It’s 4:20, Time For Little Shalimar
What do you get when you mix ganja with codeine? You get Weezy, right? You also get Little Shalimar. This is funkmeister Torbitt Schwartz’s side project (he’s the drummer in Chin Chin and Rev. Vince Anderson’s excellent band). On his solo debut, Schwartz plays everything except for the horns and sings everything except for the girl bvox. He does it all decently well, too – it’s minimalist, amusing psychedelic funk, something you might expect from what was supposed to be a west coast trip for music and sunshine that got interrupted by a case of pneumonia and then lots of medication.
If you know Schwartz’ other bands, you know the groove will be sweet, and it is. On the first song, he also plays decent, low-down, minor-key funk guitar and bass, and even a skronky guitar solo (obviously having picked up a few tricks from his bandmate with the Rev., Jaleel Bunton). But it’s not the instruments that everybody’s going to be listening for: it’s Little Shalimar, your free-associating stoner bud. “She goes to great lengths to put out fire…over and over again she will require some adjustments, but I got no pliers,” he sings woozily. “If I wanna sing a song about a girl that’s got no name, you will forgive me.” Enough said. Suki Anderson does the pillowy harmonies.
The second track is a disco tune, bass blippiness against simple piano. A lot of bands wouldn’t have the balls to release this. It’s not very tight but it is funny. Winds of Wackness is a global warming era cautionary tale straight out of the George Clinton playbook – “Maybe vacation is the best way, this ship (shit?) is going down.” The best and maybe funniest song here, Real Estate, clocks in at a minute 28 seconds of sarcastic riffing on gentrifier buzzwords over Bad Brains style funk-punk. The catchiest and most unexpectedly impressive song is Love in LA, with horns by his bandmates Dave “Smoota” Smith and Jeff Pierce. There’s also surreal reggae-funk with a cool bassline and creepy/cheesy Casio; a trippy number (that’s the weed kicking in) with a silly twin guitar solo; and instrumental insanity with loops and the portamento knob. This isn’t one of the most musically electrifying albums of 2011 but it is one of the most enjoyable. Download it free here.