B-Team – You Wild Returns

January 11, 2012 in Singles

“Funky” has to be one of the most over-used and oft ill-applied words in the English language… as any DJ who’s ever been asked if they’ve “got anything funky?” while they were playing a Brass Construction, Meters or Fatback record will testify! But sometimes it’s the only word that’ll do, so in the words of the Prodigy (almost)… this is some funky shit right here.

I must confess the original release of You Wild must have passed me by, so I’m coming to this remix EP afresh. But that’s okay because they’ve handily included the original, which is… well, yeah, some funky shit for sure, in a midtempo, chopped-up, breakbeat/nu funk kinda way. The first of the remixes, Part 2, is basically just a looser-limbed jam on the same theme, while the Trotter Remix beefs up the beats to nudge us more firmly in a house-ified direction.

But while all those three are cool, for me the standouts here are the Neighbour Remix of You Wild, which takes us into classic electro territory (by which I mean proper Patrick-cagoule-and-a-roll-of-lino electro, not the shit-80s-synth-pop dross that seems to pass for electro these days), and bonus cut Electric Nostalgia 99, which lives up to its name nicely by taking us on a trip back to the early days of house in the mid-80s. Check that bassline for some SERIOUS phatness, people!
Out: This week
About: This comes on a label I don’t think have featured on here before, Super-Hi-Fi. They’re based in Virginia in the US of A, specialise in ‘breakbeat/house/funk’ and can be found on Soundcloud and Facebook.

ALBUM Various – Inner Circles Vol 1

December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

This actually came out last week, but it somehow went in this week’s folder. Never mind, there’s no way this one was getting overlooked.

Inner Circles is a sampler showcasing Lower East, a UK label I clearly haven’t been paying enough attention to cos there are some proper house gems here. Alexis Raphael’s Skalamoosh fuses a gloriously old school organ sound and bang up-to-the-minute midpaced house beats to devastating effect, Max Chapman’s Afterparty takes us back to Chicago, Cozzy D & Dodha’s White Lightening (sic) is a groovy afterhours shuffler, Lee Brinx’s She’s Pretty revisits vintage acid vibes in a Snuff Crew kinda way and, best of all, there’s Dirty Cash by Dexter Kane & Gav Memnos, which revives the vocal from Stevie V’s rave classic in the form of a superlative slab of sleazoid tech-house funk.
Lower East peeps, I will be paying more attention from now on for sure!
Out: This week
About: If you happen to be playing catch-up like me, there’s a little write-up about Lower East on Resident Advisor or you can find ’em on Soundcloud, Facebook and MySpace. Or indeed at http://lower-east.com/

ALBUM Sleazy McQueen – 5+1

December 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

Florida’s Sleazy McQueen mans the decks for the first label compilation from Boston-based label Headtunes Recordings, featuring 16 tracks in both mixed and full-length, unmixed formats. Headtunes have featured on this blog a number of times, so you should have an idea of the kind quality straight-up house, long on classic sounds, to expect.

With cuts on offer from a host of today’s hottest names – Grant Dell, Jesus Pablo, Peckos, Do It Proper – as well as some producers that are brand spanking new, there’s plenty to delight, but special mention must be made of Sleazy’s own Big Times, Big Tings (presented here in Cole Medina’s Buffalo Times Mix form) and Cosmic Boogie’s Feel It. The latter is the closest you’ll ever get (now, anyway) to dancing to Chi-town house at Ku or Amnesia circa 1987, while the acid-dripping former is a plastic dream come true for lovers of old skool sounds brought right up to date…

Elsewhere, Grant Dell’s House Tribute should raise a smile among older heads who remember House Of Gypsies’ Samba from back in the day, while Need Ya (also from Dell) comes on like Booker T & The MGs got a gig as house band at Berghain. There are disco frolics from Mario Dujic, squelchy slo-mo vibes from Do It Proper, soul-infused grooves from Noise Destruction and more besides.

Excellent stuff all round, and it’s being released to mark the label’s 6th anniversary (hence the title), so happy birthday guys, here’s to the next six years!
Out: This week
About: There’s an interesting story behind this album, because Headtunes used ‘crowdsourcing’ site Kickstarter.com to raise the cash they needed to release it. So respect to all those who contributed! Click the link for the Headtunes website, or find ’em on Facebook or Soundcloud.

