Alabama Shakes – Hold On

April 11, 2012

The Alabama Shakes are a band that has risen from obscurity for one reason and one reason only: Brittany Howard’s pipes. That shouldn’t be taken as a knock on her supporting crew — they’re building the canvas that she’s painting on — but the meteoric buzz surrounding this band can best be explained by watching this clip from their Conan performance. It’s not that we’ve never heard anything like her before; she’s cut from the same generic cloth as Joplin but also peppers in some Amy Whinehousian soul. Rather, what makes Brittany Howard a rising star is the fact that, like, say Merill Garbus of Tune-Yards, the moment Howard opens her mouth, your brain can barely process what’s going on: “Can that sound really be coming out of her?!” In short, she’s a real talent, and while we can’t yet be sure whether there’s more to Alabama Shakes than that, we can certainly enjoy their new album Boys & Girls for the unabashed fun that it is.


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