You’d think that a band with a name like Alabama Shakes would have registered more intensely on my musical radar than they have until today. For some reason or other, I was under the impression that they were part of the neo-soul army, along the lines of a female Charles Bradley, although I reckoned that the name would best suit a sloppy garage-punk band. Despite my association with Alabama Shakes and the neo-soul movement, and judging from the track “Hold On,” part of their set for Seattle’s KEXP, their sound is much more varied. While “I Found You,” from the same set, hits on all the Daptone signifiers, “Hold On” strikes closer to the Southern-inspired rock of bands like Roadside Graves. Both songs are good, but having already (falsely) pigeon-holed the ‘Shakes as a neo-soul act, I was pleasantly surprised by “Hold On.” The other two tracks from the set, “Hang Loose” and “Rise to the Sun,” find the middle ground between the neo-soul of “I Found You” and the Southern Rock of “Hold On.” Anyways, suffice it to say that the Alabama Shakes are now officially on my radar, and I look forward to hearing more from them. Check out the KEXP performances, in order, below.
Alabama Shakes, “Rise to the Sun”
Alabama Shakes, “Hang Loose”
Alabama Shakes, “I Found You”
Alabama Shakes, “Hold On”