Review: Given that Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan is the man at the controls, it's perhaps unsurprising that this surprise debut full-length from little known Canadian chanteuse Jessy Lanza drips with smooth, synthesized sweetness. Packed with Greenspan's trademark melancholic, Metro Area-ish synths, but built around Lanza's fragile, otherworldly vocals, Pull My Hair Back is a contender for the best leftfield pop album of the year. Variously touching on synthesized R&B, deep boogie, sparse torch songs (see the sublime title track) and starbust wonkiness (the beautifully off-kilter "As If"), Lanza and Greenspan have delivered an impeccable, unassuming delight. Recommended.
Review: This is when reissues feel like they truly do a service to music that would have certainly disappeared into obscurity - Desmond Coke was a gifted musician who sat in on sessions for the On-U Sound label amongst many other places. His sole solo record was a private press job that very nearly blinked out of existence, but Emotional Rescue have been on hand like the diligent diggers they are to rescue his heartfelt, mightily expressive boogie jams from the one dollar bin. Sunny, sweet and soulful, but also with enough depth and punch to stand up to big budget productions of the era, this is a truly wonderful find that will no doubt be a surprise to even seasoned selectors.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: As far as collaborative delights go, this really takes the cake. Miami boogie wildcard Noel Williams, aka King Sporty, throwing it down heavy with legendary Jamaican reggae axe man Ernest Ranglin - as you might expect, the results are incendiary. "Soft Touch" has a hint of the cosmic about it as it romps through insanely catchy chorus chants, stirring brass stabs and Ranglin's sweet licks. "Keep On Dancing" has a more uptempo feel, "In The Rain" slips into a laid back reggae skank and "Be What You Want To Be" turns the vintage disco heat back up. Throughout this wonderful mini LP, the duo switch between each other's strengths and bring out the best in each other, like all good collaborations should.
Dynamo Dreesen & Porn Sword Tobacco - "Wormhole" (5:15)
TVA - "Crackled Crossed Lines" (4:16)
Telephones - "Pok-A-Tok" (Sundown mix) (6:03)
Review: Dynamo Dreesen's ACIDO imprint could not be functional without these sporadic mini-compilations from his co-workers and compatriots. The Berlin imprint, still waving the flag up high in the name of GOOD electronic music, returns with the third helping of My House Is Not Your House, a series showcasing the imprint's well-known talents and less established new entries, in what is always an indirect 'house' coating. PG Sounds kicks off with an intricate percussion pattern called "Acid", while newcomer TVA slaps down a fine drum groove surrounded by all sorts of quirky melodies, and there are plenty more deviations from the likes of Chance Encounter, Roadworker, or Arrrgh. Even Dreesen himself appears, alongside port Sword Tobacco, along with Fett-Burger's Telephones moniker. Unmissable, as per usual.
Review: Along with Sheffield combo Hiem, Rayko is fast becoming Nang Records' most reliable artist. It would be fair to say that his latest album, No Stopping - his fourth in total and first since 2014 - is undoubtedly his strongest yet. Blessed with some fine guest vocals from Tania Haroshka and, perhaps more impressively, Crazy P's Danielle Moore, the set features much more "live instrumentation" - most notably bass and electric guitars - than the Spaniard's previous full-lengths. This adds an extra level of musical richness to the Madrid man's synthesizer-heavy tracks, which once again flit between hard-edged nu-disco, sun-kissed Balearica, revivalist electrofunk sweetness and the kind of cosmic disco that we would once have expected to hear from Daniele Baldelli and Marco Dionigi.
Review: Since its' release in 1981, this quirky debut album from Louis' Band - a short-lived studio outfit put together by arranger and producer Louis Vanni - has become a sought-after item amongst record collectors. Happily, Mondo Groove has decided to make it available digitally for the first time. It's an eccentric but hugely entertaining affair, featuring a range of tunes that variously touches on jazz-funk, AOR disco, flute-laden instrumental soul, synth-laden rock-and-roll revivalism, sax-laden sleaziness, and the kind of oddball, library music style fair that some may consider 'Balearic'. Given that original vinyl copies are hugely difficult to find, this digital edition is well worth picking up.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with Carl Gustav Gjengen Og Parkeringsbandittene, a 1982 Norwegian children's mystery film with an eccentric, convoluted plotline. This is the first time that the soundtrack, which was created by former Norwegian progressive rocker turned composer Pete Knutsen, has been released. It's an imaginative and largely colourful affair, with Knutsen utilizing spacey synthesizer sounds and bold melodic riffs (very reminiscent of the period in which it was created) alongside his usual fuzzy rock guitars and out-there electronics. It's hugely evocative and entertaining, with nods to a myriad of contemporaneous American and European styles as well as the Beatles circa The White Album and Abbey Road.
