Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Sunday, August 26, 2012

From The Shelf: JC Brooks And The Uptown Sound - Want More (2011)

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound
Want More
Bloodshot Records

I haven't listened to a soul album this good since lying on my parent's living room floor, one of my father's Motown records spinning on the turntable and the world illuminated only by the dim light of the stereo.  Somewhere between James Brown and Otis Redding the music of JC Brook and the Uptown Sound is a fresh take on a classic sound. With moments of aggressive blues power and sweet soulful tenderness Want More is filled with songs that blessedly capture the feel of all three decades that defined Soul's musical supremacy. With the tender 50's croon of "To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)", the danceable 60's blues strut of "Everything Will Be Fine" and a groovy 70's funk in " Bad News" this album has all the bases covered. There's even a little gospel thrown in there, which has to make Momma Brooks proud.            

Having successfully captured a powerfully raw live sound this album is filled with amazing instrumentation and tremendously awesome vocals. Without a single bad track in the bunch you're going to find yourself listing to this album over and over. If it doesn't make you dance, please see someone because there might be something seriously wrong with you. Trust me when I say this: You Need This Album. So whether you pick up a CD or digital copy or get it on sweet sweet vinyl, don't let another day go by without it.

10 Questions: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

The amazing retro soul sound of Chicago's JC Brook and the Uptown Sound is some of the best music out there right now. Still gaining momentum from 2011's Want More this band is sure to be a household name in no time.  Guitarist Billy Bungeroth and bass player Ben Taylor took some time to sit down with BLS and answer our questions. Make sure you catch them at our own Mississippi Studios this Friday.

BLS: JC you have a love for acting and the stage. What dramatic elements have you been able to incorporate into the band's live show?

JCB:  Heightened sense of emotionalism or playing emotional extremes when it suits the build of the song. I also play JC as slightly mentally disturbed...

BLS: The rawness of your live show is one of your strongest selling points. Do you feel you were able to better capture that raw feeling in Want More compared to the Beat Your Own Drum Album?

JCB:  I feel that Beat is far rawer production-wise and content/performance-wise. We were just feeling our way through our sound at that point and we recorded it in 2 days.

BLS: What were some of the studio techniques used in the making of Want More that gives it that live feel?

 JCB:  We all played live in a room together for starters. Revolutionary concept, right? As far as studio trickery goes, we mic'd the drums through the heating duct for Sister Ray Charles.

BLS: Having grown up on my father's Motown LP's I can understand the power of soul. Can each of you remember the first soul album you ever heard?

 JCB:  I remember watching the Motown 25 special on TV, and later on, my high school jazz teacher teacher lent me James brown's greatest hits, which I taped on the other side of my Public Enemy "Nation of Millions" cassette

BLS: Chicago is a large part of your bands identity. Can you describe what it's like to be a band from Chicago and what is it about the town and specifically the Uptown neighborhood that has shaped your sound?

 JCB:  Curtis Mayfield and Wilco are both major influences. We have also had the pleasure of playing with Chicago Soul Men Syl Johnson and Renaldo Domino. Outside of that Chicago has great venues and a very encouraging music scene.

BLS: Your music has gained the attention of the blues audience, which is known for loyalty and passion. What has it meant to the band to gain this sort of attention?

 JCB:  The blues have the first and last word in all modern music. Being from Chicago the blues are incredibly important to many of us. If blues fans dig it were honored by the compliment.

BLS: If it was 1980 - who would win in a cage match between James Brown and Rick James? Would it make any difference if it was officiated by Prince and Bootsy Collins?

 JCB:  This is irrelevant both parties would be coked to the gills so the outcome would be erroneous.

BLS: Why did you choose to make Bloodshot records, a label more well know for Alt-country, your home?

JCB:  Good music transcends genre. So does a good label.

BLS: What can we expect from the band for the second half of 2012?

 JCB:  More touring, then recording in the fall/winter


BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?


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