Sounds Like: Memphis soul meets garage rock, marinated in gospel and the vocal fury of Florence Welch
For Fans of: Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Big Star
Why You Should Pay Attention: Far from you average retro act, Liz Brasher's classic soul sound comes from a hard-earned place as a mixed-ethnicity kid growing up in the South. With a devout mother from the Dominican Republic (her father was Italian and stepfather Jamaican), Brasher first started singing in her Spanish-speaking Baptist church in North Carolina, while harboring a love for the Beatles that was at times frowned upon. As a college student in Chicago, she was turned on to American music history — all the way back to Stephen Foster — by a studied bandmate. Further travels took her to Atlanta and finally Memphis, in the process honing her dual roles as a booming, big-voiced R&B belter and equally fiery lead guitarist fronting a lean, mean power trio. Brasher's debut EP, Outcast, drops April 27th via Fat Possum, with her first full-length due to be released later this year.
She Says: "Between the secular and sacred, being this combined, huge mix of ethnicities that I can't explain in a short conversation, and growing up in the South feeling things like racism and being my mom's translator because she couldn't speak English — all these things made me a really different person. I never fit into one place and that was OK with me because I could float around and find commonalities with a lot of other people … But it became very evident that I needed to live in the South again and I have a new perspective on the history of music, that it came primarily from a place of suffering. When I moved back, it was honestly shocking to me because I saw more segregation in Chicago than I ever had living in the South."
Hear for Yourself: Lead single "Body of Mine" is a slinky, ghoulish ode to self-possession and the spiritual limitations of our corporeal beings. J.G.