Shitake Monkey clearly is a trio who knows their humor: besides taking two of the funniest words in human language as their name, the New York City trio named their debut album Street Beef, after a legendary John Candy sketch on SCTV back in the early '80s. And yet, for all the goofiness of their act, these three musicians have credible real-world chops as well: DJ and keyboardist Electric Pete is Peter Wade, a noted engineer and remixer for acts ranging from Wyclef Jean and LL Cool J to Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez. Bassist Johnny Rodeo is the Texas-born John Hill, who has recorded and toured with contemporary dub reggae/drum'n'bass star Dr. Israel and new wave revivalists Stiffed. And singer, guitarist, and conceptual leader Chuck Brody is Caleb Shreve, who has engineered and mixed albums for a variety of gangsta rappers and R&B stars while also producing the gimmicky hip-hop novelty Northern State. Those hip-hop and R&B influences are prominent in Shitake Monkey's music, but in the way that they're prominent on albums by Beck and Gnarls Barkley: though partially rooted in hip-hop, Shitake Monkey is a quirky, experimentally minded pop band at heart. Their debut album, Street Beef, was released in April 2007; in an unusual move, Shitake Monkey alerted potential new fans that the album was available, in full and authorized by the band, on all of the major file-sharing networks. ~ Stewart Mason
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