ALABAMA SHAKES play Lee’s Palace April 17. See listing. Rating: NNNN
There's huge music industry excitement about Alabama Shakes, and once you hear Boys & Girls it's clear why. Singer/guitarist Brittany Howard has one of those spine-tingling soul voices like the ones that sold shitloads of Amy Winehouse and Adele records. The band plays classic, gritty R&B with an intense urgency that we hope won't be beaten out of them during the next few years of touring. Their talent and impossible-to-fake passion merit the sudden attention.
The other reason they're getting so much buzz is because they're so fucking retro that boomers can't resist this disc. Meanwhile, young hipsters obsessed with the idea that authenticity comes from beards and vintage gear are loving it, too. But though the album's great, there's nothing "real" about pretending nothing new has happened musically since 1968. Alabama Shakes' 60s blues is based as much in fantasy as Rick Ross's drug kingpin mythology, which is fine as long as we admit it.
Top track: Rise To The Sun