There is an inherent difference between incorporating retro sounds into modern music and simply aping the styles of the past. When Cults channeled the girl groups of Motown's heyday, they transformed it into modern electronic pop and breezy almost psychedelic rock. Chairlift has more in common with Duran Duran than Radiohead or Animal Collective (the Collective in turn draws a lot of their sound from trying to capture the harmonious experimentation of Pet Sounds
) but they craft a sonic ambience and experimental nature to their re-imagining of the New Romantics. Buzz band Alabama Shakes
are obviously huge fans of 50s/60s guitar rock outfits like Jerry Lee Lewis or Janis Joplin but rather than taking that sound and seeing how it can fit within the contours of modern indie rock, they simply wind up feeling like an artifact from the classic rock era with nothing new to bring to the table.
Let there be no mistake. Alabama Shakes play that rockabilly/honky tonk rock and roll as well as its ever been played. Lead singer Brittany Howard has a natural soulful voice that will make the unprepared think they may be listening to a lost Janis Joplin track (though live she sways back and forth spastically like Joe Cocker. Her backing band provides that classic retro sound. Yet, that's all they seem to do. They put on a good live show though and here are some videos from their performance for Kink FM.