October 27, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Stone Foundation

When you first hear Stone Foundation you can be forgiven for wondering if Paul Weller has some new material. The similarity is uncanny, even Stone Foundation's lead singer's voice is on some so Welleresque you're not sure who's singing. In my book that's a good thing. If you're going to be influenced by, and emulate, some artist make it one that is head and shoulders above the rest.

Stone Foundation is a mod soul act out of the UK. They blend power pop with soul to create a typically British, and yet fresh sort of rock and soul sound. You might call it smooth soul. It is soul through and through, but some of it is so smooth, so slick, so perfectly jazzy, that it isn't like anything else you've heard. The rest of it, well, yes it's derivative, but the band is so good that they can pull it off and make you think that you're listening to something truly unique. They're tight, they're solid, and they've got a serious mod sound that isn't easy to find these days.

Their 2008 album Small Town Soul is wicked good. "Holy Blue" leads off and offers some good bluesy soul with that sort of late night orchestration that gives a song a more sophisticated feel. Again, the comparisons to Weller are inevitable, but there are also echoes of the Small Faces as well. And if you like Weller's more soulful ballads then you'll dig this track. The stand out track for me is "Crossing the Great Divide" with its beautiful northern soul beat accented by soulful horn loops. It's a floorshaker to be sure. The other 15 tracks -- that's right 17 total -- are just as good.

Of late the band has joined forces with Detroit sixties soul man Steve Calloway. The result is a brand new EP which I haven't gone over yet, but the from the video that was produced along with its release, it sounds pretty damn good.

Stone Foundation -- Crossing The Great Divide

Stone Foundation -- No More The Fool

Stone Foundation feat. Steve Calloway - Somebody Somewhere