Various/Joey Negro – Le Freak: Music Inspired By Chic

November 1, 2015 in Albums

Joey Negro Le Freak Z RecordsDave Lee dons his curator/compiler hat once more… and this time he’s getting all specific on yo’ ass. Where previous comps have focused on different dance sub-genres, from Brit-funk to Washington go-go, this one focuses on a niche within a niche: disco/funk/soul that sounds like Chic, as the title suggests.

Which leaves the poor reviewer in a bit of a pickle as regards what to say. You KNOW what Chic sound like, and the Disco Don himself definitely knows what Chic sound like. So it’s really not much of a leap to knowing what this album sounds like already, is it?! And sure enough, choppy Rodgers-esque geetar, fluid Edwards-ish bass, sweet female vocal harmonies, cowbells and handclaps are to be found in abundance. But it’s worth mentioning that tracks come from a mix of very well-known artists (GQ, Odyssey, Michael Zager Band) and the more obscure, and also span the decades, with contributions from Ultra Nate and The Sunburst Band nestling up alongside umpteen late 70s Italian disco nuggets. Oh, and that there’s one cover version, in the form of Charanga ’76’s Good Times (Como Vamos A Gozar) which, as the more astute among you may have guessed, is sung in Spanish.

Beyond that, I think I’ll just tell you that highlights for yours truly include Michael Zager Band’s Don’t Sneak On Me and Delegation’s Heartache No 9, then leave you to go grab a copy and find your own favourites…

Out: This week

About: This comes of course on Z Records, who you can find here, here and here.

Andy Compton – Bristol Boogie

November 1, 2015 in Albums

Andy Compton Bristol Boogie Peng RecordsIn which Andy Compton of Rurals/Peng fame takes time out from the Afro-house and straight-up soul he’s been pursuing of late, and delivers a full-length tribute to 80s boogie.

And it works… and it doesn’t. Musically Andy’s nailed the sound, all right: squelchy analogue synths and syndrums abound! And there are tracks that bring those early 80s memories flooding back – the Katie Leone-vocalled Soldier, for instance. Shut your eyes and it’s only too easy to imagine her singing this on a 1982 TOTP, dressed no doubt in a pink nylon twinset and matching feather fascinator! The electro tinges to I Wanna Be Free, similarly, will bring a smile to the faces of those in whose misspent youths Kangol hats and Adidas tracksuits featured heavily.

Elsewhere, though, old habits die hard, and we’re more in that territory where neo-soul and soulful house collide – you could have told me the Ladybird-vocalled Give A Little, for instance, was a mid-00s Om release and I’d have believed you. And Brokeback Soul, while undoubtedly one of the album’s highlights, is surely better classified as jazz-funk/fusion than boogie, albeit if Andy wants to hit me around the head shouting “you hair-splitting, nit-picking git!” for saying that next time I see him, he’ll be quite within his rights.

If it’s out-and-out retro boogie thrills AND NOTHING ELSE you’re after, then, you may not find this quite as satisfying as you hoped. But if you’re happy just with an hour of quality soul-infused non-house bizniss, step right this way.

Out: This week

About: This comes of course on Andy’s own Peng Records, who you can find here, here and here.

Planet Jumper – Over Easy EP

July 13, 2015 in Singles

Planet Jumper Over Easy EP Slap GravityMelbourne funk duo Planet Jumper first featured on this blog with a single for Dobara a couple of years ago, and Steve Ford from the band recently got in touch to send through this four-track EP, which comes on their own Slap Gravity label.

Disco To Go is up first, really more a Troutman-esque slice of electro-funk than disco, despite what the title says, but a booty-shaker all the same. Over Easy itself follows, another lo-slung, sleazy funker with some wicked slap bass action and squalling geetars. Red Hot Mamma is probably the most commercial cut on the EP and not a little Uptown Funk-ish, while finally Walking Over Water brings more of that squelchy funk bass goodness.

The funk is definitely strong in this one, with the title track and Walking Over Water the standouts for me.

