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9/27 – Music Monday Aloe Blacc, Group Home, B-Real + more

on September 27, 2010with 0 comments



Aloe CoverStones Throw artist Aloe Blacc is gifting the world with some Good Things this fall. On September 28, 2010 he will release the album, a follow-up to 2006’s Shine Through. Good Things features the hit “I Need a Dollar”, the theme from HBO’s How to Make it in America. The album was co-written by Aloe and the in-house production team at Truth & Soul Records.

A first-generation American offspring of Panamanian parents, Aloe is an Orange County, CA native with international flair, having made fans all over the globe. The press has certainly taken notice with everyone from People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Fader, The Guardian, Complex and Okayplayer – to name just a hand-full – weighing in with positive things to say. (Quote sheet attached.) The names Gil Scott-Heron, Gnarls Barkley, Andy Bey, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield have all been bandied about as comparisons, but who Aloe is is a true modern original, telling today’s stories with an eye toward positive social change.

Good Things marks a musical maturation for Aloe, as well as an emphasis of the political over the personal, akin to the Marvin Gaye classic What’s Going On. On Good Things, Aloe reports on our current condition – from joblessness, homelessness to the general lack of compassion. Things lighten up on the airy “You Make Me Smile” and “Miss Fortune” but the overall tone of the album is one of underlying tension, most artfully and musically portrayed on the lead single, “I Need a Dollar.”

To celebrate Good Thing’s release, Aloe is playing release parties in both LA and NYC after which Aloe will embark on a European tour starting in Amsterdam and ending up in Zurich. An American tour is slated for fall ’10.

Aloe Black Vid

“The best thing about How To Make It In America is the terrific song in the opening credits (Aloe Blacc ‘I Need A Dollar’). It has the sort of itchy desperation that should have driven the whole show.”


“Some people love the show, some don’t, but pretty much everyone agrees on its killer theme song, ‘I Need A Dollar”’.


“’How to Make It in America,’ step one: Get a fantastic theme song from Aloe Blacc. It sounded like the type of thing you might discover deep in someone’s collection of old soul records on vinyl – maybe an obscure Bill Withers B-side we weren’t familiar with?”


“You’d be forgiven for mistaking the stirring opening credits theme (I Need A Dollar) as some lost ‘70s tale of urban unrest, but it’s the first taste of Blacc’s sophomore effort, Good Things”


“The wonderful, low-key OC soulster Aloe Blacc, a Stones Throw mainstay who has just found a new audience thanks to HBO’s How to Make it in America. Watch as he starts off all Motown and halfway through veers towards Curtis Mayfield territory, always respectful of the black pop roots but never stifled by them”


“This feels like the very embodiment of old-school soul: chunky basslines, punchy horn bursts, unsentimental lyrics, and tough vocals that leap thrillingly into falsetto”


“Treads the line between the raw contemporary beats of Gnarls Barkley and the original soul boy grit of vocalist Andy Bey. Emotive class.”


“Sublime piano led soul… Somewhere between Gil Scott-Heron and Timmy Thomas”


“Funny how it takes a great song to make you realize how average everything else is that’s coming out.”


“The finest slice of vintage-sounding, piano- and horn-powered funk we’ve heard in quite some time. We’re not usually big on nostalgia parties, but if you can’t enjoy a few laps in the “I Need a Dollar” pool, you’re officially dead inside.”


“The breakout star of HBO’s “How to Make It in America” is likely to be Aloe Blacc. The younger rapper-singer-songwriter is responsible for the criminally infectious “I Need a Dollar,” which is gonna propel Blacc to a Talib Kweli/Mos Def level”


“My purpose for music is positive social change,” says Orange County, California native Aloe Blacc. “Even if the music itself does not explicitly express anything that may signify positive social change, the product of the music will.” He is speaking in general terms regarding his career, but more specifically about the circumstances surrounding his upcoming album, Good Things, co-written by the versatile vocalist and songwriter in
conjunction with the in-house production team at Truth & Soul Records.

Good Things marks a shift in methodology from personal to political for Aloe, who refers to the project as his report on present conditions—joblessness, homeless, the misappropriation of wealth, pillaging of resources, and a universal lack of compassion from the capitalism at-large under which we all function, but some struggle to survive. Song titles such as “You Make Me Smile” and “Miss Fortune,” coupled with airy, ethereal production from Truth & Soul’s Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman mask a foreboding undercurrent in which Aloe crafts lyrics both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Nowhere is this more evident than on lead single, “I Need a Dollar”—commissioned by HBO as the theme music for the series How to Make It in America—because ultimately, that is how to make it in America.

The first-generation American offspring of Panamanian parents, Aloe has become what writer and activist Amiri Baraka (nee Leroi Jones) once said of John Coltrane. He is a singular “scope of feeling…a more fixed traveler” who has found cohesion in art and life. The path from his 2006 debut, the multi-genre Shine Through, to Good Things is akin to the maturation of Marvin Gaye between That’s the Way Love Is and the What’s Going On masterwork that followed. Aloe has never purported to be any heir to Gaye, but musically, Good Things and What’s Going On are companion pieces as both albums establish a character for the artists that sets them apart from the sea of performers making very vivid and discernible—yet normative and conformist—statements about who they are and what they do. Good Things is a definitive declaration that places Aloe directly in the framework of modern soul.

At the heart of this musical character is a recession-age Robin Hood, whose goal is to sell and profit from his wares with hope of freeing the less fortunate from the capitalist system that serves as both their oppressor and his motivation. A 2001 graduate of the University of Southern California, Aloe credits a myriad of influences—transcendentalist scholars Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, French existentialism, Oprah Winfrey, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West—with leading him from the inner streams of consciousness he possessed as an MC early in his career, to a more disciplined approach to songwriting, and now, the desire to affect change and induce compassion by way of his own success. It is his grand scheme, which, not coincidentally, is also the name of his backing band (The Grand Scheme). The key is compromise and understanding the power of popular art. Aloe is willing to put the gloves on and engage in the marketplace. Good things lie ahead.


3 Nov, Wed:  SF @ Rickshaw Shop (All Ages)

4 Nov, Thu:  Portland @ Mississippi Studios (21+)

5 Nov, Fri:  Seattle @ Nectar Lounge (21+)

6 Nov, Sat:  Vancouver @ Fortune Sound Club (19+)

8 Nov, Mon:  Bozeman @ Zebra Cocktail Lounge (21+)

9 Nov, Tue:  Salt Lake City @ Urban Lounge (21+)

10 Nov, Wed:  Denver @ City Hall (18+)

12 Nov, Fri:  Chicago @ Schubas Tavern (21+)

13 Nov, Sat:  Gambier @ The Horn Gallery (All Ages)

14 Nov, Sun:  Cleveland Heights @ Grog Shop (All Ages)

15 Nov, Mon:  Toronto @ Wrongbar (19+)

16 Nov, Tue:  Montreal @ Le Belmont

18 Nov, Thu:  NYC @ LPR

22 Nov, Mon: DC @ DC9  (18+)

23 Nov, Tue:  Atlanta @ Masquerade (Hell Stage)

24 Nov, Wed:  Orlando @ Backbooth (All Ages)

30 Nov, Tue:  Phoenix @ Rhythm Room (All Ages)

1 Dec, Wed:  San Diego @ Casbah (21+)

3 Dec, Thu:  LA @ Echoplex (18+)


Fans can follow Aloe Blacc at:

Official Website




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