Dead Butterflies (feat Kano & Roxani Arias) (4:33)
Desole (feat Fatoumata Diawara) (5:30)
Momentary Bliss (feat Slowthai & Slaves) (3:42)
Review: It's hard to believe Gorillaz, the virtual band that triggered a million sci-fi articles about culture arriving in the future (well, the new millennium), have now been going 20 years. More than enough history to have long-since proven themselves far from a fad, on their seventh album it's clear they're also still capable of new ideas, or at least fresh ways to remix old ingredients.
Punk explodes next to piano balladry, lo-fi electronica eases into low slung hip hop funk. It's a chart-worthy affair that reminds us post-genre is today's mainstream, here served in traditional songwriting framework rather than the current dominant avant-pop crop. Even if the lyrics are non-stop curveballs, from Robert Smith's appearance on the title track, through Beck's MCing on 'The Valley of the Pagans' and St. Vincent's playful party vibes on 'Chalk Tablet Towers'.
Review: Dark Entries is humbled to continue digging through the archives of legendary producer Patrick Cowley. While best known for his production on chart-topping cybernetic disco anthems such as Sylvester's 'You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)' or his own 'Menergy', Cowley, who passed away from AIDS-related illness in 1982, left us with a substantial body of work. Since 2009, Dark Entries has been working with Cowley's friends and family to shed light on the lesser known facets of this singular artist's output. This has resulted in a string of celebrated archival albums, including Catholic (featuring Jorge Socarras), School Daze, Muscle Up, Afternooners, and the recent Mechanical Fantasy Box. Some Funkettes, the latest addition to this series, is a collection of previously unreleased cover songs recorded from 1975-1977. These raw, unembellished tributes both showcase Cowley's early musical interests and chart the development of his production techniques.
Review: Although this is Tornado Wallace's Mule Musiq debut, the music contained on it is not brand new - though it is pretty much on known. 'We Are Where We Are' first appeared in 2018 on a Japan-only promo CD. Back then, it was presented as one continuous, 32-minute track. For its' vinyl debut, the decidedly Balearic and psychedelic offering has been split into two parts. Each is hugely atmospheric and evocative, with the Berlin-based Australian offering non-stop, ambient house style suites that layer evocative instrumentation - twinkling pianos, pulsing electronic noises, jazzy guitars, delay-laden synth sounds and so on - and crackling field recordings atop sparse, lo-fi drum machine beats and dubbed-out basslines.
Review: Amadou et Mariam is a Malian duo made up of Mariam Doumbia (vocals) and Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals). They are a couple and both are blind musicians who met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind. They came together through a shared love of music and have put out no fewer than 15 albums. 'Baara' from 2009 on Sacred Rhythm proved one of their biggest hits and now fetches high sums on Discogs. This reissue is a welcome one featuring the title track - a joyous mix of live afro drumming, vocal chants and freewheeling melodies, and the touching 'Ja Pense A Toi,' with its pained male leads, desert blues and aching guitar solos. Lovely stuff.
Review: Funk Night Records continues to offer up new slabs of fabulously fuzzy funk from The Blassics, a nine-piece outfit from Finland that has been operative for the best part of a decade. Remarkably, this is the band's fifth single this year. On the A-side you'll find the "Slofat Version" of their tribute to the polyrhythmic percussion, raw bass and dancing horns of Afro-funk, which is aptly named 'Afro Cookie'. It's a chunky musical biscuit that looks set to energise dancefloors with its sugary delights every time it's dropped. Despite its title, flipside 'Psych Afro Funk' is not that psychedelic; it is, though a rather fine and pleasingly laidback ramble through the more relaxed end of the Afro-funk spectrum.
Review: Whether you know him best as Dr Floyd, Juno Laine or one of the many other aliases he's had over the years, Russian-in-Finland Kirilll Junolainen is a remarkably prolific and consistent artist in the contemporary electro sound. His recent Preset album Sahkomusiikki is a fine example of this, as is this very special 12" on Telomere. Four cuts deep, each one showcases a different side to Kirill from his most playful ('Algoritmi') to his most stern ('Hejastus') by way of his most laidback and slinky ('Meri') All analogue soul and only essential ingredients, while his output is maximal, the sonic make-up is always perfectly minimal.
