Monthly Archives: March 2009

BLACK MERDA: Force Of Nature – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★½☆

What do you mean you’ve never heard of Black Merda? These boys were doing the funk in Baghdad before you were in your dad’s bag. Well, I say Baghdad, Detroit would be nearer the mark. Starting out as a RnB (in the original sense) band in the mid-sixties they caught wind of what Hendrix was up to and, without losing any soul over it, jettisoned their horn section and turned the guitar amp up to eleven lending their claim to be the first ever black rock band some authority – sorry Bad Brains, Living Colour and Fishbone. And it’s a very funky kind of rock, think the sort of thing Band Of Gypsys might have done if they’d ever recorded a studio LP – something you might file along with Betty Davis – super tight and ultra heavy without any George Clinton-esque prog-folly – though that doesn’t mean they aren’t a very psychedelic experience. Two albums and a tour with Edwyn Starr followed their Jimi-inspired transformation and then…from the early 70s onwards…nothing. No performances, no releases and no recognition. A complete disappearing act. Until 2005. Out of the blue the band reformed for a performance in Detroit and now suddenly here’s a full-length LP of all new material Force Of Nature. Sounds like a fucking terrible idea doesn’t it? This should be an massively embarassing counterpoint to the psychedelic fire of tracks like Cynthy-Ruth from the band’s heyday, flabby with AOR stylings, over-production and very shit ideas born of jaded rock-star egos, except…it’s actually not bad at all.

With Force Of Nature it’s like Black Merda walked into a time vortex in 1972 and only just stepped back out of it. If it weren’t for the tell-tale quality of production and the band photo on the cover you’d swear blind that this was a long-lost late 60s or early 70s pressing – and when it’s good, it’s very good. “RnB and hip hop are really, really hot…” is the sentiment greeting the listener in the opening wah-wah heavy funk stomp of Can’t Get Enough Of The Funk which comes with the proviso that, nevertheless, Black Merda will “…show you what they’re not.” And if this track doesn’t convince you that they possess the funk then the groove of Let’s Go ought to. Third track Maintain illustrates what is far and away the main weakness with this LP though, which is that the years haven’t been especially kind to the voices of any the three original band members (all of whom take lead vocal duties) none of whom were particularly strong vocalists even in the band’s heyday. Thus any tracks on the LP (for example, the heavy Cream-style blues of Miss Hawkins House) requiring some sort of vocal range suffer, which is a pity, because the tunes and riffage on offer on the LP are frequently classic. Stop The War revels in its stop-start blues-funk guitar assault and is a protest song that you could imagine covert Black Panthers playing in Vietnam to freak Charlie out – except for the fact that it’s about Iraq. Then there’s Get On The Same Road’s complaint about the decline of modern America which has the fattest riff on the LP (and one that begs to be sampled) or current single Take A Little Time which offers a summery, wah-wah-heavy, Hendrix-bounce, and is easily the strongest track. All in all, Black Merda must be laughing their asses off that three old fuckers can still cut it well enough to put any number of new bands to shame.
Out now on Vampi Soul

Listen to Black Merda – Force Of Nature

Black Merda – Myspace

RECORDKINGZ: DJ Mighty Atom ‘Heavyweight Mega Mash-up Mix’ – Download

(PRESS RELEASE) 7Thirty Entertainment / All City Music and Soulspazm present a megamix of the new Recordkingz Heavyweight album cut up in true champion style by Mighty Atom from 4x DMC Champions The Disablists. The mix contains new and old tracks from Recordkingz / Juliano Creator and The Creators catalogue featuring artists such as Mobb Deep, The Beatnuts, Mos Def, Nas, Talib Kweli, A Tribe Called Quest and Dilated Peoples.

Producer Juliano ‘Recordkingz’ Creator dropped his first album The Weight under the name ‘The Creators’ back in 2000 and unleashed one of the biggest UK projects in history, breaking through the US and Japanese markets. Juliano ‘Recordkingz’ Creator is well known and respected in the USA and supplies some of the world’s top producers and DJs with breaks, samples and funk records. Mighty Atom takes the new and classic Juliano joints and creates an intense mash-up that gives everyone a taste of both the incredible RecordKingz album and his own unique style of hardcore turntablism.

Now the long-awaited sequel ‘Heavyweight’ (Read RECORDKINGZ – Heavyweight – Album review – HERE)has finally arrived, boasting artists such as
Little Brother, Guilty Simpson, The Beatnuts, Joell Ortiz and Evidence (of Dilated Peoples).

