A Strong Move For Truth (feat Nadine Charles) (3:19)
Good Morning (feat Samii) (2:40)
Remini Dream (feat Ivana Santilli) (3:46)
I Don't Wanna Know (feat Obenewa) (3:21)
Unknown Faults (3:59)
Life Can Be Unreal (feat Sarina Leah) (3:26)
Too Much (feat Sharlene Hector) (1:58)
You Are Virgo (5:05)
Come Of Age (3:28)
Just Leave It (feat Lady Alma) (4:52)
Ogawa Okasan Said Just Play (4:45)
A Where Pringle Deh? (2:14)
My Standards Are (Not) Too High (8:40)
Review: In our eyes, 2000 Black lynchpin Dego can do no wrong. You'll therefore be unsurprised to hear that we're huge fans of the 4Hero founder member's latest solo album, a belated follow-up to 2015's "The More Things Stay The Same". It is, of course, superbly soulful, slicky produced and wonderfully paced, moving from the heady soul sweetness of "A Strong Move For Truth", to the deep jazz-funk/broken beat vibes of "My Standards Are (Not) Too High" via 12 other warm and seductive cuts of an equally high standard. Highlights include the summery bruk-soul bliss of "Remini Dream", the toasty boogie revivalism of "Unknown Faults" and the Clavinet-sporting brilliance of Lady Alma hook-up "Just Leave It".
Review: Turning your hand to the catalogue of a jazz colossus like Yusef Lateef would be beyond most contemporary jazz musicians, but then Nat Birchall is currently one of the best saxophonists in the business. Alongside his quartet and with the aid of some unusual instruments from around the world - something Lateef was famously fond of doing - Birchall has delivered a set of covers that breathe breezy new life into some of the American multi-instrumentalist's most admired compositions whilst retaining some of the original flavour. Our favourites include the droning North African brilliance of "Mashariki", the sun-baked afternoon breeze of "Ringo Oiwake" and the piano-powered bliss of "Willow's Walk".
Review: God bless Metronomy. Pioneers of a dance-indie crossover that was less garish and day-glow hued than the Nu Rave movement dominant back then. Their sixth full-length comes in the 10th anniversary year of their first, and proves the band have grown and fine-tuned, rather than got lost and forgotten why they came out to begin with. Despite clear development, though, the spirit of that inaugural effort is still here, and arguably in more generous helpings than any outing between then and now. Equal parts playful and earnest, there's plenty here to fall in love with. Single-worthy outings like the bouncy, floor-filler "Salted Caramel Ice Cream" and the appropriately titled pairing "Wedding" and "Wedding Bells" are confident and big room sounding. "The Light" veers into dubbier, more introverted directions, whereas "Upset My Girlfriend" shows them at their most heart-achingly beautiful and human. Exquisite, as usual.
Review: At the time of his passing in 2017, the late, great soul star Leon Ware was working on a new album with long-time collaborator Taylor Graves. Although he never finished it, Be With has decided to put together a final posthumous album that contains the five songs he finished for the set - which, impressively, include cameos from the likes of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat - and six cuts from an obscure, Japan-only CD from 2013. It's a wonderful listen from start to finish, with the Latin-tinged soul-jazz of "For The Rainbow", the head-nodding boogie business of "Sigh" and the synth-laden, strangely swung brilliance of "Are You Ready" amongst the highlights.
Review: When the end days come and it's finally time to write the complete story of American rock 'n' roll, surely Pixies will get their own chapter. Legends of the grunge world, often known for a stylistic simplicity (quiet-LOUD anyone?) but unafraid to go out on a psychedelic limb when the moment suits, they've towered above the majority of acts for 28 years and, as "Beneath The Eyrie" proves, still have plenty to say. "In The Arms of Mrs Mark Of Cain" starts proceedings on a gothic-Western hybrid tip, setting things up perfectly for any song named "Graveyard Hill". Realistically when that track does arrive it switches the mood with a nod to the band's archetypal punk-infused sound, and that's precisely the point. Apparently betting the farm on this one, it's got everything from psych-folk to Tim Burton-ish ghoulish wit, making for the band's finest hour since their 2004 reformation.
