June 2020

Tall Black Guy - Restless As We Are (LP)
Created in lockdown, this stunning EP deals with police brutality and the frustrations of injustice, stereotyping and racism, over tough tracks that just drip with emotion. Just check ‘Gimme Mine’ and tell me that this doesn’t hit the nail right on the head. In his own words ‘Between this pandemic, being stuck in the house and the protests world wide, there is a looming uncertainty about all of this shit. I put all of my heart, soul, time and frustrations into this EP.’

Listen and purchase here

Essa - Justice (Single)

Essa’s first tune in 5 years breaks the silence on the subject of police, racism and politics through the lens of his own UK mixed heritage, over a heavy, brooding Breakplus beat. This is the most complete up to date break down of the issues that I have heard, pulling US/UK history and the latest developments into an incredible whole. ‘I’m not.. chasing hype i’ve got nothing to promote, its just something that I wrote cos I’m struggling to cope’. All proceeds from this release will be donated in full to the NAACP Legal Defence Fund and Reclaim The Block.

Listen and purchase here

Blvck Spade - Preacher In The Trap (LP)

2nd album this year from St. Louis’ Blvck Spvde. Go straight to ’God Hop’ & ‘Pine Lawn P’ and see what I am getting so excited about. Then check this lyric from ‘Parallel’ on the incredible ‘Svmthngz N Nvthngz Sessions’ LP: ‘Love how my people they play the hand that’s dealt, even when we own shit and get treated like the help’). Seriously, just buy everything off his Bandcamp page. Not heard music with such a strong vision for some time.

Listen and purchase here

Blu & Exile - Miles (LP)

After an 8 year wait we get another album. Currently a pre-order so we can’t hear the whole thing, but if the 4 preview tracks, including the nine minute epic ’Roots of Blue’ with its narration of black history and name checking of prominent black community figures are anything to go by, the full thing will be a work of art. Can’t wait!

Listen and purchase here

February 2020

1. Tino Contreras - Musica Infinita (LP)
Fantastic oddball Mexican 1978 Avante Garde Psychedelic Jazz rarity from drummer Tino Contreras & Estrella Newman, reissued by Gilles Peterson’s new Arc label. 3 long tracks. A heavy combination of heavy, funky drums, bass & guitar, with traditional Aztec instrumentation & tuning. It comes across like Sun Ra or the Art Ensemble of Chicago performing a psychedelic soundtrack.
Listen and purchase here

2. The Star Beams - Play Disco Specials (LP)

Yet another excellent reissue from Mr. Bongo, celebrating their 30th year. A great 1976 4 track LP from South Africa. 'Disco Stomp' is the killer here, clocking in at 10 minutes. Imagine a funky mid ‘70s Vince Montana Salsoul jam but with a horn section instead of strings. ‘We Did It’ is also great, in more of a Hugh Masakela style that builds and builds. The slower 'G.G. is Talking’ sounds a little like Grover Washington covering Dick Khoza’s sleazy classic ‘Chapita’, with the bubbling, melodic rhythm guitar & beautifully fruity horns.

Listen and purchase here

3. Jeff Parker & The New Breed - Suite for Max Brown (LP)

Chicago - based International Anthem bring us this delight from the legendary Jeff Parker, probably best known for his involvement with Tortoise. Warm, grainy, fuzzy & engaging. The opening track ‘Buils a Nest’ grabs instantly with fat, lazy drums, sloppy sub-bass, drip-drop keys & languid muliti tracked vocals. Gnarciss hits the spot with fat, loping sampled drums, rock solid bass, delicate, Roy Hargrove-esque horns & a deep soulful swirling arrangement. ‘Max Brown’ closes the album, a beautiful laid back tappy, clappy 4/4 with chewy, wandering synth bass, conversational soloing & a real ATCQ Midnight Marauders atmosphere. Tricky, soulful & loopy in all the right places, this album is a real hazy delight. Bang up to date, but sounds like it was recorded in black & white, if that makes any sense..

