Review: Cordial have partnered with Afrodisia to reissue their sought-after album, 1980's Elephant Sunrise, in 2018, with an album of previously unreleased recordings to follow. To whet our appetite, they've decided to release the never-before-heard "Malik", a brilliant chunk of jazz-funk fusion that would have got jazz dancers hot under the collar had it appeared when it was originally recorded way back in 1982. On the B-side you'll find the similarly minded "A Fool No Longer", a dancefloor-focused chunk of blue-eyed soul that has previously only been available on obscure 1981 compilation album Rock Aus Der Alten Schule. Brilliant stuff all told.
Review: It's been almost four years since we last heard from Anatoly Ice and Dariya, and we were beginning to miss the duo's magnetic waves of seductive nu-soul. Backed by a gentle sway of breakbeats, "Freedom (Unchained)" is the sort of tune that will have cross-cultural appeal, drawing in influences from pop, r&b, and even a little country love. On the flip, Mr Confuse twists the groove up to transform the original into more of a light-hearted house swelter, backed by the original's suave vocals.
Angel Sound-Broadway - "Inner City Blues" (Acetate demo) (3:04)
Review: Cannonball celebrate the big two-oh with this delightful find of an original take of Gaye's seminal "Inner City Blues". Famously covered by Gil Scott Heron and Grover Washington Jr, here the legacy continues as the Italian collective rebooted John's recording with their own subtle instrumentation. With a full studio version on the Take side and rawer, floor-hitting funk finish on the Acetate side, we guarantee this will make you want to holler...
Review: Soul4Real has gotten 'soulful for real' with this third outing, coming through in the form of 2 previously unreleased gems from US band The Anglos. This is some pretty niche gear, what with the band having only put out a handful of 7s back in the 60, so it feels like a special occasion to have some new material from them on our shelves. These tunes were apparently destined to land on the Botanic imprint back in the day, and are famously produced and engineered by the great Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, which is why they have a certain roughness that is rarely heard on other soul records. "Broke Down Piece Of Man" is a fast, beat-heavy number with a psychedelic edge that reflects the state of mind back then, while "Four Walls Of Gloom" takes the gospel tradition as its main ingredient, offering a wonderfully uplifting midtempo rocker for the heart and soul.
Review: A self-titled opus, the OG presses of Aura's one and only album have been known to fetch over L100 while the 2016 Aloha Got Soul reissue was supported across the board from Theo Parrish to Giles Peterson. Here are two of the most delectable highlights in bright white 45" form; "Let Me Say Dis About Dat" is all about the crunchy riffs and rock funk fusion while "No Beginning, No End" is a thrilling disco funk cut that has aged to perfection. Limited and likely to fly.
Review: Pat Biggerstaff's ZIP catapults itself into the modern soul game with an arresting statement of intent; St Louie-born, Kansas-based Bryan Austin takes time off his calling as a missionary to lay down two soft, dreamy, string and piano based ballads. "What Would Marvin Say?" is rich in references and respect while "Sunday" takes The Moments' classic to slower, deeper, emotive pastures. Both establish ZIP as a new label with promise.
Review: Serial alias addict, Kris Holmes returns with a double side of split personality: The Disciples is a rough, bluesy layered piece of slo-mo surf rock where the drums only just keep up and the organs provide heavy soul salvation. "He Spoke" shows Kris on much more of an African inspired trip. Similarly hefty organs power the main groove but there's more uplift in the riff and instrumentation. Insatiable.
Apollo Studio Band - "Honkey Tonk Woman" (instrumental) (2:39)
Review: For their latest deep dive into the world of obscure funk, Vienna's Record Shack has decided to reissue two hard-to-find gems from the Just Brothers and Apollo Studio Band. The former's "Honey" was recorded in the 1970s but first released in 2001. Full of their trademark surf style guitars, stomping Northern Soul style beats and dreamy, psychedelic era vocals, it remains one of the outfit's greatest tracks. On the reverse you'll find the thrillingly fuzzy "Honky Tonk Woman (Instrumental)" by the Apollo Studio Band. We found next to no information about the outfit online, suggesting the track was taken from a lauded, private press release. Either way, it's a prime chunk of Northern Soul style instrumental fuzziness that's worth the admission price alone.
Review: German bandleader Lutz Krajenski has enjoyed a long and successful working relationship with Agogo. The Austrian label has previously released countless singles and albums from his Hidden Jazz Quartett [sic] combo and here allows him a chance to go solo on a fine 7" single. Taken from an album of Agogo catalogue covers due to see the light of day in early 2018, A-side "I Got Hope" (originally recorded by the Hi-Fly Orchestra) is a sumptuous, slow-burning jazz ballad featuring superb vocals from Alana Alexander. She reprises her role on the flipside, where Krajenski and his collected musicians lay down a killer, Clavinet-heavy version of Timmy Thomas classic "Cold, Cold People".
Ramon Pyrme/Jean Claude Cornely - "Vacance Union" (4:49)
Zanma - "Poutchi" (4:47)
Swanha Desvarieux - "Nou Ke Sa Enmew" (4:06)
The Group NSI - "Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Za Fe An Moin" (3:43)
OREA - "Biguine Inferno" (4:49)
Milton - "Mizik Nou" (4:49)
Selekta - "Fle Pou'W" (3:59)
Meliza - "Anrage" (4:35)
Acayouman - "Si Ou Ladje Moin" (4:00)
Eddy LA Viny - "Indiano" (3:38)
Review: Here's yet another rare '80s compilation with even more deep cuts than the last. Where do they find them all? Heavenly Sweetness clearly know but they ain't telling! They are showing though, and here on Digital Zandoli they reveal 12 newly discovered disco, boogie and zouk tracks recorded about 30 years ago in the West Indies. We're clearly spoilt for choice on this record, but highlights include the synthetic sea breeze grooves of Puzzle Pulsion's "Mwoin Ka Songe", the mellow Afro grooves of Zanman's "Poutchi" and the abstract body music via a sandy beach vibes of OR EA's "Biguine Inferno".
Review: Later this year, crate-digging specialists Cordial Recordings is set to release an album of previously unheard recordings by cult German jazz-fusion combo Afrodisia. To get us in the mood, the London-based label has decided to reissue the band;s sole previous album, 1980's Elephant Sunrise. While the album is best known for the impeccable jazz-funk sweetness of "Sugar Free" - recorded, like much of the rest of the album, by a mixture of locals and guest musicians from a nearby U.S army base - there's much to enjoy throughout, from the psychedelic heaviness of opener "TMFF" and elastic dancefloor workout "Psychic Summers", to the slap-bass-propelled funk-rock of "Wild Turkey" and intense, full-throttle closer "Zugabe (Encore)".
Review: Serious reissue business: Be With take us back to 1971 for Air's one and only album. The brainchild of Googe Coppola (who you may recognise from Fire Island or cameos with Jeremy Steig) and her partner in jazz Tom Coppola, you can hear vapour trails of the pastoral, laidback folk of the late '60s with a more forthright funk energy and jazz mindset as the lovers and their bandmates dazzle us with meandering melodies and stories; from The Doors level organ frenzy of "Baby I Don't Know Where I Love" to the galloping momentum of "In Our Time" that suddenly stops dead into an almost medieval breakdown by way of ballads such as "Sister Bessie" and Afrobeat-style horn chaos like "Lipstick", this really captures an exciting time in music and, if the music is as honest as it seems, a rather exciting time in the lives of the Coppolas too...
Review: Saxophonist and flautist Harold Alexander recorded and released his debut album, Sunshine Man, way back in 1971. Now considered something of a must-have for fans of both jazz-funk and fusion, it was recorded with the assistance of some notable musicians including legendary drummer Bernard Purdie and prolific session bassist Richard Davis. There's no doubt, though, that Alexander was the clear star of the show. As this essential reissue proves, his saxophone and flute playing was on-point throughout, arguably reaching its' peak on the incessant and epic title track (which, incidentally, also includes some sublime keys-work). Other highlights include the restless hustle of "Mama Soul", where Alexander's urgent flute solos are accompanied by note-for-note scat vocals, and the relaxed fusion flutter of "Anguilla".
Review: Boom: three years, three albums. No biggie for Bristol duo The Allergies, Jalapeno's biggest success story since Kraak & Smaak. Each album shows them getting deeper into the groove, creeping away from the cheeky samples and sculpting their own pedigree funk originals. With Ugly Ducking Andy Cooper onside through the mix from the wild ride vibing "Fade Away" to the white knuckle lyrical fire of "Run It Back", there's a real band feeling to the whole album as familiar voices thread throughout the jams... including that of UK hip hop legend Dr Syntax.
Review: Don't be fooled by the smoky jazzy horns on the intro: The Allergies are still at the front of the party queue! They were just lulling us into a false sense of security before hitting us with a precision range of big soul swingers and dynamite party killers; both "Hold You Close" and "Since You've Been Gone" pop with big beat bangs, "Entitled To That" stamps and sweats like Wigan Pier is still holding the best dances in the country, "Main Event" parps and pumps while long-standing affiliate Andy Cooper reminds us who's boss while "It Won't Be Me" (also with Cooper) is coded with so much horn and guitar powered gusto you could be fooled into thinking Ugly Duckling are back. Yet another triumphant album from one of Jalapeno's most exciting acts.
Review: The Allergies' debut album introduced the world to the way they effortlessly fuse funk, soul, disco, hip-hop and breaks into dancefloor-ready nuggets of ear candy. Taking classic sounds and reshaping them for the modern age is the signature that won them plaudits across the globe. Not ones to rest on their laurels, it hasn't taken long for them to deliver more of the goods on their second full-length album. As well as taking the successful formula of the first record and expanding on their sound, the band enlisted two giants of underground hip-hop to bless mics on the album as well. After a hugely successful collaboration on their debut LP, once again the dynamic lyricism and production skills of the inimitable Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling) are present and correct in this new collection.
Review: Following on from the Distant Air EP, bright young things Anushka come back to Brownswood to deliver their debut album, showing off a distinctive twist on R&B that worms subtle flecks of minimal electronics, house music and more into a melancholic, richly melodic soulful whole. "Never Can Decide" is loaded with crossover appeal with its bombastic chorus sweeps while keeping a delicacy in the production that keeps the music on the right path. Really though it's Victoria Port's vocals that shape out the identity of Anushka, charged with just the right kind of energy to worm into many an ear as the Brighton-based duo spread their wings.