Soul music has kind of fallen to the wayside in order to make room for rap and club music, as well as R&B, although all are heavily indebted to the legendary genre. Despite however, decreasing mainstream success for all genres, music creativity is still as alive as ever. The past few years have produced some great new neo-soul acts. Mayer Hawthorne and Electric Wire Hustle are two of my favorite recent soul acts.
Mayer Hawthorne is a former hip-hop producer from California who went the way of soul. He released his debut, A Strange Arrangement in 2009 and has been making waves with his lo-fi, retro soul sound. Apparently, when he brought demos to certain label representatives; they were appalled at his attempts to sell genuine, classic soul music as his own. Little did they know, Hawthorne was not trying to steal classic soul, these demos were his own. Hawthorne played all the instruments as well as vocals on the album. He also produced and the sound is impeccable. This glasses-wearing, skateboarding, nerdy, young producer from California was able to seamlessly create music with a wonderfully perfect retro soul sound to it.
Electric Wire Hustle is a more recent discovery for me. I found them while browsing blogs. They were receiving some pretty heavy praise and I figured, can’t be half bad can it? Wow this New Zealand group blew me away. Equal parts retro soul soundscapes, and J Dilla style instrumentals, this group is shockingly addictive. “Gimme That Kinda” and “They Don’t Want” are both highlight tracks off of the group’s eponymous debut.
Waters (Rehearsal) - Electric Wire Hustle
Check out Electric Wire Hustle's website here.