Review: Garden Of Eden was another one of those obscure, one-shot bands who released a sole single at some point in the 1970s and then promptly vanished from view. That single, "Everybody's On A Trip", has long been sought-after amongst collectors of intergalactic disco-funk, hence this reissue from the Backatcha crew. The title track is a downlow delight, with flanged guitar riffs, spacey synth lines, punchy horns and quality male vocals rising above a hot and heavy groove. Over on the flip "It Takes Two" is sweet, slow and dewy-eyed in the tried-and-tested tradition of B-side ballads.
Review: Xtra xtra read all about it! Backatcha excavate a serious New York disco boogie rarity from 82. One of the first productions by BC Records founder Began Cekic, led by prolific backing-vocalist for the likes of Chic and Talking Heads Dolette McDonald, the result is a sultry downtempo affair with an obscene slap-bass line, sweet synth sprinkles and a strut that's roomy enough for Dolette to do her thing. Complete with an instrumental, this lives up to its name. Special.
Review: Even though it appeared on his fine 1971 album "Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse" - a suitably dystopian set in which our hero rails against the ills of godless society - "Jagger The Dagger" is not one of Eugene McDaniels better known tracks. Yet as this Japanese seven-inch reissue proves, it remains a superb chunk of bizarre-but-brilliant jazz/rock/soul fusion full of delay-laden country style guitar solos, weirdo backing vocals, sumptuously laidback grooves and vocals that take aim at Mick Jagger and his "devil's dance". Flipside "Cherrystones" is a Vietnam War-era civil rights cry built around good old-fashioned fuzz-toned grooves, Chuck Berry style rock 'n' roll guitar solos and a pretty crazy lead vocal.
Review: The latest must-have reissue on Athens Of The North's psychedelic-minded Ocean of Tears offshoot comes from Symphonic Four, a St Louis-based combo who released one seven-inch - from which both these tracks are taken - on local label Zudan in 1978 or 79. Interestingly, "Who Do You Think You're Fooling" - a languid, bass-heavy deep soul treat with a suitably psychedelic sound - was reportedly recorded in Detroit with members of Parliament/Funkadelic amongst the backing musicians. The A side "Part 1" version is the more straight-laced of the pair, though we prefer the wilder and weirder "Part 2" version on the flip, where odd electronic noises, delay-laden vocals and reverb-heavy instrumentation create a seriously psychedelic mood.
Review: Already well known in his native France, Anglo-French soul singer Alexis Evans has set his sights on global stardom - or at least reaching his full potential and touring the world. "I Made A Deal With Myself" is his second single since making the move to Record Kicks earlier in the year. The title track is superb - a doozy of an early '60s style soul stomper that sees Evans pitch himself as a modern day version of soul great Jackie Wilson. Flipside "Your Words" is similarly stylistically authentic, with saccharine strings and woozy horns helping to create a suitably sweet, loved-up mood.
Review: London label Olindo continues to explore the world of contemporary Venezuelan music via a three-track 7" from up-and-coming multi-instrumentalist and composer Isaac Sasson. The two original tracks here are sweet, loose and gently breezy, with Sasson offering up an atmospheric blend of soft-focus South American rhythms, evocative acoustic guitars, humid tropical field recordings, breathy flute solos and occasional flashes of his own improvised vocals. The flipside boasts a fine remix from Albert's Favourites artist Hector Plimmer, who fuses hand-picked Sasson samples - percussion, vocals, and so on - with dreamy synthesizer chords, lilting electronic melodies and a super-deep breakbeat groove.
Review: With their "Foundations" series, DJ Spinna and Kai Alce continue to explore the formative years of house music culture, offering up seven-inch singles showcasing classic and overlooked gems. This fourth volume in the series contains two more must-have tracks subtly re-edited to fit the format by the effervescent Alce. First up on side A is Dreamer G's vocal anthem "I Got The Feeling", a 1992 NYC house classic - and Timmy Regisford favourite - produced by none other than Kerri Chandler. On the flip Spinna and Alce take us back to 1988, offering up an early New Jersey house production from the "Backroom Boys" team of Cassio Ware, Derek A. Jenkins and Dwayne Richardson, who would later find fame as DJ Spen. A superb song that's as soulful as you'd expect, it's largely been overlooked for over three decades.