Stiletto Ghetto founded in San Francisco by Louis Raphael (drums, producer and co-writer) in 2011 employs a rotating cast of backing musicians and vocalists to complete live and studio lineups. Influenced by everything from Aretha Franklin to Guns N’ Roses, the group painstakingly crafts songs with a refreshing vibe while combining their collective inspiration into a distilled, potent rock potion.
Capable of playing everything from drums and percussion to horns and keys, they handle everything including writing and producing Stiletto Ghetto’s music, ensuring the final product is truly their own. By 2011, Stiletto Ghetto caught the ear of guitar legend Steve Vai and landed on his Digital Nations label, releasing Tendernob Hillbillies the same year. Featuring 6 prime cuts of Stiletto Ghetto’s unmistakable 80s-influenced funky rock, word quickly spread throughout Northern California, earning them a spot on the main stage alongside Linda Perry and Sandra Bernhard during the 2011 San Francisco Pride Parade in front of 100,000 attendees.
Stiletto Ghetto tracks were also licensed for two independent movies, including a film directed by Josefina Lopez, author of the acclaimed Real Women Have Curves. They also appeared on a number of 80s tribute records, released by Versailles records, alongside historic acts such as Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash’s Snakepit and many more. While fans await the group’s sophomore effort, Tendernob Hillbillies is available for purchase through digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon and more, with free tracks up for streaming on the official Stiletto Ghetto website.
In the meantime Stiletto Ghetto has added a bunch of exhilarating tracks to their catalog, namely “Ticket to the Sky”, “Get Outta My Head”, “Upside Down”, “I Must Confess” and “Release Me”.
The first question I asked myself after listening to Stiletto Ghetto, is why this is not yet a headlining superstar act in America is beyond me? The obvious thing that strikes you immediately is the vocal quality of this project. The female voice is so unique, so above and beyond the average singers out there that it’s a real shame more people don’t know about this amazing band.
Right from the bluesy, “I Must Confess”, the vocals are so full of texture, emotion and power, it brings a shiver to your spine. Kudos must go to Louis Raphael for the ability to uncover and utilize female vocals of this high tenor. The lady in question is also a great interpreter of all genres too! I listened to some classic tracks reworked by Stiletto Ghetto, ranging from Rock to Funk, and these songs are totally reborn with the lady’s dynamic vocal style. She really can do it all, and does just so on the up-tempo rocker’s, “Ticket To The Sky” and “Get Outta My Head”. But it’s the entire band and arrangements that soar and excel with the more rock-driven tracks. Raphael and crew ignite the orchestrations with bursting horn interludes and some fiery guitar riffs and solos, leaving you breathless and grasping for air.
In true old-school super-group fashion, Stiletto Ghetto is a rock dream team, delivering pumped up rockers with lots of attitude to get you through the day. Yet besides rocking, this project can funk with the best of them. On “Upside Down” they slip and slide with groovy rhythms and chunky guitar strumming, to keep you glued to the dance floor all night long.
This music is so far removed from current sterile electronic productions, which all but appear soulless in comparison to the Stiletto Ghetto catalog. I’m biased, coming from an era where you picked up a guitar and played a damn 12-bar-solo when needed, instead of simply importing a wave file into FL STUDIO. I’m not knocking technology, I love and use it most of the time too, but there can be no substitute for the real thing. Stiletto Ghetto reverberates with real live emotion!
However just as much as this group rocks hard, they also know how to slow it down and groove passionately. “Release Me” and “I Must Confess” are slow burners, once again showcasing the superb vocals and the gallant guitar work on offer. The arrangements are atmospheric and epic, simply washing all over you.
This music for me is a blend between nostalgia and ultra-modern rock. Not too many bands are taking this daring path towards bluesy funk with a hard rock edge. The mixing of rock styles, while all the rage in young bands, are rarely incorporated in such an eclectic manner. Stiletto Ghetto is hot, fast, cool, funky, groovy and frankly is making some fantastic music to be included on their upcoming album, “Legend in Your Own Mind”.
Here’s a case where the whole ends up being greater than the sum of the parts and that’s saying something considering the parts. As you listen to Stiletto Ghetto, you realize that each member and component clearly has his or her own moment to shine, but none seem extraneous, they are always within the context of the song, and that’s a sign of perfect craftsmanship and professionalism!
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