Chicago-based JC Brooks is set to release a new album, The Neon Jungle, on April 7, 2017 via Rock Ridge Music. JC Brooks makes soul-infused, genre-bending music that is energetic and kinetically charged. “It all started out as an effort to merge post-punk and soul, but it’s grown into so much more than that,” says vocalist/lyricist/ bandleader JC Brooks. “I feel like we carry that ethos with the genre-mixing blend of soul music we write, and the punk aspect is more about our DIY determination to get out there onstage and engage with our live crowds on a visceral level.”
After years of touring the US and Europe playing clubs to major festivals, the band hunkered down in 2016 to record The Neon Jungle. They previously released two albums for Bloodshot Records as JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, but with The Neon Jungle they have dropped “the Uptown Sound” and are simply going by the name JC Brooks. Band members include JC Brooks on vocals, Alec Lehrman on guitar, Theodore Berry IV on bass, Jeremy Tromburg on keyboards, Kevin Marks on drums, and JoVia Armstrong on percussion.
Brooks himself describes the forthcoming release as an album-length depiction of “one crazy, incredible night out.” And what a wild ride it is indeed, from the percussive harmonic rush of the opening track “Jungle” to the vulnerable balladeering of “Playing With Fire” to the progressively funky kick of “O. N. O.” — a song where Brooks filters the best of Prince, Mick Jagger, and Steely Dan into his signature soul-train blender — to the whirling-dervish jam attack of “Get Gone.”
The sound of the 11 tracks on The Neon Jungle is the result of a revised six-man Chicago-based lineup that’s now simply named collectively after its fearless leader, and the album very much reflects the full JC Brooks band’s invigorated, all-hands-on-deck approach. “One of the first things put into play with this new band was we wanted it to be a more wholly cooperative creative machine,” Brooks explains. “Everyone has a voice in its creation and this album came together the way it did and with the sound it did because the six of us did most of the writing as a unit.” The Neon Jungle took the band over 18 months to complete. Assistance in honing the new JC Brooks audio-vision came courtesy of the album’s main producer, Josh Richter of Victorian Recording, along with additional production input from Isaiah Sharkey (“Jungle”) and Steve Gillis (“Stumble in the Dark”), as well as mixer Ken Lewis (“Drive”).
JC Brooks has made a career out of delivering the goods they’ve put down on wax during their celebrated live performances, and the stage is where The Neon Jungle will be shining from next. To that end, concertgoers can expect to hear upwards of seven songs from the new album plus certain longtime favorites during the band’s upcoming tour. “I believe in our show. We have a very strong live band,” feels Brooks. “We know how to connect with people. Our show brings people into our fold and makes fans of those who might otherwise ignore our type of music.”
JC and the band will be kicking off their extensive 2017 touring (many dates forthcoming) with two album release shows:
The Neon Jungle
3. Stumble in the Dark
4. Edge of Night
5. Playing with Fire
6. O. N. O.
8. Fade Away
9. The One for Someone
10. Get Gone
11. Watch Me