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Music Notes: The Montauk Project Released “Belly of the Beast” with Lively Party at Piano’s

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Montauk-based beach grunge rockers, The Montauk Project, filled the back room of Piano’s last Saturday night to celebrate the release of their debut album, Belly of the Beast. Fresh off the heels of performances at Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival, the group radiated an infectious energy that spread through the crowd and kept fans jumping, dancing and singing along throughout the show.

The four rockers – Mark Schiavoni on vocals and guitar, Jasper Conroy on drums and vocals, Chris Wood on bass, and Jack Marshall on lead guitar and vocals – oozed a grungy vibe with plaid button-ups and wavy, flowing hair. And despite the rainy, cold weather outside, the throng seemed as though they’d come straight from a beach bonfire out East. With Hawaiian shirts and long, beachy hair undulating in the crowd, The Montauk Project played hypnotic riffs that blended psychedelic and classic rock for an overall authentic and soulful sound.

When initially listening to the group, it’s difficult to differentiate them from other up-and-coming grunge rockers. The loud, hardcore guitar and dark vocals sound a bit like unorganized noise on a few of the group’s tracks, so it was surprising to see the energy and cohesion that their live performance produced. The new album is solid but lacks the “catchy” riffs and melodies that might attract a larger fan base. The attendees of Saturday’s record release show seemed mainly to be a close-knit group of fans, friends and family, sweetly including some of the band member’s mothers. One of the best songs was the cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” for show’s encore, which sent the crowd into a dancing, head banging tizzy.

The group built their own studio out in Montauk where they self-produced, engineered, and recorded Belly of the Beast.  The album features a  harmonious union of ’90s grunge influences like Alice in Chains, and ’70s rock riffs reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. The single off the album, Lady in White, flows with a sludgy delta blues groove, reverberating vocals and intricate guitar work. The suggestive chorus pleads, “make me dance till I close my eyes and you’re gone.”

Having worked the New York City club circuit (Webster Hall, Arlene’s Grocery) and beyond, The Montauk Project will perform again in the LES at The Bowery Electric on April 30th.Wednesday,

April 30// Show at 9pm // 327 Bowery 

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