“They’ve got a great vibe and the lead singer has enough energy to power a large city.”
Artist: The Shiz
EP: I AM (Noisetrade)
Genre: Louisiana Blues, Rock & Soul
RIYL: Alabama Shakes, Indigo Girls, Joan Armatrading
There are some bands that make you want to put your hands in the air, shout hallelujah and shake your booty for the rest of the night. With a swampy groove straight out of New Orleans, The Shiz does just that. This indie rock band started with duo Liz Hogan and Lilli Lewis and debuted at Atlanta’s Music Midtown Festivals in 2004. Their soul-jazz-alt rock groove has grown from their first release to this EP, recorded at Studio in the Country in May 2013. (Never heard of it? It’s the same place where Stevie Wonder and many more have worked.) With an Alabama Shakes intensity, they deliver a solid collection of music that wails with guitar, come-to-Jesus organ, bass, drums and more.
“Shut Up and Sing” starts with a piano and builds to a roots rock wall of sound, with a female vocal that tells us how it is. She’s not someone you want to piss off: “you’ve gotta story to tell / why don’t you tell it?/ it could have wings / you’d only have to speak it to see / the world is waiting to turn, you’re in it /but you just can’t help / but make it all about you.”
Even when they’re singing about something as bleak as the oil spill – yes, that oil spill – it’s done with an attitude that makes you want to dance all night. “The Oil Spill” spits out how we’re all fed the corporate line and really, everything will be okay, right? “… and the birds of a feather they’re all stuck together …” It’s all nailed down with a crunchy guitar riff and a righteous fiddle.
“Grey Girl” has a wailing harmonica, evoking the blues. “Driftin’” slows down a bit, but still has great dynamics, building and then, breaking down, with lyrics about not fitting in. The harmonies are so rich you could eat them with a spoon.
They’ve got a great vibe and the lead singer has enough energy to power a large city. The EP is mixed like a rock release, with the vocal close to the instruments. I really wanted to understand the words better. Her vocal style is characterized by slurring the lyrics, which can offer great character – really, do we need another pretty voice with perfect diction? – but it’s occasionally too much with this kind of top-heavy mix. All the same, I’ll bet this band cranks it at live shows. They tour a lot in the South. Lucky Southerners.
The Shiz website: http://www.shizrock.com/
The Shiz free music download: http://www.noisetrade.com/iamtheshiz/i-am-ep