Wednesday, 14 March 2012
-Music Videos on my Mind- Alabama Shakes’ “Hold On”
Last night a really nice song came on the radio called Safe & Sound. When the DJs announced the song was Taylor Swift's latest release for some kids movie called Hunger Games, there was a national sense of shame. We music-snobs felt violated for having been lured into a false sense music security only to have the rug pulled from under our feet. Even if Taylor Swift had recorded the greatest song in the world, her saccharine brand image is too contrived for us to take seriously. It was wrong of the radio station to have done that to us and they knew it too. Before we could run to the shower and scrub ourselves clean of having enjoyed a Taylor Swift track, the radio presenters redeemed themselves by playing a great song titled Hold On by an upcoming American blues band called Alabama Shakes.
Whereas Taylor Swift is all about making money by writing songs for crappy Hollywood franchise movies that appeal to young American girls lacking good taste, Alabama Shakes look like the kind of band that hasn't even heard about the concept of money. Their rootsy sound and folksy American image is most appealing to a drab British audience like us. Lead singer Brittany Howard started the band while still in high school in Athens, Alabama, where she invited a bunch of musically inclined misfits to join her in after class sessions to see if they could create cool songs together. And damn, was she right.
Brittany Howard and co. has pricked up the ears of music prognosticators here in Britain. Her voice is perhaps the most remarkable weapon in Alabama Shuffle's laudable sound arsenal, redolent of Janis Joplin's androgynous drawl, effortlessly oscillating between tender and hardened tones.
Alabama Shakes' album Boys & Girls will come out April 9th 2012 and they made their first television appearance last month on an American show called Conan (I'm guessing this programme has nothing to do with a fantasy barbarian figure that trawls the fictional continent of Cimmerian).
Alabama Shuffle is too unfamiliar and broke to create proper music videos for their songs right now. To be honest, music like this shouldn't have polished videos and hopefully the band will never commission soulless promo directors to come up with one when they eventually hit pay dirt. For now, the music works fine in lieu of any expensive visual accompaniment.