Local Wire

Black Carl

For us, the name Black Carl evokes images of Carl Weathers from Predator wailing on the harmonica while Family Matters' Carl Winslow, in full police regalia, belts out soulful tales of pain and hammers out blues notes on the guitar. While Tempe's version of Black Carl may lack former celebrities, its self-titled debut album is remarkable enough to give the once-famous Carls a run for their money. According to the band, "Black Carl will make you feel like you're riding a psychotic horse toward a burning stable," which is a fairly accurate description, given its chaotic yet minimalist combination of soul, funk, blues, psychedelia, and big beat. The first track, "Chemistry," incorporates Chad Leonard's human beatboxing skills with a violin wailing atop Shaft-worthy guitar effects. While instrumentally innovative, the driving force of this group comes from Emma Pew's smoldering vocals. Fans of Amy Winehouse will swoon at the power with which Pew cries, "I don't want no bald-headed woman/She too mean, oh Lordy, she too mean," throughout a cover of the Shel Talmy-penned "Bald-Headed Woman." With five solid tracks, Black Carl will have you singing along with the car windows down in no time.
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Adriane Goetz