The Bamboos - By Special ArrangementBMG
With "By Special Arrangement", The Bamboos dive into the vault to deliver an alternate take on their classic soul compositions. Guitarist, songwriter and producer Lance Ferguson knew he wanted to do something different so he enlisted Ross Irwin for string arrangements and the results are reminiscent of early Stax Blues and soul recordings. Of course the lead vocals of Kylie Audist sound great in any style. Her soaring vocals capture you instantly with the opener "Keep Me In Mind". She plucks the heart strings on ballads "I Don't Wanna Stop" and "Stop" as well. "I Got Burned" is another slow soul burner that features Tim Rogers on lead vocals. Ferguson's echoing guitar compliments the swaying strings. Ferguson and company aren't resting on their laurels. They're pushing the boundaries while solidifying their status as one of the première funk and soul acts on the scene today.
Reg Dancy, 10/19
The Bamboos - RawvilleTru Thoughts Recordings
The Bamboos are back with more of the same i.e. good quality funk for the 21st centuary. Vocalists this time include Alice Russell, Tyra Hammond, Kylie Auldist, Fallan Williams and Ohmega Watts who sound perfect with the deep organ based funk productions. "Get In The Scene" should already be an anthem on the clued-up dancefloors. If you enjoyed "Step It Up", you'll love this. If you missed that, well it's time to wake up.
Simon Harrison, 05/07
The Bamboos - Step It UpTru Thoughts Recordings
Originating from Australia, The Bamboo's have been rocking dancefloors ever since their self-funded 7". They were then signed to Kay-Dee Records, and Tru Thoughts recognised the talent and signed their debut. The sound is not a million miles away from Quantic Soul Orchestra, and on guest vocals is the wonderful Alice Russell on the single 'Step It Up' and also on the fantastic funk-fuelled version of Afronaught's Broken Beat anthem 'Transcend Me'. Also featured are updated versions of the Kay-Dee releases, so don't think you're being fiddled if you already have the singles. Even though Tru Thoughts are currently firing out albums, every single release is of the highest quality.
Simon Harrison, 02/06
The BDI's - The BDI'sBDI Recordings
This is London based trio The BDI's debut album and a refreshing album it is too. With live instrumentation throughout including acoustic guitar, congas and horns, it's firmly rooted in the sound of 70s Soul and Rhythm & Blues and in places reminds me of Traffic. Tracks such as 'Crying Wolf', 'Still Get The Same Old Kick' and 'Marathon' really hit the spot but this album is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
Andy Allen, 09/07
The Beauty Room - The Beauty RoomPeacefrog Records
It was well over a year ago that Kirk Degiorgio came to DJ in Leeds and told me about a new project he was working on for Peacefrog which would be in the style of Steely Dan. I've been waiting in anticipation ever since and when I received a copy of the brilliant cover of Jan Hammer's "Don't You Know" I knew we were going to be in for something special. Kirk's previous work covers most styles of electronic music and his DJ sets have become legendary. I'm not sure how to describe this style but it's certainly heavily influenced by Kirk's soul and jazz history, with beautiful harmonies and strings and stunning vocals by Jinadu, which will blow your mind. Comparisons will be made with Zero 7 but with a backing band of Ian O'Brien on guitar, Chris Witten's drums and the involvement of The Heritage Orchestra, this has massive mainstream potential and the purists will love it too. So next time you're watching TV and your mum changes the channel to watch Gardeners' World, don't be surprised if you end up singing along to The Beauty Room.
Simon Harrison, 07/06
The Black Seeds - Solid GroundSonar Kollektiv
This New Zealand based group returns with their fourth album, and quite possibly their best. That’s saying a lot considering they already have one gold album and two double platinum albums to their credit. With Solid Ground the growth of this soul funk dub step band is evidenced by the precision like live instrumentation that is heard through the entire disk. On “Love Is A Radiation“, Baranaby Weir’s smooth vocals add warmth to this traditional reggae track. With “Make A Move”, the band adds a little funk, along with some nice horn arrangements as well. There’s also a nice dub remix for this track as a bonus. Overall, “Solid Ground” provides plenty of soulful, funky, reggae flavored gems and The Black Seeds prove that they can play any of these styles very well. This is another enjoyable record by a talented group that continues to get better.
Reg Dancy, 09/08
The Blassics - TogetheringsPainted Dog Records
The Blassics are a Finland based band that started out as a small instrumental funk band led by Juha Sarkola and Tuure Tammi in 2010. Since then they've grown into a nine piece outfit and added several albums to their catalogue. Their sound has also stretched out to incorporate elements of afrobeat and jazz to their energetic funk brand. The opener "In A Sincere Way" sets the tone with their trademark of afrobeat rhythms meets jazz inspired funk. "Hagerun Geleba" is a long playing instrumental jam session with Tammi leading an impressive horn section. "Nurona Biihatu" resonates with mellow tropical vibes. Ethiopian Vocalist Miki Mac vocals aren't overpowering but he has a warm tone and fits seemlessly with this band. This is a strong album with six long playing progressive tunes wrapped in a afrobeat groove that's certainly worth checking out.
Reg Dancy, 09/19
The Bosshoss - Stalion BattalionIsland (Universal)
From Berlin they remind me of a good time pub band steeped in the traditions of rock and roll, blues and country meeting up with Hayseed Dixie especially on the covers they do which includes Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’ and Depeche Mode’s ‘Everything Counts’.
Graham Radley, 07/08
The Broken Keys - GravityTru Thoughts Recordings
The Broken Keys are a collaboration between friends Nostalgia 77 and Natural Self. With a background between them that spans all manner of styles, this was always going to be interesting, especially if you've been checking out their solo projects. As with all collaborations you never quite know what will come out of the mixing pot but here these guys have gone for funk which captures soul, rock and hip hop. I've never been a huge fan of rock but the influences in "Gravity" work in so many different ways, that you just can't help being sucked in. There are tracks for DJs and for home listening, so don't miss out.
Simon Harrison, 06/06
The Cinematic Orchestra - A PromiseNinja Tune
The Cinematic Orchestra's first release in twelve years is inspired by life events that stir our consciousness past and present. Like their previous releases "To Believe" flourishes in their blend of Jazz, soul and ambient soundscapes. Add to that an incredible A-list of vocalists who take these emotive compositions to another level. So where do we begin? Starting off with the title track where the velvet falsetto of Moses Sunmery is enough to make your heart flutter. The pulsating beats of "A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life" are highlighted by poignant lyrics from Roots Manuva. "A Promise" puts the finishing touch on a splendid album. Heidi Vogel stylizes her heavenly vocals with long lush notes over the eleven minute track that builds a crescendo with each passing minute. Twelve years is a wide gap but this superb record was well worth the wait. Each track is emboldened by elegant orchestrations that unfold patiently, allowing the songs to breathe while building to a glorious finale. Simply put you need this record in your rotation to enjoy repeatedly.
Reg Dancy, 05/19