Peep the playlist for this week’s keepers.

Evolfo – “Moon Eclipsed the Sun”

Evolfo is self-described as “garage-soul.” When I first heard them I immediately thought of The Black Keys, specifically Brothers-era Black Keys. It’s the kind of music you would listen to in a ’72 El Camino on dark streets in a lost neighborhood of a big city. On “Moon Eclipsed the Sun,” the Brooklyn-based rockers give us a stiff bass line and fuzzy guitar effects, while singer Matt Gibbs‘ distant vocals wail about a lost love that left him for good reason.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones – “Midnight on the Earth”

I realize now that I didn’t give St. Paul & The Broken Bones‘ 2016 release – Sea of Noise – a fair chance when it first came out.

I had fallen so hard for them a couple of years back when they debuted with Half the City. It was both joyous and heartbreaking. I remember hearing “Call Me” for the first time and just being blown away by frontman Paul Janeway’s soulful voice. Seeing them live at Bonnaroo was a revelation, with Janeway dancing around like James Brown in his sweat-soaked suit jacket.

Sea of Noise changes the pace from Half the City, and I think that’s why it took me a little longer to warm up to it. It’s a little edgier and wanders further out than the straightforward, Motown-esque hits found on the band’s first album. “Midnight on the Earth” is a great example of that. What starts with a simple drum-driven groove over Janeway’s “Na-na-na-na-na” melody steadily builds to a frantic climax. Janeway’s falsetto goes up and up, and the horn section’s notes go higher and higher till they might shatter nearby windows….A sea of noise, indeed.

Theo Katzman – “Crappy Love Song”

Theo Katzman’s second full length is due out on January 6th, and I cannot wait.

Katzman is a multi-instrumentalist from the funk group Vulfpeck. “Crappy Love Song” is stripped down from the dance-your-booty-off music Vulpeck regularly delivers, and that’s perfectly OK. If you still do want to dance around your room like a fool with Katzman, try “Hard Work.”

A buddy of mine pointed out that Katzman’s voice sounds a bit like blue-eyed soul singer Allen Stone. He and Katzman do share the same tones, but Katzman’s vocals are appropriately a little less refined and a bit raw. That vocal lens and honest songwriting make Katzman an every man we can all get behind.

-Mike Still

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