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Friday, April 08, 2011

Album Review: Josh Freese - My New Friends EP

Josh Freese - My New Friends EP
Self-released
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



Don't look now, Dave Grohl, but there's a new anti-hip hipster drummer tramping through the music scene. He's Josh Freese and he's about to wear a proverbial jersey marked with the word "Mr. Ingenuity" across the back. The rambling man skin puncher who has backed A Perfect Circle, Devo, Guns 'n Roses, The Vandals, Weezer, Sting and lord knows who else in the rockaverse has made headlines of late for his one-man-show fundraising skits that has subsidized the recording of his solo work, the latest being his thank you EP, My New Friends.

While more in the vein of tuneful So Cal punk which reflects hanging ten and hanging out at with Mickey and Donald, Josh Freese's My New Friends is as serious as going long with a cantaloupe in the produce section while the manager's back is turned.

Essentially, My New Friends is a recorded document of Freese's gallavanting with his benefactors, non-Hollywood heads who purchased special packaging of Freese's first solo album, Since 1972. While offering downloads of Since 1972 for seven bucks a pop to the average listener, Freese opened his own reinvestment plan by concocting wild and expensive packages of Since 1972 that included a private tour at Disneyland to chowing down at P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory to blazing the mini golf links with Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh and Maynard of Tool and A Perfect Circle. Talk about making the most of your resources!

While the latter package hoisted a cool $20,000.00 for Freese, you have to admire his balls and slick entrepreneur skills. Did anyone purchasing Freese's crazy gimmick packages of Since 1972 expect to find themselves memorialized in song, though? That's essentially the whole kitsch to My New Friends.

Filled with spoonfuls of sugar pop rock and more hooks than a fishing tournament, My New Friends is a fun, noncommittal rockout for the sake of gratitude. While it's more a personal connection between Freese and his newfound comrades in commerce, My New Friends is a groovy listen, particularly the Devo-notched drive on "See You in 2010 (For Thomas)" and the Weezer-spiced uh-huh swing on "All the Way From F.L.A. (For Tom)" and "NY Style Eddie (For Eddie Torres)."

The entire concept of My New Friends is just goofy, but nobody can say (particuarly those who shelled out for the high-end specialty packages of Since 1972) that Josh Freese doesn't show his appreciation nor gives his fans their money's worth.

Rating: ****

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