Review: In 1983 a group of Nigerian musicians in London headed into a studio in Hoxton Square and recorded their sole LP: a boogie and disco-infused set called 'Electric Murder'. The album was released the same year on a tiny Nigerian label, meaning that copies of this obscure classic have been sought after ever since. As this beautifully packaged and produced reissue proves, 'Electric Murder' has lost none of its lustre. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the slap-bass heavy celebration of opener "Funky Boogie Woogie" and the deep disco brilliance of "Electric Murder", to the low-slung, delay-laden disco-funk gem "Shake" and sugary, synth-laden slow jam "April's Girl", a track that boasts some suitably super electric piano solos.
Review: This collection of the Aussie funk and soul band The Bamboos' favourite cuts is a celebration of their 20 year anniversary. It culls cuts from 2007's Rawville and 2010's 4 and is a limited release with a full colour gatefold sleeve. Led by guitarist and main songwriter/producer Lance Ferguson, The Bamboos have been hugely prolific over the years, putting out no fewer than nine studio albums, two live albums, twenty-seven singles, and all while serving up many incendiary shows. They draw in elements of funk, pop, rock, psych, hip-hop, indie and soundtrack music into their own unique sound.
Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: The fourth album from the English pop experimentalist was made over just six week in a "do-it-yourself" collaborative process with her fans. It is inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and was executively produced by A. G. Cook and BJ Burton. Fans and critics alike fell immediately in love with the record which was also shortlisted for the 2020 Mercury Prize. Edgy experimental production and hooky pop songwriting have rarely collided as successfully as they do here, with plenty of hyper-energetic sounds and shimmering synths, bubblegum bass and mechanical motifs all making this as much an impromptu mixtape as a studio album. Truly, this is a work of its time.
Review: Seven months on from the label's last outing - a suitably trippy, acid-fired four-tracker from Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33's project - Tusk Wax returns to action with a fresh album from synthesizer fetishist and Giallo soundtrack specialist Antoni Maovvi. The Berlin-based Bristolian is at his atmospheric and far-sighted best, offering up a range of synthesizer and drum machine-heavy compositions that sound equally as good at home as they do in clubs. Highlights include - but are in no way limited to - the glistening, guitar-laden mid-80s bubbliness of 'Emotional Trigger', the hard-wired Italo-disco sleaziness of 'Disaster Code', the organ-laden horror-house of 'Insider', and the ever-rising starry brilliance of the album's standout moment, closing cut 'The Circle Remains Unbroken'.
Reinhard Vanbergen - "Blast From The Past" (edit) (4:15)
Jacob Gurevitsch - "In Search Of Lost Time" (Danilo Braca remix) (8:16)
Bongo Entp - "Soul Drums" (5:03)
Islandman - "Dere Boyu" (6:00)
Review: Kenneth Badger's Music For Dreams label has been at the heart of the ambient, Balearic and world music revival of the last few years. His own distinctive take on the genre is particularly soothing and cathartic for the soul and this Summer Sessions special for Record Store Day is another blissfully escapist collection. The boss himself kicks off with a gentle roller that takes you out to sea, and The Swan & The Lake keep you drifting without a worry in the world on an ocean of synth purity. Reinhard Vanbergen brings some exotica to the collection with his 'Blast From The Past' and Bongo Entp's 'Soul Drums' soars on some perfect trumpets.
Sare Havlicek - "White Russian (Lazy Summer)" (5:20)
Oliver Cheatham - "Get Down Saturday Night" (7:10)
The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper´s Delight" (3:34)
Gibson Brothers - "Cuba" (7:45)
Review: For the next installment of Argentinian label Music Broker's tribute series, they have selected some of seminal Parisian duo Daft Punk's finest works and remixes, spanning the last two decades, along with some of the music that inspired them. The Many Faces Of Daft Punk: A Journey Through The Inner World Of Daft Punk features disco royalty such as Niles Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder and Cerrone, while more contemporary producers from the house music spectrum feature also, such as Detroit's Scott Grooves (featuring Parliament/Funkadelic), The Micronauts and Versatile's I:Cube receive de Homem-Christo and Bangalter's midas touch. the latter's 'Disco Cubizm" from '96 being a particular highlight on the remix side of things. Not to mention their roaring rework of indie-pop darlings Franz Ferdinand's classic 'Take Me Out'.
Review: A new one from Paris' Favorite Recordings. After two acclaimed LP's as Mr President released over the last decade, Bruno Hovart is back. One Night is soul and disco with a modern touch, fitting all the criteria to become an instant club classic. With special guest vocalists like Jennifer Zonou (Hawa), Cindy Pooch, Celia Kameni (Saving Coco) and Sabba MG - who you may recognise from previous releases. The title track is a sexy, loungey and jazzy deep house joint reminiscent of early noughties grooves on Naked Music or Hed Kandi. Plus, there's also a wonderful rendition of Roy Davis Jr and Peven Everett's classic 'Gabriel'.
