Anne Carlini: The Chocolate Watchband "This Is My Voice"
For those not in the know, the Chocolate Watchband is an American garage rock band that formed in 1965 in Los Altos, California and subsequently endured several line up changes during its existence.> Combining psychedelic and garage rock components, their sound was marked by David Aguilar's lead vocals, as well as proto-punk musical arrangements.
Also, the band's rebellious musical posture made them one of the harder-edged groups of the period.
The Chocolate Watchband was signed to Tower Records in 1966 and released their first single, "Sweet Young Thing", in 1967. Later in the year, the band released their debut album, No Way Out.
Though the album was nationally unsuccessful, the band became a frequent attraction in San Jose and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1968, their second album, The Inner Mystique, was released and included the band's most popular song, a cover version of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else".
By 1969, the band released their final album, One Step Beyond, however it was not as highly regarded as their past work, and the band broke up in 1970.
FYI: It should also be mentioned that this band should not be confused with The Chocolate Watch Band, a London-based UK group that issued two singles on Decca Records in 1967!
With that all said, their brand new album, This Is My Voice (out February 22nd via Vu-Je-Day Records) is a raw, pounding-at-times, yet always stirring, vibrant and poignant collection of 11 brand new tracks.
1. "Secret Rendezvous"
2. "Judgement Day"
3. "This Is My Voice"
4. "Trouble Everyday"
5. "Take A Ride"
6. Talk Talk"
8. "Bombay Pipeline"
9. "Desolation Row"
10. "I Can’t Seem To Make You Mine"
11. "Till The Daylight Comes"
The opening track is like a bottle rocket firing up and blasting into orbit, charring the musical earth as it soars through all the mediocre and bland, pointless, and uninspired music of today.
In truth, the band - led by founding and current members, vocalist David Aguilar and guitarist Tim Abbott, plus Gary Andrijasevich on drums - never let go of that spirited musical overview and that truly makes this album as vibrantly fresh as anything I've listened to this past decade.
Second generation fans, guitarist Derek See and bassist Alec Palao (Grammy-nominated producer/ historian), also bring their enthusiasm and love for the music to the table to help weave the sound which both faithfully recreates the sonic energy and tone of the original recordings; as well as giving a rare edge to new material that is a logical progression to the bands legacy.
With tracks such as "Judgement Day," "Take a Ride," "Desolation Row," and both "Bombay Pipeline" and the title track still all exuding their brand of psych, garage, and punk determinations and beliefs, Chocolate Watchband haven't just reached back into their past for this new album ... they've embodied its spirit, embraced it's finite delivery system, and brought forth that very same tell-it-like-it-is late '60s scene intrepid fearlessness for a new generation to grasp onto.