Album: The Bankhead Press (2007)
Artist: The Bankhead Press
Label: Timeless Takeover
Where available/price: CDBaby.com for $8, M-Theory in Mission Hills for $6, or at live shows for $5.
Songs: 1) Searchin 2) Shame 3) Julia 4) Lay It Down
5) Deep Down in It 6) Constantly
Band: Jake Bankhead (bass), Joe Amato (guitar), Mike Press (drums), Aaron Irwin (percussion), Tim Felten (piano, organ), Rod Hubbard (vocals)
Extra info: The Bankhead Press is scheduled to play the Tower Bar on February 29.
Drummer Mike Press, who I previously panned in this column on his solo project, settles into a band that shows off his talents. While Press occupies his role professionally, the band isn’t focused on drumming. Press, Joe Amato on guitar, and Aaron Irwin all do fine jobs at their appointed tasks, but this is a stinky organ, soul vocals, and rowdy bass-lover’s band.
Rod Hubbard’s voice registers somewhere between Aaron Neville and a choir of angels. Tim Felten, on the keys, trades jabs with bassist Jake Bankhead, driving the melodies. Everything rolls in a tight ball. Although the lyrics aren’t stellar, they are solid. With inspired Smokey Robinson or Marvin Gaye–esque words to accompany the rhythms, the band would be near perfect.
The Bankhead Press offers itself as the “back when Stevie Wonder was good R&B” salvation to the masses who seek an alternative to cookie-cutter whine punk and coffeehouse faux-folk. The band takes its place among venerable San Diego acts such as Psydecar and Wise Monkey Orchestra, which offer straightforward R&B, reggae, ska with a twist of funk seemingly squeezed from the crotch of James Brown’s jumpsuit. That’s funky.