You Like Your Music Angsty and Exuberant? Listen to These Dudes.

Nathaniel Rateliff and Barrence Whitfield have got great new albums.

Album Reviews

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Tearing at the Seams
Stax

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages
Soul Flowers of Titan
Bloodshot

Robust rock and soul singers are often referred to as “shouters,” a term that doesn’t do justice to the personality and skill some artists bring to their craft. Exhibit A: Tearing at the Seams, the glorious second studio album from Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. The brawny beats, sultry horns, and funky organ might spark fond memories of the ‘60s glory days of Stax and other classic R&B labels, but there’s nothing retro or reverent about Rateliff’s electrifying performance. Mixing equal quantities of grit and tenderness, he specializes in heart-on-sleeve songs about vulnerability and longing, including “Say It Louder” and “You Worry Me,” sure to resonate with anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with romantic angst. Rateliff can also get rowdy—the stomping “Intro” recalls early Bob Seger at his most exuberant—so he might want to tackle a full set of party songs for a change of pace someday.

Barrence Whitfield, who’s been doing his thing since the 1980s, comes off as a dangerous maniac by comparison. On the exciting Soul Flowers of Titan, the raucous frontman and his aptly named Savages suggest a traditional soul band drunk on punk-rock aggression. For all the raw fury of tracks like “Let’s Go to Mars” and “Slowly Losing My Mind,” though, Whitfield is far more than an old-school shouter. Like the great David Johansen, he tempers his attack with bracing measures of humor and finesse. To relieve stress instantly, go here.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.