Review by Jason Klaiber
RIYL: Pharrell Williams, Kool & The Gang, Hall & Oates
Recommended Tracks: “Lost Lover,” “Watch the Dance,” “Do It”
To mention that Mayer Hawthorne is a product of the environment he grew up in is almost needless to say– to any well-informed listener, it’s as clear as the lenses of the musician’s signature thick-rimmed glasses. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, he spent years only a short driving distance away from Detroit, the city where Motown found its heartbeat and made its name with such beloved musical acts as the Temptations and the Miracles. On each project he has lent his time to, Hawthorne has taken these Michigan-based influences and supplemented them with early 80s funk/post-disco to craft modern and innovative textures.
To add to the individualism he has left in his tracks, 2015 is a year that sees Hawthorne teaming up with Jake One, a renowned hip-hop producer from the Northwest with a polished style all his own (heck, even his stage name suggests singularity). Released on Stones Throw Records, the self-titled debut offering from Tuxedo– the brainchild from this duo of Grammy-nominated artists– is housed in undeniable catchiness and tight rhythms. The album also sports a sleek jacket design that boasts the fitting moniker of this suave partnership.
Tuxedo could easily remind a younger audience of those Pharrell-fronted creations put out by Daft Punk in 2013 (the groovy “Lose Yourself to Dance” and the smash hit “Get Lucky”), while an older crowd might be taken back to the days when Michael Jackson, Chic, and Hall & Oates ruled the airwaves. Tuxedo‘s outpouring of intricate guitar work, bouncing keyboards, and velvety vocals lays the foundation for an engaging listen that will, at the very least, inspire you to tap your feet.