Right here and right now, under the lights at center stage, presenting New York City's singular and shattering female vocal trio, The Dansettes. And behind them, right on time as always, the Hammond-powered drive of their backing band, a quartet known as the Brothers United Apart (formerly known as the Bourbon Dynasty). Together they've got an ear for tradition and their hand on the new, tuned into the essentials of Stax/Atlantic/Tamla soul, Brill Building pop, and the sweet syncopations of New Orleans' golden era of r&b. This is a closely harmonized nod to the Old School done to a turn via new songs that have left stunned and celebratory audiences up and down the east coast, at the Mod Chicago Weekender, at SXSW, at the Atlantic Antic Rock'n'Soul Fest, and -- no doubt soon -- across the country and across the sea.
The story begins behind a set of turntables. The three young ladies who would become The Dansettes first met while plying their DJ skills at the Subway Soul Club, a monthly soul party at East Village nightspot Rififi (one of many clubs, along with Magnetic Field, Niagara, and the Tainted Lady, where The Dansettes can be found behind the decks). Their sensibilities were a match and their vocals were a mesh, and it was soon afterwards that they teamed with Brothers United Apart, making microphones shiver and the air around them fill with the low-to-the-ground push of rhythms and sound. The results caused soul legend the Mighty Hannibal -- whom they backed onstage at the NYC Reaction Weekender -- to announce, "Y'all got more soul than my grandpa's long johns!"
The Dansettes have shown repeatedly -- with their uninterrupted sweep of local live shows, on their debut Oh My! EP, at SXSW, at a recent pair of packed-house appearances onstage with the mythic Sharon Jones, and during a Brooklyn Pixies tribute where they undertook a soul-drenched interpretation of "Crackity Jones" -- that Hannibal is absolutely right.
Lee Greenfeld / Dead Flowers