Review: Ubiquity is back with another of its two part 7"s, this time from contemporary soul group The Soul Surfers. Experts at covering the greats, they recently turned their hand to a classic from The JB's, while this time out it is Kool & The Gang's classic "Summer Madness" that gets a deep-cut and sexy make over. Part 1 is a sensuous slow burner with downtempo drums and heavenly guitar playing, while part 2 has harder drum grooves and dreamy , psyched-out guitars. It's another ageless rework that you need in your life.
Review: Dynamite Cuts lives up to its name with this limited 7" from acclaimed Brazilian jazz singer Tania Maria. Two driving and dancey tracks pressed nice and loud for the first time on 45, "Fio Maravilha" is a busy arrangement made up of wild piano, big raw drums and Maria's impassioned, lung-emptying singing that whizzes along at pace. "Bedeu" has a little more Latin flavour, bossa nova swagger and space in the mix for the soul to shine through. Drop either one and take shelter, cause both of these cuts are bombs.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: Swedish house producer HNNY gave up DJing in 2016 but has still been working on music in the background, and we're glad he has, because the two cuts here for new label born out of a Stockholm audiophile bar, Hosoi, are lovely. A side "By" conjures a gorgeous mood with soft snares and what sounds like Spanish guitar strumming away beneath aching vocal coos. Flip over for "Hosoi", a dreamy downtempo groove with live sousing drum work and incidental chords that drift by on a warm breeze. This EP is a perfect tonic for those needing a break from busy modern life.
Review: With the state of world politics at the moment, we could all do with the occasional pick me up. Enter The Pharaohs who link with Chicago natives Spencer Jackson Family for "Bring Back Peace To The World", which gets a timely reissue on Ubiquity. It's a spiritual bit of jazz funk with sax lines to get you grooving, deep soul vocals that stir you from the inside out and gospel overtones that get anyone ready to rejoice. Each part is as essential as the other and despite adding up to just over five minutes in total, both cuts will no doubt enhance your mood.
Review: Undefined is a duo made up of Sahara on keys, bass and programming, and Ohkuma on drums, and word has it that they have roots in Japanese dub. They've already collaborated with dBridge, amongst others, and this new single locks you deep into their world with rim shots and drum fills ringing out into cavernous dub drums. The addition of Rider Shafique's tender, introspective vocals make it a truly standout track. Move quick on this as it's limited to 600 copies worldwide, with no digital, no repress, and a slick screen printed sleeve.
Review: Surprisingly, Don Blackman originally wrote and recorded "Just Can't Stay Away" to play as the recorded message on his girlfriend's answering machine. He later included it - tweaked and turned into a mid-80s style boogie banger reminiscent of his work during that decade - on his second and final album, 2002's CD-only "Listen". Here it finally gets a vinyl release thanks to reissue specialists Melodies International. If you're a fan of boogie, electrofunk and synth-soul it should be an essential purchase, not least because it's every bit as good as more celebrated Blackman productions made earlier in his career. There are "Stereo" and "Mono" mixes to enjoy, with the former naturally offering a more refined and intoxicating listening experience.
Review: 10 years ago, El Michels Affair - a hip-hop loving funk combo spearheaded by Leon Michels - released "Enter The 37th Chamber", an instrumental tribute to the world of the Wu-Tang Clan. To celebrate the record's tenth birthday, they've decided to reissue two of that album's most potent cuts. On the A-side they re-imagine Ol' Dirty Bastard's 1995 anthem "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as a fine fusion of rousing horns, jazz-flecked hip-hop beats and vocals provided by what sounds like a children's choir. Over on side B, Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" gets the cover version treatment, with the band peppering their deep, jazz-funk influenced groove with sharp horns and evocative electric piano solos.
Review: Since launching last year, Lil Static has offered up new, lightly altered editions of classic tracks from Jeru the Damaja, Kraftwerk, Run-DMC, Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. Here they continue to serve up vital beats for break-digging DJs via classic cuts from Eric B. & Rakim and Mountain. The A side sports an edited version of 1986 cut "Eric B. Is President", a synth-bass propelled NYC hip-hop gem rich in unmistakable rap vocals and tight scratching. Over on side B there's a chance to savour Mountain's late '60s rock cut that provided the Eric B. & Rakim track (and so many others since) with its distinctive drum break, "Long Red". This edited version gives more prominence to the breaks, making it an ideal mixing tool for hip-hop DJs.
