Southern soul rockers Alabama Shakes stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night to play the slow burning “Be Mine” off of their debut LP Boys & Girls. Ahead of their performance, Fallon warned that, “If you don’t know these guys yet, you’re gonna fall in love.” And, oh boy, he was right. You might need to hold on for this one.
At first, the song oozes out of the awesome Brittany Howard, the guitar riff following leisurely behind. “I’ll tell you why I took a shine to you,” she intones. But then, at about three minutes something catches, sparking the powerhouse within Howard. The band starts banging, and wailing “be my baby” again and again, she takes us home. Phewf! Jimmy was right.
Alabama Shakes — “Be Mine” 6/25 Fallon [AudioPerv]
UPDATE (7:45 p.m.): The Alabama Shakes livestream will be popping off right here at 9:00 p.m. ET/8 CT. Let us know what you think!
The word “authenticity” seems to be on everyone’s lips these days, as music critics and fans alike continue to debate over what’s really considered “music.” Well, when it comes to authenticity, you’d be hard pressed to find a band that’s got more of that particular trait than the Alabama Shakes, a group that until just a few months ago were all holding down day jobs to make ends meet.
We caught up with the Shakes a few weeks ago down at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival, where their performances earned rave reviews across the board. We asked them to describe their sound, and lead singer Brittany Howard told us, “Well, I’ll tell you a little bit about what we like. We like Lee Fields & The Expressions. We like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. We like Otis Redding. We like AC/DC. We like Black Sabbath. We like My Morning Jacket. We like Kings of Leon. We kind of put all that together, plus more.”
The band’s first album, Boys & Girls, is available in stores (and on Spotify) today. And to celebrate its release, MTV Hive will be livestreaming the band’s performance at New York City’s Webster Hall TONIGHT from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET. You’ll be able to watch the show right here on VH1 Tuner, but for now, you can read more about the show AND the Alabama Shakes on MTV Hive!
While there seems to be near-universal consensus about the benefits of Spotify from a consumer-perspective, the same cannot be said for the artists whose work actually appears on streaming services. There are varied reports as to how much money musical acts actually make from services like Spotify, MOG and Rdio —one widely circulated report last summer claimed that Lady Gaga only made $167 after her song “Poker Face” was spun one million times on Spotify— and some acts like The Black Keys have been very vocal about the reasons they have NOT chosen to make their music available there (“For a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.”)
This hot button issue was on the top of everyone’s mind at this year’s SXSW Festival, where the worlds of technology and music collided for a few days earlier this month. Spotify executive Sean Parker explained during a VH1 Rock Docs panel audience that “There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”
But what do the musicians themselves think? We sat down with a number of artists at varying stages of their careers —veteran acts like Train, The Shins, and Keane, as well as relative newcomers like Alabama Shakes, Best Coast, Fun. and Gary Clark Jr.— to get their perspectives on this controversial subject. Find out what they have to say in this exclusive VH1 Tuner video!
You’re forgiven if you haven’t yet heard of Alabama Shakes. After all, they don’t have a song on the radio, they haven’t made any music videos, and they don’t even have an album in stores for you to buy (yet). However, what they do have is a TON of internet buzz, as their soulful, southern roots rock sound has propelled them from the club circuit in the deep South into a place where they’re on the verge of entering the national consciousness. “Did you see Alabama Shakes yet?,” is a question that’s on everyone’s lips in Austin this week for the 2012 SXSW Music Festival, and we were lucky enough to be able to snag some time to sit down with Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard and drummer Steve Johnson the other afternoon.
We began by asking them to describe their sound for audiences not yet familiar with their music, and Brittany was quick to respond. “Well, I’ll tell you a little bit about what we like,” she explained. “We like Lee Fields & The Expressions. We like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. We like Otis Redding. We like AC/DC. We like Black Sabbath. We like My Morning Jacket. We like Kings of Leon. We kind of put all that together, plus more.” Kind of like a rock and roll gumbo, right? “I don’t like gumbo, though,” Brittany quipped.