Review: Leroi's back! Well... He never went away. As a studiosmith and designer his fingerprints are all over many of Colemine's on-point curations, but now we're about to enjoy a whole new tonne of Conroy as he prepares to drop his debut album. These two heavyweight instrumentals set the scene perfectly; "Tiger Trot" looks east for melodic inspiration with a touch of New Orleans in the swampy sweaty delivery. "Enter" hits with more of a jazzier, freeform air as we spiral into trumpet dizziness into deep bluesy introspection and some damn fine breaks from fellow Colemine consistency Rob Houk. Only 300 copies pressed.
Review: We're not sure of the back-story of Devlon Lamarr's eponymous trio, but this debut album for Colemine is an absolute killer. Lamarr is a virtuoso organist, and it's jammed-out Hammond organ and electric piano solos that naturally take centre stage throughout. That said, both drummer David McGraw and guitarist Jimmy James play their part throughout, with the former's ambidextrous fills and the latter's raw licks also catching the ear throughout. Musically, the tracks range from Meters-style heavy funk and lounge soul workouts to a range of cuts more heavily influenced by the blues of John Lee Hooker and the similarly instrumental brilliance of Booker T and the MGs.
Review: Their last single was "Won't Be Coming Back", now comes "Sure Don't Miss You": We're noticing a theme here... And to be honest, we can't thank whichever ex-lover it was who upset this Seattle seven piece enough. Because we are getting some serious soul gold right here! Once again on Colemine, once again rich in harmony, once again with the big instrumentation and enough spring in the guitars and horns for big dance moves; The Dip are fast establishing themselves as a serious player in contemporary funk and they've even thrown in an instrumental to show how tight they are.
Review: Long-established LA funk troupe Orgone re-deliver their 2015 album Beyond The Sun on gatefold coloured vinyl. As if the sounds were beautiful enough... Seven albums deep, the ever-expanding collective (who've backed the likes of Pharohe Monche, The Pharcyde and Plantlife) hone their sound to even tighter, silkier depths. Now rolling with new singer Adryon De Leon, there's a newfound sense of energy and style across the album. From the sweaty, stompy glam-funk grooves of "Someone's Love Is Real" to the smouldering smokiness of "No Pain", Orgone continue to remain in their own universe. If your collection doesn't boast this, now is the time.
Review: With a father who played piano on some of Terry Callier's greatest records, Ben Pirani has solid soul credentials. He's also previously served up a swathe of superb singles, both as a solo artist and as part of various short-lived Chicago soul groups. Given this history, his first solo album, "How Do I Talk To My Brother", is without doubt something of a gem. Pirani's dream pop-influenced blue-eyed soul vocals naturally take centre stage, rising above '60s -style backing tracks - complete with fuzzy period production - that variously doff a cap to Motown style stompers, Callier style folk-soul, impassioned slow jams (see the sweet "Art School Girl"), and the kind of sun-kissed songs that will have even the most miserable of listeners grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat.
Gene Washington & The Ironsides - "Next To You" (3:34)
The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble - "City Heights" (3:41)
Kris Lager Band - "Money & Loneliness" (4:17)
In Motion Collective - "Jesse's Jing" (3:53)
Orgone - "Do What You Came To Do" (4:47)
Durand Jones & The Inidications - "Smiles" (3:44)
Leroi Conroy - "Remember When?" (4:31)
Soul Scratch - "Pacified" (3:19)
Ephemerals - "Things" (4:27)
The Gripsweats - "Ziggy's Walk" (4:02)
Review: Previously a Record Store Day special, Colemine elevate this epic 45" compendium to permanent status. 22 tracks heavy, the double 12" whammy unites some of Colemine's finest curations over the years into one perfect collection. From the rare shimmering guitars and woozy horns of The Rugged Nuggets to Colemine debuts such as the sweaty afrofunk boogaloo fusion of Ikebe Shakedown's 2009 breakthrough "Hard Stepping" and the garage funk fizz of Alan Evans Trio's 2012 "Drop Hop" via the beautiful "Smile" from Duran Jones & The Indications' debut album last year, no other album represents the breadth, warmth and vitality of Colemine quite as succinctly as this collection. Slab it up.
Review: Gene Washington, a modern US soul man, appears here for Colemine alongside The Ironsides in what is perhaps the label's best single in a good while. "Next To You" is a gorgeous song, the sort of soul slinger that instantly turns the heads and lifts the moods without any fancy tricks, just powerful vocals. "I Still Love Them All" is equally stunning, but it's moodier, a more pensive soul tune that evokes feelings of euphoria in moments of self-healing and self-reflection. Recommended.