Looking for a love song with both bee and gun metaphors? Download “Ticklish” from electro-sensual Denver rock band Rossonian.
In recent years, soul music has experienced a strong enough revival as to warrant a genre distinction, “neo-soul.” Largely lead by Daptone Records in Brooklyn, the bands leading this revival quite often create music that showcases soul music’s influence on funk and rap. What the movement seems to ignore, it seems, is soul music’s influence on contemporary R&B. Though singers like Frank Ocean create transcendent music, largely R&B today is best known for the schmaltzy vocal acrobatics of televised singing competitions that give us artists like Kelly Clarkson. It’s no wonder neo-soul ignores its harmless and dull cousin pop R&B.
Denver band Rossonian is brave enough not to ignore R&B and give it an electro-rock makeover, similar to what Daptone does for soul. Don’t misunderstand: Rossonian doesn’t wear the R&B badge on its sleeve. They’re a rock band with distorted guitar solos and chunky riffs, but all the while a warm electric piano warbles in the background, giving it a Steely Dan-ness. And the vocals and melodies, in a different life, could be sung by Sister Sledge. It’s music that respects ’70s R&B without being “American Idol” schlock.
Below, “Ticklish” from the band’s first EP, “You Are Your Own Dentist,” released Sept. 28. which features a mandolin, a decidedly non-R&B instrument. (There’s also a whistle track in this song that’s so low in the mix it’s barely audible, which is a shame. Music today needs more whistling.) Then, check out the whole EP on the band’s website.
Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re a band or musician ready to expose your fresh sounds to the readers of Reverb, email your tracks — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — to Steal This Track for consideration.
Josh Johnson is a Denver freelance writer and Reverb contributor. He is also a co-host/co-producer of the Denver podcast Denver Diatribe. He’s also a journeyman butcher. Seriously.