Photo by Theo Jemison
Silk Rhodes is producer Michael Collins & vocalist Sasha Desree.
Rolling Stone's 10 New Artists You Need to Know 2014
By Maura Johnston
Sounds like: Soul music gone minimalist: All the superfluous bits stripped away and the grooves placed front and center.
For fans of: Road-trip mixtapes – full of Sly and The Family Stone, the Delfonics, Al Green and A-sides by lost-to-time R&B acts – that have been slightly warped after sitting out in the sun.
Why you should pay attention: This Baltimore duo garnered notice from hip-hop heads when their glittery disco jam "Face 2 Face" was included on the soundtrack to Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, the documentary about storied California indie label Stones Throw. Peanut Butter Wolf, who founded Stones Throw in 1996, is a fan of the pair's throwback style and his label will release Silk Rhodes's debut full-length, which is full of skeletal, yet precise homages to soul's early-Seventies glory days. An official single is on the way next month.
They say: "We were on tour together doing separate projects. At some point in the Southwest – Arizona, probably – we started turning our car into an impromptu recording setup," says members Sasha Winn and Michael Collins, collaborating via e-mail. "It was very minimal, lending itself to vocal processing, looping and long-form meditative music [that we worked on] while crossing through the desert. After that tour we kind of just started living together in Baltimore, and continued to make music that way wherever we went. The responses we got around the city, as we picked up friends and strangers and would make songs for the people who happened to be on the street, were pretty amazing. The car, which was a '97 Honda CRV, had pretty busted speakers. Using pitch-shifting, we got a sound that was very bass-heavy and attracted some incredible sidewalk audiences."
Hear for yourself: Hand claps and harmonies help "Face 2 Face" float along like it's the soundtrack for a roller rink on a cloud.