Planet Jumper – Stick That One In There

November 15, 2015 in Singles

Planet Jumper Stick That One In There Slap Gravity RecordsNext up tonight, some neo-funk* vibes courtesy of Melbourne’s Steve Ford and Drew Schaper, better known as Planet Jumper.

Stick That One In There starts out sounding like Daft Punk’s Around The World but then, 4/4 electronic drum beats aside, evolves into a nice chunky slab of vaguely Zapp-ish electrofunk. Disco legend Ray Mang then surprises with a remix that adds some hefty nods to early Chicago house, while elsewhere, Silence Demands That Its Enemies Disappear is a slap-bass-and-bongos workout built strictly for the dancers and You Owe Me nudges almost towards disco-house territory.

The Ray Mang rub and Silence… share top honours for me.

Out: This week

About: This comes once more on the PJs’ own  Slap Gravity Records, who you can find on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

* Let’s not all start saying ‘neo-funk’, BTW. But it’s an easy way of getting the point across.

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.

Planet Jumper – Masters Of Self Restraint EP

September 19, 2015 in Singles

Planet Jumper Masters Of Self Restraint Slap Gravity RecordsMelbourne-based funk nouveau duo Planet Jumper serve up some more of their trademark party-starting, bottom-heavy grooves on this latest four-track EP on their own Slap Gravity Records.

As ever with the PJs – as I bet they just hate being called – it’s hard to pin the tracks here down genre-wise, straddling as they do the border between house, party breaks and all-out retro funk. All four cuts operate in fairly similar territory, too, so I’m not going track-by-track on this one – suffice to say if slap bass, cowbells, vintage house pianos, squelchin’ analogue synth-bass, assorted whoops ‘n’ hollers and the occasional brass stab sound like your idea of a good time, this is well worth checking…

Out: This week

About: You can find Slap Gravity Records on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Brian Auger – Back To The Beginning: The Brian Auger Anthology

September 8, 2015 in Albums

Brian Auger Back to the Beginning Freestyle RecordsSomething of a curveball for TIWWD this one, admittedly, but very fine stuff all the same.

For those that don’t know, Brian Auger – today aged 76, and still recording – is a British keyboardist (and specifically Hammond organist) who’s worked with everyone from Rod Stewart, Eric Burdon, Julie Driscoll and The Yardbirds to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Sonny Boy Williamson, as well as fronting several bands of his own, including perhaps most famously 70s jazz fusionists The Oblivion Express.

Here, 24 tracks spanning 50 years are gathered together in a long-overdue career retrospective. As you’d expect, there’s a fair amount of musical variety on offer… and possibly a little too much ‘smooth jazz’ for many ears, particularly on CD1. But the latter’s more than made up for by the 120mph bebop (Hollywood), big-lunged soul stompers (Save Me, with Driscoll), heavy psychedelic funk (Listen Here) and frenzied Hammond wigouts (Ellis Island) you’ll find elsewhere… which is generally, to put it frankly, the bollocks.

If you dig (eg) John Barry soundtracks, Castle’s ace Mod Jazz comps, Mr Scruff’s DJ sets or the Pulp Fusion series, this is a must.

Out: Now

About: This is brought to you by those ever-reliable and jolly friendly providers of real-deal funk, soul and jazz both old and new, Freestyle Records. Find ’em 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 – Henry Stone’s Miami Sound

July 7, 2015 in Albums

Henry Stone's Miami Sound Athens Of The NorthDance music history in Miami didn’t start with the Winter Music Conference, you know! Before that, there was TK Records, the label which launched KC & The Sunshine Band and T-Connection. But TK Records wasn’t the whole of the story, either; it was in fact one of a whole swathe of labels run out of a small studio in an office block in Hialeah, all of which were headed up by producer/engineer Terry Kane and – you’ve probably guessed by now – distributor/producer Henry Stone. Other imprints in the stable included TK Disco, Dade Records, Sunshine Sound Disco, Du-Vern Records, Jerri Records, Blue Candle, Shield and many more.

Stone sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 93, having been instrumental in the careers of (among others) James Brown, Anita Ward, Gwen McCrae and Betty Wright. But a feature-length documentary about him called The Record Man will be hitting cinemas soon, and to accompany the movie’s release comes this superb 20-track collection of soul, funk and disco nuggets. Featuring lesser-known gems from familiar names like Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne and Milton Wright, a couple of stone-cold (pun intended) classics in the form of The Beginning Of The End’s Funky Nassau and T-Connection’s Do What You Wanna Do, and a wealth of equally fine material from the more obscure likes of Oceanliners, Fomula 1, Raphael Munnings and Stevens & Foster, for crate-diggin’ types it’s an essential purchase.

Out: Now

About: This is brought to you by Edinburgh-based reissues label Athens Of The North, who you can find here, here and here.

