Michigan-born, Atlanta-based singer and songwriter Curtis Harding, 35, has been bouncing around under the radar of the music biz for a number of years, working as a backup singer for CeeLo Green (and even writing some tunes for him), but in 2014 he’s kicked things into high gear. Earlier this year he introduced his Night Sun project, a kind of garage-rock/soul hybrid with Cole Alexander of the Black Lips. And in May he released his debut, Soul Power (Burger), a sprawling collection of original tunes that reflects a broad, nonhierarchical aesthetic—although his voice privileges soul and gospel.
“I Don’t Wanna Go Home” is a jacked-up indie-rock tune driven by primal tom-tom patters, with a vocal that reminds me of Andre 3000’s performance on the ubiquitous “Hey Ya!” (this makes some sense, as Harding sang on a handful of Outkast remixes back in the day), while “Drive My Car” is a dark, punkish blues-rocker splattered with some nice, slashing guitar. “Next Time” puts me in the mind of early-70s Bobby Womack in its easy embrace of rock verities within a soul setting, a fusion that seems to course through Harding’s blood. For today’s 12 O’Clock Track you can check out the video for the album’s first single, “Keep on Shining,” which makes me think of what the Dirtbombs might’ve sounded like if they’d made records for Philly International back in the early 70s. Harding performs Saturday night at Schubas.