Review: By the time "Touch Me In The Morning" was mailed out to American DJs in 1979, Marlena Shaw has long since established herself as one of soul music's greatest voices. "Touch Me In The Morning" was merely a promo-only affair, remixed from the shorter "Take A Bite" album version - but it did become something of a dancefloor anthem in certain underground clubs. Here, the sought-after 12" is given a replica reissue, with the stomping, string-drenched title track being accompanied by exactly the same B-side cuts as the '79 pressing.
Review: Splendor were a very short lived outfit - '70s funk/soul group including Billy Nunn, Robert "Bobby" Nunn, Sascha Meeks and Richard Shaw. "Take Me To Your Disco" and "Special Lady" were released in 1979 as the first single from the group's eponymous and only LP. It represents a heyday of disco - a zeitgeist where big budgets made for some amazing and seminal productions. With the likes of Philip Bailey (of Earth, Wind and Fire fame) and the legendary Tommy Vicari on production duties - you can really hear the magic on these ones.
I've Been Waitin' For Tomorrow (All Of My Life) (12" mix)
Review: A triumph of enigmatic melody and an enduring document of one artist's personal vision, Matt Johnson's 1983 album still sounds as unique and affecting thirty years on as it did on its release. Replete with bittersweet gems like "This Is The Day" and "Uncertain Smile", "Soul Mining" is an album of paradoxes; too deft of touch to be rock, too weighty to be pop, it defies genre, and still sounds fresh despite being a product of Thatcher's '80s. Moreover, this album, which Johnson would arguably never top, is testimony to the good cheer that can be spread by even the most perennially gloomy songsmith.
Review: If there was ever a flaw to The Vaccines' apparent world domination masterplan, it was that their musical horizons didn't appear to extend much outside the world of straightforward indie guitar rock, yet on the evidence of 'English Graffitti', this has been rectified, and how. With the production assistance of Flaming Lips legend Dave Fridmann, this third album is chock full of sunny enthusiasm and sonic experimentation, lurching into straight-up pop territory on single 'Minimal Affection' just as easily as it tackles an arch Sparks/Devo curveball like '20/20'. It may have been youthful chutzpah that intially marked The Vaccines' arrival, but here the band has audibly grown up, and it rather suits them.