Light in the Attic is best known for their reissues of forgotten albums; as musical archaeologists, A&R dudes Matt Sullivan, Pat Thomas and Kevin “Sipreano” Howe are at the very top of their field. But over the years the label has also released original, first-print albums by new bands. And they were awesome.
The Saturday Knights, “45” from Mingle
For instance, astute Seattleites will recall the party-starting phenomenon that was the Saturday Knights (pictured above). What started out in 2007 as an ad-hoc band playing a last-minute fill-in spot at Chop Suey became one of the most beloved, creative, downright FUN musical forces the city has seen in recent years. Comprising MCs Tilson and Barfly and DJ/percussionist/producer Suspence, the Saturday Knights fell in somewhere between the Beastie Boys and the Ramones, a rap/rock hybrid that was equal parts brains and balls. “It’s not a group, it’s a lifestyle,” Sullivan once told me. They should’ve broken out nationally, but the guys in the band were unwilling to tour, so they remained local stars only. Their sole full-length, Mingle, was the best Seattle album of 2010. After its release, they pretty much disappeared. But its first single still flips lids.
“Keep Reachin’ Up,” Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators from Keep Reachin’ Up
Fun tidbit: “Keep Reachin’ Up” currently resides at one point resided in President Obama’s official campaign playlist on Spotify (as was thoroughly reported in February, though it’s no longer there). The title song from Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators‘ debut is a vintage-soul smoker that fans of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings should relish.
Like Jones, Willis is well beyond the average pop-diva demo, a 48-year-old New York-born vocal stylist living in Helsinki with her multi-instrumental, record-producing husband Jimi Tenor. Keep Reachin’ Up veers from the vintage-soul template with whiffs of electro, lo-fi and dub, an unexpectedly masterful album that earned accolades from international press when LITA released it in 2007. Word is the band is readying its follow-up, Tortured Soul, for release next year.