Music and fashion go 'round in circles, with '80s-style stunna shades and keyboard rhythms the trend in 2009. But one musical era will never go out of style: '60s doo-wop and soul. Enter Mayer Hawthorne, a singer, producer, and hip-hop head who grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, making spacey boom-bap beats under the name DJ Haircut. Aside from rap, however, Mayer had a passion for Motown soul and eventually tried making his own. That turned into a two-song demo that wound up in the hands of Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf. At first, Wolf didn't believe it was new music or that Hawthorne was really the one singing and playing the instruments.
Eventually he realized the truth and signed Hawthorne to his label. The latter's first single, "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out," was released on red, heart-shaped vinyl this past Valentine's Day. The song is the nicest break-up speech you'll ever need, while the feel of the music takes you back to school dances and sharing chocolate milkshakes. Fellas, button up your two-pieces; ladies, hike up those miniskirts; and cruise over to Purdy this Sunday. Hawthorne will be there, rockin' an exclusive DJ set and a live PA of selected tracks from his upcoming debut album, A Strange Arrangement, due out this fall.