Out: This week

About: Find Slap Gravity Records on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Various/Joey Negro & Sean P – Supafunkanova Vol 2

March 16, 2015 in Singles

Supafunkanova Volume 2 Z RecordsBefore we crack on with this week’s reviews, just need to tell you about his second installment in the Supafunkanova series from Z Records, which once again has been compiled by label boss Dave Lee and partner-in-crime Sean P.

Volume 1, Lee disciples will recall, came out in 2007 and was packed with lesser-known disco, boogie and go-go gems from the early 80s. Now, a full eight years later, Volume 2 picks up where the first installment left off… expect lots of squelchy analogue bass, electro synths and vocoder action! The promo only has 12 of the finished album’s 20 tracks but on the available evidence it’s another very worthwhile purchase for all the electofunkateers out there, with highlights for this reviewer including The Blue Denim Band’s Sugarhill-meets-Parliament  Spunk In The Funk (!), Star Quality & Class’s call-and-answer rap Betcha Got A Dude On The Side and the proto-house of Magnum Force’s Cool Out.

Oh, and if you missed Volume 1 first  time around that’s getting reissued too, including – for the first time – on doublepack vinyl.

Out: Last week (but I ran out of time last night)

About: Find Z Records here, here and here.

Nick The Record/Various – Under The Influence Vol 4

September 22, 2014 in Albums

Nick The Record Under The Influence Vol 4 Z RecordsBefore we get started on this week’s reviews there are a couple of albums from last week still to tell you about, starting with this latest compilation offering from Dave Lee’s Z Records.

Soul Ascendants man and full-time vinyl dealer Nick The Record is at the helm for this fourth installment in the Under The Influence series, serving up 21 prime slices of disco, soul, jazz-funk and boogie from a whole raft of artists, most of whom you’ve probably never heard of… or at least I haven’t (Skye excepted of course – who are here sounding decidedly Trammps-ish on Ain’t No Need).

Highlights include Ronnie Jones’ mid-80s oddity Video Games (the theme to an Italian TV pop show), Katunga’s Hammond-tastic Palo Bonito, Boogsie’s steel drum-led Can’t You See Me and Shelbra Deane’s raunchy You Move Me, but as ever with Z comps, the standard is high throughout. One or two of the tracks are presented in Nick’s own edits, but mostly they’re left to stand or fall on their original merits… and stand they do.

Put simply, this is yet another must-have collection for all the disco and boogie lovers.

Out: Last week (tsk!)

About: You can find Z Records here, here and here.

James Glass/Various – Under The Influence Vol 3

June 14, 2013 in Albums

For number three in the Under The Influence series, your selector is James Glass, a British DJ who’s been based in and around San Francisco since the early 90s. Glass runs two respected re-edit labels, Golden Goose and Grimy, and here he serves up a personal selection of obscure funk, disco and soul nuggets.

Under The Influence Vol 3 Z RecordsAs is Z’s slightly frustrating wont, there’s only a one-disc promo for what will be a two-CD set, but if the 11 tracks here are anything to go by then the full monty is set to be a highly eclectic affair. Tracks promo’d range from the Fatback-ish car chase funk of Sweet Talks’ Do The Beat to the Arthur Russell-esque punk-funk vibes of Electric Chairs’ So Many Ways, and from the Afro-tastic rhythms of Manteca’s Afro Funky to the sweet, string-drenched disco-soul of Eleanore Mills’ Same Routine. And that’s not to mention the virtuoso jazz-funk/fusion jam that is Energy Crisis’s Energy, or my personal fave Do It Anyday, which sees Toots & The Maytals man Harold Butler serving up a reggae-fied cover of the People’s Choice classic of almost the same name (interestingly in the same year, 1978, that Dillinger lifted the rhythm for Cocaine In My Brain).

Given the sheer variety on offer, it’s unlikely that any single listener will love and cherish each and every track equally. But it’s equally hard to imagine any disco, boogie or funk devotee not discovering at least a few brand-new favourites here.

Out: This week

About: Find Dave Lee’s long-running Z Records at their own website or on Facebook.