Review: Music For Dreams' latest must-have compilation of obscure Balearic treats comes courtesy of noted digger Basso, a DJ, producer and re-editor who has previously released some killer scalpel jobs on Joe's Bakery and People Must Jam. You'll find one of his edits tucked away towards the end of the EP - a tidy extension of Wolfsmond's sun-kissed, Chris Rea-esque German language number "Fuhl Dich Frei" - alongside stunning selections that variously touch on stoned West Coast jazz-rock, new age, ambient, drowsy 80s pop, kosmiche and loved-up late night AOR shufflers. An inspired collection of pretty much unknown gems; what's not to like?
Review: BBE's second trawl through late 20th century deep Japanese jazz is every bit as eye opening and essential as its predecessor, which caused many hearts to flutter when it was released 18 months ago. From start to finish, we're treated to a righteous range of largely little-known tunes, from the spiraling, sun-kissed spirituality of Makoto Terashita Meets Harold Land's epic "Dragon Dance", and the funk-fuelled dancefloor jazz brilliance of Mabumi Yamaguchi Quartet's "Distant Thunder", to the smooth, snaking seductiveness of George Kawaguchi Big Four's "Vietnam" and the synthesizer jazz-funk insanity of Electro Keyboard Orchestra's "Mother Of The Future". A superb selection of genuinely off-kilter and life affirming Japanese gems that should be an essential purchase for both serious and casual jazz fans.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (with Simon Topping
Sly Is Watching
(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games (with Josh Caffe
Review: When it comes to jackin' Chicago style acid house revivalism, few can hold a candle to Paranoid London. As this long-awaited second album proves, the duo is the undisputed masters of sweaty, TB-303 driven jack-tracks and - as recent single "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" and LP opener "Starting Fights" prove - classic-sounding vocal cuts that recall the glory years of Fingers, Inc in the mid-to-late 1980s. Interestingly, "PL" boasts far more collaborations than we've seen from Paranoid London before, including a string of ragged club cuts blessed with evocative spoken word vocals, a thrusting acid throb-job with lead vocals by Simon Topping and a suitably twisted, machine-driven hook up with Arthur Baker and Alan Vega (the raw and weighty "Angel Of Hell").
Review: After a series of well received albums on 100% Silk and HNYTRX, Maya Bouldry-Morrison returns with her first album in two years, and the first on the T4T LUV NRG imprint she set up with life partner Eris Drew. It's a thrill-a-minute affair rooted in her love of turn-of-the-'90s rave culture, with the eight showcased tracks variously mixing elements of breakbeat hardcore, Belgian techno, dreamy deep house, ambient techno, ragging acid and the kind of psychedelic club fare that was once all the rage within California's LSD-fuelled free party scene. In fact, as a soundtrack to a full moon party on a remote "SoCal" beach, "Resonant Body" would sound phenomenal, with the inspired ambient number "My Body Is A Powerful" offering a fine accompaniment to the inevitable morning comedown.
Catherine Brenot - "Et Tout Est Yin Et Tout Est Yang" (club mix) (5:19)
1 Plus 1 - "Coming Up For Air" (instrumental) (5:25)
Fragile - "We've Got Tonight, Boy" (6:13)
Jarmaz - "Night City Life" (Disco remix) (3:55)
Friend Of Mine - "Just Your Pride" (4:47)
Mac & Monica - "You’re So Good To Me" (6:29)
Sala & H - "Feel The Love" (4:00)
Alexandra - "Fantasia (Fantasy)" (4:45)
Gioia - "No Secrets" (instrumental) (7:43)
Janelle - "Don't Be Shy" (dub) (6:40)
Alessandro Scellino - "Dinner In The Jungle" (Erotic mix) (6:49)
Brian Tatcher - "Hot Love" (instrumental dub version) (6:48)
Preludio - "Mysterious Nights" (4:46)
Review: Ilan Pdahtzur is as obsessive a record digger as any of his more visible peers. His particular niche is early to mid-eighties club music, and now he gets a platform to show off his skills thanks to the Spacetalk label. "Night City Life" is about music to match that exact setting - nocturnal urban metropolises with glowing neon lights shimmering in the darkness. There's a lot to love across four sides of vinyl here, from Italo disco to steamy boogie cuts and iridescent synth jams. It will make you nostalgic for a time and place you've never experienced (at least not as perfectly as this) and no doubt get plenty of dance floors on their feet.
