Tuesday’s Buzz: Alabama Shakes Debut Boys & Girls
On Tuesday, the four-piece soul band Alabama Shakes will release their full-length debut Boys & Girls, a 12-track record by one of the most exciting young bands to break this year. Having already received attention from several major sources like WXPN and MTV following the release of their self-titled EP last fall, the Alabama Shakes delivered on the hype with an outstanding 12-track introduction that is bolstered by a handful of attention-grabbing songs, namely the lead track “Hold On.”
The sound of the Alabama Shakes is deeply rooted in the vocal chords of their enigmatic lead singer and rhythm guitar player Brittany Howard, who consistently delivers a powerful performance throughout the album. Her style is particularly evident on “Hold On,” where Howard steadfastly challenges herself, “Come on girl, you got to get back up! You got to hold on!”
The music style of the band itself calls upon the deeds of the Stax/Volt record label, particularly Otis Redding. Even though Howard is the focal point of their music, the other members of the Alabama Shakes have created a powerful sound that meshes well with her style and will likely translate to the stage as well. Lead guitar player Heath Fogg especially helps to create this sound with a series of tastefully-construed licks in tracks like “Be Mine” and “Hang Loose.
Other key songs on Boys & Girls include “Going to the Party” and “Heavy Chevy.”
Like their contemporaries Fitz and the Tantrums, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Mayer Hawthorne, the Alabama Shakes have found a niche of exciting music. While their brand of music might be considered a throwback, it never gets old and is always invigorating to the soul in a way few genres can ever match.
Boys & Girlsis available as a digital download and limited edition vinyl, which holds its own explanation. Originally limited to just 500 numbered copies, the initial vinyl pressing of Boys & Girlscontains no track listing or artwork, just 12 songs, giving it added collector’s value. The compact disc is oddly unavailable until next Tuesday, April 10.
Other Cool Stuff That Hits This Week: Dr. John: Locked Down, Johnny Cash: Bootleg Volume VI, Elvis Costello: The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Wheel (Live)