Eli “Paperboy” Reed
With the release of his new record, ‘99 Cent Dreams,’ Eli“Paperboy” Reed begins his second decade as an artist much in the same way he began his first: completely and utterly in love with soul music. Reed is ten years older and ten years wiser this time around, though, writing with the kind of freewheeling confidence that can only come from experience, and the result is the finest and most emotionally sophisticated music of his career. Cut at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN, and produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price), ‘99 Cent Dreams’ is an exuberant and uplifting collection, a celebration of life and love delivered by an ecstatic messenger who’s still in profound awe of the power of both. Reed’s arrangements on the album are lean and muscular, filtering vintage R&B, soul, and gospel through the heart of a modern songwriter. His stunning voice remains front and center, of course, but his performances here have grown in their assurance and matured in their delivery, a sign perhaps of the newfound perspective he’s gained with fatherhood.
Brandi and the Alexanders
“Brandi and the Alexanders is a New York R&B band that takes its soul shaken, not stirred,” says WNYC’s John Schafer.
As the ass-kicking powerhouse vocalist for Brandi & the Alexanders, Brandi’s diva-level range and soulful melodies hit the listener right in the gut. Backed by The Alexanders, a funk, and psychedelic-influenced rock band, she walks a tightrope between classic rock drive and R&B grit.
Like fusing the Jackie Brown soundtrack, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, and Sticky Fingers together; Brandi & the Alexanders have a sound that is funky, earnest, and instantly classic.
Mr. Fine Wine (DJ Set)
Mr. Fine Wine grew up in Detroit in the 1960s and ’70s, surrounded by music and by music-industry royalty. His schoolmates included the offspring of Motown stars like Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin; his uncle owned a local jazz and soul record label and (believe it or not!) taught John Lee Hooker to play guitar chords. An avid collector of soul 45s for the past 30 years, Fine Wine took up DJ’ing soon after he relocated to New York City in the late ’80s. His radio show, “Downtown Soulville” (www.wfmu.org/playlists/sv), has been converting casual listeners around the globe into soul freaks since 1994. TimeOut London magazine called it one of the best independent music podcasts in the world, and the Village Voice named it New York’s Best Radio Show in 2011. In addition to presiding over some of the hottest local dance parties through the years (including the Empire State Soul Club and Bumpshop), he has held down a weekly residency at Manhattan dive bar Botanica since 1996—perhaps the longest-running weekly soul-45 listening party anywhere, and one that has been profiled in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/nyregion/soul-music-botanica-radio.html) and attracted visiting luminaries such as Keb Darge, the Budos Band, Yo La Tengo, Cut Chemist, the Dap Kings, and the Dirtbombs. Fine Wine has spun his across-the-board mix of vintage R&B, soul, blues, and funk in Spain, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Scotland, Finland, England, Canada, Norway, and Germany, and he has backed the likes of Sharon Jones, the Mighty Hannibal, the Gories, Brian Auger, Dee Dee Ramone, DJ Shadow, the Detroit Cobras, Cody Black, Rudy Ray Moore, and Nathaniel Mayer. He has also compiled and written liner notes for the collections “Vital Organs” (Grooovysounds Unltd.) and “Crash of Thunder,” “Teach Me to Monkey,” “Scratch That Itch,” “Just a Little Bit of the Jumpin’ Bean,” and “Bossa Nova and Grits” (Vampisoul). His brand-new label, Fine Wine Records, released its first 45, Eli Paperboy Reed’s R&B cover of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” in 2019.