getting very funky.
“Invisiball” also opens in Panic style. Gillman’s drums are simply awesome, with a nasty guitar riff. Rieder is a monster on bass on this and every track.This is jamband music for certain.
“Interlude in E Minor” is properly named, a beautiful mid tempo song introduced by bass and drums. The guitar and synths swirl around each other — truly a lovely interlude.
An audio clip from some sci-fi movie breaks the interlude, as “Brainwash” features a heavy riff. The guitar soars before turning to a repetitive figure as the synth washes over everything in waves, cymbals crashing.
The title track mines that glorious fusion TAUK does so well. The drums push the track through doubletime, and there is a tremendous guitar solo. And just when you’ve settled back into jamtronic mode, “Sun Tan Snow Day” bounces out with a Caribbean beat, a great new direction. The song includes an audio clip of a nature program bubbling underneath the swirling synths. This is a joyous romp!
Finally, “Komodo” closes the album in style. It begins with synth and percussion, the guitar appearing in the background. There is another audio clip from a nature video. Then the jamtronic magic emerges one more time, bubbling along with an excellent guitar solo. The synths, percussion and drums peak as one more guitar solo drives the song home.
Check out this excellent band on their official website, and listen to the album on Soundcloud below. Greener Grounds is represented by Nimbleslick Entertainment.
Photographs by kind permission of © En Bed
GREENER GROUNDS TOUR
21 Pacific Standard Tavern | New Haven CT w/ Wobblesauce feat. Dan Lyons
22 FARM Music & Arts Festival | Paradise Lakes Campground | West Mills NJ
24 Knitting Factory | Brooklyn NY w/ Wobblesauce feat. Scotty Zwang
26 Astral Observatory Preparty | 2720 Cherokee | St. Louis MO w/ Lusid
27 The Bottleneck | Lawrence, KS w/ Jahman Brahman
05 ARISE Music Festival | Loveland CO
19 Old Town Pub | Steamboat Springs CO
31 Phish Pre Party | The Fox Theatre | Boulder CO w/ Pink Talking Fish
01 Backwoods Music Festival | The Tatanka Ranch | Stroud OK
15 The Barkley Ballroom | Frisco CO
16 Frequinox! | Taos Mesa Brewing | El Prado NM
17 Animas City Theatre | Durango CO
21 Patton Alley Pub | Springfield MO w/ Psychedeltribe
13 Luna Light Music & Arts Festival | Camp Ramblewood | Darlington MD