Are you ready for star time? On record, Chicago's JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound forges a most infectious and soulful stew, with nods to Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs and dusty old R&B singles in Chicago basements. If you listen closely, you can even hear some Talking Heads/Gang of Four Brit-funk in Kevin Marks' dry drum breaks (and the fact that the band named one of its songs "Sister Ray Charles" means its members know their history). Live, it's a full-on jam. If you missed the set at last year's Twangfest or this past summer's Indie Rock Ice Cream Social, consider this a must-see.
Hopefully On The Setlist: The band's cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," in which Brooks takes the original's abstract lyrics, shouts them like Otis Redding and somehow makes it work. (Note: Jeff Tweedy is a fan.)