The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra - Naming & BlamingHope Street Recordings
Hailing from Melbourne, The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra return with their long awaited sophomore lp. Over the last decade they've established themselves as a formidable group in the Afrobeat arena largely from their mesmerizing live performances. They pull no punches right from the start with the uplifting yet fiery "No Passport". "Fight So Hard" is a mellow extended tune brimming with soulful sax and lively percussion. The title track "Naming & Blaming" rides a slow burning groove that also features MC One Sixth and singer Lamine Sonko. The band's strong opinions regarding politics and social justice are wrapped around hypnotic grooves and infectious rhythms. It's a lethal combination that makes them one of the premier ensembles on the scene today paying proper respect to the Afrobeat culture.
Reg Dancy, 02/19
The Putbacks - The PutbacksHope Street Recordings
Melbourne's fertile music scene is the gift that keeps on giving. The Putbacks have been around for a minute but this is their first proper release. Produced by Paul Bender (Hiatus Kaiyote) their self-titled debut is filled with delicious 70s flavored acid soul funk and heavy guitar rhythms. "The Ways" is dark psychedelic funk that meshes perfectly with the raspy soulful vocals of Bilal. "Hold On" is slinky instrumental organ grinding funk with hypnotic chords. "No Man No" is a mellow groove with heavenly strings courtesy of Miquel Atwood Ferguson that channels early Charles Stepney recordings. Each of the sixteen tracks here packs a punch and serves up uncompromising gritty funk just the way we like it. After backing Emma Donovan a few years back they're ready to take center stage. If you like 70s groups like the Meters and early Stax recordings then you're gonna love this.
Reg Dancy, 02/19
The Quantic Soul Orchestra - TropidelicoTru Thoughts Recordings
Known for embracing the rare groove sound, Will Holland adds a little Latin flavor to his latest project “Tropidelico”. The talented Quantic Soul Orchestra storm through an array of styles ranging from Psychedelic Soul, Hip Hop and Cumbia. The latter largely influenced by Will’s relocation to Colombia. In addition to the usual cast of great musicians is famed Peruvian pianist Alfredo Linares and UK drummer Malcolm Catto. Plus many others. The new sound shines bright on the track “Melidous Wayfarer” an energetic number filled heavy percussion and lively horns. Brooklyn born rapper J-Live assists on the funky “She Said What?”. Noelle Scaggs does wonders on “Lead Us To The End”, arguably the hottest cut on the disc. “Tropidelico” is an exciting exploration into the sound of Colombia. Once again Will Holland taste in music pays dividends for the listener.
Reg Dancy, 03/08
The Rail Abandon - KalbaWah Wah 45s
"Kalba" is the debut from Issac Birituro and Sonny Johns better known as The Rail Abandon. Biritur, a xylophonist from Ghana and Johns is a singer/songwriter/producer from Leeds. "Kalba", named after Birituro's home town in Ghana. The opener "Yesu Yan Yan" is a spirited tune that channels the spirit of Ghana thanks to the vibrant vocal harmonies and birituro's xylophone melodies. "Fur Svenja" is a warm folksy tune woven by Leafcutter John's guitar rhythms and Sonny John's vocals. Birituro's xylophone aligns beautifully with the string melodies featured on "Nye Fo Chen". Recorded in St Mary's Church, these emotive compositions take on a spiritual vibe that builds throughout the lp. This is a collaboration that was meant to happen. A duo from different paths come together to compose a brilliant record that will lift your spirits.
Reg Dancy, 08/19
The Rebirth - Being Through The Eyes of a ChildWalk Talkin
It's a crime that we've had to wait ten years to the Rebirth's follow up to the amazing "This Journey In". You can find comfort that the new release "Being Through The Eyes of a Child" will not disappoint you in the least. Their is one noticeable difference, Noelle Scaggs, the featured vocalist on their debut has moved on but replacement Baskerville Jones more than holds her own. Carlos "Loslito" Guaico and company provide plenty of the sunny soul jazz arrangements you've come to expect from them here. They kick things off with "This Is Coming To?", featuring a funky guitar hook and soulful harmonies led by Jones. "Caterpillar" is a warm synth laden instrumental reminiscent of "Walk Talkin' Mizell" from their previous release. "Come On Over" is a stripped down gentle acoustic ballad. While their debut is a tough act to follow, The Rebirth succeed by delivering an joyful array of lush arrangements and funky rhythms worthy of repeated listens.
