In a1970 Playboy Interview, Ray Charles described soul as “people who do things from the heart.” In performance and on record, it is undeniable that JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are 100% soul and are fond of getting crowds twisting and writhing on the floor, something that’s been sorely missing from live music.
What does post-punk soul look like? Six and a half feet of raw emotion and sweat, with one leather boot planted in gutsy R&B, the other in taut minimalist grind. Snarling at the crowd beneath an afro pompadour, while indulging in a sly wink, singing to you directly, and here to make you dance. What does post-punk soul look like? It looks like JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound.
JC Brooks was born the son of a Jersey funk diva, his voice erupts with heart and heartache over the ferocious rhythm and star-time charisma of guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, keyboardist Jeremy Tromburg, and bassist Theodore Berry the IV and percussionist Jovia Armstrong. With a take-no-prisoners live attack and lyrics speaking of the torment and triumph of these tumultuous times, it’s no wonder that the Chicago Tribune called JC Brooks "the real deal". This is a soul band rallying against our disaffected and disengaged era, connecting with people the old-fashioned way, by whipping them into a frenzy with honest appeal and unbridled enthusiasm.
The Uptown Sound has attracted a true-blue grassroots following, with MOJO Magazine identifying them as "one of the hottest US soul acts". Since unleashing their Bloodshot Records debut in 2011 Want More (“A lively set of gritty old-school soul and funk injected with raw garage-rock aggression” - KEXP), and 2013’s follow up Howl (“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). JCBUS has toured North America and Europe, attracting an enthusiastic grassroots following while garnering the support of the likes of NPR and AAA radio with their eyeopening cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” (which they performed with Jeff Tweedy at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in 2011--google the video, it's a riot). UK's taste-making MOJO Magazine called them “one of the hottest US soul acts right now.”
JCBUS maintains the work ethic of never just "giving a concert" but putting on a SHOW, extravaganzas packed with theatricality, tons of heart and buckets of sweat. They just can't help it.
They've collaborated with soul legend Syl Johnson and were hand-picked by the Chicago Boss Rahm Emanuel to play his inaugural party in Grant Park in 2011.
Hey man, if the Rahminator can do it, then ain't it time that you, too, found time to get down with the Uptown Sound?
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are working on a new album for Bloodshot Records set for release fall of 2015. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound have toured, warred, scored, and they're not to be ignored. Bear witness, for these young men are on the move and they know what post-punk soul looks like. It looks like the future.