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Album Tue Oct 25 2011

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound's Latest A Testament to the Rise of Neo Soul Rock

jcb_cvr.jpg

It's all been many years coming for Chicago group JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. With national acts like The Dap Kings and Black Joe Lewis creating a real market for classic soul with a Millennial twist, the time is certainly right for Brooks and his talented company of musicians to make a big splash with their latest album Want More. Officially out today on Bloodshot Records, Want More is a hip-shaking romp through classic soul covers, homages, and original tunes that keep you, yes, very much, wanting more.

These guys have done a lot over the last few years. Besides garnering thousands of downloads from local fans for their peppy version of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" (a cover that could have bit them in the ass something fierce if they'd failed to win over Wilco's Jeff Tweedy), the group gained attention from a national audience hungry for Wilco tunes. A broader crowd of listeners could now certainly see the influence of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke on the group's sound, which only gained them street cred as a band who certainly wasn't using this popular cover song as a one off.

After years of honing their sound with tracks and live shows (including a fantastic set at Gapers Block's seventh anniversary party at the Metro) the band found a great setting this past spring to showcase their talents in live theater. Performing a demanding role as not only an orchestra for Passing Strange, Brooks himself filled in a key role as narrator for the production. (Read our review.) Not too long after, the group had joined the ranks of Chicago label Bloodshot Records and Want More was poised for release.

Truly, the album showcases the range of what JCBUS can do. There are James Brown-ian screams of delight and musical interludes featuring the top notch Uptown Sound musicians Billy Bungeroth (guitar, vocals), Kevin Marks (drums, vocals), Andy Rosenstein (keys, vocals), Ben Taylor (bass, vocals). Songs like the title track "Want More" will prove to not only be great for fighting off road rage while stuck in Chicago-area traffic snarls (I've seen to that, personally) but also will be great in a live setting. The covers of "To Love Someone (Who Don't Love You)" and the Wilco track are both solid, and make you see that this band isn't just there to rehash old tunes. JCBUS makes these tracks their own. With a catalog of covers that could stretch back into the less-known Stax, Chess, Vee-Jay, and Okeh Records' archives, and any number of current influences, I can't wait to see what the band starts to dive into as they tour up this album. They've already proven they're not a simple soul revue, so as they move forward, it's going to be electric seeing how they step it up.

[mp3] - JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound - "Everything Will Be Fine" from Want More

Catch JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound tonight at 6pm for free at a very rare in-store performance at Dusty Groove Records at 1120 N. Ashland Ave. (where you can also purchase the album, naturally).

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound celebrate their album release with a show this Friday at the Double Door, along with Chicago ginger duo White Mystery. Dancing is mandatory. The Double Door is located at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets are $10 (adv.), $12 (at door, if available), Doors 8pm, Show 9pm. 21+.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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