Review: She may be best known as a TV and radio presenter, but Nigerian star Julie Coker also enjoyed a short but successful music career. She released two albums of note - highlife-focused 1976 debut "Ere Yon (Sweet Songs)" and 1981's more disco-centric "Tomorrow" - both of which now fetch eye-watering sums online. This fine retrospective showcases cuts from both of those sets, with the many highlights including the spacey, delay-laden highlife cheeriness of "Re Hese", the Clavinet-sporting disco-funk-goes-pop bounce of "It's All For You", the low-slung but rising, gospel influenced brilliance of "Gossiper Scandal Monger" and the heavily percussive, off-kilter goodness of album closer "Iyo-Re". You might also notice the intro of 'Ere Yon', which was recently sampled to great effect in Anderson .Paak's "Saviers Road"!
Review: Something of a deity to many, Paul Weller has undergone more than his fair share of metamorphoses in a storied forty year career, but the quality control of his output post-2007's '22 Dreams' has surprised even some of most ardent devotees, and 'A Kind Revolution' is ample evidence that even as he approaches 60 his creative energy and questing spirit are undimmed. He's still searching for new modes of expression that belie his reputation as a soul-style traditionalist, and in a fractious and hostile era, the messages of hope are as much a balm as his increasingly mellifluous voice.
Review: Since bagging the 2014 Mercury Music Prize for sophomore set V.20, GoGo Penguin has become one of the most talked-about outfits around. The self-confessed "very modern piano trio" has succeeded largely due to their far-sighted ability to fuse more traditional jazz and classical music sounds with a surprisingly wide palette of influences, most notably dancefloor-focused 21st century electronic music. On A Humdrum Star, their fourth full length, the Manchester threesome has decided to take a "freer" and more "liberated" approach. The resultant music is every bit as exciting, entertaining and beguiling as you'd expect, with the full-throttle, high-octane dancefloor jazz of "Raven", atmospheric and undulating "Bardo" and gently jazz-funk influenced brilliance of closer "Window" amongst the highlights.