Miss Alabamy Once Again: The Birmingham Sound, Neal Hemphill Style

Nothing says “hot diggity, thats doggone good” like the Muscle Shoals and Stax sound that poured out of those studios back in the day. Nothing except Neal Hemphill and The Sound Of Birmingham, that is. The follow up to a previous compilation of vintage soul from Neal Hemphill’s Sound of Birmingham and Hemphill Studios, these ditties are the result of 20 years worth of music from Bessemer, Alabama.

Neal Hemphill WAS grassroots American Idol, no joke. He would allow anyone and everyone to come into his studios and play, and if they were better than the next guy, they could come back by way of a personal invitation from the man himself. Out of those studios came the likes of Frederick Knight, who would later write one of disco’s most memorable: “Ring My Bell,” and Roscoe Robinson.

The album, officially titled The Birmingham Sound: The Soul of Neal Hemphill Vol. 2 , boasts the return of artists like Ralph “Soul” Jackson and David Sea, new soul greats Bobby Dobyne, Cortez Greer and Sam Frazier, and more!

As if the new release wasn’t enough to grovel over, the Rabbit Factory Southern Soul Revue is returning to NYC with Ronnie Spector for a show at JellyNYC McCarren Park Pool Parties July 6th at 2 PM and is very easy on the wallet–FREE.

So, check out this sweet pile of soul out on Rabbit Factory, or even live if you so prefer, and see if you’re still missing ol’ Alabamy–all y’all gotta do is wait until July 7th!

Poster after the jump!


Doom Metal, Darkwave, Goth/Industrial and EBM (or “How I Learned to Stop Moping and Start Dancing”)

Growing up right outside of New York City in the early nineties meant that I could actually discover music by listening to the radio – a novel concept these days, unless you’re talking college radio, online streaming or podcasts. Of course there was all of the mainstream crap that’s still out there today, but we also had stations like K-Rock that (back then) actually played current bands who weren’t wildly popular and/or didn’t create boring, formulaic radio rock. It was there that I first heard the Brooklyn “goth” band Type O Negative and became a huge fan. (I maintain to this day, however, that Type O is hardly a goth band – they’re way too sarcastic and not nearly gloomy enough.)

So I started searching for more dark music like them, and came across San Francisco band Switchblade Symphony (Cleopatra Records ). They were everything I was looking for at the time: creepy female vocals, synths, and drum programming. I picked up their first album, Serpentine Gallery , and listened to it constantly. The song “Dollhouse,” with its updated Siouxsie-esque sound, was probably my favorite. One of my good friends who I’d introduced them to bought Bread And Jam For Frances , and when we found out that they were playing live at Newark goth club QXT’s , we got tickets right away. At the show, they also played some new songs from the soon-to-be-released The Three Calamities .

I then somehow found myself in need of music that was even darker, and before I knew it I was at the local record store buying a copy of My Dying Bride ‘s The Angel and the Dark River (Snapper Music ). That album, while hauntingly beautiful, finally scared the gloom out of me. I understand now that My Dying Bride are classified more as doom metal than goth, but at the time I though they out-gothed my goth side.

I discovered what quickly became my favorite radio show, “The Industrial Revolution,” on WSOU , Seton Hall’s Pirate Radio (sadly, it’s no longer broadcast). The two-hour show aired once a week and played all of the latest and greatest goth/industrial/EBM out there, introducing me to acts like Front Line Assembly and Pigface . Pigface’s Gub even includes the track “Suck” written and sung by Trent Reznor before he re-recorded it for Broken .

Once I had heard enough on WSOU that I was no longer content just listening at home or in my car, I convinced my friends to come with me to QXT’s for their industrial night dance parties. Here we heard a lot more EBM, synth-pop and darkwave while dancing our butts off, including Haujobb , Bypass Unit , and Apoptygma Berzerk . The DJs would even mix in a few good natured 80s hits, like Gary Numan’s “Cars ” and Berlin’s “Metro “.

Nowadays, I go to indie rock shows, and Newark seems awfully far away from Brooklyn… But I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for the darker days of my past!

Dr. Dog Tempt Fate with New Single, Video

Dr. Dog’s newest album, Fate, is rapidly approaching, and the band is unleashing a wealth of material in anticipation. First there’s the first official single, “The Ark,” a song chock-full of Biblical references and existential meaning that the band slipped out digitally last Tuesday, followed by a Stereogum premier that also included a multi-camera peek into the dog-house with “Hang On.”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Philly-based band, who’ve already booked the next four months with premiers and performances. They’ll be landing in New York later this month for an appearance on everyone’s-favorite-late-night-television-show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien on Thursday, July 17th followed by stops at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on the 23rd and the Music Hall of Williamsburg on the 24th. And they’ll be swinging back through their hometown on August 13th for a free show at Philly’s Rittenhouse Square.

The July 22nd release of Fate holds extra promise for iTunes users, who will receive two bonus tracks and a second never-before-seen, in-studio video with purchase of the album. And while it seems like the band couldn’t be any busier, there is sure to be more on the horizon. Until then, fans will have to tune in to words of wisdom from the group and “Hang On.”

MP3: Dr. Dog – “The Ark”

MP3: Dr. Dog – “The Old Days”

‘Migration’ To A Better Place

What’s that? A five-piecer from three different boroughs (Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, to be exact) dropping onto SPIN.com like a bird’s business, that’s what. Indeed, experimental popists Takka Takka premiered a brand new track, “Everybody Say,” yesterday! Big news from a band with big potential, folks!

Slated for release on July 29th via Ernest Jenning, these guys mean business on Migration. They’ve enlisted the help of National drummer Bryan Devendorf for the track, and have a slew of NYC dates coming up, including Union Hall on July 3rd, and a few “Takka Tuesday” dates at Pianos on the 15th, 22nd, and 29th. Mixing euphoric synths and grungy palm muted guitars certainly does impress in the case of this track, and Takka-times-two channels that into the rest of the album as well.

Check out the mp3 below, and set your watches guys, cuz Migration creeps closer with each tick-takka.

MP3: Takka Takka – Everybody Say

That Which We Call ‘Black Rose’ Sounds So Sweet

Hil St. Soul
Black Rose / Shanachie / BUY

Soul music has this unparalleled and introspective nature to it–something that just makes it so smooth and beautiful you have to move your body. Hil St. Soul‘s new album, Black Rose , out last Tuesday on Shanachie, is no exception to this baby-making genre by any means. Even the queen herself would approve.

Black Rose takes soul, funk, R&B, and even hip hop into a new realm of modernity, specifically on “Wash Away,” where Hilary Lusaka’s gorgeous voice floats over a hook you just can’t get outta your head. She offers further advice on “Life,” and title track “Black Rose,” both uplifting and positive with a beat that makes you feel schooled better than Lauren Hill in the art of soul.

Snag a copy of the new record in stores and see for yourself how sweet it really is. Beware when you check out the mp3 below, we promise you’ll be hooked!

MP3: Hil St. Soul – Sweetest Days