Howl. Is. Here.

23 05 2013
photo by Chris Rejano

photo by Chris Rejano

JCBUS keyboardist Andy Rosenstein reflects on the lead-up to this week’s release of our 3rd album “Howl” (out now on Bloodshot Records):

By the time I joined the Uptown Sound as a full member in the spring of 2011, they’d just finished recording their second album “Want More”. I’d been gigging with them as a sideman on and off since late 2009.

By the time the group got to thinking seriously about our third record in the fall of 2012, we’d been touring pretty heavily on “Want More” for over a year.

By the time we got up to Montreal to record what became “Howl”, we’d been touring and writing for few months, and had begun performing a few of the new songs live.

And from the time we finished recording “Howl” to its release this week, we’d been sitting on it for another four months.

So to say that I’ve been waiting for this week is a pretty serious understatement.

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Rolling Stone Howls for Love

28 03 2013
cover shot by Clayton Hauck

cover shot by Clayton Hauck

Thanks to our fine friends at Rolling Stone, we’re finally rolling out the official announcement of our new album, “Howl”, coming out May 21 on Bloodshot Records.  Take a peak at the title track, and first song on the album, over at the RS site.

“‘Howl’ is a song about young love and the infectious idealism it inspires being dashed, giving you your first glimpse of the real world,” Brooks says. “After giving love without reservation and having it be callously discarded by a capricious recipient, it would take a stronger man than me to not be jaded. You find forgiveness and the wounded heart ultimately heals, but the scars are ever tender.”

Andy’s Best of 2011

30 12 2011

All of this is just my opinion, I’m not speaking for the group in any way. Hell, I’ve probably forgotten enough of the stuff that I liked in January through May of this year that I’m not even accurately speaking for me. – Andy

our hero, backstage in Santiago de Compostela

So here are the best things I can remember from the last year:

Best JCBUS Headlining Show of 2011: Hell Dorado, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

It was my first time there, but the rest of the band had stopped by on the last tour of Spain. Hell Dorado is a cool room with a great mural.

now imagine this 10' high and 60' wide

After soundcheck, the owner took us all out for a kickass dinner. When we got back, the venue was packed with a crowd who was ready to dance, sing, and sweat. There’s video of our encore someplace. It was kind of ape-shit. At the merch table after the show, the autograph thing got pretty wild, too (in a PG way). Some girl asked us all to sign her shoes with sharpies. Then we boogied to the DJ with some local girls until the place closed. Bonus points to our road manager Danny for coming back and collecting Billy and me and taking us back to the hotel.

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Tomorrow Is For Sleeping: Why Blues? Why Gospel? Why Now?

28 12 2011

As the band’s reigning champion of record collecting, Billy has this to say on the subject…

This year was a fine year in music. I have an unhealthily interest in Tyler the Creator, Iceage, Odd Future (that’s not quite an endorsement, fuck holes!) and with less guilt, Tom Waits’ “Bad As Me”, M83‘s full length, Dum Dum Girls’ “Only in Dreams”, Washed Out, 6 songs off the latest Wilco, and two great one-man acts – Bill Callaghan’s latest might be my candidate for best lyrics (sorry OFWGKTA) And Austin singer-songwriter ((sounder))‘s EP all struck a chord.

Unfortunately, none of these records match the excitement that last year’s LCD Soundsystem “This Is Happening” or Kanye’s “Dark Twisted Beautiful Death Fantasy” sparked in me last year.  The closest candidates would be tUnE-yArDslatest, the seriously underrated Strokes summer album, SF’s Weekend, JCBUS van favorite JD McPherson‘s “Signs and Signifiers”, and this new Black Keys which I’m not sure what to do with other than like.  There’s also some nice easy listening like Feist, Florence & the Machine, and perhaps there’s been a Judy Collins reissue, if that’s your thing.

But the best records may have been from the crates for me. With money and uncertainty constantly at hand for the Western World, I have moved just left of the Soul crates this fall and found solace in the slim pickings of the blues and Gospel bins.

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Bad News for People Who Love Good Funk

29 08 2011

In anticipation of this Friday’s Double Door show, Soul Summit Chicago is giving you an exclusive sneak preview of our new album on YouTube.