Listen and purchase here

4. Man Jumping - Jumpcuts 1: Khidja Remixes 12"

Romanian duo Khidja spruce up these mid-80’s New-Wave jazzy avant-garde recordings (Imagine a less aggro Pigbag meets Steve Reich) with a little extra bump. ‘Walk On, Bye’ has some of the original percussion stripped back & adds an 88bpm 4/4 kick to flesh out the space, while ‘Down the Locale’ spices thing up with an almost broken beat feel, with War ‘Galaxy’ style dancing piano, some yelps, chanting  and a Reese-style LFO sub bass underpinning the whole freaky shebang.

Listen and purchase here

November 2019

1. Kaidi Tatham - You Find That I’ve Got It 12"
Kaidi, stop it! Mr. Tatham seems to be releasing a record every month at them moment. The midtempo title track has a lovely, unexpected twist where it goes all Roy Hargrove & then almost a bit Steely Dan with stabby keys, vocals & killer chord changes. There is so much sunshine in these grooves that it almost seems out of place at this time of year. The B side is a more uptempo heads-down broken beat killer.
Listen and purchase here

2. DJ Nigga Fox - Cartas Na Manga (2LP)

The debut album from one of the mainstays of the amazing Principe label. As rugged & loose/swinging as ever, but with a new level of musicality that scoops up other influences & filters them through his uncompromisingly funky lens. Check 'A Minha’ for example.. A boingy 1 note synth riff, rock solid drums, and the usual naggingly insistent Principé grooves, with added rhodes chords & a bonus acid squiggle, or 'Talanzele’ with a Manu Dibango-esque vocal, filtered sax plips, 1 note flute and a baggy, tough, muscular polyrhythmic drum track, the 6/8 shaker tussling with the loose 4/4 percussive grove. Vicio comes across like a deranged popcorn-era electronic library tune on steroids, on a trampoline. The closer ‘5 Violinos’ is a peculiar, sinister, delicate, low slung piece, where pitch shifted chat meets a mumbling marimba & deadly subs. The whole LP is an intriguing, entertaining listen from start to finish, at once pushing forward the ghetto sound of Lisbon and bringing it to new ears. 

Listen and purchase here

3. Gang Starr - One Of The Best Yet (2LP)

Wow. DJ Premier pulls together a final Gang Starr album from a stack of unused Guru vocals, building beats around acapellas. This will inevitably be compared with classic albums like Hard to Earn, and at its best it fits like a glove. 'From A Distance’ sees guest Jeru on form with his visual mystic style. 'Family and Loyalty’ hits the spot with classic, timeless Primo beat that really lets Guru’s vocal’s shine & J Cole killing it on guest duties (he is the only ‘modern’ artist on the LP, and despite his jumpy flow sitting at odds with everyone else’s straight up NY style, anyone who can squeeze the word ‘vestibule’ into a verse gets my vote). ‘Bring it Here’ is mini masterpeice, 50 seconds of rushing strings, a marching fat beat and Guru on angry top form. Premier also comes with some sparse, slo-mo winners alongside the grimy, rolling toughness that he is legendary for. The intro to ‘Get Together’ is a slo-mo discordant joy, and ’So Many Rappers’ is sparse & layered, much more dynamic that the style we are used to, sort of futuristic/sparse meets late 80’s Ultras/Paul C style production. Considering that Premier started with a hotch-potch assortment of acapellas, he has done a remarkable job to reverse engineer a record of this quality & stitch together a fine blanket. A labour of love.

Listen and purchase here

4. Sault - 7 (LP)

The 2nd album by this mysterious bunch, quick on the heels of the much-needed repress of their recent debut album ‘5'. Fun, sparse, loose, catchy post-punk-funk-disco goodness with loads of dynamic, restraint and depth. Shades of the sloppiness & fun spirit of ESG and the funky simplicity of the Meters or Portishead, but with splashes of soulful colour here and there to shake things up. My faves are the prowling ‘Living In America’, the perky nibbler 'Smile and Go’ with its fat bass & curly harmonies, the lush, swampy ’Threats’ and the tickly, soulful ‘Friends’ with 80’s soul flavours, a welcome percussive clonk & a delicious lightness of touch.

