Mark your calendar now for the upcoming JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound show scheduled for Friday November 15th over at Ferndale's finest The Magic Bag.
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JC BROOKS AND THE UPTOWN SOUND & ESCORT
Friday, November 15 – Doors 8pm - $15 adv.
JC BROOKS & THE UPTOWN SOUND:
With the release of “Howl”, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound enters the next chapter of its soul sound evolution. In December 2012, the band holed up at Hotel2Tango Studio in Montreal to work with producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and dove headfirst into previously unfamiliar sonic territories and tough-yet-transfixing lyrical matter. By approaching the new album with this direct and free outlook, what began with the raw soul of 2011’s “Want More” advances in new, exciting directions. Throughout “Howl”, the Chicago-based quintet’s third full-length album and second for Bloodshot Records, the dark side of love and longing is explored by frontman JC Brooks’s starkly personal lyrics and the Uptown Sound’s willingness to bare all their influences and let the grooves fall where they may. A collective evolution has been made where influence meets experience, and this organic progression results in 11 songs that are more open than ever both in message and vibe.
“Howl” is soul music by children of the post-punk era. It’s the sound of a band that cut its teeth listening to Purple Rain and In On the Killtaker, is drawn to the theatrical-cum-creative auras of Tina Turner and Otis Redding, and has most recently hustled big festival stages where adventurous listeners come away rejuvenated and undeniably converted.
With a taut minimalist blend of rock and R&B punctuating JC Brooks’s potent delivery and brutally honest words, Howl creates a mystique at the same time it induces sing-alongs and hip-shakes. Tracks like the eponymous “Howl” and “Rouse Yourself” are pleas for snapping out of emotional apathy, as in the latter when Brooks first coos in falsetto and then belts a cautionary chorus in harmony, “If we had forever / I hope we’d just get better / that’s why it’s such a shame / the ways we stay the same.” Just as it embraces past artistic influences, “Howl” covers the range of emotion from celebratory pop to crestfallen ballad. “River” is vintage gospel narrative, complete with Brooks’s solo show-stopping, open-throated vocal sear, and a rhythm section that could’ve backed the Memphis greats during the ‘60s. “Before You Die” struts with the carefree, party atmosphere of Tom Tom Club with auxiliary percussion, handclaps, and some Bernie Worrell psychedelic-pop wall of synth.
Formed in Chicago in 2007, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound consists of JC Brooks (lead vocals), Billy Bungeroth (guitar), Kevin Marks (drums, vocals), Andy Rosenstein (keys, vocals), and Ben Taylor (bass). JCBUS has toured North America and Europe, attracting an enthusiastic grassroots following while garnering the support of the likes of NPR and AAA radio with their eye-opening cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” (which they performed with Jeff Tweedy at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in 2011). MOJO Magazine called them “one of the hottest US soul acts right now”. JCBUS spent 2012 on the road supporting their previous Bloodshot release, “Want More”, with electrifying appearances at Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot, and an incendiary World Cafe Live double bill with Gary Clark Jr. Now armed with “Howl”, the band is hitting the road for a Fall tour with Escort in June.
ESCORT is big.
Literally. Enjoying accolades ranging from the New York Times to Pitchfork, the "disco orchestra" features an incredible cast of musicians including founders/producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balis, and fronted by lead singer Adeline Michle. The band performs in a variety of powerful party line-ups, ranging from a core 5-piece (with Adeline on bass) to a 17-member extravaganza. Escort burst on to the scene in 2006 with a string of critically acclaimed 12"s that included future classics "Starlight" and "All Through The Night", both DJ staples that get still get plenty of play on dancefloors. As DJs nursed their electro-clash hangover with a seemingly never ending stream of disco edits, Escort stood out, in part, by creating dance music the old fashioned way: with impeccable production, musicianship, and songwriting.
The following several years saw them bring the same uncompromising approach to their live show. In an era where dance music is dominated by samples and computers, Escort took a sprawling ensemble to the stage and developed a reputation as one of New York's most compelling live acts, capable of performing their elaborate recordings note for note. Late last year, Escort released their first taste of the new record: "Cocaine Blues", a loose reinterpretation of the 1976 Dillinger classic that received rave reviews and quickly became an underground sensation, building even more anticipation for what's to come. Escort's long awaited self-titled debut LP was released January 31, 2012. The entire album is steeped in the venerable tradition of clubland's holy trinity - New York, Chicago, and Detroit - but it seems particularly reminiscent of mutant-pop luminaries such as Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Ian Dury, who somehow managed to translate their sardonic sensibilities to the dance-floor. And by embracing the legacy of these forward-thinking but classic acts, they have yet managed to create something strikingly new.
The LP's opener "Chameleon" is a perfect example: a three-act play about the French serial impostor Frederic Bourdin, set to a beat that's equal parts Thriller and the Tom Tom Club. The tracks, "Make Me Over" and "Why oh Why" seem to explore the lost possibilities of another era, rather than simply trying to re-create it. The 1937 standard "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" is twisted into a lost August Darnell classic. The album also includes the definitive versions of their 12" DJ releases - which have been remixed, remastered, rearranged, and re-recorded specially for the LP - to complete an album with absolutely no filler. Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears recently described Escort as the "best disco you've ever heard." He just might be right.
JC Brooks And The Uptown Sound and Escort have joined forces for an amazing rump shaking extravaganza at the Magic Bag on Friday, November 15.
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