Horning in 

Youngblood adds new blood to brass

Youngblood Brass Band isn't just another artsy, whimsical group using horns to reinvent indie rock coolness. The Wisconsin outfit calls itself "riot jazz," and that's a pretty good description for what to expect from 11 musicians inspired by both New Orleans brass traditions and underground hip-hop, with a dash of punk rock attitude.

The punk rock part is especially noticeable on the band's recent album, Pax Volumi, and in particular with the first track "20 Questions," where you can hear a tone similar to Rancid's ...And Out Come the Wolves. And, though there's nothing ska or Oi! about its sound, the brass foundation hints at those genres just by the very presence of horns.

click to enlarge Youngblood Brass Band
  • Youngblood Brass Band

Youngblood's badass primary rapper, D.H. Skogen, spits out lines that deal with current issues. In "20 Questions," he quips, "'Asshole' is my pre-existing condition," and you think he's just being a smart-ass for no reason until a few tracks later, on "Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot," when he tackles the health care system with gems like, "Jesus never asked the leper for a co-pay."

Pax Volumi experiments with fusing music traditions that clash in effective ways. It's easy to get bored with the same old punk rock riffs and hip-hop brags, and Youngblood Brass Band seems to be offering a fresh take on rebellion that's worth our full attention.

Youngblood Brass Band plays Stage 112 Thu., April 17, at 10 PM. $10/$8 advance.

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