Review: Telomere Plastic is a limited edition Wex sub series "sharing electronics from all around the spectrum." This first missive is a strong various artists release, The Telomere Connection, featuring sounds from Sherman C, Rural Red, JD Typo and Anderson. It's a lithe and synthetic affair that kicks off with bendy tones and warped pads while 'Wax On Wax Off' is a more drum-focussed grover with rippling kicks and sci-fi details. The future facing 'Dancefloor Between' gurgles with soft acid bubbles and 'Glider Girl' rounds out in bumpy fashion.
Review: Telomere Plastic is a new and limited edition sub label of Wex that has a firm focus on stripped back and heady minimal and tech house grooves. They're putting out a flurry of releases in a short space of time, but we're not complaining, because they're all well worth your attention. ESB is behind this one after previously should out outings on Echovolt, Leftroom and Heart To Heart. He has his sights firmly set on the future here, with 'Beyond' being a nice and slippery, synthetic and shiny mix of synths, hits and bass, and other highlights like 'Chroma' being warm, cuddly moods and grooves.
Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir - "Jerusalem" (album version) (6:09)
Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir - "Jerusalem" (JC edits & Overdubs) (14:15)
The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O - "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (Edits & Overdubs main) (11:06)
The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O - "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (JC edits & Overdubs instrumental) (6:49)
Review: No one works a mixing board quite like Joe Clasusell, and his latest project is another high water mark in a career full of them: his Claussell Edits & Overdubs version of Crowns of Glory's 'Lord Look at Your People' is getting put out on a series of 12"s, with this third one being another winner. Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir offer up two versions of 'Jerusalem' on the a-side, and the reverse is 'God Helps Those Who Help Themselves' by The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O. Both are intense, emotive, life affirming affairs to bring joy to any dance floor.
Review: On this surprise 7" edition of Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell's unofficial Edits & Overdubs series of releases, the long-serving New York producer turns his attention to Exuma's 'The Obeah Man', a heavily percussive, Afro-fired slab of rhythm and blues/folk-rock fusion that was once an anthem at David Mancuso's Loft parties. Claussell's 'Part One' rework somehow seems even more urgent, percussive and life-affirming than Exuma's original version, and the 'Part 2' version - an unashamedly sweaty, drum-heavy interpretation - most certainly is. Possibly best of all - for plays in house sets, at least - is the 'Obeah Man Rhythm' version, which is a loopy, percussive beast. You may need to go for a little lie down after playing it - we did!
Review: Dynamite Cuts latest double seven-inch presentation takes us back to 1973, and James Brown's often-overlooked soundtrack to Blaxploitation crime movie "Black Ceasar", a set previously described by one critic as "a full-frontal funk attack". What we get is four of the soundtrack's strongest cuts: electric piano solo-laden funk shuffler "Blind Man Can See", one of Brown's most celebrated and best-loved songs, "The Boss" (sample lyric: "look at me, what do you see? A bad mother!"), the softly sweet, strings-and-solo laden breeziness of "White Lightning", and the crunchy heavy funk strut of "Make It Good To Yourself". As the old saying goes: all killer, no filler.
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: One of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year has arguably been served well by the by now all so usual Covid delays. It certainly feels like the stars have aligned for Sydney Minksy-Sergeant and his band, and the good news is that the substance of this album is easily strong enough to live up to the growing snowball of hype that has preceded it. Every classic album needs a classic opening line, and "trapped inside a town, inside my mind", the first words you hear on the LP's opener 'Valleys', speaks volumes about who WMC are representing here - the lockdown generation of teens and 20-somethings left behind tom contemplate their existence in the bedrooms and bus shelters of smalltown Britain. Musically, it's the sound of a band who have grown up with club and indie and exude both, more by instinct than design, straddling Italo-disco and Fall-like lyrics on 'Valleys', sublime, sunny guitar pop on 'White Rooms & People', 'Angel' and 'Tomorrow' and darker, heavier industrial beats and crushing electro pressure on 'Teeth' and 'AAAA'. Believe the hype, at the very least this is one of the albums of the year and quite possibly much, much more.