Shallow Taxi Club – Nights Turn Brighter

May 17, 2013 in Singles

Shallow Taxi Club Nights Turn Brighter Grass Green RecordingsThere seems to have been something of an accidental theme on the blog this week, with lots of records featuring old school samples. Well here’s another one… the last one, I promise.

But to be fair Flashback, which opens this EP from Auckland’s Shallow Taxi Club, is something of a monster. Take the weird whistling synth riff and exuberant pianos from Djaimin’s Give You, add a bombastic “we’re going back” vocal and you’re away! Elsewhere on the EP, STC shows there’s more than one string to his bow: Mark My Words (presented here in Monkey Boots Remix form) is a sumptuous groover sitting somewhere on the soulful house/garage/disco/boogie continuum (I’ll let you decide where), while Mark My Words is more straight-up ‘disco house’, but disco house done exquisitely well. Disco house how Steely Dan might have done it – and yes, those are strong words. But I stand by ’em.

I’m somewhat less taken by Monkey Boots’ synth-tastic remix of the latter TBH, but not to worry – three stormers outta four is so far from bad you’d need GPS to get there.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Grass Green Recordings, a new label (this is number three) who like STC himself hail from New Zealand. Find ’em here, here and here (Facebook, Soundcloud, web).

5 Reasons – Miami Sunset EP

March 12, 2013 in Singles

5 Reasons Miami Sunset No StaticBrrr! It’s cold. So let’s let a little sunshine into our lives with this nu-disco nugget from No Static Recordings.

The EP consists of two  mixes of Miami Sunset, plus bonus cut Music & Lights. In its Original form, the title track is a midtempo affair sitting somewhere between Italo and boogie/electrofunk, and wouldn’t sound out of place at all if you heard it on a Nang compilation as you cruised into the marina in your Corvette. Evol Ai’s remix takes us into dubbier, clubbier territory, while Music & Lights pays only slight homage to the Imagination classic from which it lifts both its name and its main riff, being an instrumental cut that operates in more electronicified pastures altogether.

It’s the Original mix of Miami Sunset that works best for me, I think, but it’s a solid nu-disco package all round.

Out: This week

About: You can find No Static on Facebook or at their own website.

DJ MFR – Everybody Dance

January 18, 2013 in Singles

DJ MFR Everybody Dance TransportCheeky re-edit alert, as Transport boss DJ MFR refixes B,B & Q Band’s 1981 disco/boogie gem On The Beat for the 21st century.

And, er, that pretty much tells you everything you need to know, really. I could mention that it comes in Club and Deep Disco mixes but even they’re pretty self-explanatory!

Deep disco-house done properly, what more can I tell you?

Out: This week

About: You can find Transport here.

Los Amigos Invisibles & Dimitri From Paris – Glad To Know You

September 5, 2012 in Singles

Los Amigos Invisibles & Dimitri From Paris Glad To Know You Gomma

Proving that you can’t keep a good tune down, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, that talent borrows, genius steals and, er, other platitudes, three new releases for ya tonight that all, one way or another, pay homage to classic tracks of yesteryear.

First up, this cover of Chas Jankel’s Glad To Know You from 1982 – something of a fave on the disco/boogie floors and now re-rendered in remarkably faithful fashion by Venezuela’s Los Amigos Invisibles and their regular collaborator Dimitri From Paris. Their version is just a wee bit housier than the original and comes accompanied by an instrumental, but the most exciting news here is the inclusion of an 11-minute-long Ray Mang Flying Dub.

If the words “11-minute Ray Mang dub” don’t get you at least a LITTLE excited then you’re probably reading this blog by mistake. If they do, then we’ll just say it’s every bit as lo-slung, groovy and slightly bonkers in a vaguely Levan-esque manner as you’d expect, and leave it at that.

Beards and cardigans are optional; checking for this isn’t.

Out: This week

About: This comes courtesy of uber-hip German label Gomma. Click for the website, or here’s their Facebook and Soundcloud pages as well.