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Soul Patch

Soul Patch

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., June 29, 2012

Texas Platters

Singer Candice Sanders packs sporadic power ("Crawlin'") on par with ATX soul queen Akina Adderley with Candiland's AJ Vallejo-produced Rumble in the Playground (Vallejo Music Group), a debut disc that, when not evoking memories of cheese-ball Meat Loaf ballads ("Karma"), gets comfy in a hard soul pocket. Highlights: the bold "Burn Me, I Cry," isolating "Sweetly," and high-octane title track that will have you on your feet. Vallejo's second producer credit here comes via Naga Valli's Eastern Soul, an East Indian-infused collection that pays just as much attention to Latin American rock as it does modern R&B. Call it an acquired taste. Eastern works if you're into Hindi scales ("Damadam Mast Qalander") and Middle Eastern scatting ("In Your Love"), but this ain't your daddy's soul singer. Smooth-talking R&B crooner Trenton Law makes his bid for Austin Musicman via his 14-track debut on local soul imprint Hot Pursuit Records. The Mobile, Ala., native boasts a polished voice he's comfortable showing off, but hollow musicianship and too many wasted measures give Musicman a low ceiling. Law's run his course by fifth track "Work It Out" no matter how hard he channels Hotter Than July-era Stevie Wonder on "Time for Love" and "Try and Hide (I'll Find You)." That's better than one could say about Groove Think and the trio's seven-song EP Discovering Phonons, which opens with juke-joint jazz on "Fortune" before culling pseudo-flamenco fingerpicking on "Adonde Se Fue" and elementary funk with "Prescription Meth." Anybody who can make it through Groove Think's cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar" is a better man than me.

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