Boy George & Vanilla Ace ft Katerina Themis – Just Another Guy

July 29, 2015 in Singles

Boy George & Vanilla Ace Just Another Guy Dear DeerWell, this one took me by surprise. Okay, Vanilla Ace has done some good stuff in recent years, and as an ex-80s teen I can’t help having a bit of a soft spot for old George. All the same, this team-up between the two (supplied in simple Club and Radio mixes) is far better than I was necessarily expecting…

There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking going on, admittedly; in fact there’s nothing even particularly current-sounding going on, because what we have here is a straight-up podium belter that could have beamed straight in from the mid-late 90s. But while the idea may be a familiar one, the execution is impeccable, and there’s a fragile, Tracey Thorn-like quality to Ms Themis’s voice that puts this somewhere in-between Eve Gallagher’s You Can Have It All and EBTG’s Missing.

Which, coming from a veteran of the Handbag Wars, is praise indeed! How yer typical 18-21yo clubber of today will react I couldn’t say, but if you’re fiending for 90s vocal house vibes you’ll struggle to do better this week.

Out: This week

About: This comes on a label I’ve not come across before, Ukraine’s Dear Deer Records. Find them on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website. Incidentally, looking at the Soundcloud page I notice there’s an Instrumental in the finished package too, but they didn’t send me that.

**UPDATE 25 AUG: My bad, the Instrumental had gone into the wrong folder (I’ve just realised while reviewing said ‘something else’). My bad. Anyway it’s the same as the Club Mix but sans the vocal, somewhat unsurprisingly…

Dirt Synth & Wire – Back To Basic EP

January 22, 2014 in Singles

Dirt Synth & Wire Back To Basic EP Secret PleasureTime to say hello to yet another new label tonight, as Dutch (or possibly German – see below) imprint Secret Pleasure make their debut with this two-tracker from Dirt Synth & Wire, about whom I can tell you precisely nothing.

I can tell you though what Secret Pleasure say about themselves. “Our focus is house, deep house, lounge and tech-house,” they say on the hype sheet, before going on to describe the EP as “90s groove with 2014 flavour”. And yeah, that actually sums it up pretty well. Feel It on the A is a midpaced affair with dreamy retro pads and an “I’m gonna make you feel it” vocal, the overall effect being redolent of Italian house records from the early 90s, while on the B, Friday Nite is the kind of disco-tinged stomp that Credence used to specialise in back in the late 90s/early 00s.

There’s nothing hugely innovative going on then, but both cuts will certainly do the do on the dancefloor, and of course it’s always good to welcome a new label to the TIWWD party!

Out: This week on Beatport, everywhere else from February 4

About: The hype sheet gives an Amsterdam address for Secret Pleasure but their Soundcloud page says Germany, so go figure. Anyway, they can also be found on Facebook.

Wrighty – Sun Voice EP

December 7, 2013 in Singles

Wrighty Sun Voice EP Manchester Underground MusicIs there some sort of world remixer shortage going on? Cos here we have another remix-free, three-track EP, this time from Manchester producer Wrighty.

Sun Voice itself is a fairly standard-issue, percussion-led deep/tech dancefloor cut, albeit one that avoids most of the obvious ‘haircut house’ cliches. Can You Baby is another lively number that powers along on rolling tech-house drums topped with decidedly 90s screamin’ diva vox (that’s NOT a grumble by the way!). But the standout here for me is Want Me, another energetic dancefloor cut that revisits the classic Candi Staton I Know vocal (as utilised most famously by Bowa/Altern-8 in the rave era, and recycled ever since).

Out: This week

About: This comes on Manchester Underground Music, who can be found on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Leftwing & Kody – You Were EP

March 8, 2013 in Singles

Leftwing & Kody You Were EP OFF RecordingsThe latest here from OFF Recordings, and something of a gem it is too.

There are two tracks in three mixes: You Were itself, plus two rubs of Burning Up. But we can review ’em as one, because both/all three do essentially the same thing, borrowing familiar tropes from classic 90s US house and garage – raw snatches of female vocal, beefy, hip-swaying bass, ‘come on!’ shouts, parping organs – and tweaking them to sound bang up-to-date for the 2013 dancefloors.

Not got much more to say really but this is pretty much unmissable. Get on down to the waistline…

Out: This week

About: You can find OFF Recordings, who are based in Berlin and headed up by Andre Crom, on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Ross Paterson – Back 2 House EP

April 12, 2012 in Singles

Following on from the Cambis & Wenzel release yesterday, here come some more retrofied house frolics courtesy of Influential House.

It’s a three-track affair. Feel The Music is a female-vocalled, disco-tinged number, God Gave Us Rhythm is an uplifting piano track with a neat line in parping sax to boot, and Lift ’Em Up is a full-on peaktime screamer that exhorts you to raise your hands up in the air… as if you needed telling. And all three of ’em have got that retro 90s sound down to a T.
Not the week’s ‘coolest’ release, admittedly, but it’s lots of fun all the same. Put a smile on my face during a somewhat stressful day at the day job, anyway.
Out: This week
About: Scottish-born Ross Paterson lives in Malta and – in a virtual sense – here, while you can find London-based Influential House on Facebook.

