Just the 11 of us

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 6, 2009

A brainstorming session soon after yielded the Macrotones handle, which unlike 99.infinity percent of band names actually applies to the broad texture that the 11-homeboy posse cover. To classify the Macrotones as anything specific would involve name-dropping at least three dozen arcane bands that most folks wouldn't recognize. On the other paw, to call them simply "eclectic" is a tragic understatement. Put these guys in tuxedos and they could rock a black wedding to the bone; keep them grimy and they'll continue smacking Boston's underground silly.

For proof of their successful synthesis — and for an explanation of why they've been asked to jam with local hip-hop, indie rock, and reggae acts — you need look no farther than their debut disc. Named after the converted A-frame barn in secluded Maine where they recorded its nine tracks in a 14-hour booze, barbecue, and rhythm marathon, Wayne Manor is a miraculous matrimony of funky preconceived ideals and effective spontaneity. "When you do it like we did — all together in a wide open space — you have to live with a couple of mistakes, but you get a lot more soul," says Jason Buhl (tenor, flute). Adds Duffy: "It's also a lot cheaper — with 11 people that's a lot of individual studio time."

We'll have to revisit the Macrotones after they hit the road together; right now they're getting along fine with weekly rehearsals and regular shows, but a near-dozen unwashed asses in any sort of van or bus is guaranteed to spark some fumes. Time will tell, though — especially if they keep feeding their communal "Macro Fund" with gigs like their upcoming Sunday-night monthly residency at Johnny D's. "We're all still pretty much amazed at how well we're able to correspond without one person having to be like, 'Do this,' " says Hurley. "Anyone who's ever been in any size band would probably agree that that's a major hurdle to get over."

MACROTONES | Johnny D's, 17 Holland St, Somerville | January 18 at 9:30 pm | $5 | 617.776.2004 orwww.johnnyds.com

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