This week’s Mundo Musique has a focus on bands that will have you recalling music of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Some will have you getting up and dancing while others may make you recall your early years or the music your parents listened to when you were younger. So let’s kick off this thing off with a guy who resembles a famous (or infamous) individual.
HAR MAR SUPERSTAR
He looks like Ron Jeremy, he “dresses” like Ron Jeremy, he performs on stage in attire that Ron Jeremy would be proud of, but he sings like Chuck Berry. Sean Tillman, who is better known as Har Mar Superstar, is an R&B standout. If you didn’t know what he looked like, he would likely believe he produced his albums back in the ’60s and that his silky, smooth voice belonged to…well…someone else. The 37-year old Tillman has produced 5 LPs as Har Mar Superstar, but it’s only with his last two albums where he’s started to get noticed for his talents. His latest LP, Bye Bye 17, was released in April 2013 and includes several outstanding tracks. “Prisoner”, for instance, is a groovy, R&B tune, and the video stars Juliette Lewis. Maybe Tillman is Ron Jeremy after all.
SLIM MOORE AND THE MAR-TAYS
I have to credit my friend Jeff, who a couple of years ago introduced to Slim Moore and the Mar-Tays, an extremely underrated and underappreciated R&B, soul band. Similar to Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, Gary “Slim” Moore got a late jump to his music career. In 2011, he and the Mar-Tays – a soul combo who has backed R&B legends such as Gladys Knight, The Temptations, and The Drifters – produced their first LP, Introducing Slim Moore & the Mar-Kays. Their following is still growing, but they haven’t reached the popularity of the aforementioned bands and artists, likely partly because they are based out of Canada and another is that they don’t have quite the stories of a Charles Bradley or a Sharon Jones. However, they are producing some fun, energetic music, as “Reachin’ Higher” demonstrates, and they’re well worth the time to discover.
THE JULIAN TAYLOR BAND
You might have heard of Julian Taylor before, as he was once with Staggered Crossing until their breakup in 2007. Since then, he’s played solo, but only recently has decided to produce music again with a full band. Now re-established as The Julian Taylor Band, Taylor is producing R&B, soul, and roots-rock music. The Julian Taylor Band have produced a couple of singles over the past two years, and they’re in the process of putting the final touches on their debut LP. The Toronto-based band is one to know and know quickly. As evidence, last year, the band released the excellent, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, that is groovy, funky, and soulful.
LILY & MADELEINE
Still only teenagers, Lily & Madeleine Jurkiewicz released their self-titled, first LP just last month. While the sisters haven’t reinvented anything on their debut album, they’ve put together a solid, accessible album full of indie-folk and Americana songs that will be popular with fans of Sweden’s First Aid Kit and Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men. There is a maturity, however, in their songwriting and their harmonies are well-polished for such young artists, as evidenced from “Come to Me”. Stardom awaits the Midwestern sisters.
THE JITTERBUG VIPERS
Austin-based band, The Jitterbug Vipers, describe their music as “viper music”, or jazz music that brings people to the dance floor. In listening to their music, I would probably describe it more as bluegrass mixed with jazz, but either way their music is enjoyable, catchy, and quirky. It’s music that you can listen to on a quiet Sunday evening, hosting guests on a Saturday night, or after you have had a long day. Consisting of Slim Richey on guitar, Francie Meaux Jeaux on bass, Masumi Jones on drums, and Sarah Sharp on lead vocals (read their great bio here), The Jitterbug Vipers have become a staple of the competitive Austin music scene. Here’s a video from a live performance in June 2013 that will help you understand why the band is popular in one of the US’s best cities for live music.
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