soul

Idjut Boys - Press Play

Idjut Boys - Press Play

In my mind these guys are another Nextmen or Unabombers; a DJing duo that put great lesser known tunes that make you want to dance before everything else. I accidently caught them at The Big Chill in 2005 and really loved what I heard. I think they Manchester based too.

They definitely swing more towards the soul / funky / disco side of the dance floor. The mixing is really simple - in fact, it's not really mixing at all, blending would be a better term. It's primarily a showcase of good tunes.

I've only heard a couple (consistently showing my ignorance, eh?) of the songs on here before (Word Up and Low Rider), though not these versions. Of course they're all killer. The music itself sounds like good old funk/soul stuff - but it can't possibly be. I need to do a bit of digging but I think some of these songs must be from the last couple of years (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas' Ballerina for example).

Yes yes, I have some friends that are about to find out they've been missing this all their lives.

Lizz Fields - By Day, By Night

Lizz Fields - By Day, By Night

Feel in love with one of her songs, When I See Love, on the boat; it was the only one I had with me at the time. As I recall it was a random download from a site much like this one. Illegal, I guess but hell, I would never have purchased her album otherwise, no?

Anyway, I was blown away. RnB is a style of music that gets little attention from me. I get so sick of the thousands of songs/artists singing about love, pretending they've got soul when I can clearly hear that the music has none. This couldn't be more different. And this album wasn't even even meant to be released!

This album was meant to be a demo for music folks that blossomed into a full work. She's just completed her next effort, PleasureVille, which I can't wait to hear (it's not on sale yet but the samples on her myspace profile are sounding great). In the meantime I can make do with the current album. Some of the tracks, like Silent Symphony, are very jazzy while others have a great hip-hop twist to them - check out All My Mistakes.

If your clicking finger is reaching to purchase the new Jill Scott anytime soon, stop and think first - By Day, By Night is actually the album you want to hear. Trust me this girl's going to be huge.

The Nextmen - Not the Nextmen (Live From The Newsroom)

The Nextmen - Not the Nextmen (Live From The Newsroom)

When I first moved to the UK I thought I'd get to see various DJs blow me away with what they could do live. Imagine my disappointment on discovering (on the 2nd day in town) that for most of them it's a fa├žade. DJs that were meant to be the greatest mash-up artists in the world turned out to be little more than slightly experimental electro/breaks DJs.

Now, I'd heard The Nextmen's work on various Grand Central offerings over the years but it was a chance meeting in 2005 that refuelled my interest in what they were doing. I have no idea how many Nextmen gigs I've been to since then. They tend to lean more towards soul/funk/hip-hop/reggae/dnb but really nothing is off limits - tunes to make you dance seems to be the only criteria. This album, or any of their mixtapes for that matter, are great showcases of what they do live.

I love the Nextmen. Hands down the most fun live DJs I've ever seen.

Tony Allen - Homecooking

Tony Allen - Homecooking

It's funny, it's gotten to the point that when I drag an album into my itunes I really have absolutely no idea what it's going to sound like. I mean, I just purchased this a couple of days ago - clearly it was a considered action - but I have no idea in what context. That's not to say I'm disappointed - I'm not.

The genre stamped on this one is new-age - so far off target with that bit of tagging. Funk/soul/hip-hop spring to mind. Makes me think of Michael Franti/Spearhead. The title track has a Sly Stone inspired pre chorus build up going on.

Basically it's all about the funky breaks.

Atmosphere - Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP's

Atmosphere - Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP's

I'm having a bit of a tidy up day today. Archiving off some of the music that's collected on my computer over the last few months. It's hard work parting with one's music, even just temporarily. Anyhoo, in doing so I'm listening to a bunch of stuff that I haven't listened to in a while - Atmosphere included.

Not sure who did the beats on this one but they're great. Super slick. The rhodes/guitar hook on Guns and Cigarettes is inspiring.

The Woman with the Tattooed Hands is a must hear - very touching piece of work. Other essentials to check out include Between the Lines, Don't Ever Fucking Question That and Like Today.

It's poetry man.

Betty Davis - Betty Davis

Betty Davis - Betty Davis

Turns out the wife of Mile Davis was one talented lady. Her debut is a bonified funkfest. There's a great team behind it too, members of Santana, Sly and the Family Stone and The pointer Sisters to name a few.

Seems she knew a lot of people in the music biz (it's rumoured that an affair with Hendrix is the reason for her break up with Miles). Fit model to boot before that too.

Little Stevie Wonder - 12 Year Old Genius

Little Stevie Wonder - 12 Year Old Genius

This was the album that made Stevie Wonder famous back in 1963. The opening song, Fingertips, was at #1 at the same time the album itself was, a first in history of the industry.

There's a good reason he'd already earned the title of genius at age 12. The first few songs see him playing different instruments; harmonica, bongos, drums included. I think Marvin Gaye plays the drums on the other songs - my guess is that the whole band consists of a star-studded Motown line-up.

My pick would have to be La La La La La, in which he plays the drums. It's the funkiest track on the album and his talent really shines through (how many kids have rhythm like that at 12?).

The last few tracks, while impressive, are a tad on the disturbing side (Don't You Know in particular). I always find there's something a bit strange about kids singing grown-up songs.

It's one of those albums everyone should hear - if for no other reason than the history lesson.

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

For so many years I've told that Shuggie Ottis should be top of my to-hear list. It was only a few months ago that I actually managed to get hold of the album (I had tried sever times in the past). All I can say is I'm sorry I didn't do it right away. Man, The Neptunes and Co are still tearing pages right out of this book. It's so damn ahead of its time.

I've heard a number of covers of Strawberry Letter over the years (my favourite being Tevin Campbell's version... when he was like 14 or something) so the track was not entirely unfamiliar to me. It's a beautiful track, however the same can be said of any on the album. As I flick through it now trying to figure out which track to single out I just can't do it. It'd be criminal to elevate any single one of them above the others, they're all so good.

I'm going to make sure I put aside some quality time for this album this summer.

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