It looks like we are a little late to the party that is JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, with the band having just released their third full-length album, but that just means that we have a backlog of material to dig through from the Chicago-based quintet. Having been described as "Wilson Picket getting the Velvet Underground off heroin," "a cross between Chuck Berry and H.R. of Bad Brains in their primes" and "Otis Redding fronting The Stooges," I was intrigued from the off, especially when I read that their blend of R&B, soul, punk and smatterings of rock were a far cry from the run-of-the-mill "retro" acts that are two-a-penny nowadays. I tracked down a copy of their most recent release Howl, and while I awaited my download I took a listen to a live set the band performed for KEXP Radio. The 30-minute mini concert features tracks culled from all three of their albums, but the opening cut "River" (taken from this year's Howl) gives a great indication of what these guys are about. Lead singer JC Brooks does indeed possess a voice that can be compared to many of soul's biggest and brightest stars. gritty, powerful and emotive, Brooks really shines on the more downtempo numbers, but is equally at home when they funk up proceedings, as with the dance breakdown on the set's second cut "I Got High." He's a true showman and the band is tight, making this an outfit I really need to catch live. Hit the bounce to check out the KEXP set, then get to know a little more about JC and company via the links below.