Photo: Danny Clinch

Valerie June – “Shakedown” (Singles Going Steady)

Valerie June brings us a gospel that speaks in tongues and gets down and dirty on “Shakedown”.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Valerie June brings us a gospel that speaks in tongues and gets down and dirty on “Shakedown”. A bluesy twang gives her folk sounds grit while June sings up a storm and unfettered keyboards rock without getting slick. If you’re not catching serious spirit, listen again and again and again: the simplicity is catching, and one listen isn’t enough. This is music that wakes the whole body, with knee slaps and hand claps all implied. This is a song made to shake the sins from your skin and your skin from your bones, and it’s got some heavy grooves. [8/10]

Andrew Paschal: It’s fitting that the music video for “Shakedown” is a live performance of the song, as this feels like the setting for which it was truly devised. The track has a loose and pleasantly careless vibe, a light Southern rock jam designed to bring bodies together and circulate warmth. Arriving in the deepening of winter, this is a welcome endeavor indeed. Whether or not June’s latest leaves much of a lasting impression is up to the listener, but this may be beside the point. “Shakedown” seems spontaneous and ephemeral by nature, as though June and company picked up their instruments and let the song simply appear (a masterful illusion to be sure). If it evaporates entirely after its less than three-minute runtime, it still will have accomplished its mission. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: I really like the eclectic vibe here. There’s kind of a swampy gospel feel to it, but it rocks, with a freewheeling party atmosphere and a lot of noisy guitar and retro keyboards. Naysayers may accuse it of being a bit derivative — in a Black Keys kind of way — but there are a raw excitement and vitality that makes it hard to ignore. [8/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Although I’m a bit biased as I’ve had the luxury of seeing and meeting Ms. June several times over through the years, this latest record has a certain juxtaposition. Ditching folkier strains for some funked up bluesy jazz rock, Ms. June is bringing it with a Les Paul Jr. and her killer backing band. The woman simply houses more beauty and soul than a small continent; great band, phenomenal songwriter. Here’s to hoping this album perpetuates her through the stratosphere where she belongs. [8/10]

Valerie June‘s new album, The Order of Time, releases 27 January via Concord Records.

SCORE: 7.75