Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins have been making their spaced-out, meditative brand of astral soul so steadily — individually, together, in guest spots and as compilation curators — that they’re worth recognizing as important fixtures in the current Los Angeles beat scene. Like Erykah Badu with the cadence and resonance of Alice Coltrane’s harp, Muldrow’s got a voice that you can soak in — at which point it starts soaking in to you — and Perkins raps like a chilled-out, off-kilter West Coast version of Redman, connecting the dots… more »
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2013 | Label: Bloodshot Records
For their third record, and their first for Bloodshot Records, the self-described “post-punk soul rockers” JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound get heavy. Much darker thematically than 2011′s rousing Want More, the fittingly titled Howl shows frontman Jayson “JC” Brooks at his most emotionally vulnerable yet, with lyrics detailing the slow progression of broken relationships — from heartbreak to longing to acceptance.
Musically, Howl sounds like a calculated homage to ’70s funk and soul acts. “River” hearkens back to Al Green-style gospel and R&B and closer “These Things” showcases Brooks’s… more »
2013 | Label: Hardly Art / Sub Pop Records
On Dreams In the Rat House, Oakland’s fiercest contemporary purveyors of scuffed-up early-’60s rock ‘n’ roll jump to the relative big leagues of the Sub Pop imprint Hardly Art without sacrificing any of their rickety retro charm. Shannon and the Clams’ third album sticks to the live-sounding, punk-roughed doo-wop, girl group and surf rock throwbacks that made 2011 predecessor Sleep Talk the perfect cheap-beer chaser. It’s a narrow but fertile niche, and this trio goes after it with devilish bravado.
Bass player Shannon Shaw, also of Bay Area kindred spirits Hunx… more »
2013 | Label: Sony Classical
It’s surprising that the Emersons haven’t previously recorded any Schoenberg, considering the ensemble has never shied away from 20th century repertoire, and even moreso that their first choice is not a string quartet, but his 1899 string sextet, Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4.
It’s paired, in apt — and not quite unprecedented — programming, with Tchaikovsky’s 1890 (revised 1891-92) String Sextet in D minor, Op. 70, Souvenir de Florence. The album title attempts to conceptually link the two works; the Tchaikovsky is a journey because the main theme… more »