Soul

Algiers and Le VICE Play Bottom of the Hill - 6/23

The San Francisco based indie-pop soul band, Le VICE will be performing live at Bottom of the Hill in support of the Atlanta based grungy soul musical outfit, Algiers. We certainly recommend you attend this show because you're going to get to experience a night of a super cool pastiche of new American music.

Both band's musical styles are dipped in soul like a thick layer of chocolate on a Klondike (do they still make Klondike Bars?), but the soft center of Le VICE's style is more pop-R&B oriented in comparison to Algiers' who has a very rigid, rough 'round the edges rock style going on within its compostional core. These bands should be experienced live because listening to their recordings is just going to make you sit and ponder what exactly your ear drums are dancing to.

It's summer time! Make your way out into the fresh night air and check out Algiers and Le VICE's interpretations of thrilling soul music at Bottom of the Hill on June 23rd!

   

Etana Performs at Mezzanine - 6/6

If you want to catch a unique show, check out Etana at Mezzanine! Her music is gorgeous and it will give you a chance to check out some music that may not be "the usual" in regards to local shows. We love local bands forever, but everyone's got to stretch their wings a bit. You won't have to stretch far. Make your way down to Mezzanine in San Francisco on June 6th!

The soulful Jamaican vocalist who has been described as "reggae's Jill Scott" (NPR) or"reminiscent of India.Arie" (Essence) - dropped her fourth album I Rise on Oct 28, 2014. The album was helmed primarily by the legendary Jamaican multi-instrumentalist and producer Clive Hunt (Stevie Wonder, Peter Tosh, Rolling Stones, The Wailers, Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff). It hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Reggae Album chart, making Etana one of the three Jamaican female artists ever and the first in nearly two decades (since Diana King and Patra in the mid-90s) to land this highly-coveted chart position. I Rise follows Etana's critically-acclaimed albums Better Tomorrow (2013), Free Expressions (2011) and The Strong One (2008). With poised assurance, she continues to evolve spiritually, mentally, emotionally and musically and carry the torch as reggae's leading lady.

   

Music Video Premiere: Future Twin - We're Here

The San Francisco based soul-gaze band, Future Twin has produced a music video for their upbeat rock-pop track, We're Here. The video is great. It's always good to see the conceptual expression of helping ordinary people escape what is boring and mundane, and discover what colorful fun life has to offer. We're Here tells a story of three people who are seemingly lost in the monotony and routine of their realities until a strange human lady with a colorful mask appears to break them free of their pain and disenfranchisement.

“"We’re Here” is a song about standing together. About not being broken up. It’s about cohesion. The script and concept that we attempted to portray in this music video center on the daily lives of archetypes of urban life: the office worker, the service worker and the retired elder. In hyper-productivist America, we often ask people when first meeting them, in order to get to know them better, “What do you do?” Playing on this way of defining people, as if our day job equates the very fiber of our being, as if that’s the most interesting facet of someone’s life (what they do to commodify their labor)– we attempted to show the triviality of such things." - Jean Jeanie, Future Twin

We like Future Twin and we like the song, We're Here, so it's a happy experience for us to share a music video that they've been super passionate about sharing with the world. Here it is, check them out and make sure you attend their upcoming Bay Area shows:

Jun 06 SubZERO Festival San Jose, CA
Jul 18 Dissilience Oakland (A benefit for Oakland Fund for the Arts) w/ Jean Jeanie

   

A Night of Neo-Soul With Brownish Black

While it could be quite the challenge to develop your own sound within the lexicon of classic soul and r&b, Brownish Black seem both worthy and excited about the task at hand. Formed in 2010 the band has been growing in numbers and evolving their neo-soul sound that could easily be found on NYC goldmine label Daptone (home to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Charles Bradley etc). With a slender and soulful white male leading the raucous r&b they could also be mistaken for pop soul darlings Fitz & the Tantrums. Yet comparisons aside Brownish Black are unique to Portland and are striving to forge their own path.

Given the somewhat challenging position of filling an empty dance floor with Portlanders who just finished a workweek, Brownish Black brought their high energy and infectious rhythms to the opening slot Friday night at the eclectic (read underrated) Star Theater. Seattle based psyche-afro-funk outfit Polyrhythmics were headliners.

Playing a mix of music from their previous EP’s as well new material Brownish Black sounded tight throughout. Performing new single “Life Lessons” lead singer M.D. Sharbatz was vocally strong although slightly distracted by the harsh lighting directed on stage. During a mid-set exit, Sharbatz returned with a black cap covering his eyes, which provided reprieve but perhaps distanced himself from the audience. While a stoic looking horn section successfully focused on taking care of business the bongo/conga player was focused on starting a party. The show continued, the floor filled, and the crowd released their weekday worries. Incorporating a cover of Portland’s very own Exploding Hearts “I’m a Pretender” along with a Brownish original entitled “Rock n Roll” as a tribute to blues legend BB King (who passed away that day) the second half of their set was climatic and cathartic.

It would be difficult not to mention the lack of female lead singer Mz. V (Vicki Porter), a once integral member and wonderful counterpart to Sharbatz’ vocals and energy, who recently left the band for other pursuits. While Porter is featured on the new album she certainly will be missed and the band is planning rotating guest appearances as they move forward with their first full-length release next month under Breakup Records.

With a charismatic, feel-good, neo soul sound Brownish Black have the talent, energy, and possible ambition to grow beyond Portland and the Northwest.

See them for their record release of Life Lessons at the Goodfoot Lounge on June 11.

-Greg LeMieux

   

Texas King @ Drake Hotel

Pop enough to sing-a-long to, rock enough to jump around to, and just enough groove to soothe your soul to. Texas King, hailing from London Ontario, got the crowd enlivened during the CMW showcase at the Gladstone last week. With lush, sizzling guitar tones, raspy vocals, and an on point rhythm combo, these guys became an energetic delicacy to see perform live. With their catchy lyrics the crowd sings-a-long alone to, “Come Find Me". They’re tight, greasy, and there’s - without question - no shortage of dance moves. Head on out to The Drake Hotel @ 05/17 and see on hell of a show!-Courtney Chalapenko