Reggae-like grooves that quote 1960s Jamaica. Funk-soaked keyboards, circa 1973. Santana-esque electric guitar solos. No way a modern-day band can successfully fuse all of these elements into something listenable, groovy, and tight.
Well, we felt this way until we were made hip to Alfred Howard & the K23, a San Diego-based ensemble who adds spoken word spitting and wah-like guitar licks to nostalgic musical qualities. Lead by the former-vagabond, published author, smarty pants lyricist, and vocalist Howard, AHK23 coveted the San Diego Music Award for Best Funk/Hip-Hop Band three consecutive years. And we can hear why, especially on tunes like Big in El Portal, with its temper-fueled lyrical passages reminiscent of Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, and the chilled-out, cerebral Dovetail that features chugging guitar grooves, tasty keyboard notes à la DAngelo, and a righteous organ solo.