At the formative age of seven he fell in love with Motown at first sound and decades later, now-keyboardist-vocalist Micah Motenko is channelling everything he adored about the classic soul style mononymously as Motenko. And though the titular frontman is decidedly Motenko’s head songwriter, you couldn’t dismiss the bold brilliance of Micah’s three-piece backing band, one that allows the group to truly look the part of a ’60s Detroit or ’70s LA soul quartet and provides Micah with an ideal vehicle for his arrangements. That’s not to say Motenko doesn’t occasionally stray into more modern sensibilities (themselves informed by the traditional soul scene), given their penchant for ’90s and early-’00s R&B, and the occasional spices heard in hip-hop recipes.
It’s crazy to think that in the mere two years they’ve been together, Motenko spent about half that time maintaining a residency at Austin’s Stay Gold, something that lent itself to their frontman’s recent nomination for “Best Keyboardist” in the 2020 Austin Chronicle music poll, all without the benefit of a studio album. At the tail end of February Motenko released “On Your Level”, proving the band’s ability to mimic Motown’s carefully-constructed compositions, head-bobbing grooves, and of course, Micah’s knack for knocking it out of the park with his crystalline vocals. Their upcoming self-titled EP promises much more of the same ilk, ensured by an intimate, vocal-heavy R&B track that’s quick to recall Voodoo-era D’Angelo, and shared exclusively with KUTX today, “Silhouette”!
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