I’d planned to review Joanna Newsom’s new album Ys today, but I don’t have the brainpower at the moment. You’ve probably never heard of King Biscuit Time, but I’d be willing to bet from the very first track, you’ll recognize the sound. King Biscuit Time is the side project of Steve Mason, lead singer of the now defunct Beta Band. Plain and simple, if you like Beta Band, you’ll like King Biscuit Time. Black Gold offers some intimate moments from Mason, and overall sounds slightly more condensed than most Beta Band efforts, with far fewer instrumental breakouts. His cold delivery has always reminded me of Mark Sandman of Morphine, one of my favorites.

I’ve said this before, but there is an unexplainable force that drives Masons music. He’s always had a very looped approach to his vocals and beats, where each new phrase pulses like a chant. Highlights include the single “Kwangchow”, The cleverly titled “All Over You” which harkens back to Beta Band classic “Dry The Rain”, “The Way You Walk”, and “Paperhead”. The opener, “C I Am 15″ doesn’t seem to belong here – I expected to hear Busta Rhymes chime in at any moment, in my opinion it doesn’t really set the stage properly for the album.

Black Gold gets the job done as far as fixing the hole Beta Band’s departure has left in my musical repertoire, and it’s a good album for a long drive or time spent with the headphones on. Mason continues to deliver what I’ve come to expect from him as the foundation that made Beta Band so appealing.

MP3: King Biscuit Time – Kwangchow
King Biscuit Time’s Website
Buy Black Gold

MP3: King Biscuit Time – All Over You
King Biscuit Time’s Website
Buy Black Gold
Bonus MP3 – Morphine – All Your Way
Buy Yes