Hardsoul - "Back Together" (feat Ron Carroll - Director's cut Classic club mix) (8:33)
Spencer Parker & Dan Beaumont - "The Look" (Director's cut Signature mix) (7:59)
Review: This second round-up of high quality tracks and remixes by Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper's Director's Cut project is as loved-up and action-packed as its predecessor. It begins with versions of the pair's re-recording of Knuckles' classics "Baby Wants To Ride" and "Let Yourself Go" (the latter a breezy and summery piano-house treat), before offering up a soulful singalong with Inaya Day and a stomping disco-house cover of Sylvester classic "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)". Record two offers up some of their hard-to-find remixes, with the pair's Lou Rawls revision and soaring version of Hardsoul and Ron Carroll's soulful house classic "Back Together" standing out.
Review: Half journeyman, half David Lynch bar scene, all twisted crooner-dom, and at least a little tongue in cheek, Mike Patton & Jean Claude Vannier are aiming straight for the alternatives with this 12-strong collection of bizarre ballads and obscure odes that will appeal to rarer tastebuds. There's the spoken word and strummed guitars guiding us through the various parts of "A Schoolgirl's Day". The Sinatra-does-sarcasm of closer "Pink & Bleue", and the way "Hungry Ghost" aurally recalls "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen. Truly unique stuff, despite its debt of gratitude to troubadour totems, counterculture rock and The Rat Pack, it's as rooted in the 21st Century as anything you'll hear today. The production process involved two creators in two different parts of the world, Patton and band in L.A., Vannier with a full orchestra in Vienna. Not that you can tell considering how complete the record feels.
Review: Claremont 56's latest must-have LP comes from an unexpected source: blue-eyed soul, AOR and soft rock loving Greek four-piece Sillyboy's Ghost Relatives. The good news is that "In A Small Place" is every bit as good as the title track, which Paul "Mudd" Murphy's label released earlier in the year. The album's main attractions are undoubtedly the bittersweet lyrics and hazy, lovelorn vocals of main man Sillyboy (real name Charalambos Kourtaras), though the musically evocative backing provided by his band mates is equally as impressive. Highlights include the Boz Scraggs-esque "Muscle Cars", the Steely Dan sing-along that is "High Life" and the gently reggae influenced lilt of "Favourite One". It's all pretty tidy.
The Return (feat Thando, Jace XL, Alien, Whosane) (9:16)
Don't Give Up (feat Mandarin Dreams) (4:51)
Made Us Better (feat Blue Lab beats, Boadi, Lori) (8:35)
Review: After Sampa's magic debut album it makes sense she's been signed by Ninja Tune for a follow up. Once again here the Zambian-born Australian singer-songwriter and rapper is in excellent form, delivering slick, complex verses that she says are "the most me to date". Exploring notions of race and relationships, amongst other things, her voice is couched in gorgeous broken beat, hip hop and r&b production. Highlights are plentiful throughout - "OMG" is a funky afro beat, "Any Day" is neo soul in the mould of Erykah Badu and "Final Form" is a trumpet lead, warrior queen anthem to get your chest pumping. Essential.
Review: While he's continued to offer up occasional singles, Bonn-based producer Dominik Eulberg has not released an album for eight years. It's for this reason that "Mannigfaltig", the former Traum Schallplatten regular's new set, is big news. Interestingly, it's nowhere near as club-focused as you'd perhaps expect, with Eulberg combining his usual glitchy, tech-house influenced beats and sounds with a range of intricate electronic motifs, sumptuous melodies and atmospheric aural textures. There are one or two club cuts, of course, but majority of the tracks bob along at a more sedate pace, with Eulberg offering up cuts that draw influence from IDM and hazy electronica. As a result, it may well be his most coherent and "listenable" album to date.
Review: Early 80s new Wave pop outfit Haircut One Hundred are best known for their big single "Love Plus One" but this album proves they were more than one trick ponies. Infusing their pop, rock and synth sound with Conga, woodwind and Brazilian percussion leads to superbly colourful tracks that brim with sunshine. There's an upbeat and youthful innocence to "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" that is utterly infectious, while busier post punk funk like "Love Plus One" will get you on your toes even after all these years, and "Kingsize (You're My Little Steam Whistle)" gets all sexy with its lead sax and clattering steel drum tumbles.
Review: Justin Vernon's voice has always been the people's main attraction to Bon Iver, and the fact his pseudonym even exists is certainly no coincidence. As fragile and heartbroken as it is forthright and experienced, when you're wearing a shredded heart on sleeve and confessing to all your deepest insecurities using a pen name can help immensely. Album number four perhaps proves this more than any of its predecessors. While the three previous chapters have all made his thoughts, feelings, insecurities and fears clear, this one takes honesty to new heights. Combining the frail electronics that have gradually slipped their way into his back catalogue with the acoustics of his earliest, rocket-to-fame efforts, it's a culmination of all that's been in the truest sense. Perhaps even more intimate than the breathtakingly personal "For Emma, Forever Ago", "i,i" is a striking work to say the least.
