Dave Hammer’s Power Supply releases new EP

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Blues-rock trio Dave Hammer's Power Supply (from left) Dave Hammer, Chris Baker and Matt DeRubertis have just released a new EP called "Greasy"

Dave Hammer’s Power Supply is an Akron-based trio that has been gigging around Northeast Ohio for a couple of years, building up a solid fan base for their deceptively complex, eclectic blues-based and jazz-informed rock.

The trio of guitarist/singer Dave Hammer, bassist/vocalist Matt DeRubertis and drummer/vocalist Chris Baker released a full-length album, Words, in 2011, the EP Aht Yo Hed and now another EP called Greasy, recorded at Primetime Studios in Akron and partially funded by the Aurora School of Music.

Hammer and DeRubertis were jazz students at the University of Akron when they met, felt a musical connection, brought Baker into the fold and quickly recorded their debut. Now the group has a few years of shows under its belt and seems to be refining its sound. Previous releases incorporated strains of several genres including reggae, psyche-rock and snatches of fusion, revealing the trio’s schooled pedigree. For Greasy, the musicians, who co-write all the songs, hew closer to the blues-rock with a touch of jazz sound at the base of most of their songs.

The lead track Bunga sets the tone with a loping groove and a blues-rock riff underneath Hammer’s voice, an attitude-filled tenor imbued with an Ohio drawl. Hammer likes fancy chords, and he peppers the grooves with seventh and ninth chords; the band adds a little jazz and harmonic complexity to the tunes for its signature sound. The self-effacing Damn, That’s Cold is another slow-crawling blues jam with some tasty soloing from Hammer, who favors a thin, sharp, attacking tone and isn’t afraid of a few odd notes and extra noise as he whips out flurries of notes.

The band’s earlier eclecticism is still evident in songs such as Busted Seams with its jazzy turnarounds and harmonized chorus, while the brief Filthy is a spacious, ambient intro for the title track, a catchy two-songs-in-one that begins as a stomping rocker with three-part harmony before abruptly transforming into a jaunty jam-band groove.

The EP closes with the pulsating space-blues jam I Love You.

The trio format gives the musicians plenty of room to move around inside the songs. DeRubertis fills out the bottom end with complementary bass chords, occasionally breaking out the fuzz pedal for some added hard rock heft, while Baker’s fills often punctuate Hammer’s singing.

DHPS’ music and particularly Greasy should appeal to blues/blues-rock fans, as that music is at the root of most of their tunes. Jam-band fans will likely also dig their musical twists and turns, though few of their songs stretch past the five-minute mark and they don’t generally “jam” on their tunes in their always solid live sets. Though the “eclectic” tag often translates to “overly busy and watered-down,” DHPS’ musical gumbo never comes across as “hey-look-what-we-can-play!” show-offiness.

To check out Dave Hammer’s Power Supply for yourself go to www.davehammerspowersupply.com or at the gig tonight in Cleveland.

Ripper ready to rock, eat

Tim “Ripper” Owens, power-metal singer for hire who has played with Judas Priest, Charred Walls of the Damned, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen, his own Beyond Fear and the Dio Disciples, is about to unleash his newest venture, Ripper’s Rock House, on Manchester Road in Akron.

After amicably parting ways with his former partners at Ripper’s Tap House, Owens and his new partners spent a few months getting the new place ready, a larger concert venue with better sound and sightlines. For the grand opening, Owens is teaming up with guitarist Scott Jones for an acoustic set, his first show in a year.

The show is free and all-ages, and the kitchen and the stage should be fully rocking.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, or follow him on Twitter @malcolmxabram.

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