For those of us who hate categories but use them anyway (because, after all, they are necessary reference points/tools), the hip-hop meets downtempo meets jazz meets electronica meets R&B duo Foreign Exchange is a wonderful thing to have swimming around in the culture. Singer/songwriter Phonte and his producer Nicolay set up shop on the edge of so many genres and subgenres. Their first full-length, 2004s Connected, while not slept on by some influential heads in the industry, nevertheless failed to propel the boys into a respectable realm of due (mainstream) recognition. And it doesnt appear their follow-up, Leave it All Behind, will do that either. But no matter: the soft yet intense voice of Phonte (think Bilal with slightly less fire) and the lush, warm arrangements of Nicolay make them two valuable currencies on the exchange. With YahZarah, Darien Brockington, Carlitta Durand, Zo! & the Els, the Physics, DJ Topspin.
Tue., Sept. 15, 9 p.m., 2009