If you're anything like us, the question starts qnawing at you around Memorial Day. The sun gets a little stronger. Your libido follows. You start to look at your abs and you can't find them, even with your shirt off...
"WTF," you ask, "will be my summer song?"
Most of us just give up in frustration and concede to reaching back to the tried and true. Sly and the Family Stone’s "Hot Fun in the Summertime," Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” The Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach,” but we'd like to offer a current alternative.
Our answer, ironically, comes from Seattle- a town not routinely known for its sunshine, unless of course, the whole "lotsa rain" thing is just a myth concocted to keep the New Yorkers out (I don't blame you).
Anyway, here it is. Your Summer Song For 2016...
"2 Live For The City," from said town's own Radio Raheem! Lovingly premiered by City Arts late last week, this tune has everything you could possibly want. Lyrics that basically, and more eloquently say "Fuck it, let's go outside," a chorus that kicks your sorry ass right into the deep end of the pool and a 4-on-the-floor middle eight that feels like the posse rollin up on the club.
Says, City Arts’ Jonathan Zwickel in the aforementioned piece, “Songs like this are magic, and Radio Raheem conjures the kind of inclusivity we need.”
Most of Radio Raheem's new album Time Code Exile, is a similar affair following suit with monsterous midsections, unabashed solos and Josie Howell’s wide-as-the-sky belt. Songs like “All Freaks,” “Grace Jones and Queen” and the ska-flavored “Come On, Come On,” give us the news and oftentimes harken back to everything you loved about eighties pop and everything you love now about new soul, without sounding tragically dated or embarrassingly self aware. It's the Pointer Sisters meets the Scissor Sisters. The Dap Kings colliding with Nile Rogers and Giorgio Moroder. Take “Heartbreak In Space,” for instance, with its unmistakable Me-Gen gallop, buzzy synths and lyrical refrain, “Search for your voice/Forever/Light years of noise/Forever.” All inspiring, positive and upbeat. But, the album is not without its heartwrenchers, “Dear Charles” a track about Josie’s eldest son serving life in federal prison, for one, gives us a rare, poignant and true glimpse into a mother’s pain.
Radio Raheem formed in 2011 out of the ashes of several local bands, and not by chance. Founding members, bass player/producer, Paul Chistofferson, and guitar player, Bryan Cohen were set on having some fun The two began writing 80’s influenced upbeat rock and new wave songs that would inspire requisite dancing and general happiness.
Soon after, saxophonist/keyboard player, Trevor Rasmussen, Howell and former Mayfield Four drummer Zia Uddin joined the band and in 2012 Radio Raheem released their first album, Down For The Get Down produced by Jonathan Plum at London Bridge Studio. The lead single “Push the Party” featuring Shock G of Digital Underground charted and peaked at #12 on college and indie radio stations across the country.
In 2013 the band collaborated with producer Martin Feveyear and put out the 7 track EP titled Raheem Rising featuring “Calling the World” – Radio Raheem’s signature song. Over the next two and a half years, the band hit the live circuit, playing local venues such as the Tractor, Crocodile, Sunset, High Dive and Barboza room. They have garnered spots on festivals like FolkLife (multiple years), Oktoberfest, Macefield Festival, Beneath the Block festival, the 2013 Rock and Roll Marathon and opening for national touring act like St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Battle Tapes.
In the meantime, local Seattle press were feeling the good vibes, KUOW calling them, “rock music with a gospel heart” and longstanding local scribe Gene Stout quipping, “If Seattle funk/rock/soul band Radio Raheem had a mission statement, it would likely be “to have fun, get the people dancing and raise the roof.”
In 2015 Radio Raheem teamed again with producer Feveyear to create new music, this time with the focus on stripping down their sound to shine a light on Josie’s killer vocals, catchy choruses and songs that get people on the dance floor. It’s also worth mentioning that the live band, has also incorporated Josie’s daughter Chyee Howell to lend stellar backups to her mom’s lead. Augmented by the horn section of Rasmussen and Seattle horn legend Skerik, (“2 Live for the City,” “Come On Come On”) highlight Josie’s soulful vocals and the band’s love of a catchy hook.
For more information, please visit radioraheemband.com