~Meniscus Archives~

Spring 2004
Issue #3

February - April 2004

Sex, Not Just for Teenagers
Mr. Ruggles

Like No Other Time, by Tom Daschle
A review
by Kristi Spurrier

Maintaining Spirituality in the Void We Call America
Mr. Ruggles
Libra Seeking Balance
Melissa Bator
What 2004 Means to Me
The Tonic
Bush's Capitalism: 21st Century Entropy
Jon Heinrich
Don't Think Twice,
It's Alright

Mike Kirkpatrick
Cows in the Road
Dan Berthiaume
Love, at 100
Pete Pidgeon
Summer's Freckles
Wes Ratko
Not a Love Story
Sarah Erdreich
Miami New Years
Team Meniscus
Tuckerman Ravine
Jon Heinrich
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Ten tips for a successful Jazzfest
Chrystie Hopkins
Meniscus New Years Picks
Bootyjuice is a Band
Derek Gumuchian
One Double Grande Instrumental, Please (Hold the Flavored Syrup):
A Review of
Self-Titled Debut

Brian Gagné
Show Review:
Vida Blue, 1/3/04
Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami, FL

Jon Heinrich
CD Review:
Spaceship Integration
Live From Nowhere

CD Review:
The Recipe
All You Can Eat
Love Is...
-Ryan Collins
Traded for Monkeys,
Livid [In Tall Grass]
What a Calamity!

-Brian Gagné
Meniscus Premier Launch Party
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 14, 2003

Metro Saturdays hosts
Meniscus Portland Launch
Sky Bar @ The Roxy
Portland, Maine
August 30, 2003

State of the Art
Lounge Ten
Boston, Massachussets
October 23, 2003



One Double Grande Instrumental, Please (Hold the Flavored Syrup)

A Review of
Self-Titled Debut

Brian Gagné

Published 2/14/04

Accoutrements have become the norm in American culture in these, the first breaths of the new millennium. For example, “Would you like raspberry syrup in your latte, sir?” or “For just fifteen more dollars you could get the full suite of service features including call forwarding and three-way calling with your phone plan!” Simple, effective means of living, like solar heat, or saying “hi” to strangers, are scandalously out of vogue for many. But for those on the other side of the coin who are willing to keep their ears open, there’s fulfillment to be found.

With jazz on the upswing, and the prevalence of neo-traditionalists in the rock subculture (Robert Randolph’s Family Band, Galactic, even the White Stripes) there is sanctuary to be had from the tired, saccharine packaging of the mainstream. Traveling a little farther down this train of thought, one may find themselves contemplating the Northeast-based rock/jazz minimalists Raisinhill.

Compositional in form, and with levity reminiscent of Bill Frissell’s recent offerings, Raisinhill combines atmosphere and confident musicality to a unique, stylish end. Raisinhill’s self-titled disc is substantial enough to avoid being “light”, but eschews musical hedonism. There is a strict adherence to the guitar/upright bass/drums trio format, and the recording is fully live, devoid of overdubs and studio affectations.

Guitarist John Kasiewicz’s tone is round and reverb laden. His playing is lyrically insistent and, at times, plaintive, but never screams to make a point. The rhythm section of Brian Anderson on upright bass and Jay Bond on drum kit give a distinct, jazzy tilt to the songs with nimble interplay.

On the 15 tracks on their disc, Raisinhill manages diversity while retaining identity. The opening number, “Nameless”, pays homage to live techno with a throbbing bassline and bouncy melody. “The Ridge” is expansive and, in its way, cinematic. The aptly titled “Road Song” is anthematic, while “Soul Jive” has a twisty theme and buoyant funkiness. “Wendy” is quietly romantic. What Raisinhill achieves is a breadth of mood in its music which defines each composition despite a relatively limited sonic palette.

In its relatively short existence, Raisinhill has gained extensive favor within the Jamband community. With an interesting blend of youthful exuberance and reverence to tone and atmosphere, they have carved an all important niche for themselves that may guarantee their continued popularity and support for their tireless touring. In a time where anyone can put out a CD, having a defined musical identity is all there is to distinguish one band from another, and Raisinhill seems to have their plan set. By following their current trajectory, Raisinhill will achieve some measure of success by becoming a familiar face on the festival circuit, all without the benefit of a big name producer, hazelnut flavoring, or even speed dial.

Brian Gagné


Meniscus Magazine © 2004. All material is property of respective artists.