RSS Feed

Category Archives: Funk

Hot damn

Occasionally, when I sit down and write this blog, I will feverishly type away about the music by attaching it to a relevant side story or angle with the faintest whiff of creativity. Alas, or perhaps luckily if you’re a half empty kind of person, this is not one of those times.  On this occasion, it is simply to alert the good folk who stumble upon my deliberations that there are a couple of VERY DECENT compilations out there that I’ve recently purchased. Perhaps you should think about doing the same.

bayfunk

These gems are respectively known as Bay Area Funk II and Street Sounds From The Bay Area: Music City Funk & Soul Grooves 1971-75. The key word here, is ‘ bay’.

In the red corner, representing Bay Area Funk II, we have Devil’s On The Run by Uptights Band. I mean, what more do you want? How can anyone with a curious mind and sane persona not get on with this punchy number? Intro? Bam! It’s right there before you’ve even had time to adjust. The dual guitar playing is something else, trading off sweetly picked lines with quick sliding chords to land on a chorus of fitting wah. Strangely, both guitars sit in the left channel, but it bloody works so who cares?

Tag teaming in, Stop Look Listen! by Primevil sits back in its groove while delivering raw vocals.

In the blue corner, we have Street Sounds From The Bay Area: Music City Funk & Soul Grooves 1971-75. Throwing a heavy right hook to the face, we have Stop Telling Me by The Two Things In One. Does the hyperlinked article even refer to the right band? That doesn’t matter. What does matter is the vocal melody over that uplifting chord progression, coupled with the breaks at 0.42 and 1.02.

Well, that should give you enough food for thought, if not your feet, for the time being.

Enjoy!

The dull and the downright dazzling

In the past week, I have been on somewhat of an album splurge. Here is what I’ve accumulated.

Yes! What an opener to an equally exceptional album. Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra really need no introduction, producing the bass heavy and brass looping ditty I’m Thankful (Part 1), with delicate guitar and THAT voice.

The subject of my first ever blog, Field Music released their latest offering, Music For Drifters, only yesterday. Having had the pleasure of witnessing the album in its entirety live at the Islington Town Hall back in 2013, the Brewis brothers have laid down on record their instrumental soundtrack to the seminal silent documentary Drifters. As ever, it serves to demonstrate the breadth and intelligence the duo possess when composing.

Also officially released yesterday, Creation (East L.A.) from Quantic presents The Western Transient is a world feast. I have been told by a chap who I hold in very high esteem that the track is a ‘bit dull’…………I would argue otherwise.

There seem to be a few versions kicking around of this fantastic tune (the Planet Records Archive, Vol 1 cut I cannot seem to find), but this slower version of Perpetual Langley’s Surrender packs just as much punch. The vocal is simply wonderful.

And finally, also the subject of one of my previous blogs, Quopern by Sax Ruins has undeniable and unbridled joy in its main motif. Typically of the duo, it veers off into mind melting territory, perhaps not one for the soothing of a headache. Still, it’s bloody good.

Enjoy!

Japanese fun time

Very soon, on Tuesday 7th July no less, Soil & “Pimp” Sessions will be gracing the Camden Jazz Cafe as part of a three day Japanese music celebration.

soil

With their latest album, Brothers and Sisters, released last September, these relentlessly paced jazzers combine all manners of brass assaults and funk passages with a stupendous rhythm section. The ideal uplift really.

So, descend upon the Camden Jazz Cafe on 7th July – it will be guaranteed goodness received by your ears.

Airwaves to the rescue

In this day and age, it is difficult to estimate the importance of the radio in spreading music, old and new, to the listening public. It undoubtedly still plays a major part, regardless of the ease of accessing music legally or illegally, but it does not carry quite the same influence – it is unlikely that there will be an event similar to when Elvis Presley’s version of That’s All Right was first played by American radio stations.

However, upon tuning into BBC Radio 6 before work recently, I was greeted by an absolute belter of a tune and thanked the Lord that the cause of radio was still alive and well………

Though nothing new breaking onto the scene, Ann Robinson’s You Did It instilled in me that feverish excitement of catching onto something that is fresh to your ears and hits the spot in raw funk. God it is good.

Which leads to the compilation album it appears on: The Lost Soul Sisters. Without a second thought, this is the best compilation album I have heard in a long time. There is some absolute gold on here.

