Monday, February 8, 1999

A&A CD Review by John Worley

reviewed in issue #176, 2/8/99

I recently was a judge in the IDN 1998 contest. This was my favorite album of the bunch (I had previously reviewed a couple of the other good ones, and the Radio Free America is another good one). Pulling the sword from the Family Stone, Rubydiver kicks out funky, soulful jams. And like the Sly man, each groove undulates into another. Bass into snare into bass drum into cymbal into guitar into bass...

This is how you do it. Topping off the fine music is Miss Paula Helekunuhi Duke, whose vocals are easily some of the finest I've heard. Period. She can go from slinky to brick in two seconds, and you'd swear she never changed. The trippy, highly stylized lyrics fit right into the concept. The total package.

The songs just roll off like candy. I mean, these folks have figured out how to make the funk really funky. They made sure there was plenty of soul to go along with the syncopated snare. If it was as easy as it sounds here, there wouldn't be so many dreadful funk bands.

Rubydiver is a gem. This is one of the few bands I would really like to see live. I have to see the spectacle. A truly energizing album.

Monday, February 1, 1999

Sonic Garden Review

Yes, Virginia. The Long Beach music scene cranks out more than just sh*tty Sublime rip-offs.

RUBYDIVER, a very palatable mix of funk and R&B, comes to you out of Long Beach bringing deep, guitar-based grooves and drum loops with self-described "intoxicating soul melodies and positive lyrics." Considering that their 1998 debut release Superremote sold among the top-ten category in the immediate OC area, the future looks quite luminous for these local SoCal funksters.

The band boasts both solid writing and excellent vocals by singer Paula Duke. Opening locally for national names, their talent-laden sound draws hundreds every time their name is headlined at Orange County venues. RUBYDIVER takes a very Southern California sound, adds their own secret blend of eleven herbs and spices, and puts it into a show you don't want to miss.

"We all get into music ranging from Sting to Tribe Called Quest to Miles Davis to Bob Marley to Beck, and I think that shows in the music we write, whether it's a conscious thing or not," says guitarist/songwriter Erik Hanson. Regardless of what they draw upon for inspiration, what comes out of their hard work is something definitely to taste for yourself.


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