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JUNE CLEAVER AND THE STEAK KNIVES

Eclectic Prog • United States


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June Cleaver and the Steak Knives picture
June Cleaver and the Steak Knives biography
One would think that, after listening to their music, June Cleaver And The Steak Knives (JCSK) is a band of many. Think again. JCSK is actually the creation of Chris and Pat Bradley, multi-instrumentalists, and brother's, who have been making music as JCSK since 1997. They do have an "honorary member" in Alison Abbruzzi who has contributed vocals, lyrics, and concepts with the last 3 releases from the band. There have also been some guest musicians on the
last 2 releases as well.

As mentioned above, the Brother's Bradley are multi-instrumentalists who, according to Chris, "play everything and anything we can get our hands on. Generally I will play lead guitar, bass, acoustic drums, and vocals, and Pat will play organ, piano, v-drums, bass (on older albums) and vocals. But, we always mix it up and add mixtures of exotic, organic instrumentation,
electronics, found sound recordings, and recently mutated sound libraries. Everything is carefully manipulated". Depending on the release you're listening to you may hear sitar, zither, accordian,trumpet, cello, violin, recorder, dijeridoo, antique toy piano, kazoo, auto harp, etc., etc.,
etc..

What the band composes, performs, and produces could be likened to a big bowl of tasty prog soup. A great quote to describe/define the bands music: "Trance-inducing electronica mixes with dark and twisted rock and roll to create surreal soundscapes and intricate melodies. Experimental madness cackles as heavy dance grooves drive. Upbeat, melancholy, ethereal, paranoid, heavy, poppy, funky, jazzy, it's music you can dance to. Psychedelic surf rock meets
the great experiment we call music - all with the delusional twists and turns of the sonic schizophrenia." Bottom line though is that it all comes together into some fantastic, very listenable music that you'll want to be sharing with family, friends, pets, strangers, or just about anyone or anything that can still hear.

As for the bands current status and future: After the release of "Auricular Peculiar" in 2004, the brother's have been more of a multimedia project with Pat, an animator, creating the visuals, and Chris composing and producing the music to accompany Pat's creations. In 06'-07' they created 15 award winning animations for Chicago's Field Museum as part of their permanent exhibits, Evolving Planet and Ancient Americas. There will be new JCSK music coming soon though. According to Chris, as of 4/24/08, "we are reall...
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JUNE CLEAVER AND THE STEAK KNIVES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Under Water
1999
3.50 | 2 ratings
June Cleaver and the Steak Knives
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
Cleavage
2002
3.86 | 3 ratings
Auricular Peculiar
2004

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 Auricular Peculiar by JUNE CLEAVER AND THE STEAK KNIVES album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.86 | 3 ratings

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Auricular Peculiar
June Cleaver and the Steak Knives Eclectic Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The Beaver digs

June Cleaver and the Steak Knives is a recording collaboration of brothers Chris and Pat Bradley, originally from Syracuse NY. They are multi-instrumentalists who will play anything they can get their hands on. Here they also incorporate guest brass musicians and vocals on a project that is so free and crazy it has avant and electronic elements as well as eclectic. They are described wonderfully by Sharon Nichols on their Myspace page: "a schizoid blend of experimental rock....a few ingredients you might find: Frank Zappa, Quentin Tarantino, graveyard dirt, Radiohead, crystal meth, Robert Smith, Eddie Haskel, 3-D glasses, Pink Floyd, Mr. Bungle, a bikini, The Jazz Butcher, Marty Feldman's eyeballs, and way too much coffee....a blend of surf, jazz, lounge, rockabilly, goth, psychedelia, metal, trip-hop, techno, and some uncategorizable soundscapes of dementia."

Yes, anything does go but it is not random pointless noise. Sound effects and various sound collage is blended with actual melodies and some bizarre music variations from surf-rock, psych-pop, metal, lounge, whatever! "Sky is Falling" is fantastic as the surf-guitar and heavy bass-line morph into a Floyd-ey psych and pop with trippy vocals, fluid lead guitar, and acoustic guitar. "The Other Side" manages to remind me of The Cure while "Coffee Assassin" is a marvelous trance of slurry vocals and piano. "Driving Evil from the World" recalls Cibo Matto briefly then mixes power chords and electronica, then some squalling guitar over a military speech at the end. Each track gives you something completely different, retro-avant pop one moment, barely lucid or dark psych-rock the next. It almost sounds like the kind of album Syd Barrett might have made had he returned from hiatus in the 90s in good health. They could also do a hell of a job backing Bjork and providing all of the electronica and organic sounds she would require. It has that experimental curiosity but also a lightness as it never abandons pleasurable sound in the search for weirdness. Most songs are pretty short, in the 2-4 minute range. The production and sound quality are not Steven Wilson quality but they are certainly listenable. The drums often need more oomph. The track "New Year" is so beautiful, a lovely piano soundscape with a touch of flute.

While very much an indie project right down to the CR-R that CDBaby sent me, this is a fine band that deserves way more attention on PA. This is one of those albums I just randomly plucked to check out and sometimes those surprises pay off. As Plasmud notes on their Myspace: "with its mixture of jazz, metal, and hip hop beats, the Brothers Bradley destroy all possibilities of being pigeon-holed." I'll be back for more.

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