Up Your Early Adopter Alt-R&B Cred By Seeing Inc. and Kelela Tonight
If you want to see what alternative R&B will look like in 2013—if the term itself, which already looks sort of old fart-y, still exists—you should check out Los Angeles-based musicians Inc. and Kelela at (le) poisson rouge tonight for "A No World Takeover." The songs on Inc.'s full-length debut, No World, have been around in one mp3 format or another since they started writing the songs in 2011, but today sees its official release on 4AD. Formerly known as Teen, Inc. and as session musicians for the likes of Pharrell and Raphael Saadiq, brothers Andrew and Daniel Aged are capitalizing on the genre's buildup over the past few years even though they eschew the now-loaded descriptor R&B. For good reason: their whispery coos and silky pseudo-trap owe more to How to Dress Well than the buttered Prince funk of their debut EP, 3.
That's not to say George Benson guitar noodles and D'Angelo's bedroom-eyed piano don't slink into Inc.'s songs from time to time. The duo slyly nod to that on No World opener "The Place", a song so packed with understated desire that the video makes a fawn look lustful. "I feel like I've been here before, the place that we already know" the Ageds sing, as finger snaps cue up the familiar rhythm of sex. And they're right. We keep coming back to R&B and its tropes—notwithstanding satin blouses and clap lights, The Weeknd, and how Tom Krell talks about #AltRnB—because, as Andrew says, "There is a soul and a feeling to it, but it's not really constrained by any specific culture. It exists free from all that. Everything is a feeling. Music, writing, art. That is always the ultimate goal, to generate a real feeling."