Meet Tipsy Oxcart

by delarue

More about that amazing triplebill at the Jalopy on Oct 24. Guitarist Tev Stevig opens the show at 9, playing songs from his haunting solo album Jeni Jol, a mix of Turkish and Balkan traditional tunes that he performs on fretless acoustic guitar. Headlining at 11 are exhilarating Boston klezmer/Balkan dance band Klezwoods. In the middle, at 10, are Brooklyn’s own Tipsy Oxcart, who have a killer new album out, coyly titled Meet Tipsy Oxcart, streaming all the way through at the group’s Bandcamp page. It’s not certain if this fab five will someday rank with the guys from Liverpool, but they might be off to a better start than the Beatles, at least musically speaking. No joke.

What distinguishes Tipsy Oxcart from the many absolutely kick-ass American Balkan bands out there is that they have a rock rhythm section – Ayal Tsubery plays bass and Celestial Shore’s Max Almario plays drums on the album, with Dani Danor now taking his place behind the kit. Violinist Maya Shanker’s deliciously raw, microtonal lines and then Connell Thompson’s similarly otherworldly clarinet fuel the long, irresistibly catchy opening track, Pauline’s Kyuchek, a bouncy but bracing Serbian tune. Pajdushko, a Bulgarian number by Nicola Iliev, gets a gorgeously grey-sky intro (can grey skies be gorgeous? These grey skies are) from the violin and clarinet before it turns into a dizzyingly syncopated romp punctuated by a suspensefully spiraling solo from accordionist Jeremy Bloom.

Me First, by Shanker, works a dancing violin/accordion pulse up to a hard-hitting, catchy chorus,  moody clarinet solos, a a searing violin break and an absolutely sizzling accordion solo over the tricky rhythm. Dajcovo, the traditional Bulgarian song, has a rapidfire, almost bluegrass break in the middle of its tricky, impossibly funky melismatics. Hora De La Tescani. which may or may not be by Romanian Ion Dragoi (the band thinks it is; they’re probably right) winds up this high-voltage band’s debut on a scorching, chromatically-charged note, Thompson’s gritty but precise alto sax anchoring Shanker’s feral assault and Bloom’s rich, luscious washes of sound, Tsubery adding a brief, droll solo. Warning: if you’re not already among the converted, this music will leave you insatiable for more. It’s a lifelong addiction that cannot be cured. If you’re one of the growing lucky few who share it, you’re in for a treat with this band. And for the hell of it, how does this music sound when you’re tipsy compared to when you’re not? Pretty much the same. It kicks ass either way.