Review: Anyone who takes their electronic music history seriously should already be hip to this one, but a brief rundown for those new to the roots of electro and techno. Cybotron were the project from Richard Davis and Juan Atkins, who went on to help forge the sound of Detroit techno as Model 500. Released in 1983, their debut album "Enter" was a blueprint for so much music that came after, with "Clear" being the standout track that send 80s heads spinning into a state of funky future shock. This tasty little 7" reissue puts "Clear" on the A side, and 1981 sci-fi boogie belter "Alleys Of Your Mind" on the flip. Two evergreen gems no machine music aficionado should be without.
Review: Way back in 1970, People In The News released their sole single on Knap Town, a tiny label based in Indiana. Original copies of that funk "45" are notoriously hard to find, thanks in no small part to the quality of both cuts. Step forward Athens Of The North boss Euan Fryer, who has secured the rights to reissue the single for the first time. A-side "Color Me" is the real bomb: a down-low chunk of mid-tempo funk with politically charged group vocals, rasping guitar licks and hip-hop style drum breaks. Over on side B, "Misty Shade Of Pink" is the kind of rock solid instrumental funk workout you'd expect to hear from the Meters.
Review: Clear the way when you see them coming through! Three albums deep since 2016, Jalapeno's in-house funk machine The Allergies wheel up with more brand new material. "Every Trick In The Book" shakes and slides with a wry psychedelic groove, a familiar vocal, big horns and lavish dollops of the feel-good flare the Bristol duo have made their signature. Need something spicier? Flip over for "Nuff Respect" where long-standing MC partner in vibes Andy Cooper steps up to cover one of the all time OGs: Big Daddy Kane. Back up and bow.
Melody Nelson (unreleased instrumental edit) (3:50)
Cargo Culte (unreleased instrumental edit) (3:58)
Review: This rather tidy, limited-edition "45" offers up two previously unheard instrumental edits of stone cold classics from the bulging back catalogue of Chanson hero and sleazy but chic singer Serge Gainsbourg. Side A boasts a superb revision of "Melody Nelson", a sweeping, string-drenched affair underpinned by sweaty drumming that arguably benefits from the removal of Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's vocals. Over on side B you'll find an equally evocative version of Beck favourite "Cargo Culte". Stripped of the original lead vocals, the track sounds like a lo-fi art-rock instrumental smothered in ghostly choral vocals and creepy, foreboding musical flourishes. Top stuff!
Review: You can always rely on 5 Borough Breaks for some top shelf hip hop. The label's latest missive is a legendary one from O.C. - "Time's Up" is a rousing, hard hitting beat with an even tougher verse that rides on the booming kicks. It also samples Les DeMerle's "A Day In The Life" which just so happens to be pressed on the flip and yes, it is in fact a cover of The Beatles. Here though, it becomes a stirring big bang jazz cut that forms an impressive wall of retro sound that will inject realness and rawness into any party. Like always with this label, quantities are limited so move fast to get your fix.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Review: American funk band Breakwater is best known for their hit "Release The Beast," which gets a reissue treatment by Be With. Even if you don't know the name, you'll recognise the track's withering lead riff because it was sampled by Daft Punk for their iconic "Robot Rock". It's mad to think such a futuristic sound was created somewhere in Philly in 1979, but it was. The flip side houses the smooth and buttery "Let Love In", a feel good, deep cut funk gem with vocal harmonies, bulbous bass and hip swinging claps.
Review: Last time we heard from London's Lord Tusk, he was joining the dots between deep house and dub via a fine 2018 EP on MIC. Seven-inch single "Tell Me" is an altogether different beast, with the A-side title track offering a spacey, guitar-laden trip into lo-fi rock/intergalactic synth-pop fusion featuring the woozy vocal talents of sometime Unklejam member Tyson. Turn to the flip for "Healer", a gloriously reverb-heavy trip into late night Fleetwood Mac/AOR guitars, skittish drums, tipsy lead vocals and all manner of starburst dub effects.