Review: Here's something to get Talking Heads fans salivating: a fresh EP featuring previously buried, unheard alternative versions and outtakes recorded during the sessions for the celebrated New York new wave band's 1979 album Fear of Music. The EP begins with the completely unheard 'Dancing For Money', a typically undulating, off-kilter chunk of post-punk eccentricity that seemingly never went beyond the demo stage, before offering up a riotous alternate mix of the noisy, guitar-laden stomper 'Life During Wartime'. Over on the flip you'll find notably different arrangements and recordings of 'Cities' and 'Mind'; the latter, with its juju style guitar sounds and languid rhythm section, is particularly good.
Review: It's easy to forget this is the first new record we've had from Doves in more than a decade, given the rousing call to action and emotional intensity of aptly-titled album opener 'Carousel'. A huge, nostalgic fairground thumper that sets the adrenaline levels at 11, it could be their most confident album opener to date.
And The Universal Want is far from a tease, too, capturing the essence of what we hoped from this Manchester trio's comeback fanfare. From the science fiction synth beams of Bowie ode 'Cathedrals Of The Mind', to the redemptive and hope-filled stadium indie of 'For Tomorrow', and the title track's melancholic proto-house stomp, it's very much a record of our time but also one that will likely stand the test of time. A very welcome return for, and another schooling from, Jez Williams and his team.
Review: Billing themselves as an ethno-industrial outfit, French group Vox Populi! have more in common with the German kosmische movement than the sound of their own fair land. They came from serious stock, including Axel Kyrou's mother who was a musique concrete pioneer at GRM, which set them up to make a bold and challenging debut album Myscitismes, originally released on their own Vox Man label in 1985. Combining advanced studio manipulation and liberal FX treatments with a pastoral folk thrum, motorik synth work and a heavy dose of pan-continental mysticism, they created a stunning and forward-thinking work that sounds shockingly relevant in the here and now. Finally reissued after more than 30 years, now is the perfect chance to grab this trailblazing slice of sonic sorcery.
Review: Originally released back in 2011 on two singles, Shades of Detroit is a journey of six deep and dubby house monsters! The new limited reissue includes both Dark and Light parts, marbled vinyl and a new updated artwork. Essential Detroit house classic!
Review: The last ten years have seen no shortage of bands with their delay pedals set to stun intent on capturing an aura of dreamlike radiance. Yet Texas 'pop-noir' troupe Cigarettes After Sex are no ordinary shoegazers, for a variety of reasons - frontman Greg Gonzalez' androgynous and dulcet tones may be part of the appeal, yet moreover it's the quality of the songwriting here, which never falls prey to the style-over-substance traps of their peers. Indeed, this debut is more than enough to justify the considerable hype around this outfit, being a collection of ditties as sultry as they are atmopsheric.
Review: You might have heard about this LP..... After a pre-release campaign that took on Hollywood-esque proportions, French pair Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter return as Daft Punk with their fourth studio album Random Access Memories sporting a A-list cast of guests and contributors. Given the input of disco icons Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rogers it's entirely understandable that the overbearing sound on Random Access Memories is one of classic disco with lead single "Get Lucky" a good indicator for what to expect. There's also a smattering of yacht rock within the thirteen track set, whilst the ubiquitous Panda Bear turns up on the midnight stutter funk album highlight "Doin' It Right". Those expecting a return to Daft Punk's Homework heyday will be disappointed but Bangalter and de Homem-Christo are touching forty so the polished, expertly constructed disco direction makes perfect sense.
Review: You wait three years for a new Arca album and then two come along at once. The Barcelona-based, Venezuelan artist has already dropped 'Kick I' and 'Kick II' on his standard XL stomping ground this month, and has now decided to remind us why we fell in love in the first place. &&&&&& is the producer's seminal debut album, and it still sounds fresh today.
Occupying a space somewhere between techno, the proto-footwork and juke popularised by the likes of Addison Groove at the turn of the last decade, IDM and ambient, it's a difficult thing to get your head around, from the strange piano discordance of 'Mother' to 'Feminine''s suggestion of intense 140s and the submerged liquid downtempo of 'Anaesthetic'. A seminal moment in recent dance history.
Review: The world was very different in 1992, but some of the greatest musical moments from that year stand the test of time. Just take Polly Jean Harvey's staggering debut - the making of a musical icon and one of the era's finest examples of songwriting. It still sounds exceptional and its messages still resonate, lifting the woke-washed veil of our age in one fell swoop, laying bare the fact that many toxic attitudes prevail. It's rock music, but that's hardly the point. What matters isn't so much what's being played, but how and what's being said. Delivered with an air of Pixies and nod to Patti Smith, written in the wake of a relationship imploding, our introduction to Harvey remains vital as ever. A refusal to accept simplistic, patriarchal views of womanhood and femininity, or indeed simplistic patriarchal views of anything, the record's razor sharp observations, cunning wit and deft ability to reference but feel original is remarkable.
