Review: Fresh from this year's Cordial collection comes this outstanding 12". The lead track is his most famous "Signs Of A Dying Love". Presented in all its full-length glory, listen to those powerful backing singers and hear why OG copies have gone for over 300 quid. Remix wise the previously unreleased "How I Feel For You" gets the rub from Ourra (big funk swing), DJ Spinna (thumping gospel boogie) and Sean P (full on vocal belter), each one a sign of a lovely release.
Review: Soul4Real's latest seven-inch release is rather special for one specific reason: it boasts two previously unheard 1968 recordings by Dallas vocal soul group the Masqueraders. Both were recorded at the legendary American Sound Studio in Uptown Memphis at a time when an astonishing 25% of the records in the Billboard Top 100 (according to the label's liner notes, the backing band on this session included Bobby Womack on guitar) originated there. "Prophet Of Love" is a particularly sweet chunk of harmonic soul, with the Masqueraders' providing the kind of dewy-eyed vocals that wouldn't have sounded out of place on earlier doo-wop records. Over on the flip "You're The One" has a more Phil Spector "wall of sound" kind of feel and a more lolloping rhythm track.
Review: San Francisco psychedelic soul ensemble Monophonics were once described by Stax Records co-owner Al Bell as "one of the best soul bands I have ever seen", which is high praise indeed. Mirrors, which comes pressed onto clear green vinyl, is the combo's fifth full-length and first album for three years. It's a surprisingly breezy and eclectic affair, with the band variously turning their hands to bluesy, Rare Earth style funk-rock ("Lying"), Hammond-heavy peak-time business (a tasty cover of Frankie Valli's "Beggin"), spiraling instrumental wig-outs (fabulous closer "California Dreaming"), heart-aching torch songs ("My Heart Cries") and laidback, acid-fried Balearic soul (opener "Summer Breeze"). In other words, it's a fine album that sparkles from start to finish.
Review: Legendary neo-soul man Maxwell tends to take his time over albums. He recently released the acclaimed blackSUMMERS'night, a belated follow-up to 2009's BLACKsummers'night (which originally appeared eight years after his previous full-length). Here, the latter gets a timely reissue on Legacy Vinyl. It remains a fine set, with Maxwell's brilliant vocals - occasionally fragile and heartfelt, sometimes bolder and breezier, and always dripping in soul - perfectly complimenting his backing band's warm, rich and evocative soul grooves. Highlights include the horn-heavy punch of "Bad Habits", the bustling, hip-hop soul beats, rising instrumentation and belted out vocals of "Help Somebody", and the grandiose ballad, "Fistful of Tears".
Bounce That Ass (feat Ice T & Charlie Funk) (4:07)
Review: Having spent much of the last few years offering up tropical grooves under their alternative Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band alias, the Mighty Mocambos have finally got around to recording another funk-focused album. Of course, this is not straight-up revivalist funk or soul in the strict sense, but rather a collection of inventive cuts rooted in bustling breakbeats, fuzzy basslines, razor-sharp guitar riffs and hazy horns. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the sweet soul shuffle of Lee Fields collaboration "Where Do We Go From Here" and the rasping dancefloor soul-funk goodness of Gizelle Smith hook-up "Take On The World", to the 1950s sci-fi soundtrack cheeriness of "Return To Space" (featuring legendary composer Peter Thomas), and the synth-fired intergalactic dancefloor goodness of "Golden Shadow".
Review: There's an air of Jamie Lidell about Morris as he flexes between soulful styles, instrumentation and singing. A 21st century soul man who know his way around both boards fret and key. Underpinned with a gossamer smooth synth funk and wry eye for boogie, jazz and ballad; highlights across this debut LP range from the pumping sunset jitters of "Stop Playing Games" to the smoky haze and sleazy springy bass of "Rolodexes" via the introspective swoons and croons of "Charge It To The Game", this truly is an accomplished debut album. Moving on... Up.
Review: Moon B, AKA San Antonio beatsmith Wes Gray, comes to LA's Hoop Sound label for his sixth long-player. With eight tracks there's no time to go into each one individually, but taking the album as a whole, early 80s-style electrofunk from the likes of Zapp and Cameo would be the most obvious reference point, while more modern influences have come from the LA beats scene and the 'beatdown' sound of Detroit. Some of the tracks do feel more like sketches than finely honed dancefloor weapons, but if midtempo leftfield beats are your thang then it's still well worth checking, especially as it's a limited edition release.
Review: Some three decades after making his debut, Brazilian synth-pop star turned veteran soul man Ed Motta continues to release brilliant music. There's an undeniably classic feel to his latest full-length excursion, "Criterion of the Senses", which sees him add smooth and effortlessly soulful English language vocals to rich backing tracks that variously doff a cap to sumptuous samba-jazz (wonderful duet "The Tiki's Broken There"), revivalist synth-boogie (standout "Your Satisfaction Is Mine"), AOR rock ("Shoulder Pads"), sugary jazz-funk ("Sweetest Berry", the Clavinet-happy shuffle of "Novice Never Noticed") and solo-laden smooth grooves ("X1 In Test").
Review: It would be fair to say that there are few guitarists that can boast the skills of Malina Moye. Over the last few years, her profile has rocketed, thanks in no small part to significant coverage in U.S music bible Rolling Stone. Of course, it helps that the music she makes is pretty darn good. Bad As I Wanna Be, her latest full-length excursion, is arguably her strongest work to date. As with previous excursions, it sees her fuse her love of gnarled fuck-rock guitar riffs and blazing solos with beats, instrumentation and vocals from across the soul music spectrum. So, while some songs could be compared to, say, Sly and the Family Stone, others veer closer to Outkast, modern R&B, smooth hip-hop soul and the P-funk antics of Parliament/Funkadelic. Throughout, her sumptuous vocals and axe-wielding exploits naturally take centre stage.