Review: Ultra Vybe remain deep in their Brunswick excavations with these two sublime cuts from the label's super troupe of session players Directions and their one and only album. Released 1976, OG copies fetch almost L200 and just these two tracks alone hint at why. Shimmering with a strong Faze-O feel with an evocative contrast of falsetto and deep baritone and twinkling instrumentation, both tracks swoon with everything that was so smooth and emotional about the label who gave the world Jackie Wilson, The Chi-Lites and Gene Chandler. Show some love.
Are You Ready (Are You Straight With Your Fellow Man) (3:40)
Review: The man behind two crucial rarities from the 60s ("Don't Make Me Mad" and "Black Belt"), Big Lee Dowell follows his new run of soul with another Cannonball release. "Are You Ready" hits with that rising Whitfield & Strong style sense of drama. Big chords, a little theatre, sugary backing vocals and Big Lee laying down a smoky but stern drawl... It's another slick shot from the Italian cannon. What's even neater on the B is Big Lee telling his story over the backing track (in a similar spine-tingly way as "Giorgio By Moroder") Immense.
Review: Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the Sophisticated Ladies' sought after 1980 New York disco single. The short-lived outfit consisted of Emma, Laura and Reather, who released two singles between 1977 - 1980. They toured America (while also touring internationally as The Bobbettes) and received radio airtime throughout the country. Here Kalita have chosen to highlight their scarce cut "This Ain't Really Love" and have invited The Mighty Zaf to rework their version of Bobby Womack's "Check It Out" making it perfect for modern disco dancing.
Review: Classic funky soul in the true sense of the word and now presented with a Japan only exclusive edit from hip hop don J Rocc intended for the japan only market ! Nice pic sleeve too. What yo waitin for ? !!
Review: Rare Betty Wright sup[er soulness reissued with artwork for the Japan market on a tasty little 45. not many stores got this outside of the land of the rising sun ....Don't sleep on this beauty !
Review: Following on from the Distant Air EP, bright young things Anushka come back to Brownswood to deliver their debut album, showing off a distinctive twist on R&B that worms subtle flecks of minimal electronics, house music and more into a melancholic, richly melodic soulful whole. "Never Can Decide" is loaded with crossover appeal with its bombastic chorus sweeps while keeping a delicacy in the production that keeps the music on the right path. Really though it's Victoria Port's vocals that shape out the identity of Anushka, charged with just the right kind of energy to worm into many an ear as the Brighton-based duo spread their wings.
Yellow Dandelion (feat Georgia Anne Muldrow) (5:05)
Gnawa Sweet (6:03)
Icy Roads (Stacked) (4:17)
(To) Know Where You're Comin From (5:41)
The Leo & Aquarius (feat Jehst) (6:49)
You Didn't Care (feat Nubya Garcia) (5:12)
Self: Love (feat Obongjayar) (6:23)
Review: Joe Armon-Jones has been a driving force in the resurgence of contemporary jazz and now makes something of a victory lap with this new album on the always essential Brownswood. It's a very modern mix of bass and dub, du jour club culture and his own jazz styles featuring peers like Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia. Frankly, the whole record is silky, starry-eyed and sublime and the excellent artwork also hist at the cosmic subtleties of this album, but our picks of the bunch are the neo-soul, summery stroll through the park vibes of "Yellow Dandelion", "Gnawa Sweet" which glows with mellifluous Rhodes chords and the uncompromising yet accessible sax and big brass action of album highlight "You Didn't Care".
Review: Massive reissue incoming! BBE have answered many of our prayers with this long awaited repress of Roy's 1983 disco funk excursion "Silver Vibrations". A record that's currently fetching triple figures, this is the first time it's been repressed since it was released. Opening with the iconic whispered message of "Chicago", Roy takes us on a trip through his funkiest of quarters; the salubrious slap bass of "Lots Of Love", the Afrobeat staccato vocals and glock rocking vibrancy of "Silver Vibrations" and the dreamy cosmic jazz trip of "DC City" are just some of the highlights, all shared across the 12"s with no more than two tracks per side. Vibes that can't be slept on.
Review: 1981's An Eye For An Eye is, to this day, the only LP produced by Byrne & Barnes together, and it's as playful and fresh as the first day it came out. While it's a little more on the synth side of things, it reminds us of other blue-eyed soul artists such as Ned Doheny, and throughout its eleven tunes, there's plenty of romance, mystique and soul-ridden funk. Think of it as the prototypical bridge between a 70's jazz-funk LP and the beginning of pop music as we know it today. Blue-eyed soul at its finest!
Review: London's Catching Flies returned to action last year after a five year absence with "Satisfied", an ambient and chillwave flavoured single that was every bit as alluring as his earlier work. Here he attempts to build on that success with a confident debut album that reminded us a little - in parts at least - of Jordan Rakei's earlier work. The ten tracks largely tend towards the slick, soulful and summery, with woozy lead vocals riding atop head-nodding beats, soft-touch instrumentation, jazzy guitar passages and the kind of sunset-ready sounds that will delight those of a Balearic persuasion. Highlights include the music box melodies of ambient curt "Opals", the sunny opener "Komerebi" and the sing-along stomp of "Satisfied".