If you’ve ever been to a concert of any kind in Santa Barbara over the past, say, 30 years, you’ve probably seen Joe Woodard. He’s the one with the notepad and pencil (as an arts writer for the Independent), assiduously recording the set list and making intelligent musical connections in preparation for another thoughtful and gracious review. What you may not know — even if you know him well from his criticism of music and art — is that Woodard has also mastered another genre, the indie rock song.
The new album from the band he leads with drummer and producer extraordinaire Tom Lackner is titled seeyoutonite, and it’s the third release by the group flapping, Flapping. Woodard and Lackner started flapping back in the 1990s with another talented Santa Barbaran, Bruce Winter. Since then, there’s been a recording hiatus of more than 20 years, but over that time Woodard has been busy, not only reviewing music festivals all over the world and writing several books about jazz, but also cranking out some fantastically memorable material of his own, much of which is finally available now on Bandcamp and through various other online outlets.
What makes the new flapping x 2 record even more exciting for fans of our regional talent pool is the VIP guest list, which includes Todd Capps, Zach Madden, Jesse Rhodes, Glen Phillips, and Parry Gripp, among many others. Standout tracks like “Something for Nothing,” feature Phillips singing lead. A personal favorite, “Tuesday Afternoon,” which has Nate Birkey’s trumpet adorning a strong vocal by Woodard himself, and is backed by an entire horn section.
Drawing inspiration from classic rock heavyweights such as the Band and Little Feat, and filtered through jazz’s sophisticated harmonic sensibility, the record sits comfortably alongside the work of better known ’80s/’90s acts such as Pavement and R.E.M. Not for nothing has this creative duo of Woodard and Lackner gone to school with the world’s top improvisers; seeyoutonite sounds both fresh and timeless. The gorgeous and warmly inviting production, all of which took place at Lackner’s studio on Mountain Drive, adds mightily to the album’s sonic appeal.
In a town often touted for its resemblance to paradise, music ought to be equally divine. With the arrival of flapping, Flapping’s seeyoutonite, Santa Barbara has got the world-class rock band it deserves. Kudos as well to Matt Straka for the groovy, Eggleston-esque sleeve photos.
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