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NEAR TRUTHS:
THE CAKE AND
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ONCE IN A LIFETIME
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RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
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ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
Critics' Choice
LISTEN BEFORE CASTING YOUR BALLOT: ALABAMA SHAKES, SOUND & COLOR
10/28/15

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color (ATO/Caroline): This alterna-soul outfit’s follow-up to Boys & Girls finds them venturing into new sonic territory—and crafting new settings for Brittany Howard’s frankly astonishing pipes. Howard, who recently joined idol Sam Moore for a duet at the Kennedy Center and sang with Mavis Staples on the premiere of Colbert’s Late Show, is a force of nature and has rightly been the primary recipient of the accolades, but the band really steps up here as well, with sharper grooves, peerless dynamics, incisive riffs and sprays of jazzy texture. While the troupe’s reach is wide—from hushed soul (“Guess Who,” the title track) to raucous, punked-out stroll (“The Greatest”)—it never exceeds their grasp. Sound is a truly cohesive statement from a band in full flower. For its artistry, grit and innovative approach to musical tradition, this set deserves a serious listen—at high volume.