Reg Dancy, 06/15
The Red Flags - Hundreds Of SunshineFolkwit Records
The Red Flags are songwriter Keith Mouland (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, whistling) and K.C. (Harry) O' Shea (upright bass, accordion, piano) here they bring us a very classy collection of Americana/alt. country that stands it fairly and squarely against most others of its ilk. The songs are stories of life, try and listen to 'Down Across he Border' to hear them at their best. Very good.
Graham Radley, 03/07
The Rongetz Foundation - One Leg DancerHeavenly Sweetness
Trumpeter with Metropolitan Jazz Affair Stephane Ronget steps out on his own to deliver the immaculate jazz set ‘One Leg Dancer’ for the faultless Heavenly Sweetness label. Amongst others he is accompanied by John Betsch on drums on a set of largely self penned tracks (other than his great versions of Billy Paul’s cult classic ‘East’ and John Coltrane’s ‘Spiritual’). From the funky opening cut ‘Five Tigers’ you know this is going to be a rewarding listening experience and things just get better with the beautiful waltz ‘Antoines’, the heavy percussive dancer ‘NY Timbuctu’ and the aforementioned ‘East’ and ‘Spiritual’. Also look out for the 10” which features tracks from the CD plus a stunning Afro-beat flavoured remix of ‘East’ by Patchworks.
Andy Allen, 06/08
The Roots - Rising DownDef Jam
There's always great anticipation to hear a new release by The Roots. If nothing else they've been consistent throughout their career for bringing raw authentic hip hop via live instrumentation to the table. Their latest, “Rising Down” ranks among their best to date and certainly their most politically informative. Even though all but three tracks have someone teaming up with Black Thought, these appearances feel like a family reunion. On “Rising Down” Black Thought is joined by Mos Def and Styles P to discuss some of the problems that plague the world today. On “Criminal”, Truck North and Saigon drop by to wax poetic about the hard life and injustice of the streets. On “Rising Up”, joined by Chrisette Michelle and newcomer Wale, the group dips into the world of gogo and bangs out a track that is funky and fresh. Where “Game Theory” was very dark, “Rising Down” illuminates with fire. With lyrics to make you think and beats to make you move, what more would you expect from the Roots?
Reg Dancy, 06/08
The Sorentinos - Volume 10The Major Label
Oh what a joy this is, West Coast American music at its best with 12 great songs and arrangements to match, to bring everything nicely together the band of Danny Sorentino, Rob Ruiz, Steve Lee and Kenny Susan enlisted Grammy Award winner David Bianco (Tom Petty, Teenage Fanclub, etc) to take control of mixing duties and it makes the package complete. Listen out for 'Ray Davies Day', 'Stop Being You', 'Seventeen' and more. Recommended.
Graham Radley, 08/07
The Soul Snatchers -Social Beats
It’s become obvious that when soul music reached it’s peak in the 60’s and 70’s, it planted seeds all over the world. One area where those seeds are continue to bloom is the Netherlands. Say hello to the Soul Snatchers, a nine piece band that delivers 12 original songs of hot buttered soul. They don’t reinvent anything here but prove that they can burn, and they burn real well. On "Crushed Ice"” the strength of the band is in full display with blaring horns, a pulsating rhythm section and stellar organ work. Special guest, Jimi Bell, lays down his soulful vocals to the high energy, guitar driven "People People." Not be outdone, vocalist YoYo adds warmth and passion to the slow jam, "Ask For Love." I’m not certain how long these guys have been together but they sound like seasoned veterans. The Soul Snatchers take you back to an era when raw funk was the rule and not the exception. Quality soul music that shouldn’t be missed.
Reg Dancy, 05/08