Michigan crooner/producer Mayer Hawthorne got in R&B and soul fans' good graces a couple of years ago with "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out," a throwback slice of heartbreak off his debut, A Strange Arrangement. Choosy hip-hop imprint Stones Throw pairs well with a guy who isolates smoky cool from R&B of yesteryear and makes everyone pretend that those beats always thudded through the subwoofers.
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A recent cover of Otis Leavill's "I Need You" shows Hawthorne is digging deeper than just Al Green and Curtis Mayfield for inspiration, and on this new tour with the County, sponsored by a major Japanese car retailer, Hawthorne is back with a fresh single. Futuristic by his standards — maybe 1989 instead of 1969 — "No Strings" does well by his falsetto, and the Classixx-produced track has a late-night, Pharrell-is-in-the-building feel. Bring the one you love, or maybe just the one you wanna love, to this one.