now playing: harlem shakes
  • TUESDAY, JUNE 02, 2009

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For those in the know, Harlem Shakes have been a reliable presence in our local NYC scene for a little while now. Of course doing what we do, we've had the pleasure of bumping into them on a number of occasions over the years...though it'd been some time since last we heard a peep from these promising upstarts. And then Technicolor Health fell into our hands this Spring. Needless to say, we haven't put it down since...

Performing at Rachael Ray's Watch Entertainment Showcase last month, this exuberant set from the Shakes' demonstrates exactly why we feel the band have arrived at a mighty, jumping off point in their young career. Quite simply, the Shakes offer scrumptious cuts of delicious pop, carefully tailored as to earn some serious style points along the way. Take singer Lexy Benaim, for example. His is a slightly lackadaisical draw; one that initially suggest he's possibly been stealing signs from both Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and Ra Ra Riot's Wesley Miles. But the nonchalance is vital as Benaim steers his fellow-charmers exactly where they need to go throughout the set. Also playing a pivotal kind of role is drummer Brent Katz. Whether whisking round the toms in afro-popping fashion, or setting off some classic eighties programming, Katz never shies away from keeping his rhythms ambitious, and appropriately so.

The result is a set packed tight with highlights...though if we had to call your attention to a couple stand outs we'd point to "Strickly Game" and "Sunlight". It's exuberant cuts of this nature that suggest Harlem Shakes are not long for their local-phenomenon status. No, we're guessing a whole lot more folks will be shaking to this band in the months to come. "This will be a better year", indeed. - David Pitz

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