What does post-punk soul look like? Six and a half feet of raw emotion and sweat, with one leather boot planted in gutsy R&B, the other in taut minimalist grind. Snarling at the crowd beneath an afro pompadour, while indulging in a sly wink, singing to you directly, and here to make you dance. What does post-punk soul look like? It looks like JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. JC Brooks was born the son of a Jersey funk diva, his voice erupts with heart and heartache over the ferocious rhythm and star-time charisma of guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, keyboardist Andy Rosenstein, and bassist Ben Taylor.
With a take-no-prisoners live attack and lyrics speaking of the torment and triumph of these tumultuous times, it’s no wonder that the Chicago Tribune called JC Brooks "the real deal". This is a soul band rallying against our disaffected and disengaged era, connecting with people the old-fashioned way, by whipping them into a frenzy with honest appeal and unbridled enthusiasm. The Uptown Sound has attracted a true-blue grassroots following, with MOJO Magazine identifying them as "one of the hottest US soul acts". They’ve barnstormed North America and Europe relentlessly, while burning up NPR and AAA radio with their stomping cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” (which they performed with the song’s composer, Jeff Tweedy, at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival). JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound have toured, warred, scored, and they're not to be ignored. Bear witness, for these young men are on the move and they know what post-punk soul looks like. It looks like the future.
With Howl, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound enters the next chapter of its soul sound evolution. Throughout Howl, the Chicago-based quintet's third full-length album and second for Bloodshot Records, the dark side of love and longing is explored by frontman JC Brooks' starkly personal lyrics and the Uptown Sound's willingness to bare all their influences and let the grooves fall where they may. A collective evolution has been made where influence meets experience, and this organic progression results in 11 songs that are more open than ever both in message and vibe. Howl is soul music by children of the post-punk era. It's the sound of a band that cut its teeth listening to Purple Rain and In On the Killtaker, is drawn to the theatrical-cum-creative auras of Tina Turner and Otis Redding, and has most recently hustled big festival stages where adventurous listeners come away rejuvenated and undeniably converted. With a taut minimalist blend of rock and R&B punctuating JC Brooks's potent delivery and brutally honest words, Howl creates a mystique at the same time it induces sing-alongs and hip-shakes.