Listen and purchase here

October 2019

1. Various - World Spirituality Classics 2: The Time For Peace Is Now (LP)
Stunning collection of socially conscious & very obscure American gospel tunes, mostly from the 1970s. Compiled by certified gospel obsessive Greg Belson, with beautiful sleeve notes by gospel Historian Robert F. Darden. Lyrically just as relevant today as they were back then. Deep, spiritually positive music for trying times.
Listen and purchase here

2. Esnard Boisdur - Mizik Bel (12")

Paris based Favourite records unearth this mighty Zouk/Gwo-Ka fusion, previously only available on a little-known cd complitation from the 1990s, backed by an amazing & respectful rework by Africaine 808. This record sums up the sound of this summer's festivals for me, and I am happy to finally get my hands on a copy!

Listen and purchase here

3. Rare Silk - Storm (10")

Reissue of a beautiful & odd percolating sparse electronic cover version of an old Stanley Turrentine jazz tune, with tight as you like vocal harmonies. Bewitching & unique. Ace slithery dub version on the b side too.

Listen and purchase here

4. Dego - Too Much (LP)

You know the deal with Dego.. Soulful, squidgy broken beat/soul with deep chords & a message. Pick of the bunch for me is the sparse, bubbling ‘Too Much’ featuring Sharlene Hector, and the gorgeous deep, drifting tune ‘My standards are not (too) high’. Top quality as always!

Listen and purchase here

September 2019

1. Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - Be Known - Ancient Future Music (2LP)
The new LP from Chicago percussionist Kahil El’Zabar is a heavy, joyous afro-futuristic spiritual jazz masterpiece. Great from start to finish, but my favourite tunes are the trippy, funky ‘Be Known’ & ‘Pharaoh’ with a steady 4/4 kick & deep atmospherics. Raw & inspiring music from a true master.
Listen and purchase here

2. Rey Sapienz - Mushoro (Cassette/Digital)

New music from Kampala.. a crazy mix of afro-electronic styles, with GQOM, Soukous, dancehall, techno and plenty more influences in the pot. Dancehall Pigme is my favourite here, an odd acid dancehall banger with the same oddball flavour and lightness of touch that Equiknoxx do so well. 

Listen and purchase here

3. Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah - Al Hadaoui (Habibi Funk LP)

Previously unreleased Gnawa-Funk genius from the amazing Casablanca label Boussiphone, who released over 2000 records in their time. The result is not unlike some of the classic Ethiopian funk records.. hypnotic, percussive, bluesy, soulful & great fun. It is amazing how after so many years of non-stop digging, unreleased magic like this still exists!

Listen and purchase here

4. Ill Considered - 8 (LP)

Gnarly uptempo dancefloor jazz from this prolific trio. My pick, 'Liquid science' lays fiery free sax on top of a tough 4/4 PIL style groove. Occasionally tricky, always great fun, forward-thinking music. For me, a lot of this new aggro-jazz picks up where Pigbag & co left off, which in my eyes is a good thing!

Listen and purchase here

July 2019

1. Various - Jambú e Os Míticos Sons Da Amazônia (LP)
Absolutely essential compilation of 1970s uptempo Amazonian music from Belem in North-Eastern Brasil. To these ears there is a heavy Caribbean influence, and parallels to Colombian music. Whatever it is, it's an incredible, exciting fusion.
Listen and purchase here

2. Puto Tito - Carregando A Vida Atrás Das Costas (2LP)

My word. The newest signing to Principe gives us tracks from when he was just 14. Heavy, uncompromising mechanical, tropical rhythms that push you from side to side & don’t let go. Possibly the finest release on this amazing label.

Listen and purchase here

3. Equiknoxx - Eternal Children (2LP)

After 2 mind bending, forward thinking instrumental albums, Equiknoxx up the cheekiness with a vocal album. Not as consistent as the other two, but the highlights, such as ‘Manchester’ & ‘Corner’ are real head turners. Catchy, sparse & odd, which is a winning combination in my book.

Listen and purchase here

4. Javonntte - No Rush (LP)

Killer soulful jazzy beatdown business from Detroit. Complex, but with enough impact & simplicity to do the business on the dancefloor. These kind of fusions are so easy to get wrong (and produce beige, uninspiring coffee table fluff), but every tune here is a winner. Out in September, keep those eyes peeled!

