2016 Grammy Award Winner!
Best Alternative Music Album
Best Engineerd Album, Non-Classical
Best Rock Performance: Don't Wanna Fight
Best Rock Song: Don't Wanna Fight
Highly Anticipated Follow-Up to Grammy Nominated Debut on Clear Vinyl LP!
We took our time to write this record, and Im really glad we did, says Brittany Howard, lead singer and guitarist of Alabama Shakes, about the bands new album Sound & Color. We were able to sit down and think about whats exciting to us, explore all the things we wanted to on our first album. This record is full of genre-bending songsits even harder now when people ask, What kind of band are you? I have no clue.
The albums twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences. The bluesy groove of Shoegaze or the garage-rock freak-out on The Greatest give way to the psychedelic space jam Gemini. The gently swaying, chiming title song opens the album with what Howard calls more of a visual thing, I think of this whole scene going on, then explodes into the urgent, tightly-coiled funk of Dont Wanna Fight. Long instrumental intros and passages create hazy atmosphere, and then the intensity of Howards vocals snaps everything back into riveting focus.
She explains that there were a few specific recordings that were touchstones for Sound & Color. The Superfly soundtrack, Gil Scott-Herons music and how minimal it could be, David Axelrodnot so much wanting to sound like them, but all of their attention to small details. With Gemini, I thought about how the Temptations used to write pop songs, but then got really far out on Cloud Nine or Psychedelic Shack. I imagined myself in the situation of the African-American groups in the 70s, when synthesizers had just come out and they were making all of this moody stuff.
The songs were written during breaks in the grueling touring schedule of a young band, sometimes by the members together and sometimes by Howard working alone at her home studio. She notes that there were several dedicated writing periods during the past year, but that sometimes I wasnt dedicating enough time, so Id binge-write, sit in the basement and work for 18 hours for five days straight.
When the Shakes began recording at Nashvilles Sound Emporium studio, Blake Millsa young guitar wizard who has previously helmed sessions by Sara Watkins and Sky Ferriera, and played alongside everyone from Norah Jones and the Dixie Chicks to Lana Del Ray and Kid Rockcame on board as a co-producer to help harness all of the different ideas. Blake really helped bring out our confidence, and our comfort in being ourselves, says Fogg, while Howard adds that Blake has really strong communication, and the ability to light a fire under your ass.
Sound & Color also demonstrates the tremendous strides made by a group of musicians who had only been playing together for a few months when they recorded their first album. These songs are not simple, says Howard. Theyre intricate, like a spider web or a tapestry. Our drummer, Steve, has put in a lot of work, gotten so much betterwe all have.
With Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes prove that the response to Boys & Girls was no fluke. Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, they defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. As they prepare to return to the road, what shines through is a sense of pride and self-assurednessfeelings not often associated with the always-tricky sophomore album.
LP 1 - Side A:
1. Sound & Color
2. Don't Wanna Fight
4. Future People
LP 1 - Side B:
1. Gimme All Your Love
2. This Feeling
3. Guess Who
4. The Greatest
LP 2 - Side C:
1. Miss You
3. Over My Head