Review: "Do You Like My Tight Sweater?" is the album that announced Moloko to the world, but is also one of their most experimental. The dance duo's debut featured big singles like "Dominoid" and the UK Top 40 charting "Fun For Me", which was also used in the Batman & Robin soundtrack of 1997. The album finds producer Mark Brydon combining elements of trip hop, big beat, disco and electronica with Roisin Murphy's sensuous and widescreen art-pop vocals, despite the fact that at the time she had zero prior professional experience. This timely limited reissue comes on heavyweight turquoise vinyl and reminds us of a golden era of UK electronica.
Review: Early 80s new Wave pop outfit Haircut One Hundred are best known for their big single "Love Plus One" but this album proves they were more than one trick ponies. Infusing their pop, rock and synth sound with Conga, woodwind and Brazilian percussion leads to superbly colourful tracks that brim with sunshine. There's an upbeat and youthful innocence to "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" that is utterly infectious, while busier post punk funk like "Love Plus One" will get you on your toes even after all these years, and "Kingsize (You're My Little Steam Whistle)" gets all sexy with its lead sax and clattering steel drum tumbles.
Review: Music On Vinyl continues to offer up fresh vinyl editions of albums from Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook's "Dark Side Of The Moog" series, a largely CD-only sequence of sets that brought together two of Germany's most celebrated electronic music talents. This volume - the seventh in total - was recorded by the pair in cahoots with Bill Laswell way back in 1998, and appears here for the first time on wax. While naturally rooted in the kind of intergalactic ambience that was always Namlook's forte, the various versions of "Obscured By Klaus" include audible nods to throbbing ambient techno, deep electro and '90s psy-trance. The standout moment, though, is pure slowly shifting ambient bliss: the near 20-minute voyage that is "Part 3".
Review: The late Pete Namlook remains a giant of the ambient world. His vast catalogue of works has defined and redefined the genre over and over again, often alongside fellow greats from Move D to Richie Hawtin. In 2016, however, it was Klaus Schulze at the controls alongside his German countryman and together they cooked up this eight-part adventure into cosmic ambience and psychedelic sound design. Some parts reference Eno's seminal "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", some are more synth heavy, Vangelis-style epics, and some dip into Detroit techno for their cues. It makes for an album as expansive as it is excellent.
Review: Real reggae lovers will long have been attuned to this "Soul Of Jamaica" compilation, which draws together the best of the 60s onto one essential slab of wax. The original is highly sought after so this is a welcome reissue from Music on Vinyl. Twelve small but perfectly formed nuggets from artists like Alton Ellis, Tommy McCook and The Paragons exude that dusty, gauzy authenticity that defined this early era-reggae. Some of the tunes swagger, some of them soar, there are sun kissed uplifters and blue-eyed downbeats, but all of them hit the spot.
Review: This newly expanded reissue of classic Desmond Dekker compilation "Double Dekker" includes six rare bonus cuts next to the rest of the material that helped it make such an international impact. There isn't much cross over with other compilations, either, making it a must for fans of the late vocalist. Interestingly, this release was compiled after Dekker had left Trojan for the newly formed rival Creole, and it went on to become one of their biggest sellers, at the same time as putting his newer recordings into the shadows. So sink in and enjoy one of rocksteady's best.
Review: Music On Vinyl has done the world a favour - or vinyl-loving ambient enthusiasts, at least - by offering up wax editions of Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook's work as Dark Side of the Moog. For the uninitiated, the German duo released a string of CD-only ambient albums under the alias over a 14-year period between 1994 and 2008. Volume six, subtitled "the Final DAT", first surfaced on Namlook's Fax label in 1997. It featured fellow ambient explorer Bill Laswell and features tracks that drift between spoken word-laden deep space soundscapes ("Part I"), trip-hop influenced late night shufflers ("Part II"), bubbly ambient trance ("Part III"), blissful ambient techno ("Part IV", with its sun-kissed guitar solos and spaced-out grooves) and widescreen electronic epics (the utterly sublime brilliance of 24-minute "Part V").
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Tommy's Rock Steady" (3:01)
The Techniques - "Drink Wine" (2:57)
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Hot Rock" (3:39)
Miller, Williams, Yount - "Release Me" (4:11)
Sam Jones/Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Hey Leroy" (3:03)
The Techniques - "Queen Majesty" (3:35)
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics/King Kurtis - "Soul Serenade" (3:13)
The Paragons - "Mercy Mercy" (2:59)
Phyllis Dillon - "Don't Touch Me Tomato" (3:04)
The Melodians - "You Don't Need Me" (3:08)
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - "Down Bond Street" (3:15)
Review: The Treasure Isle Recording Studio is unparalleled when it comes to some of the biggest rocksteady hits to come out of Jamaica. On this essential reissue, some of its greatest output is explored on tenor sax by Tommy McCook - an original pioneer of the sound and one of Jamaica's most celebrated musicians - and produced by the legendary Duke Reid of the Trojan Sound System. This is music from a golden era, when rocksteady outshone the more upbeat ska, and focus was shifted to song based material, with elements of r&b and blues all reimagined through a decidedly Jamaican lens.
Review: The Pioneers were pivotal during the skinhead reggae period and their 1970 album Battle Of The Giants on the mighty Trojan Records is as fine as they come. At the time it was released, the band was spending lots of time in the UK and taking cues from ska, but always returned to Jamaica to record. It shows in a record that mixes driving reggae grooves with more pop leaning songs and flourishes of soul. Swaggering rhythms like "Samfie Man" sit next to love struck tunes like "Consider Me" and it's not hard to see why this outfit was one of the first to have international reggae hits in the post-rocksteady era.
Review: Between 1994 and 2008, German electronic legends Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook recorded eleven albums as Dark Side of The Moog. Most of these were never released on vinyl, making this first wax edition of 1996's volume five - in which another legendary figure, Bill Laswell, also contributed - a must have for ambient enthusiasts. The set itself is typical of the pair's collaborative work, offering up a mixture of synthesizer-powered neo-classical movements, breathtaking ambient soundscapes, gentle rhythmic spaced-out epics, sunrise-ready electronica and deep space ambient dub. It's the sound of two true masters at work, offering up timeless electronic music that will never sound tired or contrived.
Review: Scottish rock band Big Country's 1986 album The Seer has been reissued as an expanded double-LP set! This album in particular delivers a title track that features vocals from Kate Bush, plus the band's biggest UK hit "Look Away". This expanded edition also brings with it four bonus tracks; namely, and most intriguing, a disco mix of "One Great Thing" - a slight curveball for the band considering this album was hailed as their most Celtic influenced work - and two lesser known tracks "Song Of The South" and "Giant". For a trip back to the days of stadium rock, Ireland's Big Country were a band that were and remain an outside curio of '80s rock, with The Seer lasting as a masterwork in their discography that also includes Steeltown, Wonderland and No Place Like Home.