Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Kumasi Walk” by Ikebe Shakedown from the 2011 album Ikebe Shakedown on Ubiquity.
Ikebe Shakedown take their name from a Nigerian boogie record of the same name (pronounced “ee-KAY-bay”), and upon first listen it’d be hard to believe the group hails from Brooklyn. After meeting at Bard College, the 7-piece settled in Brooklyn and quickly emerged as vocal proponents of the local music scene. Featuring a powerfully crisp brass section and exuberant bass grooves, Ikebe Shakedown anchored their place in the Afro-pop boogaloo scene. After a short New York tour, the band recorded their debut 7″ and Hard Steppin’ EP, which caught the attention of Ubiquity Records. The group’s forthcoming full-length was almost entirely performed live to tape, with minimal use of headphones and overdubs.
The old-school recording style becomes clear on Song of the Day cut “Kumasi Walk,” where horns, drums, organ, and guitars all find balance in the pantheon of world instrumentation. All seven members of the band channel the best of funk and soul into a cohesive blend that sounds ripped straight from the past. Their closest modern relative may be the soulful singer-songwriter Mayer Hawthorne, but Ikebe Shakedown has a sound that is undeniably all their own.
Currently, Ikebe Shakedown has only one upcoming show scheduled, and it’s not until September 10 at Backwoods Pondfest in Peru, NY. Check the band’s website and Facebook page for other possible dates and more information. For now, here’s the band’s first single, “Hard Steppin'”: