Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
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Danca Dos Tempos / Fabiano Do Nascimento

Fabiano Do Nascimento - Danca Dos Tempos

Now Again

"Danca Dos Tempos" is the sparkling debut from guitarist Fabiano Do Nascimento. The son of the late Lucio Nascimento, Fabiano's debut is filled mainly with sublime folkloric instrumental duets with the legendary percussionist Airto Moreira in his first session appearance in ten years. Other selecetions include his long time drummer Ricardo "Tiki" Pasillas. There are several harmonic and melodic treats to savor here. "Canto De Iemanja" and "Nana" are spirited tunes with the latter featuring Pasillas on drums. "Ewe" and "Minha Ciranda" are gentle and breeezy tunes that feature vocalist Kana Shimanuki. Armed with superb technique as well as emotive songwriting, Nascimento bridges the gap from Brazil's storied past and proves that it's future is in good hands.

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Reg Dancy, 05/15

Ready To Roll / Farnell Newton

Farnell Newton - Ready To Roll

Atlantagotsoul

"Ready To Roll" is soulful RnB with a touch of jazz from the Portland Oregon based trumpeter. Newton has performed with a number of artists and recently toured with Jill Scott. The disc features some tasty vocals on a number of tracks.. "Make Me Yours" is sweet mid-tempo RnB that features vocalist Ashley Jayy. "You Gotta Move" is a slow burning funk treat that's produced by Donyea Goodman. "Peace & Love" is soulful RnB that features rising star Jarrod Lawson and Tony Ozier. "Dunk Funk" and "Stanky's Revenge Part Doo" are straight up jam sessions with heavy grooves, funky wah wah guitar rhythms and blistering horn riffs. Although Newton is a respected Jazz Trumpeter there's little in the way of jazz featured here. There's plenty of soulful vocals and tight arrangements to ensure you'll have a funky good time.

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Reg Dancy, 10/15

Dr Boondigga & The Big BW / Fat Freddy's Drop

Fat Freddy's Drop - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW

The Drop

Fat Freddy’s Drop has already achieved rock star status in their native New Zealand and continues to attract large crowds throughout Europe. Now with their second full length release “Dr Boondigga and The Big BW”, the seven piece band aim for world wide recognition and based on this recording, they may be ready to pull it off. The band’s musical style is an amalgamation of reggae, dub, soul and funk and the musical acumen throughout the group is impressive considering that each member has played vital roles in various groups before merging into this band. The production and horn arrangements shine on the opening track, “Big BW”, a mid-tempo soulful number augmented by the falsetto voice of Joe Dukie, who blesses all remaining tunes as well. “Shiverman” is a ten minute jam session that starts off with a funky electric guitar riffs and features Hopepa on Trombone. “The Raft” is a reggae/dub number complete with a thumping bass line that would be just an average tune if it were performed by a lesser band. Instead the musicianship of this group and Dukie’s vocal abilities make this a bona fide winner.  “The Camel” starts out with a wicked improvised electric guitar solo before settling into a funky mid-tempo groove that provides plenty of space for Joe Dukie and special guest Alice Russell to glide over. One listen of this cd will have you checking the FFD website for tour dates. As great as this record will sound coming through your speakers, the experience of hearing them live will cement your admiration for this talented band for years to come. Highly recommended.

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Reg Dancy, 03/10

Bays / Fat Freddys Drop

Fat Freddys Drop - Bays

The Drop

With their fourth studio album, the seven member band from New Zealand known as Fat Freddy's Drop have solidified themselves as one of the most consistent bands working today. Few bands pose a dual threat for turning out impressive recordings layered with solid songwriting as well as first rate stage performances.  With "Bays" they continue to remain true to their signature reggae roots while experimenting with psychedelic rhythms and electronica. "Slings and Arrows" finds them in familiar territory with a tight bass lines and hypnotic reggae groove. "Wheels" is experimental funk laced with moody synths. "Razor" follows in the same direction, an energetic up-tempo tune filled with hard driving guitar rhythms and wicked synths. "Makkan" is a mellow ballad filled with swaying horns and wah-wah rhythms. "Cortina Motors" is a ten minute jam session, certain to boost any party. At the center of it all is vocalist Joe Dukie whose falsetto vocals seems to fit in any style. It all adds up to another superb album that you shouldn't be without.

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Reg Dancy, 12/15

Yellow Memories / Fatima

Fatima - Yellow Memories

Eglo

Swedish native and now London resident, Fatima has been teasing us with a few tracks and EPs here and there for a number of years now. Finally we're treated to her full length debut released on the highly regarded Eglo records. "Yellow Memories" is a fabulous collection of future soul filled with contrasting styles. This is due to the diverse collection of producers on hand. One of those producers is label mate Flako, who produced  "Family" and La Neta".  Two tasty mid-tempo tunes filled with gorgeous chords and funky guitar rhythms. Other highlights include "Do Better", one of five tracks produced by Floating Points. "Riding High" is an outer-worldly hip-hop soul highlight, produced by Scoop DeVille. Where much of Fatima's earlier recordings were arranged primarily with samples. "Yellow Memories" features plenty of live instrumentation to go along with thoughtful songwriting. It all adds up to an impressive coming out party, not to mention one of the strongest records of the year.

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Reg Dancy, 10/14

Dark Days Exit / Felix Laband

Felix Laband - Dark Days Exit

Compost Records

Looking at this album sleeve I was really unsure what to expect: electro or some new wave gubbins but this is a down right beautiful album, which wipes the floor with all the 'lounge' style compilations that are currently flooding the market. Things kick off with the lovely 'Whistling In Tongues' and all you need to do is sit back and listen to the wonderful experimental sounds. Perfect listening for when you need to calm down when stuck in a traffic jam.

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Simon Harrison, 06/05

The Colors of Hope / Fetsum

Fetsum - The Colors of Hope

Sonar Kollektiv

After listening to “The Colors Of Hope”, the debut of Sonar Kollektiv artist Fetsum this much is clear; his distinctive voice will resonate with you instantly and his poignant lyrics layered over a soulful reggae acoustic vibe will stir your consciousness and soul. Fetsum was discovered by Reggae star Patrice who soon invited him on tour and eventually to the studio where the ground works for his debut was formed. By his own admission, Fetsum aptly describes his sound as urban folk and you can’t go wrong with any of his compositions to understand why. For instance “One People” is an uplifting folk tune that depicts Fetsum as a time traveler to experience the Civil Rights period. “Divided by Thoughts” is filled with Middle Eastern rhythms and speaks of the divisiveness that permeates through the world. “Queen of My Heart” is a beautiful ballad that finds Fetsum bearing his soul about the woman who moves his heart. It’s safe to say that one listen is all it will take recognize that is an artist to keep an eye on. This is a superb record that by an emerging artist that merits your attention.

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Reg Dancy, 09/12

Biscuits for Breakfast / Fink

Fink - Biscuits for Breakfast

Ninja Tune

Ahhhh, if I were asked to review albums like this every day of every week I would truly be a contented soul. The blues has not be represented this strongly since Ernesto's 'A New Blues' album last year (Exceptional Records). Acoustic bliss with someone who actually knows how to produce his own album - precise imagery and colour make this a zero fatigue treat for the ears and a welcome relief for the speakers who have been missing John Martyn dearly. Nothing can quite replace the sound of musicians playing instruments in a rather overwhelming electronic world of jazz and soul music. 'Pretty Little Thing' opens the proceedings where you will find yourself settling back into the armchair for what becomes a wonderful and refreshing project. Fink touch all the rite spots with 'You Gotta Choose', 'Biscuits' and their re-work of 'All Cried Out' is a remarkable concept, highlighting a true experience for the listener and clearly identifying their writing skills. The Blues - but not a dead dog in sight! An amazing album.

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Steve Williams, 11/06

Butterflies / Finn Peters

Finn Peters - Butterflies

Accidental Records

Finn Peters has been on the scene for a while but it was in 2006 he made his debut as a leader with the critically acclaimed “Su Ling”. With his second release “Butterflies” there are two noticeable differences.  One is the reliance on his flute playing than on his sax playing. His tone on the flute is impressive and his compositions take these tunes to greater heights. The other difference is while “Su Ling” was more of an acoustic record, “Butterflies” has more of a classical vibe. The title track, "Butterflies", highlights Finn's engaging and spirited solo with guitarist Dave Okumu. “Atlas” is a brilliant composition that finds Finn on alto sax creating subtle harmonic images while drummer Tom Skinner is interactive with his every move. All selections here are rich in melody and the band approaches each song with passion and tenderness. This is simply another great release by Finn Peters that would be a welcome addition to your collection for those quiet moments.

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Reg Dancy, 06/08

R.U.E.D.Y. / Flowriders

Flowriders - R.U.E.D.Y.

Mr Bongo

There have an abundance of broken beat hits (and misses) this year. This is one of the hits that should have lots of staying power. In addition, there are a couple of highlights that stand out about the new Flowriders cd "R.U.E.D.Y". One is the live instrumentation that gives the music a fresh sound every time I play it. The other highlight is the guest vocalists such as Tanya Saw, Spoonface and the dynamic blue-eyed soul man himself, Colonel Red. On the cosmic "Looking Deep" the Colonel provides well placed background scats to complement the vocals of Tanya Saw. "I Think I Know" is a nice mid-tempo gem that is enhanced by the drum work by Richard Spaven (Mark De Clive Lowe, 4Hero). "President" is an energetic broken beat track with vocals by Spoonface, who on this track, sounds a little like Omar to me. "Visualize" also features Colonel Red and has a haunting deep groove that begs for the volume to be turned up. Chances are you feel compelled to do that the minute this track starts. Thanks to the tight production by Vincent Helbers (aka Flowriders), this disc will provide definite satisfaction to fans of the bruk beat, broken soul. Recommended.

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Reg Dancy, 01/08

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