Danced Til Midnight – Sun Bleach

March 19, 2015 in Singles

Danced Til Midnight Sun Bleach EP Thylacine RecordsSomething of a change of pace now, as TIWWD’s attention turns to this four-track EP from brand new UK label Thylacine Sounds.

The EP opens with Sun Bleach itself, which is like car chase funk given a hefty dose of Latin swing, embracing as it does batucada drums, mariachi brass and flamenco guitars, as well as some seriously wigged-out psychedelic flourishes. Step It Up, which follows, is a phat n’ squelchy, brass-laden bruk beat affair, while Tall Black Guy collab Wheat Bread And Eggs is a slice of leftfield/downtempo electronica, again with lashings of rude bass. Finally, to close out the EP comes Flour And Eggs, which operates in similar territory to the title track only with added rawk guitar squalls.

There are a LOT of musical ideas here, and to be honest some pan out better than others. But as a statement of intent from a new label, it’s certainly one to prick up the ears. File under ‘eclectic funk’.

Out: This week

About: Can’t seem to find a website for Thylacine Sounds but you can find Danced Til Midnight on Facebook.

Marlena Shaw – Woman Of The Ghetto (Akshin Alizadeh Remix)

June 19, 2014 in Singles

Marlena Shaw Woman Of The Ghetto Cold BustedA complete change of pace now… LA-based Cold Busted are one of my fave labels for lo-fi funk, stoner-friendly downtempo vibes and such, but what with this being primarily a house blog and there only being so many hours in the day, they don’t get as much love on TIWWD as I might like. This, though, is their 100th release so it definitely deserves a shout!

To mark the centenary, they’ve drafted in Azerbaijan-based producer Alizadeh to serve up this (officially licensed and 100% legit) refix of Marlena Shaw’s soul classic Woman Of The Ghetto, as sampled by Blueboy and St Germain. Alizadeh’s take is a lazy, lo-slung, west coast-ish groove, with boom-bap beats, wah-wah guitar and sprightly piano licks topped by parping 80s sax. It’s available in vocal and instrumental versions, though as the former mostly just loops up the “I want you to get together… put your ha-ands together one time” (with not a “geng-gegga-geng” or a “remember me” to be heard) there’s not a lot in it as to which mix to plump for… either will slot into those bar/beach/BBQ sets perfectly.

You might be thinking that such a well-loved classic didn’t really need reworking, and you’d have a point. But Alizadeh’s done a fine job here all the same.

Out: This week

About: Find Cold Busted here, here and here.

DJ Ermi – Free Forms EP

November 24, 2013 in Singles

Free Forms DJ Ermi Inspires RecordsThree fine instrumentals now from my boy DJ Ermi over in Italy.

Courage is up first, a constantly-evolving seven minutes of intricate percussion and layered melodies, with a progressive house bassline rolling along underneath as on top gentle pianos and dramatic, cinematic synths weave in and out of the mix. Feel My Heart is a warm like chocolate, late-night ride mixing up influences from classic Chi-town deepness and cosmic disco, while the lower-tempo Funky Hero is slo-mo car chase funk that sees Ermanno doing his best Lonnie Liston-Smith impression.

Three quite varied tracks, then – as the name suggests – but quality stuff throughout.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Ermi’s own Inspires imprint. Find ’em on Facebook, why the hell dontcha?

My Neighbour Is – Hot Cakes, Cold Drinks & Scrambled Eggs

October 15, 2013 in Albums

My Neighbour Is Hot Cakes Cold BustedI said there were two very different albums to talk about tonight… and people over-using the word ‘very’ is a pet hate of mine. So when I say very different, I mean this is an artist album not a V/A compilation, operates in a different part of the musical spectrum and, as opposed to showcasing the label’s more serious side, sees them at their most party-tastic.

The label in question this time is LA’s Cold Busted, who haven’t featured on here for a while. They normally do a fine line in downtempo breaks, leftfield beats and dusty lo-fi funk, but here they’re definitely in block party mode as Masterpeas serves up a selection that draws heavily on classic samples for its undoubted floorfilling appeal. The Average White Band, Rock Creek Park, Frantique, Play That Funky Music, The JBs and many other perennial faves all make an appearance over the course of 13 funk-fuelled tracks whose structure owes a lot to the turntablist style of DJing, all fast cuts n’ chops and random snatches of spoken vocal.

It sounds a bit F(r)atboy cheesy on paper, what with all the familiar hooks n’ all, but it actually works surprisingly well… it’s just a pity it’s a bit late in the year to be firing up the barbecue! The Hammond-sporting, scat-vocalled Perfect Stranger is a personal fave.

Out: This week

About: Find Cold Busted here, here and here (Soundcloud, Facebook, web)