One of the first things you’re likely to hear about Philly’s Son Little is its pedigree. The trio is primarily the songwriting project of singer-guitarist Aaron Livingston, who in the past has collaborated with The Roots and RJD2. Musical adventurers both, for certain, but those names as a point of reference doesn’t really clue you in to how expressive and eclectic his own songwriting is. By now you’ve probably heard “The River” in the mix on WXPN, or maybe over at NPR via this month’s Heavy Rotation feature. It’s a barn-burning bootstomp jam, an utterly catchy song that’s a little bit electronic, a little bit soul, a little bit blues, and with the exception of Livingston’s vocals, doesn’t sound particularly like his work with either RJD2 (in Icebird), or his playing with The Roots.
There’s more: opener “Joy” is a quirky, downbeat number with dreamy autoharp vibes on Son Little’s new Things I Forgot EP, out November 11 on Anti- Records. With his band – Stephen Greenberg and bass and sampler, Jesse Maynard on drums – it’s flipped into a fierce progressive swell, a rager with engulfing guitar distortion at heavy volume. Then there’s the beautiful “Cross My Heart,” which reminds me of Radiohead song circa OK Computer in the way it draws from minimal electronic and ambient music as well as dub. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot going on in Son Little’s sonic pallate, but it couldn’t be more complimentary or satisfying – stream and download the session below for a taste, and if you want to hear more (you will), you can catch the band this Saturday, October 25th, in a free concert at Dilworth Park at City Hall. They perform at 5 p.m., alongside DJ Statik and Matthew Law of the Illvibe Collective, more information can be found here.
dilworth plaza, Son Little, The Key Studio Sessions