January 24, 2017

Hard Proof | Stinger

ARTIST: Hard Proof
TITLE: Stinger
LABEL: Modern Outsider
Austin is of course one of the USA’s great music scenes, so it ought to have a top-shelf Afro-funk band – here it is. Hard Proof is a 10-person combo with members from some of the city’s finest (Black Joe Louis & The Honeybears, Ocote Soul Sounds, Echocentrics) whose horn section has worked for even bigger names (Dave Matthews, Broken Social Scene, Spoon). They’re pros and it shows – this is a tight session from start to finish. This is definitely not a Fela Kuti tribute band – they bring in influences from all across sub-Saharan Africa, for example track 2 is a groovy take on Ethio-jazz with stellar solos by flautist Joe Woullard and guitarist John Branch. 8 and 9 are more like American show-band funk delivered with an African accent, a lot like DC’s late, lamented The Funk Ark. Tracks 6 and 7 hew closest to the Afrobeat model: 6 emphasizes the band’s Latin percussion section in the manner of LA’s Jungle Fire, 7 is a trippy rock-Afrobeat hybrid like Bixiga 70 or the most recent work of The Budos Band. Hard Proof is definitely 100 proof.
TOP TRACKS:    2    6    7    8    9
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    1    4    5

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