Vibe Syndicate
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Vibe Syndicate

Madison, Wisconsin, United States

Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Band R&B Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"MadTracks -- 'Check Yourself' by Vibe Syndicate"

With so many jam acts dipping their toes into soul and funk, young folks may get the impression that a popping bass solo and an endlessly repeated refrain are all it takes to keep the party people satisfied. But that couldn't be farther from the truth.

The best groove acts concentrate on subtle manipulations of dynamics and feature well-schooled players who understand that a vice-tight group sound is far more important than flashy displays of technique. Madison's Vibe Syndicate are definitely from the "less is more" school.

On "Check Yourself" from their new album of the same name, singer Carolynn Black's clever, self-deprecating complaint about an ex lover who fooled her for far too long, the Syndicate's five instrumentalists never stray from the pocket. Even the brief, echoic Santana-esque guitar solo that oozes behind Black during a mid-tune recitative is an exemplar of total control.

James Brown's bands of '60s and early '70s obviously formed the rhythmic base on which "Check Yourself" is built, but that's fine. Black's urbane lyrics and a sly horn part that adds a hint of boogaloo sass to the proceedings make it clear that this guaranteed dance-floor filler is much more than a mechanical cop of the late, lamented Godfather of Soul.

An MP3 of the track are available in the related downloads at right. More music by the band can be found at their MySpace page. Vibe Syndicate, who were voted Madison’s Favorite New Band in the 2007 Annual Manual from Isthmus hosted their release party for Check Yourself back in late October. - Tom Laskin for The Daily Page


New band

Vibe Syndicate plays funk and soul, with the smooth vocals of Carolynn Black topping the mix. Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo plays funky, bluesy rock. And what better category in indulge the habit of music writers everywhere to compare little-known bands to well-known bands with elaborate similes? Third-place Pale Young Gentlemen offer a unique indie music hall sound -- the super-talented love child of Cold Play and the Cure scoring a sequel to the musical Cabaret.

1. Vibe Syndicate

2. Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo

3. Pale Young Gentlemen
- Isthmus Publishing Company, Inc.


Check Yourself - 2007



Vibe Syndicate is an original 6-piece band from Madison, Wisconsin whose sound incorporates elements of funk, soul, r&b, jazz and hip-hop. Influenced by everything from James Brown to Miles Davis, the band features Carolynn Black on vocals and the occasional tambourine, Jon Hoel on saxophone and flute, Wade Alters on keys, Todd Thomas on guitar, John Mesoloras on bass, and Aaron Streicher on drums. Their combined experience and musical knowledge is clearly evident in their electrifying stage performances. A typical set at a Vibe Syndicate show is heavy on the original tunes with some choice covers from artists like Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and west coast funk band Breakestra, to name just a few.

Released in October 2007, their deubt cd “Check Yourself,” flows from one style to the next, wrapping political verses and lusty come-ons around funky grooves and sultry beats. The title track rants against an insensitive lover, while the calypso flavored “Give me more” pleads for, well, more. Ms. Black’s lyrics are often inspired by her experiences living in New York, including “Can you believe?” which recounts 9/11 as seen from her Brooklyn backyard.

Carolynn Black, who also sings with local legend Clyde Stubblefield, joined the band in 2005 after moving to Madison from New York where she was a regular performer at famed Greenwich Village club The Bitter End. John Mesoloras, also a local middle school music director, plays with several outfits including jazz chanteuse Gerri DiMaggio. Jon Hoel, a seriously funky brass man, also plays with The Get Down Syndrome and has helped to organize the Recreational Rhythms festival four years running. Todd Thomas, with great form and content, spent his time with Milwaukee area bands, Life On Other Planets, Symposium, The Pawns and First Light before heading his way to Madison.

Voted Best New Band in 2007 by Isthmus readers in the Annual Manual, Vibe Syndicate has also been nominated for Madison Area Music Awards (MAMA) in 2007, 2005 and 2004.