Song review: Whatitdo. spreads its love for retro-funk with ‘Peanut Butta’


“Peanut Butta” was released in advance of Whatitdo.’s album, “Shit’s Dope. The Reno trio plays June 20 in the Crystal Bay Casino”s Red Room

With the release of their slinky new single, the members of Whatitdo. have taken a huge step toward truly introducing themselves as the groove aficionados they are. At almost five minutes long, “Peanut Butta” LINK is essentially a how-to lesson in throwback Meters-esque funk and is a sure sign that their forthcoming album “Shit’s Dope” (due out in June) will be nothing short of a vibe-tastic retro journey.

Complete with tape-hiss and an intro snagged from studio outtakes, the track’s charm is almost as contagious as its backbeat. The song’s fidelity was no happy accident but rather a measured decision and, in many ways, a tribute to the trio’s influences.

“It’s almost as if analog is synonymous with ‘vibe’ ” the band’s guitarist Mark Sexton explained to me, citing Sly and The Family Stone’s “There’s a Riot Goin’ On” and D’Angelo’s “Voodoo” as major influences.

“We just kinda did our homework and found out how some of those albums were made,” Sexton said. “They weren’t using a lot of mics and they had limitations and we were just trying to take notes on all that stuff. We just want to be genuine with whatever we’re doing.”

WhatitdoThey wound up recording guitar, drums and bass for the whole album in one day in their basement armed with a handful of equipment and a four-track cassette recorder. With producer/bassist Alex Korostinsky taking the lead they then spent several months laying overdubs and mixing before they were happy with the project. It was during these few months that keyboardist Ryan Taylor’s parts were added, and, as can be heard on the single, his presence to the process was invaluable. The care they took to produce exactly what they wanted is refreshing in a time when recording equipment is user friendly and studio time is affordable. The art-funk trio cut no corners and the nostalgic effect of the single makes that apparent.

Although Whatitdo. has been a band for five years they have largely flown under the radar due to every member’s involvement in other bands. It seems that “Peanut Butta” is among the first serious moves for this group.

“We’re at a stage where we’re saying yes to everything” Sexton said.

In addition to Whatitdo. Wednesdays at The Loving Cup, Sexton and Korostinsky talked about touring and extensive promotional effort.

“We’re going to do a whole Whatitdo. Week where we play Wednesday through Sunday, every night, when the album comes out,” Sexton said.

Grueling band life is nothing new to the members of Whatitdo. Aaron Chiazza is currently touring with the Beatles tribute group RAIN while Korostinsky and Sexton have found success with local favorite Mark Sexton Band. They are more than equipped to take Whatitdo. as far as they like and having a single like “Peanut Butta” up their sleeves will only ease the process.

Whatitdo’s single and upcoming album are a testament to the talent in this growing Reno-Tahoe scene. It’s amazing to think that a group with such taste, feel and respect for their musical forefathers can still be seen for free at The Loving Cup almost every Wednesday night.

While “Peanut Butta” is only the first step it’s a damn good one and lends a colorful glance into this relatively young group’s future.


About Spencer Kilpatrick

Author Spencer Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in English. He hates the Lakers and his top three emcees are Blu, Earl Sweatshirt and Nas.

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