Written by Maria Arroyo
Formerly known as the multi-instrumentalist and co-lead singer for the group, Durand Jones & The Indications, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, Aaron Frazer, recently released his solo debut album, Introducing… via Dead Oceans/Easy Eye Sound. Introducing… is described as a “testament to his wide-ranging influence and showcases deep gratitude for his musical community.”
“A lot of these songs are inspired by the relationship that I’m currently in, which is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in. Throughout the process, I was feeling a lot of gratitude. Not just for my sweetheart, but for my bandmates, for my family and friends who have helped me get to the point where I can have this experience,” Frazer explains.
The opening track, “You Don’t Wanna Be My Baby,” kicks us off with a fun and funky vibe that sends good vibrations all throughout. There’s a ton to listen for from the uniqueness and intricacies of his voice to the arrangement of the instrumentation. It has a strong and full sound to it, while staying in tune with the softer tone of his voice.
“If I Got It (Your Love Brought It)” carries a more sensual energy to it that mixes with fire and soul to really keep the energy up throughout the album, and I really took a liking to this song.
“Can’t Leave It Alone” has the soul of Aretha Franklin and the sweet timbre of Frazer‘s voice. This track really highlights the inspirations of blues and soul that he carries in his writing. It’s catchy and groovy, with a strong lyrical foundation and a great emphasis on the rhythmic section to really drive the song. Even if it’s the first go around of the track, you can’t help but sing along.
His next track is a “soul-jazz rumination on the tumultuous state of the earth with a folk inflection, reflecting on the ways we choose to tune out in the face of crises like homelessness and climate change.” Titled “Bad News” this song keeps Frazer’s high energy intact while just being an overall incredible sounding song.
The next song down the line is “Done Lyin'” which is best described as a “unique blend of ’90s R&B and Chicago steppers” that talks about the battles we face regarding our loved ones and addition, whereas “Lover Girl” turns the tune around to bring back some of that high energy to still keep the album from being too heavy. The resonance in his voice is especially highlighted in this track, and really makes it stick out the most in my mind!
“Love Is” has a smooth and psychedelic tone to it that blends with his modern influences very well, whereas “Over You” has more of an edge and bite to both the instrumentation and his voice. It’s sensual and energetic with enough variation in his voice that he controls almost effortlessly. Most definitely another favorite off the album!
Frazer’s closing track, “Leanin’ On Your Everlasting Love,” is a soulful and gospel creation, blending seamlessly with a modern twist and makes the song bring this album to the next level. The vibe is heart-stopping and couldn’t have wrapped up the album any better! His voice is infectious and I could listen to it all day. Introducing… is beautifully graceful and a fucking incredibly executed album!
Session musicians like members of the Memphis Boys (“Son of A Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin), symphony percussionist Sam Bacco, and other players of the Daptone-Big Crown Records universe came together with the help of producer and Black Keys‘ guitarist Dan Auerbach to help Frazer bring his vision to life.
“Aaron is just so incredibly gifted; to be so good at drums and sing like that at the same time. It’s just hitting so hard and I reached out immediately after I heard ‘Is it Any Wonder.’ I love falsetto singing – there’s something so vulnerable about it,” Auerbach shares.
“I didn’t want Introducing… to be an exact recreation of an era or a style. We have this opportunity to be inspired by and take direction from our musical forerunners, and also what’s happening now — from contemporary hip hop, from pop music,” Frazer says. “I’m excited to keep breaking some of the expectations around what exactly I’m supposed to be artistically and musically, or what this scene as a whole can be.”
Connect with Aaron Frazer