Although now based in Los Angeles, Mayer Hawthorne (born Andrew Cohen) grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Instead of following the route of proto-punk rock bands like the Stooges or co-opting the latter-day bluesy garage rock of the Dirtbombs, Hawthorne embraced the soulful sounds and perfect melodies produced under Berry Gordy's Motown imprint. Even a cursory listen to the guy's music leaves you wondering what decade it's from. The production, the singing and the instrumentation — the last two performed entirely by Hawthorne — is vintage Holland-Dozier-Holland, with the Funk Brothers sitting in. It could all be just another young white guy ripping off African-American artists, but Hawthorne's reverent treatment of the material does honor to the music that inspired him.
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