This Up Here
First things first. David Ramos' name is pronounced Dah-veed (in Spanish). Since childhood, nobody has called him David (in English) other than telemarketers and police officers. At age 10 he started cracking drum heads. By 15 he was studying Latin-jazz polyrhythms and recording what would be Anonymous Inc's debut CD. And by age 24, David was named one of Modern Drummer magazine's Top 10 Progressive Drummers of Today. As part of bands Toca and Anonymous Inc. with brother Ceschi, David has been the source of backing beats for collaborations with a range of acclaimed artists -- including everyone from Aceyalone and Busdriver to Sole and Dose One. On tours David has performed as part of "Little Wings" with Kyle Field (who also provided David his new album's artwork) and even as part of hardcore metal band "Dead By Wednesday," opening up for bands such as Hatebreed and Sick of it All. But David's smorgasbord of past work has little to do with his new album, "This Up Here." At first listen, "This Up Here" sounds something like a synthesizer-injected lo-fi indie folk record, complete with occasionally dramatic shaky vocals, layers of Casios, shitty drum machines, glockenspiels, acoustic guitars, and melodicas. Upon closer examination, however, the musical quality is apparent. The album sounds much more like an ensemble of unlikely instruments becoming good friends, while David Ramos' creative use of percussion undoubtedly surges through the Casio static. His acrobatic rap-vocal abilities only complement the concoction. By the last track we come to realize that "This Up Here" is simply a beautifully self produced pop record crafted by a talented young songwriter who uses a basement full of toys and old instruments to shape a subtly emotional story filled with nostalgia, humor, and honesty.