Over the last half of 2015 and the beginning of this year, you’d likely come across one of JOVM most recent mainstay artist, Raleigh, NC-based funk and soul artist Jamil Rashad and his solo recording project Boulevards. Describing his sound as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move,” Rashad’s work caught my attention as it draws from the classic funk sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, Rick James, Chic, the production work of Quincy Jones – most notably Off the Wall and Thriller-era Michael Jackson, as well as Talking Heads, Grace Jones, and Cameo among others. Unsurprisingly, those acts were the sounds that he listened to as a child — although his teenage interest in punk, hardcore and metal also influenced his own songwriting and production work. And with the release of his Boulevards EP, Rashad quickly put himself on the map as part of a growing neo-disco/neo-funk movement that includes several other JOVM mainstays including Dam-Funk, Escort, Rene Lopez, and several others.
April 1 will mark the highly-anticipated release of Rashad’s Boulevards full-length debut, the aptly titled Groove! Now you may recall that last month, I wrote about Groove!‘s first single “Cold Call,” an 80s synth R&B and pop-inspired single comprised of layers of wobbling and shimmering synth stabs paired with a sinuous bass line, Rashad’s seductive cooing, warm blasts of horn and an anthemic hook in a slow-burning jam that channels Cameo’s “Word Up!” and “Candy,” Oran “Juice” Jones‘ “The Rain” Adding to the period specific feel, are the brief interludes with Rashad seemingly flirting and coming on to the listener. The album’s second and latest single “Up On On Your Love” continues Rashad’s burgeoning reputation for dance party worthy, sensual funk as it pairs shimmering synths, propulsive drumming, shimmering Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar chords, handclaps around the infectious hook and Rashad’s sexy come ons — and although the song sonically manages to resemble The Jacksons “Can You Feel It?,” it may arguably be the sexiest single on the album to date. Like the rest of Rashad’s work it’s sexy yet incredibly danceable, especially around the percussive “Burn This Disco Out” like bridge.