Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series rarely misses a beat, with each successive seven-inch showcasing two more hard-to-find treats from the dim and distant past. The latest instalment opens with "Vou Morar No Teu Sorriso", a sought-after cut from Trio Tenura's eponymous 1971 MPB/soul fusion album. It's a genuinely summery treat, with ear-catching, reverb-heavy vocals and rising horn lines rising above a life-affirming backing track. On the flip you'll find "Quem Vai Querer", the title track from a superb 1977 album by Eliana Pittman. A breezy chunk of sizzling samba-soul, the cut features an impeccable lead vocal from Pittman and some sing-along group chorus vocals
Review: The Street Knowledge "45 series" appears to have been set up to educate heads on original 1990s hip-hop jams, or at the very least deliver fresh pressings of some seriously classic cuts. This inaugural release begins with Warren G and Nate Dogg's 1994 heater "Regulate", a deep and seductive number that makes great use of samples from Michael McDonald's teary blue-eyed soul classic "I Keep Forgetting". Flip to the B-side and you'll find Luniz 1995 hit "I Got 5 On It", a cut that's been bitten, reworked and re-made umpteen times in the 24 years that have passed since it was first released. As this reissue proves, the Oakland duo's original version is still streets ahead of the rest.
Review: Alex "Omar" Smith traditionally uses the "Sidetrakx" series to release music that doesn't fit with his club-rocking house and techno 12" series. Even so, few would have expected him to use the latest edition - the sixth in total - to offer up a dancehall cut featuring Jamaican singer and MC Nardo Ranks. "Love Me Like Cooked Food" features Ranks chatting and singing in Patois above a dancehall "riddim" rich in rubbery bass guitar, echo-laden machine drums and flanged guitar riffs. It may be a curveball, but it's rather good. Over on the flip, "Renault used car salesman" John FM guests on a lo-fi R&B/soul workout that also includes some deliciously tongue-in-cheek, poodle perm-sporting soft rock guitar solos.
Review: As the title sneakily suggests, the latest volume in DJ Soopasoul's essential "Soopastole Edits" series sees the prolific re-editor and mash-up merchant take his scalpel to Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family". We could be wrong, but it sounds like it was created using the multi-track parts, focusing as it does for much of the duration on a stripped-back, DJ-friendly groove, selected vocal snippets and delay-laden musical elements not always audible on the original version. Over on the flipside "Cosmo On The Groove" version, he takes a slightly different approach, adding a classic old school hip-hop acappella to an expertly cut-up version of the Sister Sledge track that utilizes a little more of the sing-along chorus.
Review: Ever since he first made an impact earlier in the decade, Bosq has proved adept at joining the dots between contemporary club culture and the heady heaviness of vintage African and South American dancefloor styles. He's also rather good at crafting authentic Latin dancefloor workouts, too, as this tidy seven-inch single proves. Check first "Rumbero", featuring the confident vocals of Nidia Gongora, a horn-happy affair that effortlessly joins the dots between rhumba, cumbia and psychedelic punk. His electronic influences come to the fore on flipside "Corazon (Camilo Tumbao)", a contemporary take on the Cumbia sound rich in fuzzy analogue bass, jaunty organs, dub-wise noises and Colombian style male vocals.
You're The Only One (feat Bonnie Blanchard & The Mean Machine)
Right On Time (feat The Mean Machine)
Review: For their latest must-check rare soul reissue, German crate diggers TRAMP Records take us back to 1969 and the sole single from Philadelphia outfit Andy Aaron & the Mean Machine. A-side "You're The Only One" is a superb chunk of bass-heavy soul full of energetic drumming, fuzzy horn motifs, inspired lead vocals by Bonnie Blanchard and sax solos from none other than Grover Washington (then a young musician and member of the Mean Machine). Equally as potent is instrumental flipside "Right On Time", which is a riotous funk workout that boasts more lung-busting solos from an on form Washington.
Review: Emotional Rescue again delves in the world of private pressings, with a reissue of British electronic pop meets proto-House duo 4AM. With copies of their self titled album now highly sought after, this timely reissue presents two of their songs as a stand alone 7".
Consisting of multi-instrumentalist Steve Kirby - piano, guitar, bass, programming - and vocalist Kevin Finch, 4AM came together after youths filled with a love of music. Following a string of band attempts, Steve dived in to the world of midi, allowing him to build a studio set up and play solo. A meeting with new work colleague Kevin quickly developed to joining forces to expand on his early demos.
Their melodic, dance-influenced pop draws on a love of Japan, OMD and The The, but also ECM jazz and a touch of "white boy soul". The TR-808 drum and hi-hats, string stabs and random acid squelches - although no TR-303 was used - highlights the influence the nascent House sounds emanating from the "second summer of love" of 1988 / 89 had in their music melting pot.
Over this, personal lyrics flow, full of honest emotions and a touch of youthful naivety thrown in - of relationships, love, sex and passions. Intended as a personal artifact, the original album was released in 1990 with no promotion or live shows and has taken until now, some 30 years, to find a cult audience. I want you with a Passion.