On JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound's new track "Rouse Yourself," the Chicago R&B band sound in fine vintage form while exploring some pretty dark themes. "[The song] is about the dark spots within ourselves that we can't change: Emotional, physical, cultural, and living with their impact," says keyboardist Andy Rosenstein. "When I wrote it, I'd been thinking a lot about the gay rights struggle in the context of the 1960s civil rights movement, but I'd also been thinking a lot about private struggles like depression. It's easy to mistake pessimism for realism when it comes to overcoming a massive challenge, and it's easy to assume that deeply ingrained issues are permanent features of a person or a society."
That said, the band's new album Howl isn't as heavy as you might think -- lately they've been exploring more contemporary acts like LCD Soundsystem and M83 for inspiration. "I really wanted to bring that energy to our shows," he says. "I melded some Sly Stone/Al Green mid-‘70s soul with the anthemic quality of those bands. It wasn't really as self-conscious as that at the time, but looking back that's exactly what it is."
Howl is out May 21 on Bloodshot Records. Stream "Rouse Yourself" below: