Review: Having been a feature of Japan's revivalist funk scene since the mid-2000s, Q.A.S.B should be a familiar name to those who dig for dinked soul sevens. "Thinking of You" is their first single of 2017 and arrives a couple of months before the due date of the Q.A.S.B IV full-length. The title track, which resides on side A, is a superb piece of relaxed, summertime soul that increases in heaviness towards a sweltering, funk-fuelled conclusion. Turn to the flip for an alternative version in which male vocalist Hiro-A-Key joins the band's regular female singer to turn the track into a super-sweet duet rich in gently rising horns and sumptuous soul grooves.
Review: Long-serving Japanese band QASB tend to have two musical modes. Their releases are either sweet and soulful or funky and fulsome. This 7" definitely sits in the latter category. A-side "Get Down" is a cheery, up-tempo workout full of rising orchestration, bouncy disco-funk grooves, jazz-funk flourishes and a vocal from A Yu Mi urging us to shake our stuff on the floor. The party continues on the mostly instrumental flipside "Double Decker", a sumptuous, all-action affair full of sparring instrument solos, sweaty disco drum breaks and dreamy freestyle vocal improvisations. It reminded us a little of Pleasure's "Joyous", which is no bad thing.
The Jet Leg (feat Ryo Nakata (Osaka Monaurail)) (4:21)
Review: We've yet to hear a record from QASB that isn't either sweet soul perfection or riotous, party-starting funk perfection. Predictably, "The Jet Leg", their latest must-have "45", is another heavyweight slab of revivalist funk-soul brilliance. The A-side title track is pure heat, with guest vocalist Ryo Nakata (or Osaka Monaurail fame) doing his best James Brown impression atop a bed of sweaty deep funk drums, rising horns, bluesy guitar solos and elongated Hammond organ chords. Flipside "Wolf" is equally as heavy and energetic, this time with dense, Latin-tinged percussion, loose-limbed drum breaks, jammed-out Clavinet riffs and more rousing horns catching the ear. Like the A-side, it's a belter!
Review: Part of Outta Sight's Modern Soul Essentials series, Sidney's career is mapped neatly across this beautiful 7". Lead track "I Don't Do This" first came our way on his second album So Sexy. Released in 1979 there's a touch of the big disco production of the time while retaining bucket loads of warmth and sentiment. "Run To Me", meanwhile, comes from his debut album I Enjoy Loving You. Released in 1974, it takes a much more classical soul form with slightly less focus on the tight instrumentation and more emphasis on Sid's rich vocals and the complementing lush harmonies. Two versions of soul, one killer 7", don't miss out.
Review: First released way back in 1999, Raphael Saadiq's Q-Tip-sporting "Get Involved" is a warm and woozy, retro-futurist chunk of soul/hip-hop fusion that harked back to an earlier musical age. It remains an arguably underappreciated dancefloor bomb and here gets the reissue treatment courtesy of the freshly lauched 45 Jams imprint. It comes backed by another stone cold classic from Q-Tip, "Vivrant Thing" - a cut first featured on the flipside of the Tribe Called Quest member's much more celebrated "Breathe Don't Stop" single. It's a little more stripped back than the A-side, with Q-Tip delivering his distinctive flows over a crunchy and fuzzy, Jay Dee produced backing track crafted from samples from an old funk record.