Lush and well crafted rock with groove, Specialists music puts you in an atmosphere somewhere between funk & psychedelics.
Specialists are a New York City based funk collective founded by guitarist Will Harden and bassist Mikey Rotunno. The duo has composed works for bands of various sizes, across a multitude of genres. The duo began with a tradition deemed Funky Friday, releasing new music on consecutive Fridays. Their sound comes from a cultivation of Harden's powerful vocal and compositional style and Rotunno’s masterful production laced with frequent harmonies and hip-hop verses.
Specialists currently have three albums out. Their debut album No Need To Explode, their self-titled album, and their most recent EP combine to make over two hours of hard-hitting jams. Music fans will fall in love with the subtle, jazz-influenced intricacies of their playing while you are sent on a journey through the sonic spectrum. Those who just want to dance will find themselves unable to stop as the fat beats and catchy hooks rattle their bones to the core.
Whether it’s the party of the year or a quiet evening at home, Specialists have a song that perfectly compliments the situation.
Too Easy (2020)
Too Easy is the group’s most refined release. The EP, initially a challenge, was written and recorded entirely during quarantine over the internet. However, the duo prevailed.
The EP kicks off with the powerful, Thanks, Boss- a pop-funk song with uplifting synthesizers, funky guitars, and enticing vocals, all separated by an impressive jazz-rock head that highlights the group’s musicianship.
Next it’ll present funk-rock staples, Be Easy and Down n Out that will keep your head bopping and your foot tapping, all while you are overcome with feelings of self-confidence and victory.
Come Over is a seductive track in which the group explores its R&B influences. You will find yourself enamored with the skips and hits embedded within this song.
Finally, Wake Up caps the EP. It is an epic song about keeping your mind and body in tune with your surroundings. It kicks off with an edgy, rap influenced verse, followed by progressive rock instrumental sections, and a melodically dramatic chorus filled with internal emotion.
Given this project was written during quarantine, the lyrical content uses intense imagery to depict an imaginary social life. The group found themselves writing about social interactions that they’ve gone so long without. Within the dual vocal parts, you will find a characterization of the bandmates themselves singing about where they long to be.
Specialists’ sophomore release is a testament to independent producers everywhere. The duo has single-handedly created an album as prime as any billboard single. We open to psychedelic story “Far Away” but are soon plunged into early 2000’s styled dance tracks including “Life Sublime”, and the appropriately named “Booty Mover”. The album then navigates through a maze of jazz-fusion before sending us sky-high with the final track “Birds”. Pay no mind to where you are or who you’re with, it’s time to get your groove on.
Specialists – No Need To Explode (2018)
A nineteen-track encounter with funk, the album paints a perfect picture of what one can expect from their music: Harden’s sultry, James Brown-type guitar grooves matched with bluesy Clapton-esque solos, and Rotunno’s tight, Flea-style bass pocket and crisp, modern production. Both players have a guerilla approach to the synthesizer making for a range of styles from jazz fusion to 70’s prog. NNTE speaks volumes to fans of Steely Dan, Yes, Snarky Puppy, and John Mayer.
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