Review: Francois J Bonnet (a composer and electroacoustic musician) and Stephen O'Malley (the main man of metal band Sunn O)))) come together here for their first collaborative album. It combines O'Malley's doom laden guitar work with Bonnet's compositional skills to make for a dynamic soundscape that has the sort of grand ambient architecture that places you right at the heart of it all. Dark yet inviting, it is noise that nurtures and comforts you despite its rather foreboding overtones. Orderly yet alien, desolate yet filled with human emotions, "Cylene" makes for a compelling listen.
Review: "Do You Like My Tight Sweater?" is the album that announced Moloko to the world, but is also one of their most experimental. The dance duo's debut featured big singles like "Dominoid" and the UK Top 40 charting "Fun For Me", which was also used in the Batman & Robin soundtrack of 1997. The album finds producer Mark Brydon combining elements of trip hop, big beat, disco and electronica with Roisin Murphy's sensuous and widescreen art-pop vocals, despite the fact that at the time she had zero prior professional experience. This timely limited reissue comes on heavyweight turquoise vinyl and reminds us of a golden era of UK electronica.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Between The Lines (feat Keyon Harrold & Sparkz) (4:42)
Introspection (feat Theo Croker) (5:00)
Cranes (In The Sky) (5:47)
I Still Believe (feat Milton Suggs) (5:41)
Elipsis (interlude) (1:07)
Dark Honey (4TheStorm) (feat Makaya McCraven) (5:48)
Pressure (instrumental) (4:41)
Lullaby (Rise & Shine) (feat Judi Jackson) (3:55)
Battle (feat Binker & Moses) (4:32)
The Mighty (feat Ben Marc) (3:31)
Review: South London pianist and composer Ashley Henry is a versatile musician who can move between all niches within his musical realm: hip hop, broken beat, jazz and fusion flows from his finger tips and all characterise his expansive and expressive new album "Beautiful Vinyl Hunter". Stellar collaborators Makaya McCraven, Judi Jackson and MC Sparkz amongst others all help enrich this album as it flows from post-bop to classic jazz to neo-soul in thrilling fashion. Rooted in tradition but with a distinctly London edge that soars to new heights, this record sets a new benchmark for the contemporary scene.
Review: Who remembers when Hip Hop was a force for good? A happy, colourful sound brimming with positivity and realness, rather than the blingy boasts of studio gangsters? Whether you do or don't, this new Daisy Age compilation by Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley is a timely release that shines a light on that small but golden era back in the late 80s. Key protagonists like Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as De La Soul, whose "3 Feet High and Rising" album was at the centre of this micro-movement, all feature alongside Pop and R&B with a similarly positive outlook. Essential.
Review: The dusty-fingered diggers behind the BBE label have a reputation for unearthing obscure or unreleased gems, though we doubt that they've previously discovered anything quite as significant as this. Ebo Taylor, the undisputed king of Ghanaian "funky-highlife", recorded "Palaver" with his touring band way back in 1980, but for reasons the man himself can't even remember, Nigerian imprint Tabansi Records never got round to releasing it. That remains an odd decision, because "Palaver" shows Taylor at his very best, with the sax and trumpet-laden brilliance of "Make You No Mind" and the righteous, Afrobeat-influenced highlife brilliance of "Help Africa" being every bit as potent as the Ghanaian's most revered work.
Review: Militant Detroit techno crew Scan 7 have learned much from their association with Underground Resistance, not least the benefits of myth-making and mystery. This is one of the reasons that "Between Worlds" is fast becoming one of techno's most talked about releases of 2019. Of course, the fact that it's also the seven-piece crew's first album since 2002 has added to the hype, too. So is it any good? Oh yes. Variously deep, spacey, futuristic and foreboding, the album's 13 cuts range from pitch-black acid-fired techno ("I'm Covered") and fizzing techno-funk ("Trackmasta Hoop"), to percussion-laden deep house melancholia ("Deep Roots") and punchy club electro ("It's Time"). For the most part, though, what you get is uplifting, emotion rich techno in the style of their fellow Detroit greats.