Review: For their latest 45 missive, Funk Night Records has decided to offer-up a double-header of fresh instrumental funk from two Scandinavian combos. The A-side features Finnish scene stalwarts The Blassics, whose 'Silver Mercury' offers a fiendishly fuzzy mix of low-slung drum-breaks, clipped guitar riffs and all manner of tipsy horn solos. Fellow Scandi-funk outfit Broaks take over on side B, building on the smoky, seductive sound of their recent self-titled debut album. 'Her Ability to Transform' is a weighty but sparse and stripped-back trip into hip-hop influenced Afro-funk territory that comes laden with drunken horn blasts, Tony Allen style drumming and some nimble, subtle turntablism.
Review: Earlier in the year, Madrid's Electro Records launched the Electro Transmissions series via Abduction Krew, a five-track, multi-artist EP full of cybernetic dancefloor treats. Here they present the follow-up, a rock-solid mini compilation on eye-catching red splatter vinyl entitled Sterilization Krew. There's plenty to excite electro heads throughout, from the sparkling deep electro shimmer of Kan3da's 'Condoso' and the intergalactic, bassline-driven alien funk of Datawave's superb 'Emeria', to the mind-bending, TB-303 driven acid-electro of Acidulant's 'Rainology' and the Aux 88-style high-octane heaviness of Noamm's 'Telesthesia'. It's a rather good collection all told, and with limited numbers of copies being pressed, you'll need to act fast to secure one.
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: For Those That Know step up with another exquisite choice of underground hero to boost with a retrospective release - ADJ. Andy Jaggers has been a lynchpin to the UK electro scene since the 90s, and his Pyramid Transmissions label (run with Pathic) is rightly lauded and unsurprisingly hard to get hold of after release. This release gathers together some of Jaggers' finest work from recent years, including some previously unreleased tracks and highly sought after album cuts that have been out of reach for too long already. If you want high grade, forward thinking electro with a braindance tint, this is an album you won't want to miss.
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'.
Brentford Rd Soul Rebels - "30-60-90" (feat Dennis Alcapone) (3:01)
Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts - "30-60-90" (2:42)
Review: This super limited 7" features four original Gravity label artists and serving up their own respective versions of one original. Prince Alfonso & The Fever kick off with fat-bottomed swagger and earthy dub funk grooves, and Nestor Alvarez flip the script with more Latin percussion and bossa-style grooves. Brentford Rd Soul Rebels take you to a hot summer's day with their reggae soundtrack, and last of all Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts lead with a big sax line and hip swinging tambourines that all come underpinned by big bass. Varied and vital, it's a small bit of wax but it packs a big punch.
Johnny & The Attractions - "Coming On The Scene" (2:49)
The Itals - "Dawn Patrol" (2:35)
Willie Lindo & The Charmers Band - "Drum Song" (3:48)
The Hardy Boys - "Black Out" (3:15)
Dave Collins - "Smooth & Sorts" (3:19)
Hippy Boys - "Nigeria" (3:28)
Audrey - "You'll Loose A Good Thing" (2:41)
Review: Since launching late last year, Harlem Shuffle Records has reissued a string of killer reggae recordings from the 1960s and 70's. Here the imprint offers up its first compilation, a 14-track selection of early reggae, dub and rocksteady hand-picked from the vaults of such legendary labels as Black Swan, Blue Cat, Duke, Doctor Bird, High Note and Trojan. It's a fine and hugely entertaining collection all told, with highlights including the easy, laidback skank of Stranger & Patsy's 'Tell it to Me', the trumpet-laden instrumental shuffle of 'Walk With Des' by Des All Stars, the Hammond-powered dancefloor heaviness of Clancy Collins' 'Brother Moses' and the prototype dub brilliance of 'Black Out' by the Hardy Boys.