Listen to snippets here / Available from September here

May 2019

1. Paddy Steer - Arkipelagon (LP)
An absolute joy from start to finish from Manchester's incredible one-man band. The next best thing to catching one of his incredible space-jazz-cartoon DIY performances live. Delightful freaky (and very funky) fun.
Listen and purchase here

2. Placid Angles - First Blue Sky (2LP)

Lone’s Magic Wire brings us the first Placid Angles release in over 20 years. The first album was a massive influence on Lone’s sound, and this one is just as good. Killer deep, detroit pads, strings & hard choppy breakbeats & drums.

Listen and purchase here

3. Central Ayr Productions - Hotter (12")

Delicious, snappy lo-fi 4/4 boogie house with sleazy, Moodymann/Amp Fiddler style vocals, wiggly bass & doodling rhodes. Perfect sunshine music with enough crunchy deepness to warrant several repeat listens. 

Listen and purchase here

4. Sons Of Slum - Music Is The Message (LP)

Unreleased funky soul masterpiece from 1977. If you like full on funk/soul music like early Kool & the Gang, Pleasure etc, then snap this up immediately. Fat bass, heavy drums, massive horns & killer harmonies.

Listen and purchase here

April 2019

1. Tiana Khasi - Meghalaya (EP)
Sparse, restrained & soulful debut EP produced by Sampology. Brisbane-based Tiana has something very special going on. Classic future soul for fans of Children of Zeus, Amel Larrieux, Estere & Erykah Badu. 
Listen and purchase here

2. Laroye - Colombia 26a (12")

3 very sprightly afro/broken/house bombs packed full of bounce, swing & sunshine. Pick of the 3 for me is ‘The Trickster’ with a 4/4 kick, sub bass, dancing claves, extra loud shaker & nibbling synths. Summer time is almost here!

Listen and purchase here

3. Michael O’Neill - The Binary Order (Digital)

This grim & grainy Manchester reality caustically spoken/rapped over brutal drums & dirty electronics is just what we need. Sonically & lyrically in tune with Mark Stewart/On-U/Disposable Heroes/John Cooper-Clarke. Essential.

Listen and purchase here

4. Various Artists - Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 2 (2LP)

Astounding compilation of Sumatran music from the 1960s-80s. Accurately described in the sleeve notes as ‘the world’s least-known, outstanding musical improbabilities’. I can’t put it any better than that.

Listen and purchase here

March 2019

1. Quantic - Atlantic Oscillations (12”)
Joyful, rattly sunshine-filled disco-house bomb from Will Holland. The Maghreban takes it tougher with a more mechanical & loopy remix, which sounds like insects nibbling at the original parts while they spin round in a blender.
Listen and purchase here

2. Michael O’Shea - Michael O’Shea (LP)

I missed this when it came out in January, so thumbs up for this repress. Unique, otherworldly and timeless music from 1982. Grab this if early ‘80s oddities & Music From Memory float your boat. 

Listen and purchase here

3. Wool and the Pants - Wool in the Pool (LP)

Delightful fuzzy Tokyo trio with their first release. Heavy drums and a hazy, languid late night feel set the scene for Yo Tukono’s lazy vocals. Sounds a bit like Natural Yoghurt Band, Money Mark & Tortoise in the bath, if that helps.   

Listen and purchase here

4. Duke - Uingizaji Hewa (LP)

By contrast, this is the fastest, most hyper thing you will hear for a while. This 100mph Singeli from Dar-Es-Salaam is pure hyped-up rugged energy with a couple of slower moments slotted in so that you can catch your breath. 

Listen and purchase here

February 2019

1. Angel Bat Dawid - The Oracle (Digital/Cassette)
Essential lo-fi spiritual jazz from this young Chicago musician, recorded on her phone. Tradition meets innovation as this dreamy, raw and heavy album channels the deep spiritual jazz sound into the future.

Listen and purchase here

2. Oku Onuora - I’ve Seen (LP)

The original Dub Poet with his first LP in 20 years. Lyrically as on-it as ever. Musically still rootsy with a slight electronic edge, more ‘80s On-U style than modern digi-styles. One for fans of Mutabaruka & LKJ.

Listen and purchase here

3. Omar S - 1992 (12")

Detroit’s Mr. Prolific with another fine 12”. We have a fuzzy piano jam ‘Light Year Flight’, the metallic & twitchy ‘1992’ and my favourite, ‘Homey Trinitron’ a tough jacking 150bpm workout with cute wriggly keys.  

