New Music Monday: Alabama Shakes and Sons of the West

New Music Monday: Alabama Shakes and Sons of the West
"Here's a song about how I stubbed my toe -- YOWWW!"

I came across a couple of really exciting young bands this weekend. One from the deep south and one that’s sure to rock Chicago (and beyond..).

Both are taking old rock ‘n’ roll in a cool new direction…

Alabama Shakes

They’re from where they say they are. And these cats sound like Creedence Clearwater Revival re-born with a soul singer.

Alabama Shakes formed three years ago when Brittany Howard, Zac Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson started jamming after school. They played a one-off opening gig as a Led Zeppelin/James Brown/AC/DC cover band, but it went so well that.. they just kept going. And eventually people gave a damn about their original material, too (as you’ll hear in the vid).

The guitar licks are edgy and bouncy, the keys sing as a choir and Brittany’s voice wails like an old, dirty soul. The songs are incredibly tight for being so jangly.

What you’ll find below is a four-song set for KEXP Seattle that truly destroyed me (even busted out the Fender to jam along). In fact, the entire lineup of the Annual Jam Band has been texting me how stoked they are about it. Alabama Shakes released an EP last September, but you’re gonna want to listen to this and stay tuned for their debut album, Boys and Girls, which drops April 9.

The fourth song in the set, “Hold On,” is the new single — check that one, at least, if you tend to use the computer with one foot out the door (also be careful — computers often have plugs).


Sons of the West

Is it too early to call a band the young Black Keys?

Sons of the West hails from Ohio but moved out here as a group to take down the Chicago music scene (and attend Loyola).

This three-piece is crafting a very dig-able sound. As for the Black Keys thing — is there any more apt comparison right now for an upbeat blues/rock band with a front man riffing away through the static? Plus you could sorta say the lead singer even looks like Dan Auerbach (and the bassist is Ben Kweller and the drummer Jessie Eisenberg (Hah! This is fun)).

Sons of the West will have a five-track as-yet-untitled EP out in late April (watch for a review here in the next couple weeks). Sons.. is also playing plenty of live shows in support:

May 6th: Lincoln Hall, Chicago … May 31st: Chord on Blues, St. Charles … July 21st: Schuba’s, Chicago (and most likely a few late-April release shows/parties).

ABOVE: An incredible live jam of the song “Black Blood” from WNUR’s Lazy Day Lounge.

BELOW: new single “Walk Away”

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