For those who’ve been paying attention, this is the constantly evolving song in our repertoire. Version 1 appeared on “Live Vol. 1” and the Spanish “Baltimore” single . Then we changed the key for Version 2. Then we totally re-did the arrangement and groove for Version 3, which was recorded at the same session as the “To Love Someone” single, but never released. It really started to get crazy live with JC stretching out in the breakdown and Mr. Greenweedz jumping in for a freestyle. Version 4 was the first song we recorded for the new album, when we took the time to strip it down and build up a tougher new groove with engineer Alex Hall. In the middle of the 2011 East Coast summer tour, we held an outdoor rehearsal in Philly to hash out lean and mean Version 5. Which is what you’ll see and hear this Friday at the Double Door. Got it?

JC Brooks Wants More

18 08 2011

Want More cover by Scott Williams

It’s been tough to keep under wraps, but we’re pleased to finally announce the release of our Bloodshot Records debut “Want More”, available on CD, LP, and digital on October 25th (September 19th in Spain and Italy). It was a hectic couple of months in the studio (especially considering that Billy was directing “South Side of Heaven” and the band was doing “Passing Strange”), but we got to really dig in with producer Jimmy Sutton and engineer Alex Hall (the creative team responsible for JD McPherson’s “Signs & Signifiers”) and fine-tune some hot numbers from the live show (I Can See Everything, Want More) and come up with some new jams that push into new territory (Sister Ray Charles, Missing Things).

As with most of the things we do, it was a lot of work but also a lot of fun, and we’re happy to finally get to share it with everyone. Here’s the track listing:

  1. Want More
  2. Everything Will Be Fine
  3. I Got High
  4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  5. Don’t Lock the Door
  6. Baaadnews
  7. To Love Someone (That Don’t Love You)
  8. I Can See Everything
  9. Missing Things
  10. Sister Ray Charles
  11. Awake

And since we have a new album, a new label, and a new booking agent, it seems like a fine time to hit the road and see what the rest of the world thinks of this crazy Chicago soul. Are you ready?

First we go to Europe for 3 weeks, then we kick off the US tour close to home before heading west…

Fri Oct 28 – “Want More” Record Release Show @ Double Door, Chicago, IL
Sat Oct 29 – Freak Fest, Madison, WI
Mon Oct 31 – Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO
Thu Nov 03 – Book & Stage @ the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV
Fri Nov 04 – Book & Stage @ the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV
Sat Nov 05 – Book & Stage @ the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV
Mon Nov 07 – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR
Tue Nov 08 – Triple Door, Seattle, WA
Thu Nov 10 – Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA
Fri Nov 11 – The Satellite, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Nov 12 – Soda Bar, San Diego, CA
Sun Nov 13 – Congress Hotel, Tucson, AZ
Mon Nov 14 – Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ
Wed Nov 16 – The Mohawk, Austin, TX
Tue Nov 29 – Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON
Thu Dec 01 – Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH
Fri Dec 02 – The Basement, Columbus, OH
Sun Dec 04 – Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
Wed Dec 14 – Black Cat, Washington, DC
Thu Dec 15 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA
Fri Dec 16 – Mercury Lounge, New York, NY

There’s still a few holes to be filled, so stay tuned for further details, and we’ll also let you know what you can do to help spread the word.

Heard It On the (KDH)X

14 07 2011

It’s really incredible when you can look back on one moment in your life when someone gave you a particular piece of advice that then caused your life to go in a new and better direction.  That’s sort of how we look back on Roo from the Gramaphone telling us to get in touch with KDHX the first time we were coming down to play St Louis.  As we talked about earlier, we had a few false starts in the Lou, but thanks to KDHX’s love and support, we’ve been able to play there 6 times in the last 18 months and build up a amazing group of friends and fans.  Hell, we played the Firebird last Saturday and part of the gig was ALL YOU CAN EAT GOURMET ICE CREAM.  WTF?  what’s next, keys to the Fireworks, Candy, and Puppy dog store?

So in addition to playing the 5th Annual Indie Rock Ice Cream Social, we stopped by KDHX’s Euclid Street studios to lay down some songs and chat with Roy Kasten.

Roy Kasten & the Uptown Sound

We were thrilled to meet fellow Chicagoans Sarah & the Tall Boys, who were doing the session right before us, and then borrow their sublime pedal steel ace, Gabriel Stutz, to add some shimmery flare to “Missing Things”. We went from twang to skank to Beat, and KDHX was cool with it because that’s just how they roll. Thanks guys!