Review: You can never really understate the impact Polly Jean Harvey had when she landed on the UK music scene, and the radars of tastemakers like John Peel, in the early-1990s. Guitar tracks at the time were usually split into unashamedly lager-soaked upfront Britpop, or nihilistic and self-sabotaging grunge and metal from the US. PJ Harvey was neither, and on 'To Bring You My Love' she perfected a particularly UK take on heavy, darkroom rock.
Pressing play means stepping into a world where the blues can either be a sparse, pitch black tome ('To Bring You My Love') or stomping and sweat-soaked juggernaut ('Meet Ze Monsta'), and that's just referencing the first two songs. Compare either to the trip-hop infused downtempo melancholia of 'The Dancer', and it's pretty clear why this was one of the albums of its decade.
Review: It's always difficult when a track has such an immense legacy everyone knows it decades on from its release date, and the release dates of the many movies that made it such an iconic tune. Such is the case with Yello's 'Oh Yeah', the breathy and bizarre 1980s electro-funk stepper we all love to forget the title of but can always chime in with the 'ch-ch-chas' at exactly the right moment.
This one moment of glory does not a legendary Swiss electro outfit make, though, and Yello's entire back catalogue is worth anyone's time, and this latest addition, their first new outing since 2016's 'Toy', is as good a place as any to begin. From the whispered house groove of "Core Shift", to "Arthur Speak"'s twisted cold wave chug, or "Hot Pan"'s epic, movie-scale acid weirdness, once again it's about whimsy, whit, precision and huge vision - a serious trip.
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.
Michael Jackson - "I Wanna Be Where You Are" (Underboss remix) (3:56)
Michael Jackson - "I Wanna Be Where You Are" (2:54)
Marvin Gaye - "I Want You" (Underboss remix) (4:00)
Marvin Gaye - "I Want You" (4:33)
DeBarge - "I Like It" (Soul Synopsis mix) (4:21)
DeBarge - "I Like It" (3:45)
Switch - "There'll Never Be" (Solidified Soul mix) (3:13)
Switch - "There'll Never Be" (3:34)
Eddie Kendricks - "Body Talk" (TBG mix) (4:43)
Eddie Kendricks - "Body Talk" (4:27)
Sisters Love - "Now Is The Time" (The Mack Revisited mix) (3:21)
Sisters Love - "Now Is The Time" (The Mack Revisited mix - instrumental) (3:21)
Jackson 5 - "Tribute Medley" (Underboss remix) (3:58)
Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save" (Medley) (3:09)
Review: This special 7" boxset Motown State of Mind is a collection of Motown classics remixed by the legendary rapper, producer and member of D.I.T.C., Lord Finesse. The first two tracks tackle the one time King of Pop, while the undisputed soul god that is Marvin Gaye then gets some special treatment with an Underboss remix of "I Want You." The smooth grooves continue on DeBarge's "I Like It" (Soul Synopsis mix), which is pure sultry and steamy gold. Elsewhere Eddie Kendricks - "Body Talk" (TBG mix) is a string laced and slow motion disco funk gem and Sister of Love and Jackson 5 also get some careful treatment.
Review: Originally issued back in 1998, Mezzanine remains the most commercially successful album released by Bristol troupe Massive Attack, thanks in no small part to the Liz Fraser-featuring "Teardrop". This third album signalled a change in sonic direction that played more explicitly on the darkness and tension that was always an undercurrent of their much loved debut Blue Lines and successor Protection. After numerous bootlegs over the years, Virgin have done the right thing and presented this official reissue of Mezzanine to appease fans of Massive Attack and it's clear the LP has lost none of it's bewitching power. The Quincy Jones and Isaac Hayes sampling "Exhange" and "Exchange" remain a delight in particular.
Some LA Niggaz (feat DeFari, Xzibit, Knoc-Turn'al, Time Bomb, King T, MC Ren & Koka) (4:25)
Pause 4 Porno (feat Jake Steed) (1:33)
Housewife (feat Kurupt & Hittman) (4:01)
Ackrite (feat Hittman) (3:31)
Bang Bang (feat Knoc-Turn'al & Hittman) (3:59)
The Message (feat Mary J Blige & Rell) (5:31)
Review: First things first: the world has come a long way in its attitude to women since this album was first released, so in 2019, 2001 sounds - at least lyrically - wrong on many levels. But it is also still very right when it comes to g-funk, west coast rap and second wave hip hop sounds. Listening to it from start to finish is to spend 90 minutes as a fly on the wall of the lives of Snoop, Dre, Eminem and all the rest of the high profile guests. Jam packed with classics and gold standards, this is an album of its time but one that was never bettered.