Listen and purchase here

4. Doron Segal - The Addition Of Strangeness (LP)

Village Live bring a real treat from pianist Mr. Segal. Delicate, dynamic, lots of push & pull, with a sprinkle of tough drums for the heads. Wouldn’t sound out of place on Gondwana records. ‘Happic’ is my pick.

Listen and purchase here

January 2019

1. Various Artists - Jackpot Jive Vol.1 (LP)
New Dublin-based label get off to a fine start. Eleven elusive South African 45s. A joyful selection of funk, disco (Don’t Leave Me This Way, anyone?) and traditional Township Jive, Kwela & hyper Mbaqanga tunes. 

Purchase here

2. Marcos Valle - Previsao Do Tempo (LP)

Classic Brasilian LP from 1973, featuring legends Azymuth and killer arrangements from Waltel Branco & Ze Roberto. Lush, trippy and essential! Polysom are reissuing an incredible amount of classic Brasil LPs.

Listen and purchase here

3. Various Artists - Bitteschön, Philophon! Vol. l (LP)

Weighty round up of Philophon’s releases so far. Compiled by Max Weissenfeldt (Poets of Rhythm / Whitefield bros) so roots/heaviness is guaranteed. New Ghana/Ethio/Highlife/Afro-Jazz/Reggae business. 

Listen and purchase here

4. Budgie - Holy Ghost Zone (LP)

Budgie is a gospel obsessive who trawls USA's religious record stores and then returns to his lair to make special things like this beat tape. Sped up gospel fed to a hungry MPC. Squeaky praise with fat drums. 

Listen and purchase here

December 2018

1. DJ Bone - Beyond (3LP)
No nonsense Techno from this Detroit legend. My favourite tunes are the rippling metallic ‘Multiples of Self’, the beatless ‘Techno Ain’t Techno’. A great mix of assertive wrigglers & late night reflective moments.

Listen and purchase here

2. Doris Troy - What’cha Gonna Do (12")

Oh my word. Unissued Doris Troy from 1980, singing a version of her old ‘60s hit, with Mystic Merlin taking care of the music. Bumping fat soul with a tickle of reggae, this is a special & unique tune.

Listen and purchase here

3. Randolph Baker - Getting Next To You (12")

Four of the best tracks from his hard to find 1982 LP on one fat 12”. Top shelf boogie/disco/soul business. The pick for me is the feelgood soulful midtempo anthem ‘Getting Next To You’, but every track is a winner. 

Listen and purchase here

4. Crackazat - Reworks (12”)

Crackazat’s sound is catchy, very punchy, with a ton of depth and soul. Shades of Detroit infect every chord, treading the line between deep machine soul & gospel style celebration with ease. Yum!

Listen and purchase here

November 2018

1. Darrow Fletcher - Love is my Secret Weapon (7”)
Two amazing 70’s soul tunes here for the first time on vinyl. Darrow Fletcher is better known on the Northern Soul scene for his ‘60s releases, but these two later recordings are every bit as good as those.

Listen and purchase here

2. RS Produções - Bagdad Style (LP)

Another month, and another killer Principe release. 8 brutal, slippery, skeletal kuduro/electro/house/batida/ dancehall hybrids from this young Lisbon crew. Off-kilter, bass heavy wonky magic to confuse & delight.

Listen and purchase here

3. Alton Miller - More Positive Things (12")

Reissue of a very limited 2016 release by Detroit legend Alton Miller, with Nikko O on the vocals. The original is great, & the DJ Spinna version is out of this world. A low slung, deep-as you like bubbling bouncer.

Listen here / purchase here

4. Preacherman - Familiar To Me (7”)

Debut single from Harlem-based Preacherman, dripping with warm, old school soulful vibes. Isleys/Syl Johnson style vox & a lovely warm chugging 4/4 groove. A bit of a future classic. Can’t wait for the album!

Listen and purchase here

October 2018

1. Maoupa Mazzocchetti - Gag Flag (LP)
Head-turning odd electronics on Low Jack’s Editions Gravats France label. Playful, very danceable and queasy, it gleefully hops around from wonky Devo-style clonking, to early ‘80s New Wave & EBM. 