Cambis & Wenzel – Do Your Thing

April 11, 2012 in Singles

Kosmo Records might hail from Germany, and I’m guessing Cambis & Wenzel most likely do too… but vocalist Ma’Deeva is from NYC and this has ‘Big Apple’ written all over it.

In fact, if I cast my mind back to dancing to Junior at The Tunnel in 95, this would have fitted in perfectly, what with its struttin’, attitude-y (but positively-messaged) diva vox, tribal beats and bags of dark room peaktime drama. The deep, dark n’ dirty Original does it best for me, the Club Mix (in a similar vein but a tad busier) is also fine… the dirty Dutch-style touches to the Aint & Fish Remix aren’t my thing so much but that mix will have its fans also, for sure.

So yeah: driving big room house the way we used to. Hard to find fault with that, really, at least for an oldie like me!

Out: This week

About: I don’t think I’ve reviewed (been sent?) a Kosmo Records release before, despite this being number 30 from them apparently… anyway here’s their website so we can all find out more!

Stanny Abram – It’s Magic

February 24, 2012 in Singles

Well, wonders will never cease, as they say! I think this is the first record I’ve been sent with a Deso remix, where said remix actually ISN’T my pick of the crop.

Don’t get it twisted, the Deso Dope Remix of It’s Magic IS very good, a slo-mo gem of a deep, druggy groove tailormade for warm-up or afterhours play. The Patrick Podage & Nikola Kotevski Remix is also very good, a midtempo deep houser in the traditional sumptuous, mellow and melodic vein.
But at the end of the day, dear readers, TIWWD is a bit of a tart, an Unashamed Disco Dolly™, and as such, neither of the aforesaid can compete, in terms of sheer joyous ‘whack it up loud and dance around the room’-ness, with the Original, which is a BIG-with-a-capital-BIG organ tune that’d give Show Me Love or Morel’s Grooves #4 a run for their money any day… or indeed any of the early bassline house organ tracks out of Birmingham on labels like Jump and Ecko, that got yours truly so excited circa 2004/5.
So yeah, the original wins out for me but with two other top-quality remixes on board, all three of which will suit different floors/moods/times, you NEED this.
Out: This week
About: This is another winner from Savoir Faire Musique, one of those labels who I’ve raved about so much on here it’s getting a bit embarrassing now…

Billy W – U Just Don’t Know

February 15, 2012 in Singles

For those that DON’T remember, back in the early 90s there used to be a label outta Detroit – I think Terrence Parker was involved quite closely in some way – called Serious Grooves. They specialised in raw, sparse house trax with raw, sparse, mostly sampled vocals, put out on limited-edition coloured vinyl, often on 10-inch pressings. Highly collectable at the time, those singles are among the most prized items in my record collection to this day.

Why the history lesson? Because on hearing the original mix of U Just Don’t Know, I’m transported back to those days instantly. Like the original Serious Grooves releases, this won’t be for everyone – dedicated ‘real deal’ househeads only need apply! But if that’s you, the combination here of vintage Mr Fingers-style deep synths and raw, echo-y fem vox is gonna suit you down to the Jacksons’ proverbial ground.
Sean Thomas’s Drumsong Dub recasts the track as a more contemporary-sounding deep/tech house throbber, and TBH might be the rub that gets more club plays in the current climate… but the original’s the one for me. And the fun isn’t over there for us oldies, either, as bonus cut Intuition revisits the “dabby doo-dah-dah” scat vocal from The Hypnotist’s rave classic House Is Mine, teasing it in slowly over a midtempo deep house groove with prog/Balearic touches. Which is, indeed, a bonus.
With three strong cuts and evidencing a strong sense of house history, this EP is pretty much a must.
Out: Yesterday (14 Feb)
About: Both Billy W and Sean Thomas hail from Philadelphia, but this comes on leading Canadian label Nordic Trax – here’s their website and Facebook page.

Betamac – Polytrippin’

January 24, 2012 in Singles

Right, I still owe you a ‘So many tunes…’ roundup from last week (cos there were quite a few other decent bits and pieces sent in) but for now let’s crack on with some of this week’s releases, starting with this from the ever-checkable Beats Me Music.

Over four tracks and five mixes (label boss Rob Clarke supplying a refix of Sleepwalker), the general order of the day is unashamedly retro-tastic big room house, with big fat synth b-lines and tinkling pianos that just SCREAM 1992, and just a little hint of classic prog to boot. How this might sounds to an 18yo today I couldn’t really say… for this old raver this EP just brought a big silly grin to the face.

Naming favourites is superfluous – you’re either in the market for some classic pumping, driving house sounds right now or you’re not. And if you are, you’re probably going to want to play all of these.

Out: This week

About: Here’s where to find Beats Me online

David Navo & Julio Navas – Thank U

January 11, 2012 in Singles

In which Fresco Records bosses Navo and Navas celebrate 20 years of working together by putting out this upbeat, party-oriented tech-house dancefloor workout, just in the one mix, “as a big thank you to all their faithful fans and followers.”

With a spoken vocal (saying “thank you,” naturally enough), handclaps/whistles/cheers and a simple looping groove that runs throughout, it’s a fairly uncomplicated kind of track but that’s no bad thing – it’ll keep asses moving on the floor and that’s the most important thing, isn’t it?

Congratulations on the anniversary, chaps.

Out: This week

About: Just in case there was any doubt, this comes on the pair’s own Fresco Records, who are based in Barcelona.