Review: New York hip hop outfit Missin' Linx's debut release is notable for two reasons: firstly, it features two stone cold jams in the deep cut of "MIA" and the woody boom-bap and smooth flow of "Lock'd". But secondly, and more importantly, "MIA" made use of David McCallum's "The Edge" break before Dr Dre did. Dre's use of it on "The Next Episode" might be more famous, but now you know who did it first.
Review: Since its release in 1973, Ze Roberto's debut single "Lotus 72 D" has become something of an in-demand item amongst collectors of soul-fired Brazilian "MPB". So much so, in fact, that Mr Bongo has licensed it and served up this 7" reissue. In its original A-side form, the track is a carnival-ready slab of samba-soul brilliance rich in razor-sharp horn blasts, rich bass guitar, punchy hand-percussion and twinkling jazz piano solos. Roberto's confident vocals take centre stage, inviting us towards the dancefloor. Over on the flip you'll find a "Fast Version" of Roberto's tribute to 1972 Formula 1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi. This has a slightly more dancefloor-centric tempo, an effect achieved when it was accidentally pitched up for inclusion on a 2001 compilation.
If You Were Me, What Would You Do? (T Groove remix) (4:08)
I Believe In Love (5:03)
Review: Newcastle-based soul imprint Six Nine's latest release comes courtesy of Jimmy Sterling, an obscure Motor City singer/musician who has been active in Detroit since the turn of the '80s. His Six Nine debut begins with a brand new cut, "If You Were Me, What Would You Do (T Groove Remix)". It's a slick and synth-heavy affair - a revivalist chunk of smooth '80s soul rich squeezable synth bass, boogie style chords and effortlessly emotional vocals from Sterling. Sugary slow jam "I Believe In Love" is a previously unissued 1980s recording that ticks all the right "late night medium wave radio" boxes (think programmed synthesizer-driven grooves, snaking sax lines, plucked guitar notes and a dewy-eyed lead vocal from the talented but overlooked Sterling). It's not as potent as the A-side, but's it's still ace.
Review: New Zealand based not for profit label Rain & Shine are proud to present the first official reissue of Skye's highly sought after "Ain't No Need" since it's 1976 release. Remastered and reissued, it has long been a favourite of some of the most well respected DJs across the scene: from Floating Points and Sadar Bahar, to Mr Scruff and Theo Parrish. Strictly limited to 1000, never to be repressed - hand numbered, 7" picture sleeve with a dinked centre hole. Say no more!
Lafayette Afro Rock Band - "Hihache" (extended Breaks Special edition version) (4:23)
Gaz - "Sing Sing" (extended Breaks Special edition version) (4:27)
Review: More sneaky 45 action from the Breaks & Beats crew, a shadowy organization whose tried-and-tested re-edits offer DJ-friendly extensions of popular break-digging favourites (many of which were sampled on classic hip-hop cuts). Their latest seven-inch excursion begins with a tidy revision of Lafayette Afro-Rock Band's brilliant "Hihache", a low-slung favourite rich in lolloping, head nodding drum breaks, jazzy bass, flanged funk guitars and fuzzy horn motifs. The new version is deferential towards its source material, extending breaks here and there whilst leaving much of the tune in tact. One of the most doubled-up drum breaks in hip-hop history takes pride of place on side B, where Gaz's Salsoul released wiggler "Sing Sing" gets the re-edit treatment.
Review: More from the matter-or-fact Breaks & Beats seven-inch series, which offers up DJ-friendly "slight edits" of funk, soul and disco classics built around extending the drum breaks in sometimes hard-to-mix classic cuts. The tenth volume in the series kicks off with a mix-friendly tweak of Vaughan Mason's roller-boogie anthem "Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll" that expertly stretches out the previously all-too-short instrumental intro. Over on side B, Bad Bascomb's odd but brilliant country-funk hoedown "Black Grass" gets a similar treatment, with Breaks & Beats' un-named re-editor sneakily extending sweaty drum breaks here and there throughout the track. Given the quality of those breaks, this is a very good thing indeed.