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Track review: 'Look Around' b/w 'A Little Bit' by Danielle Ponder and Karate Boogaloo


If you know anything about local singer Danielle Ponder, you know how deep she’s willing to dig in search of a righteous groove. With her first record label release — “Look Around”/ “A Little Bit” from Hope Street Recordings — she’s dug into the musical substrata by plugging in with Karate Boogaloo, a band of cinematic funkateers from Melbourne, Australia.

These are two mellow tunes from Ponder’s arsenal. I say “mellow,” but I don’t mean any less intense. On “A Little Bit,” the drums start to escalate the proceedings, but the guitar keeps it bashful and sweet.

Karate Boogaloo has a delightful vintage soul sound, à la the late Sharon Jones’s band The Dap Kings, which provides a great balance to Ponder’s more contemporary soul-pop leanings.

Ponder’s voice sounds bolder than ever, as she brings the dynamics all the way down to nearly a whisper, and then all the way up again. It’s as if she’s kissing each note goodbye before she sings it away. With Ponder out front, the music smolders and burns.

Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at [email protected].