Excerpts from Return of the Golden Rhodes
The Baldwin Brothers - Return of the Golden Rhodes

I picked up the first full length release by The Baldwin Brothers (no not those Baldwin Brothers) “Cooking with Lasers” a couple of years back without really knowing what I was buying. I found it in a used bin for less than $3 and listened to a couple of the tracks and decided I'd give it a closer listen. I was pleasantly surprised, and throughly enjoyed that CD. So I was pretty surprised to find their latest release “Return of the Golden Rhodes” for sale used at around $3 on Needless to say, I ordered it right away.

The Baldwin Brothers are, at their core Jason Hinkle and TJ Widner of Chicago. They've been working on their music since childhood, and their sound is a fusion between lounge, house, and live funk.

On “Return”, they have added several guest vocalists, and my personal favorite is the second track on the disc, “A Matter of Time”. Fuse a housey beat with a 60's lounge sound with a female rapper/vocalist Sarai – When I first heard this, I could have sworn that there were two women in the song, but the tracklisting only credits the one. This is another of several funk infused purchases I've recently made, and I think that this is the kind of “electronic” music that should have wider appeal. Give the sample on this page a full listening – and if you use, why not spend the $5 (including shipping) and get a copy of this. While you're at is, spend another $2 and pick up their first CD, you'll not be disappointed.

Here is what others have had to say about “Return of the Golden Rhodes”:


If you have ever played Lumines Live! just to chill out to the laid back electro lounge funk, The Baldwin Brothers are for you. Their groove-heavy latest is full of chilled lounge music, enriched by '70s disco and fresh electronic tones; playing out like a soundtrack to the addictive puzzler. The mostly instrumental album features the occasional guest vocalist, to keep you from falling into a funky voiceless abyss; although, you probably would not mind.

The Return Of The Golden Rhodes will quench your thirst for funky grooves repeatedly; never missing a beat, and never disappointing. While some of it falls into unremarkable territory, as on atmospheric lounging "Gravity's Fone" and late Marvin Gaye dream-soul inspired "The Snow Falls", as a whole, it is an infinitely listenable and enjoyable funky ride. Next time someone asks who the coolest Baldwin Brother is, you can say hands-down it is the band.


The Baldwin Brothers call their sound "junktronic" and on The Return of the Golden Rhodes they throw just about every style of dancefloor-friendly junk possible into their mix: house, hip-hop, acid jazz, squelchy big beat, soul-jazz, and '70s soundtrack funk are just a few of the styles to be found jostling for breathing room.

The group seems content to meander jazzily when there is no singer or song to bolster, treading far too close to smooth jazz on "Go from There" and "Gravity Fone." You may find yourself zoning out during these tracks, waiting for the next vocal, and that's not a good sign. The Return of the Golden Rhodes is far too uneven to be successful, but the high points give fans of electronic pop with vocals a reason to tune in.


The Baldwin Brothers – and other bands of whatever stripe you want to call their genre – do have interesting things to say, whether or not the core ideas required a little grave-digging. Their second album for hipsterista label TVT finds the band settled down some, positioning their turntablism, samples and breakbeats around a 70s curiosity shop reminiscent of Winston Giles in its sang-froid innocence, sort of what you’d get if every decent jingle idea for a 20something-centric TV ad were lined up in a Madison Avenue stock-loopage comp.

By that standard it’s often house-DJ-ready, but there are a lot of layers going on, making for a headphone or commute-time experience that’s personal and ultimately just plain, you know, nice. This sort of thing – technically progressive but down-to-earth experimentalism designed specifically for humans – is a prototypical example of what’ll eventually be thought of as the most salvageable sounds of a musical decade made entirely of spare parts from previous ones and devoid of pop originality; Golden Rhodes does require an honest loosening up on the listener’s part, particularly if your list of low-IQ energy-vampire buds is long, because they won’t get it.