I could pretty much link the entire album in this blog, but I will instead implore you to grab a copy and give it a listen – this is dirty funk with ballsy female vocals. It will rescue any situation. Go forth!

Thank you BBC Radio 6.

Enjoy.

Ok, ok, ok, ok…….I’ll give it a listen.

I cannot seem to get away from hearing about Snarky Puppy. Selling out gigs here, releasing new albums there, they crop up in articles, emails and clinics.

snarkypuppy

The trouble is, is that I just can’t make my mind up about them. I imagine they are pretty mind-blowing live, as the below video for What About Me? (taken from latest album We Like It Here) clearly demonstrates. There are no problems in the talent department, and What About Me? is a riff laden, red headphoned monster.  But what of the rest of the album? It certainly has variety and mood swings, but for some reason hasn’t hooked onto me yet. Is it the overly crisp production? The feeling of being a little too precise?

Let’s cast aside the lingering doubts for a minute and get this straight – riff at 0.45, jazz organ at 1.30, drums from 5.13 to 5.55. Too good.

I usually love this kind of music, so I am befuddled as to why I feel like I am trying to like this behemoth super group. Perhaps I will have changed my tune in a week or so.

Anyhow, you’ve probably heard of Snarky Puppy by now. If not, welcome.

The weird, the dissonant, and the blissful

WOW, IT’S BEEN A REALLY LONG TIME SINCE I’VE  POSTED ON MY BLOG. I’m ashamed of myself, I must say. I’ve let down my legions of readers sorely…………Auntie Noreen and whatchamacallit who filled my car up at a Canadian gas station in 2010, I apologise profusely.

Any road, let’s talk about one of the best compilations ever made, for which I have the Welsh brothers Price to thank for introducing to me. The Sounds of Monsterism Island is completely erratic, loopy but incredibly good,  assembled by (or for) Monsterism toy maker and DJ Pete Fowler through the label Forever Heavenly.

monsterism

You’ll be hard pushed to find a mix of tracks that bring together psychedelic folk, fuzzy compressed riffs, shimmering funk and soft freak outs in a cohesive manner. Martin Denny’s Sake Rock sets the tone rather aptly, an exceedingly pleasurable plodder of a tune that cannot help but make you smile.

From the opening bass slide, to the staccato horns and tasteful wah wah guitar solo, Black Rite by Mandingo has aged gracefully as a catchy, percussive funk number. Check out the horns riff from 2.42.

Their one and only hit, The Witch by The Rattles has everything – energy, tone, creepy strings, hysterical laughing and that intro guitar riff.

Sickly sweet beyond belief, Cotton Candy Sandman (Sandman’s Coming) by Harpers Bizarre is exactly what you would step out to on the most disgustingly happy, stereotypical summer’s day you can imagine. However, it is beautifully constructed and the melodies are second to none. Hats off.

And finally, the piece de resistance, East of Eden’s Jig-A-Jig. The bass line! The ratcheting up of pace and drum beat at 0.53! The violin! Why am I liking traditional music all of a sudden! If you do anything today, then listen to this song once through. It is worth it for the break down at 2.44 alone.

There is so much more to quaff from The Sounds of Monsterism Island, truly a compilation that has to be listened to from start to finish. If you obtain a copy, you will not regret it. Enjoy!

Groove! numero tres

Let us revel in the ability people with instruments have to make you sit up, gawp slightly and shuffle. Or, in my case, rear up like a panicked dog emerging from the Channel Tunnel with the slightest hint of froth.

battles-battles-36

Old American geezers Battles open proceedings with Wall Street – a sturdy mix of stringed instruments and electronic sampling backed up by some of the tightest drumming around. The production of the drums in particular is incredibly focused and resonant, with a cutting snare and huge bass drum with just the right amount of click.  Check out the inventiveness from 3.24 to 3.50, it will not fail to disappoint.

The original version is a stone cold funk classic, but this cover version of Sing A Simple Song by The Meters stands tall in its own right.

Another cover follows, as the Minutemen’s track The Only Minority is given a beefy update by Karate. A snippet of brisk funk with deliciously jazzy guitar noodling.

Finally, noise rock maestros Deerhoof give us Flower, taken from their latest release Breakup Song. The switch of riffs at 0.51………well, what more is there to say?

Bo!