Review: From Brooklyn with love; Kate Mattison's soulful troupe come correct with their debut album on the consistently on point Big Crown. A celebration of fusion, 79.5 sit between soul, funk, R&B, jazz and boogie, shoegaze and everything in between all wrapped up with rich emotions and a wry contemporary pop sentimentality. Highlights include the Amp Fiddler style cascades and mild kicks of "Boy Don't Be Afraid", the shoegazing harmonies and dust kicking energy of "Facing East" and the thoughtful, hazy Alice Russell like jazz introspection of "Terrorize My Heart". A highly accomplished and engaging debut album.
Review: The Allergies' debut album introduced the world to the way they effortlessly fuse funk, soul, disco, hip-hop and breaks into dancefloor-ready nuggets of ear candy. Taking classic sounds and reshaping them for the modern age is the signature that won them plaudits across the globe. Not ones to rest on their laurels, it hasn't taken long for them to deliver more of the goods on their second full-length album. As well as taking the successful formula of the first record and expanding on their sound, the band enlisted two giants of underground hip-hop to bless mics on the album as well. After a hugely successful collaboration on their debut LP, once again the dynamic lyricism and production skills of the inimitable Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling) are present and correct in this new collection.
Review: Boom: three years, three albums. No biggie for Bristol duo The Allergies, Jalapeno's biggest success story since Kraak & Smaak. Each album shows them getting deeper into the groove, creeping away from the cheeky samples and sculpting their own pedigree funk originals. With Ugly Ducking Andy Cooper onside through the mix from the wild ride vibing "Fade Away" to the white knuckle lyrical fire of "Run It Back", there's a real band feeling to the whole album as familiar voices thread throughout the jams... including that of UK hip hop legend Dr Syntax.
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: There are few certified music stars that France's Wally Badarou hasn't worked with along his illustrious career. Black Uhuru, Grace Jones and Herbie Hancock are just some of the names he's collaborated with, but the man only got to that stage thanks to his wonderful solo albums of the early '80s. His very first LP, the much-coveted Back To Scales To-Night, is a sublime boogie-soul gem and it's thanks to the collaboration between Expansion and Love Vinyl that we have it on our shelves once again. The title track is an instant hit of euphoria upon first listen, and its sonic treatment which rendered it stand-out back in the day... and still today! "One Day Won't Give It Away" is another favourite of ours, a drum-machine soul groover, but the instrumental version of "London Town" is also a reason to cop this magnetic, and refreshing soul album.