Review: Formed of Alice Castagnoli, Alessandro Costantini and Vincenzo Viceversa, the UM:BROS project dates back to 1984 with the trio mainly playing live, including performances at one of Italy's first electronic music clubs - Suburbia in Perugia. The trio signed for the legendary Italian imprint House Of Music and recorded an album, The Law Of The Three Trees: Motus, but it never saw release thanks to the short lifespan of the label. Over thirty years on the album and UM:BROS finally get their moment in the spotlight with this LP edition of The Law Of The Three Trees: Motus which veers through electronic, new wave and italo-disco in a modern and updated style!
Review: While the noise swirling around them is getting close to deafening, you get the feeling that the hype wouldn't penetrate the ethereal bubble that Peaking Lights exist in. The partnership of Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes exudes innocence and wide-eyed delight at every turn - in that sense they make a pleasing departure from much of the current lo-fi zeitgeist. Where many of these artists have staked their claim to degraded sonics through a cacophony of noise and scrubbed-out vocals, Peaking Lights have a delicate, charming nature to them which uses withered production traits as a pathway rather than an end point. There's no denying that Lucifer is lo-fi (they even wryly name on of their tracks "Lo-Hi" on the album) but they don't use that aesthetic to mask the music that they make. Rather it sounds like they really don't have anything else to make their songs with other than Coyes' ropey home-made equipment and a battered four-track recorder. Whether this really is the case or not, there's no air of contrivance about Peaking Lights. For that reason alone the hype is well and truly justified. Highly recommended.
Review: It would be fair to say that Magnus Sheehan has taken his time over Echo To Echo, his long-promised debut album for Full Pupp. Since debuting back in 2006 with the brilliant "Kosmetisk", the Oslo-based producer has delivered sporadic singles that hint at greatness. Echo To Echo is, thankfully, a largely impressive affair, with his trademark spacey, colourful synthesizers taking pride of place throughout. Stylistically, it's perhaps a little more varied than you might expect, frequently veering off his familiar Scandolearic nu-disco course to take in elements of dreamy deep house, tactile techno, IDM, electronica and an obviously icy take on new-wave. Throughout, it remains melodious and evocative, as with much of the best Norwegian electronic music.
Review: Under the Junior Mendes alias, Luiz Mendes Jr was a key figure on the Brazilian funk/soul scene of the '70s and early '80s. As writer, composer and producer, he had a hand in a variety of releases by such big-hitting Brazilian artists as Banda Black Rio and Tim Maia. In 1982 he recorded and released his sole solo album, Cococabana Sadia, a set that remains virtually unknown outside of his native Brazil. As this Athens of the North reissue proves, it's something of an overlooked gem. Musically, it's typically of boogie-era Brazilian soul and funk, mixing native rhythms and instrumentation with elements borrowed from disco, jazz-funk and bouncy dancefloor soul. It's unashamedly sunny and positive, too, and should be essential listening for anyone who loves Latin disco and boogie.
Living In A Lie (feat Ale Chambers & De Konichiwa) (5:08)
I Can't Help Myself (feat Francoise D'Argent) (5:34)
Seal The Deal (feat Myles G) (4:28)
Gotta Give Up (My Love) (4:17)
By My Side (feat Rose Lemonade) (5:01)
Friend Or Freek (feat Cazeaux OSLO) (5:24)
Cafe Eliza (feat Myles G) (3:31)
Love Me Down (unreleased demo) (4:14)
Review: The Freekwency quartet are back with their second LP and, as you'd imagine, it's another high-calibre boogie trip that filters down into house and electro - precisely what you need on a mid-August weekender! Seal The Deal is choc-a-block with cameos, from peeps like Myles G or Francoise D'Argent, who respectively explore all the various elements of proto-house - from the vintage house of "I Can't Help Myself" to the classic, SAM-style boogie of "Gotta Give Up (My Love)". In essence, this album is a sure way to get people dancing, and by people we mean everyone in the damn room! Not a bum track in sight on here, so dig in and have a boogie or two...
Review: Long lost groove gold from South Africa, The Movers blessed the world with almost 20 albums during their tenure throughout the late 60s / 70s. A fluid collective with scant documentation on their history, key players changed in the band frequently but Soundway have traced the credits of this rare opus down to producer David Thekwane and musicians Jabu Sibumbe, L Rhikoti, Lloyd Lelosa and Sankie Chounyane. Whoever the line-up was, the key sounds were always consistent as the troupe writhed and frolicked around disco soul axis, as is best celebrated here on the thumping funk fusion of the title track, the sweaty insistency and tightness of "Beat" and the awesome falsettos of "Work Is Done".