The State Of exemplifies that oxymoronic moment when something sparse becomes atmospheric — like the most electronic form of analog, or vice versa. The Miami duo of drummer Nabedi Osorio and pianist Steph Taylor — both of whom sing — has developed a melodic sound that is tender and haunting with simple instrumentation. These tracks are decisively poppy, even danceable, but stirred in a witch's brew of longing, heartachy vocals, frenetic yet smooth drumming, and dark sensuality.
Also on the bill, Minneapolis-based Black Blondie is frequently compared to Amy Winehouse, and the group has opened for her in the past. Drawing from so many influences can be a challenge, but Black Blondie somehow melds sultry R&B, cosmic trip-hop, and jazz into something unabashedly sexy. Frontwoman Samahra Daly leads with confident aplomb; her eerie vocals make Black Blondie an especially creepy and salacious brand of soul.
Although rounded out by several boys, babe-fronted hometown heroes Bonnie Riot plays gritty, earnest rock that sounds like girl power personified. In short, the group is the unexpected but completely perfect opener for an evening of mellow, groovy soul-baring.