The Rhythm Odyssey – Devil’s Tease

December 14, 2011 in Singles

If you’re going to do old skool house, then it helps I guess if you’re an old skool guy… and if you happen to be British then it doesn’t come much more old skool than being one of the founders of Bizarre Inc. Enter Dean Meredith, of Bizarre Inc and latterly Chicken Lips fame, wearing his Rhythm Device hat.*

Sorry, got a bit bogged-down in footnote then**. Where was I? Oh yeah, Devil’s Tease… which in its original form is pure straight-up house music, as in a Chicago 1985-88 kinda way. Featuring a vocal by James from The Main Stem (that’s somewhat after the style of Robert Owens), it’s accompanied by instrumental and slightly deeper Basement versions, plus The Drums, The Bass and, most importantly, The Acid passes, the latter of which… oh come on, you don’t really need me to explain that bit, do you?

If it ain’t broke, they say… it’s the The Acid mix that’s doing it best for me but this is a treat for the old skool lovers all round.

Out: This week

About: This comes atcha on Chicken Lips’ own Lipservice imprint.

*In the wake of the Levenson enquiry and its probing of journalistic standards, I feel obliged to point out that I have no idea if Dean Meredith actually OWNS a Rhythm Device hat or not. I made that bit up. Hey, maybe I could get a job at the Daily Mail! Remind me: who’s doing their deep house page at the moment?

** Specifically, the footnote directly above this one. But you knew that, I’m just doing this to annoy you now.

Flash Atkins – Camper Van EP

November 29, 2011 in Singles

After Maya Jane’s excursions into slower, dubbier pastures (below) let’s stick with the slightly more leftfield house vibes, with this rather lovely four-tracker from Flash Atkins, AKA Paper Recordings main man Ben Davis.

Test One is a reworking of Sweet Exorcist’s bleep classic with the tinky-tonk analogue acid sparseness of the original replaced by an altogether more sumptuous and uplifting nu-disco feel. And a trumpet, unless I’m very much mistaken… but it works. In Flash Dub form, which has something of a big-room techno feel to it, it works even better. And it comes accompanied with Cherry Bounce, an altogether funkier, more organic affair with plenty of uplift, which again is accompanied by Flash’s own Dub for maximum impact.

Playing the original and this version of Test One side-by-side is quite instructional, actually, I think. It’s the perfect demonstration of how far we’ve come, and proof of what for me is one of house music’s greatest strengths – the ability to essentially all sound the same, and yet simultaneously, continue to ceaselessly reinvent itself.
Anyway enough of the cod theorising – this is good.
Out: This week
About: Here’s the obligatory Paper Recordings link, then.

Rayner & Wisqo feat Ptah Brown – Beware Of The Funk

October 4, 2011 in Singles

Dance music trends and fashions go in circles, as we all know. And with both minimal and dubstep-then-funky having led so many DJs, producers, club-goers and record buyers back, inexorably, to house – not to mention the current resurgence of interest in disco-house – it surely can’t be long before big full vocal tracks are back in vogue again.

Rayner & Wisqo seem to have decided the time for such a revival is now, because Beware Of The Funk is essentially the kind of ‘big beats and female vocal’ cut that, had you visited Ibiza any time in the mid-to-late 90s, you’d have heard the likes of Sanchez and Morales dropping left, right and centre.

The original works a funky bassline and rolling beats in a disconcertingly similar manner to Sarah Parker’s My Love Is Deep from 1995; Pretty Criminals turn in a deeper dub reminiscent of early Angel Moraes material; Fraser Owen opts for busier and more uptempo tech-house percussion, on a mix that’s got a more contemporary Berlin kinda vibe. But for me the blue riband here goes to Ed Lee, whose marriage of hard, whompy techno kicks and heavily re-treated vox turns the track into a proper dark room/small hours stompathon.

It’s a close call, though – any one of the mixes will do the do if dropped at the right time for sure.

Out: This week

About: This one’s brought to you courtesy of those ever-prolific Essex boys Unrivaled Music.