Listen and purchase here

2. Fatima - And Yet It’s All Love (2LP)

Fatima’s second album is a perfect partner to the Children of Zeus LP from earlier in the year. Languid, soulful & confident with fat, slow & low production. Pick of the bunch for me is ‘So Rite’.

Listen and purchase here

3. Dur Dur of Somalia - Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks (3LP)

Analogue Africa continue to inspire with another absolute killer selection of impossible to find mid ‘80s funky Somalian music, originally released on cassette, now spread across 3 lovely slabs of vinyl.

Listen and purchase here

4. Moses Boyd - Displaced Diaspora (LP)

Brilliant debut album from drummer Moses. A heavy jazz feel across a wide range of moods & styles. Tons of energy and a really entertaining listen, with enough subtlety to reward repeated plays.

Listen and purchase here

September 2018

1. Shinichi Atobe - Heat (LP)
The third LP from this enigmatic genius. Proper hazy deep house business that hits a groove and just stays there. Warm pads, chords, rubbery bass & snappy widescreen drums bring a bit of much needed sunshine. 

Listen and purchase here

2. Etuk Ubong - Black Debtors (7")

Rough & ready Afrobeat business from trumpeter & bandleader Etuk Ebong, recorded in Finland. Released digitally earlier this year & now let loose on vinyl. Fast & furious dancefloor tackle for the real dancers. 

Listen and purchase here

3. Niagara - Apologia (LP)

I love Principe records. Every release is an odd, beautiful nugget of metallic Afro-Portuguese joy. This one's no exception. Niagara ploughs their own electronic furrow on their debut album after 5 years of 12”s & EPs.

Listen and purchase here

4. Nigeria Fuji Machine - Synchro Sound System and Power (LP)

New recordings from Lagos, featuring vocalist Taofik Yemi Fagbenro and a host of master drummers. This is Juju musics rawer, more percussive cousin. Still very popular in Nigeria, but yet to make waves elsewhere. 

Listen and purchase here

August 2018

1. Super Elcados - Togetherness is always a good venture: Tambourine Party Vol 2 (LP)
The ever-reliable Mr. Bongo reissue this letter spotted Nigerian rarity from 1976. All manner of afrobeat, soul and disco goodness here. Heavy basslines & fat drums abound for a feel good tropical treat.

Listen and purchase here

2. Kaidi Tatham - It’s A World Before You (LP)

Great to see Kaidi getting so busy these days. Back when broken beat was happening first time round, his keyboard playing was everywhere. His latest LP for First Word records is a deep & wriggly delight.

Listen and purchase here.

3. Icio Omegha - Psycho Cruise: Private Hone Recordings 1984-1991 (LP)

I know virtually nothing about this, except it seems to be some odd, experimental Italian electronic music for the 1980’s, recorded to cassette. Odd, wonky tuneful drumbox  styles, plus some ace sitar bits on here.

Listen and purchase here.

4. Rimarkable ‘I’m In Trouble’ (12”)

Another killer house production from Waajeed, featuring DJ Rimarkable on vocals. Sparse, trippy, soulful & very heavy, it just builds & builds as the tune goes on. One I get asked about a lot whenever I play it out. 

Listen and purchase here.

July 2018

1. Children of Zeus - Travel Light (LP) 
Finally! Manchester’s Konny Kon & Tyler Daley come extremely correct with their debut. Heavy manchester soul/hip hop business, with a surprise bonus house tune at the end, just like hip hop albums in 1988 had.

Listen and purchase here

2.  Pulsinger & Irl - Exu (EP)

Beguiling sturdy drawn-out Viennese sample house goodness, with a good sprinkle of choppy hip hop flavour. Catchy and deep at the same time, which is always an encouraging combination. 

Listen and purchase here.

3. Various Artists - African Scream Contest Vol​.​2 (Compilation LP)

The second volume of funky Benin business is possibly even better than the first. Been listening to this on repeat for over a month now, and it is still as exciting as the first listen. Analog Africa doing the do!

Listen and purchase here.

4. Hany Mehanna - The Miracles Of The Seven Dances (LP)

Ace Egyptian obscurity from 1973 by Keyboard player Hany. Traditional percussive Egyptian music meets Psychedelic & Funky influences for a constantly shifting & engaging listen. A wriggly delight.

Listen and purchase here.