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The Other Planets / Press

“The Other Planets, an ensemble from New Orleans that released this debut effort in 2005, has been compared to big avant-garde guns such as Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. While there are certain similarities, the New Orleans combo is less obnoxious and much more willing to risk blending into the background, sometimes letting seemingly trivial details of interaction simmer until the unexpected comes seeping out, a process right out of the Big Easy cooking school. There are swaggering rockers such as the opening musical question, "Will You Adhere?," complete with a distorted vocal in the manner of "21st Century Schizoid Man" and some chord changes that indeed smack of Zappa's mustache hair.”

“Jazz-rock band the Other Planets are among New Orleans’ most capable, heavy musicians. You’re never sure what to expect from the band’s ambitious, multi-instrumental live shows, given the Planets’ penchant—almost fetish—for quick evolution. Even better are the band’s four albums that, starting with Discreet Manipulations, cut away the jamming to concentrate on a group of songs that mean something to each other. But where the songs on the band’s other records casually take giant leaps from marimba jazz to Ween-esque esoteric rock, to squishy electronica (among other genres), Hello Beams concentrates mostly on a psychedelic pop sound, featuring beautiful horn-section arrangements, and three-part vocal harmonies performed by Planet leader/keyboardist/percussionist Anthony Cuccia, Dr. Jimbo Walsh and Kelly Carlyle.”

“The mind-altering properties of banana peels and Angel's Trumpets are well documented, but do azalea flowers possess unknown psychotropic effects? The Other Planets start off new album Hello Beams eating them on "High Beams," the latest of the space travelers' punny, druggy inspirations (see: Eightballs in Angola, "Bo Diddley's Opium Nightmare," et. al.), and what transpires afterward can only be described as a flowery head trip. Outlined by a nearly incessant beach-ball rhythm and brightly colored with queasy clarinets and guitars, the record finds the longstanding band's fearless leaders, co-frontmen Anthony Cuccia and Dr. Jimbo Walsh, pinch-hitting for each other with woozy, pitch-bending vocals and moving farther away from jokey prog jazz and toward psychedelic, sunbeamed pop. That's not to say they've lost their sense of humor — this may be the silliest Planets platter yet, with a pervading cheekiness that soaks through the lyrics and saturates the music.”

“What could be more enticing than an electric carnival spanning the dimensions of space rock and progressive jazz? On their third album, Holiday for Vacationers! (Everything Awesome All the Time), local, interstellar ringmasters the Other Planets blur genres and contort harmonious conventions in search of such a musical destination. While they’ve always drawn upon an uncanny ability to open resonant portals amidst apparent bedlam and dissonant chaos, the Other Planets have come together on Holiday for Vacationers! to add a point of emphasis onto their bizarro idiosyncrasies. And for the intrepid listener, this venture may yet divulge an even more enlightening axiom. ”

“Other Planets (pictured) are at the end of a three-month-long residency at the Dragon's Den. This final night in the series will serve as both a tag-team recording for a live album featuring both bands and a release party for the Planets' third album, Holiday for Vacationers, which is possibly its best mashup of weird wizardry yet. The combo melds psych-rock and space-jazz into a smoking, burbling cocktail of delicious poison that's heavy with Frank Zappa influences, plus equal parts Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson and a smidge of Camper van Beethoven. Its horns can soar like Alvin Batiste at his most cosmonautical or lilt sloppily like Sgt. Pepper. Tracks like the bitingly creepy 'Happy Time at the Mall" burrow into your brain as hypnotically as a Zappa opus.”

“Mixing forward-looking sounds and studio wizardry, the new CD from the New Orleans collective the Other Planets, led by percussionist and sampler Anthony Cuccia, strikes an eclectic chord. This record, Eightballs in Angola, has 10 tracks of gonzo speed-blowing, seemingly random notes and sounds, and an enthusiastic attitude. The band seems to have a lot of fun playing with each other and playing these songs, and that vibe permeates every selection on this CD. The record recalls Frank Zappa’s stop-on-a-dime-and-switch arrangements, with fast vibraphone runs courtesy of Matt McLimon and sarcastic lyrics in tunes such as “Rock and Roll Ain’t Easy.” ”

“The Other Planets' song "Hector Detector" may become the anthem of every New Orleans musician who doesn't play funk, jazz or lead a brass band. Pinging electronic percussion kicks off the track, then a crunchy bass saxophone creates a seesaw groove that even a head banger could appreciate. Anthony Cuccia, the leader of the group, sings the progressive musician's blues: "Frenchmen Street and nobody cares / The Dragon's Den has got such excellent players / They play a million notes and everybody just stares." Discrete Manipulations is an unexpected mix of electronic beats, pop melodies, saxophones and samples. While there is nothing radio-friendly about the Other Planets, the group's music sounds more hyperactive than dissonant. "Will You Adhere?" is almost a sing-along, except that the lyrics are barely intelligible. "How's McFatter Doing?" might be the background music at a swank lounge in the next century.”

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