Album: Good Things
Label: Stones Throw Records
Release date: September 28 (Today)
Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Buy
Stream: "I Need A Dollar"
Some album covers are just atrocious, but every so often they tell the perfect story of the record's contents. And in his white-on-white suit and red bow tie, Aloe Blacc's sophomore solo effort looks the part of a soul vocalist straight out of the '60s or '70s--and sounds that way too, though not the least bit recycled. Also known as E. Nathaniel Dawkins, Blacc's musical debut came as the emcee half of indie hip-hop duo Emanon. Channeling the voices of Bill Withers and Al Green--comparisons not to be made lightly--the soul singer shapes gritty lyrics of lost love and everyday tribulations with honeyed vocals. On tracks like lead single "I Need A Dollar" (which debuted as the theme song to HBO series How To Make It In America) and "Politican," Blacc's charisma and introspective confidence are undeniable. Hell, you get bonus points in my mind for being able to turn a Velvet Underground song ("Femme Fatale") into one of the highlights of your album. By skewing to the timeless sound of soul without ignoring the modern implications of hip-hop, Aloe Blacc is responsible for an equally timeless record.