Oakland-based six-piece funk and soul band Trace Repeat have just released their brand new album The Oaktown Sound.
Comprising nine flavorful, horn-heavy, super funky tracks, the album pays homage to the city that has profoundly inspired them: Oakland.
"[This album is us] paying our respects to the city that allowed us to cultivate the creativity that turned into what you hear today," the band said. "We owe a lot to the creative spaces and communities in the city of Oakland, and I can only hope our record does it a little justice."
The music and definitive sounds of some of soul music's biggest innovators and top artists, including James Brown and Al Green, are deliciously audible in each track. From the brilliant sunshine of "Old School Funk" to the high energy attitude of "Just as Simple" to the mellow vibe of "I Do," each song included on The Oaktown Sound is made to be savored, enveloping the listener in all of their respective sonically colorful glory.
Just last week, Trace Repeat released the fourth single from the album, "Morning Love." "I'm really excited that it made it onto the record," vocalist/guitarist/bassist Wesley Woo expressed about the track. "It kind of stretches the band to do a little more in musicianship. I think the tempo shifts and dynamic changes challenge everyone to exercise a lot of restraint every time we play it. It's one of those tunes that's really easy to overplay on, just because it's such a fun groove to hang out in."
Vocally, lyrically, and melodically sexy, "Morning Love" is an absolute highlight on the album and one of its many tracks that calls to mind major jams from Motown greats like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations. "I think it's also one of those songs that get people thinking 'oh yeah, they're doing a Motown thing,' or 'yeah, he's doing a Marvin imitation with those falsetto octaves,'" Woo continued. "That's sort of the point though, you know? The song is a homage to all of these legendary songwriters that we grew up listening to. That melodic James Jamerson playing that taught me how to write a bassline, that Prince kind of attitude that informs Zach's falsetto singing, and so on. So when you catch us imitating, good! That's the point!"
Listen to "Morning Love" below.
The Oaktown Sound tracklist:
- "Got 2 B Funky"
- "Old School Funk"
- "Between U 2"
- "Just As Simple"
- "Morning Love"
- "I Do"
- "Greatest Hits"
Not only is Trace Repeat churning out amazing music and turning heads with their throwback sound, but they are also working toward a greater cause: fighting Asian American stereotypes in music.
"So the problem is really this," Woo explained, "Asian Americans are most commonly known as the quiet type. Silent and compliant, the submissive race. We are the quiet kid in the back of the class that minds our own business and doesn't cause trouble. You know, a pushover, right? What we're really setting out to do with Trace Repeat is break down these stereotypes, in an industry that expects us to sit down, shut up, and behave. It's an unapologetically sexy representation of funk and soul in an industry that expects us to be anything but that. We refuse to be your good Asian kid any longer."
Tackling the subject head on has garnered the band attention from major news outlets, including NBC News and The Huffington Post and also led to the full funding of their IndieGoGo campaign to make The Oaktown Sound within the first week of launching.
The Oaktown Sound is now available to stream and download on digital music platforms.
Trace Repeat is Zach Hing (Vocals, Guitar, Bass), Wesley Woo (Vocals, Guitar, Bass), Ben Peterson (Drums), Dan Wilson (Tenor, Baritone Sax), David Kaiser-Jones (Trombone), and Khrizia Kamille (Vocals, Tambourine). For all of their latest news and updates, follow the band on social media: