There's such an unvarnished quality to Greyboy's new album that you'd blink if you saw it on the electronic charts. But that's where "Soul Mosaic: A Case Study in Beats, Soul and Funk" has shown up. And that, says the 35-year-old DJ and producer, is the 21st century.
"Technology is now a legitimate tool in music-making," says the man born Andreas Stevens. "I use a lot of samples, but I like to keep the sounds raw. A lot of what's done now is so shiny, so overdone." He ended up with a techno record that in large part feels like 1970s vinyl -- a collection indebted to an impressive group of collaborators, including soul singers Bart Davenport and Sharon Jones and fellow producers Quantic and Mike Andrews.
The album, his fourth, marks quite a progression from his 1994 acid-jazz breakthrough "Freestylin'," which has sold more than 100,000 copies and helped put Newport Beach-based Ubiquity Records on the map. The Long Beach resident will pull duty behind the turntables Saturday night at the Echo.
The strummy acoustica on pro surfer Donavon Frankenreiter's solo debut evokes an endless summer of pristine waves and Pacific sunsets -- more medicine for the mood than bounty for the brain. But its laid-back feel belies the seriousness of the undertaking. If not for his wife, Petra, the 31-year-old Laguna Beach resident might not have persisted in a music career. "I was in the band we started in high school for 11 years, and by the end I was spinning my wheels," Frankenreiter says. "We'd played every bar, doing cover songs. I felt like a jukebox." He graduated from rhythm guitarist in a bar band to singer-songwriter by writing at home, with Petra as audience and critic.
The other driving force was fellow surfer-turned-crooner Jack Johnson. The pair met as teenagers in Hawaii, in the days, Frankenreiter says, "when all you wanna do is just eat, surf and play music." Now his album is out on Johnson's Brushfire Records label, and Frankenreiter has embarked on a West Coast tour, coming Friday to the Troubadour.
With a new album due later this year, Clinic, the surgical-mask-wearing quartet from Liverpool, plays Saturday night at the Knitting Factory.... Ex-Marvelous 3 frontman Butch Walker has an album, "Letters," due in July and a three-night stint beginning Saturday at the Hotel Cafe.
-- Kevin Bronson