Stew is a celebrated singer/songwriter and a Tony Award winner, for his musical, Passing Strange. Double Naught Spy Car is a four-piece instrumental group made up of guitarist Marcus Watkins, guitar and steel player Paul Lacques, bassist Marc Doten and drummer Joe Berardi, known for their complex blend of jazz, surf, rock and funk.
A decade ago, this experimental, daring group of pals came together in a small studio in the San Fernando Valley with a crazy goal in mind: spend the next three days improvising together. Not jamming, improvising. One take, no redos, no stopping.
Ten years later, after many career twists and turns for the talented collaborators, they’re finally releasing Panorama City, a ten-track album of highlights from those improvisations (the extended version of the album features several more hours of material from the recording adventure).
One of the album’s tracks, “Marcy Boo Coo,” is a cheeky, bizarre number about an American couple in France. The track is a frenetic, psychedelic journey, exemplary of Stew’s masterful lyricism and Double Naught Spy Car’s no-holds-barred fearlessness. Heavy rock guitar pairs nicely with Stew’s raspy, pop-leaning croon as he leads them from verse to chorus. The musicians took a big risk with this “concept,” which could very well have fallen flat. But, improvised or not, the song unfolds with an unexpected energy and drive, and an astounding cohesion and flow.
Check out “Marcy Boo Coo” below, and look out for Panorama City, to be released on April 12.