The Alabama Shakes play a brand of southern soul music that would put a smile on Otis Redding's face and a shimmy in Sam Cooke's Shake. But the Athens, Alabama quartet rocks harder than most r&b groups and ditches the studied retro embellishments that make Sharon Jones more nostalgic than vital. On a new 4-song EP, they sound like a real band, with real potential that might lead in any number of directions. And on New Year's Eve, they're playing the 9:30 Club with Booker T and The Drive-By Truckers. They should fit right in.