Review: Inspired by the slightly unlikely collision of the Thai music of the '70s and The Shadows, Khruangbin - the name means 'aeroplane' in Thailand - are purveyors of a deliriously mellow and beguiling form of jammed-out power-trio guitar music - far removed from standard notions of psych and dreampop, partly owing to its pan-global influences, its nonetheless both psychedelic and dreamy, not to mention possessed of an unhurried, reflective and spacious lilt that renders this Texan-London outfit a rare treat in an information-saturated age, taking on delicate soul and funk with exotic atmospheres and making the journey feel both blissful and effortless.
Review: Jorun Bombay is one of Canada's most influential hip-hop protagonists and his fantastic cover of the recently turned 80 year old Roy Ayers in the form of 'Revisiting The Sunshine' is one of his biggest tunes. A recent reissue on white vinyl sold out in quick time so now comes another chance to own it, this time on black wax. This one followed Jorun's recent edit series and is authentic to its soulful core. As summer fades away and autumn looms, keep the sunny vibes alive with this golden, heart warming version. On the flip is something just as sunny - a fine version of 'Funky Sensation' that gets a precision Bombay treatment.
Review: Carpets & Snares returns to action with some jaunty, off-kilter club fodder from their friends in the Portuguese tech-house community. This time round, the producer at the controls is Pandilla Ltd, an artist best known for unleashing 12"s full of tactile glitch-funk on his self-titled imprint. The real killer here is opener 'Bleu', a gloriously jumpy, shoulder-swinging fusion of tightly snipped electric piano stabs, jazzy synth-bass, Akufen-esque drums, curious vocal samples and oddball percussion sounds. Dan Andrei provides the obligatory flipside remix, re-casting the track as a deep, low-slung chunk of analogue house haziness perfect for wonky late-night sessions and bleary-eyed after-party shuffling.
Review: While it had only been a few months since the release of her 4 Track Demos project, when To Bring You My Love first arrived in 1994 it felt like it had been a long time coming. Taking elements that made her early studio efforts stand out - the twisted mania of Dry and the Patti Smith-esque agony of Rid of Me - here Polly Jean Harvey fully embraced a kind of pained grunge-blues.
The resulting brew is particularly potent. Whether you're listening to the hushed, mysterious groove of 'Working For The Man', 'Long Snake Moan''s dark metal edges, or the sparse, troubled and deeply pained anthem 'Teclo', everything here is clearly the work of a genius. A fact that rings particularly true given these stunning versions represent her work in its original demo form.
Review: International specialists Soundway provide some superbly soothing and cathartic electronic beats here from Reuben Vaun Smith. The debut album follows on from his vocal and production work on
Expositions's Yellow Haze EP early in the year on the First Jams label. The seven tracks that make it up are all different perspectives on chill, with mature musical motifs, seaside sounds and trips down to the beach at sunset all checked off the list. Spare a moment to admire the artwork, too, a seamless fusion of pastel colours, 80s graphic design and tropical escapism.
Golden Flamingo Orchestra - "The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us" (feat Margo Williams) (4:51)
Review: This essential 45 from Japan's Octave Lab brings together two essential productions from legendary disco studio wizard Patrick Adams. On the A-side you'll find Four Below Zero's 1976 modern soul scene anthem 'My Baby's Got E.S.P' (originally simply titled 'E.S.P', fact fans), a sing-along treat that arguably counts as one of Adams' most accessible and straight-forward productions (this is not a criticism, by the way, just recognition that he made some seriously bonkers disco and boogie records over the years). Over on the flip it's all about the Peter Brown co-produced 'The Guardian Angel is Watching Over Us', a rare 1979 cut that features a sublime lead vocal from Margo Williams. While not as celebratory as the A-side, it's every bit as essential.
Review: Since debuting on Black Butter Records back in 2014, Elderbrook (real name Alexander Kotz) has been on a fast train to the top. He's been building up to this debut album since signing for EMI sub-label Parlophone in 2018, but is it any good? Certainly, those who like their dance music woozy, emotion-rich and atmospheric will rather enjoy Why Do We Shake In The Cold? The artist's evocative, eyes-closed lead vocals are prevalent throughout, uniting a swathe of tactile, synthesizer-rich tracks that effortlessly join the dots between fragile synth-pop, hazy tech-house and radio-friendly electronica. There are naturally some suitably sizable moments strewn across the album, with Rudimental hook-up 'Something About You' and the especially musically cheery 'Back To My Bed' catching the ear.