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Jim Bennett, His Latest/His GreatestJaBen Records
Bennett, a veteran Southern soul man, is back with an album of seven new songs and five older cuts. Bennett’s R&B uses modern keyboards and old-school guitar licks to produce a sound that’s drawn from the past but doesn’t try to simply reproduce it. His deep, church-rooted vocals can stretch out words on both dance numbers and ballads alike. And like most singers in the genre, he’s fond of both cheating songs (“Jody Got It All”) and, uh, entendre-filled ones (“Slap It, Tap It”).
RIYL: Mel Waiters, Lee Fields, and listening to WPFW’s Saturday afternoon “Southern Soul Rumpin’” program.
Bottled Up, S/TMaximum Pelt
On their self-titled tape, D.C. five-piece Bottled Up offer surf and psychedelic garage rock through a post-punk filter, with drolly delivered lyrical references to PCP and LSD. While the detached vocals sound far away on “Higher,” the speedy three-chord instrumentation evokes a Nuggets outtake. Their tune “Binary Worm” sounds like an audition for a beach party film with its blend of fuzztone guitar and organ rhythms.
RIYL: Oh Sees, Roky Erickson, Shannon and the Clams, DIIV.
Anthony Brown and Group Therapy, A Long Way from SundayFair Trade Services
On Anthony Brown and Group Therapy’s third gospel album, Brown’s forceful baritone is ever-present and striking, but it’s actually less dazzling than the high-pitched female vocals that intertwine with his on many of the album’s cuts. Brown, who is the worship leader at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, also serves as songwriter and arranger, so he’s comfortable taking a back seat when the tune calls for it.
RIYL: Modern gospel, Kirk Franklin, Todd Dulaney, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise.
Lightshow, Yellow Tape & White Chalk #7Spinrilla
Southeast D.C. rapper Lightshow is now up to number seven in his Yellow Tape & White Chalk series of tapes, on which he freestyles over remixed instrumental versions of recent rap hits. Lightshow’s flow is largely shouty and bellicose here, but with a catchy syncopation that makes some of his drugs-and-misogyny-filled lyrics bearable. On Kodak Black’s “Patty Cake” he shows he has range, as he slows and softens his patter over the cut’s bouncy piano notes.
RIYL: Meek Mill, D.C. street rappers like Shy Glizzy and WillThaRapper.