Seeing Cooke is a recognizable inspiration for “Howling at Nothing” from last year’s debut, it’s smart that Rateliff decided not to use these two tracks on his debut. There’s a twangy friendship song called “How to Make Friends.” There’s even two takes of a middling track called “Out on the Weekend,” one that’s a regular stomper and another that’s a forgettable, washed out indie rock recapitulation dubbed “Late Nate Party.”
Despite any filler, the funky blast of “I Did It” — thankfully not a cover of that DMB song — is a welcomed treat, along with the cinematic sway of “What I Need” and the feel-good dance vibes of “Parlor,” which are both styled after one of Rateliff’s biggest soul idols, Sam Cooke. The new Rateliff is back, again. 18 via Stax Records. And while the record exemplifies just how good Rateliff is at being a gruff soul man, it understandable why these songs didn’t make it onto his self-titled debut. No one wants to be an older, heavily bearded white guy just aping greats like Cooke. Either way, down another shot, chew another fry, light another smoke and get to tapping your toes already. (Or do they?)
Then again, Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ ability to blur the lines between their own music and classic soul – their knack for freshening up something we’ve heard so many times before – is what sets the band apart. There’s a typical acoustic blues number called “Just to Talk to You,” akin to something John Mayer might throw onto an album to slow things down. Each of the eight tracks (minus that rousing live cut of “Wasting Time”) sound more like homages to his biggest influences, the type of tunes a songwriter might pen when playing around with a new genre. To that end, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have supplied another ear-pleasing dose of their agreeable soul sounds with “A Little Something More From,” due out Nov. Like another shot of whiskey during last call, an order of extra-large fries or the final drag of a post-sex cigarette, we’ll never get enough of the good stuff. Rateliff’s “A Little Something More” comes out on November 18. Image via Sacks Co. To clarify, this EP is a quick collection of B-sides and alternative versions, plus one live recording from The Stax Museum of American Soul Music (which gives some insight as to why The Night Sweats are such a beloved live act at the moment).