Without a commercial recording or even a live gigâ€”at last count their newest song on Myspace has only logged seven plays, at least three of which I can personally take responsibility forâ€”The Lions are newly signed to Ubiquity Records, have an album scheduled for release this year, and are packing Afro-Caribbean soul heat.
The Lions is the latest project of Los Angeles-based trumpeter/arranger Todd Simon, who has had a hand (and a horn) in a lot of funky places, from Brooklynâ€™s Antibalas (whose record release party The Lions are debuting at) to LAâ€™s Breakestra, Madlib, Quantic Soul Orchestra, and more. A melting pot of players from the cross-pollenated underbelly of Hollywood soul, the ensemble effort borrows piecemeal from the Rebirth, Plant Life, and even the not-so-underbellyish Macy Gray. â€¨
The production style stays faithful to the heyday of Studio and Channel One, but the songs are hybrids of reggae and its precursor, rock-steady, with Ethiopian jazz and funk as well. A version of Lyn Collinsâ€™ feminist-funk classic, â€œThink,â€ is a poignant tribute to the late James Brown, who, strangely enough, wrote the tune.
by DJ Scribe