- Married For A Week
- Rouse Yourself
- Before You Die
- Not Alone
- These Things
"JC Brooks and Company come off like some alchemical combination of Bowie's blue-eyed efforts, the Purple Paisley One himself and The Cure, to name a few of the obvious references, yet maintain their own persona." --Shindig UK
"At once a confessional break-up album and a critique of the whole concept of telegraphed heartache, Howl is soul with its jacket off."--NPR Music
"Although there’s plenty of melody in the Uptown Sound’s arrangements, it leans more towards Stax than Motown, occasionally with a punk-like amount of unbridled intensity. The band’s third album, Howl, is a gritty and vulnerable album of R&B cuts that sound like a gritty soul take on Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker." --KEXP Seattle
"Howl is a soulful 50-minute experience that will rock listeners to the core." – Aquarian Weekly
"Never lets go of its rock bloodlines and stays Soul with its rhythm and the fire in the belly of its delivery…Howl is the sound of Soul expanding."-- The Alternate Root
"The band’s crackling vitality, as vivid here as in their celebrated live shows, remains consistent through the album. The result is an affecting record, both heartbreaking and invigorating."---eMusic
"What stands out for me on Howl is Brooks’ voice. A combination of Otis Redding with a bit of Cee Lo Green’s soul rasp and falsetto to round things out.---The Fire Note
"Howl gives the listener the sense that the band has not only matured with their song writing, but have understood how to take ownership of a sound that is singularly theirs while uniquely Chicago. "– Indie Shuffle
"The recording features group compositions, more personal songwriting and a wider sonic palette than the band's earlier efforts. The result is a mix of old school soul and funk grooves with lyrics that portray the complexities of modern life and relationships."– ASCAP
"They've taken their self-described post-punk soul sound and added dark layers alongside the soulful grooves." – CBC.ca
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound Howl LP
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WATCH THE VIDEO of "Rouse Yourself" featuring Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson!
LP contains digital download of the album + bonus song "Disappears!"
With Howl, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound enters the next chapter of its soul sound evolution. In December 2012, the band holed up at Hotel2Tango Studio in Montreal to work with producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and dove headfirst into previously unfamiliar sonic territories and tough-yet-transfixing lyrical matter. By approaching the new album with this direct and free outlook, what began with the raw soul of 2011’s Want More advances in new, exciting directions.
Throughout Howl, the dark side of love and longing is explored by frontman JC Brooks’s starkly personal lyrics and the Uptown Sound’s willingness to bare all their influences and let the groovesfall where they may. A collective evolution has been made where influence meets experience, and this organic progression results in 11 songs that are more open than ever both in message and vibe.
Howl is soul music by children of the post-punk era. It’s the sound of a band that cut its teeth listening to Purple Rain and In On the Killtaker, is drawn to the theatrical-cum-creative auras of Tina Turner and Otis Redding, and has most recently hustled big festival stages where adventurous listeners come away rejuvenated and undeniably converted.
With a taut minimalist blend of rock and R&B punctuating JC Brooks’s potent delivery and brutally honest words, Howl creates a mystique at the same time it induces sing-alongs and hip-shakes. Tracks like the eponymous “Howl” and “Rouse Yourself” are pleas for snapping out of emotional apathy, as in the latter when Brooks first coos in falsetto and then belts a cautionary chorus in harmony, “If we had forever / I hope we’d just get better / that’s why it’s such a shame / the ways we stay the same.”
Just as it embraces past artistic influences, Howl covers the range of emotion from celebratory pop to crestfallen ballad. “River” is vintage gospel narrative, complete with Brooks’s solo show-stopping, open-throated vocal sear, and a rhythm section that could’ve backed the Memphis greats during the ‘60s. “Before You Die” struts with the carefree, party atmosphere of Tom Tom Club with auxiliary percussion, handclaps, and some Bernie Worrell psychedelic-pop wall of synth.