RECORDKINGZ – DJ Mighty Atom ‘Heavyweight Mega Mash-up Mix’ – DOWNLOAD

Recordkingz feat. The Beatnuts – Rock Ya Shoulders
Recordkingz feat. Little Brother – Playin To Lose
Recordkingz feat. Guilty Simpson – Hip Hop Throwback
Recordkingz feat. Mobb Deep – Heat
Recordkingz feat. Glasses Malone – Da Money
Masta Ace – So U Wanna Be A MC ‘Juliano Creator’ Remix
Nas – I Can ‘Juliano Creator’ Remix
The Creators feat. Mos Def and Talib Kweli – Hard Margin
Dilated Peoples – Expanding Man ‘Juliano Creator’ Production
A Tribe Called Quest – One Two Shit ‘The Creators’ Remix feat. Mark Pritchard & Pino Paladino

Recordkingz – Myspace

LOWKEY: Tears To Laughter – Gaza Appeal (Press release)

Today marks the official digital release of Lowkey’s single ‘Tears to Laughter’ through iTunes. The single was first heard when he performed it as a poem at the London protests against the Gaza massacre at the beginning of the year. It has already become the unofficial soundtrack to many protests, university occupations and fundraising events for Gaza and Palestine across the UK. Lowkey and the single have already received support from the likes of Palestine Solidarity, Tony Benn (Stop the War), Lauren Booth (Aloha Palestine) and George Galloway MP (Respect Party/Viva Palestina). Lowkey and his record label SO Empire Recordings will be donating all their profits from the sales of the
single to the DEC’s Gaza appeal.

Listen to Lowkey – Tears To Laughter

Buy Lowkey – Tears To Laughter @ iTunes


COMPETITION CLOSED – Congratulations to Osman and Mosab, both of Manchester. Merriweather going down well up north! Yes, that’s right – has two signed copies of Merriweather’s current single Change on 12” to give away – all you have to do is answer the question below correctly. The thing is, we’ve all seen those shit TV competitions where they ask you something your fucking settee could get right because they know their little premium-rate phonelines will be jammed with punters who all know the answer – so you are going to have to work a little bit for this one. When you’ve got the answer send it to along with a postal address (sorry has to be a UK one) using the form on the contact page. First two correct answers gets the booty. Simple.

Q. What is the name of the track on Mark Ronson’s debut album Here Comes The Fuzz which features Daniel Merriweather on vocals?

Daniel Merriweather – Myspace


If life’s had no meaning for you since Jurassic 5 imploded back in 2007 (and even if it has) you might want to check out Portable Payback, the new project by former J5 members Marc 7 and Soup. Apparently inspired by their collaboration as a duo on the track High Fidelity from the J5 LP Power In Numbers, the two decided to work together and have an LP in the offing. Check the link below for their myspace page – there are currently three tracks up on it and it’s fair to say the vibe is a little different generally (and at times particularly) but there’s enough of a similarity that you’ll feel the J5 connection. Plus, if I’m not much mistaken, Soup now rocks a nice line in Pringle sweaters. Could be the return of the funky fly golf wear look…

Portable Payback – Myspace


Legendary West Coast MC Del The Funky Homosapien will be giving away his forthcoming LP Funkman via his website from April 7th this year. The title’s promising, let’s hope the beats and the rhymes hold more excitement than the hip-hop wet weekend that was his last drop The Eleventh Hour.
Del The Funky Homosapien – Myspace

KIDZ IN THE HALL: Press release – The In-Crowd Deluxe Edition

Digital-Only Album Available Tuesday, March 3rd featuring new songs and free videos

Kidz In The Hall’s critically-acclaimed sophomore release, “The In Crowd,” will be re-packaged as a Deluxe-Edition, and made available world-wide on Tuesday, March 3rd. The digital-only release will include two new tracks, entitled “Cool, Relax,” featuring Jay Electronica, along with a house remix to their highly successful song “Love Hangover” with Estelle. Fans will also have an opportunity to purchase the instrumentals to “Love Hangover” and “Drivin Down The Block.” As an added incentive, those who purchase the complete album, will also receive Kidz In The Hall’s “Drivin Down The Block” and “Love Hangover” videos free of charge.

Kidz In The Hall have established themselves as a premier Hip Hop group. Music from “The In Crowd,” has been placed in the soundtracks for EA Sports, Madden 09 (“The Blackout”), Rockstar Games, Midnight Club LA (“Drivin Down The Block”) and the upcoming MTV/Activision game, Pimp My Ride 2 (“Drivin Down The Block”). Adding to this, Kidz In The Hall & Reebok have joined forces to create the ‘The Classic Remix Collection,’ an initiative that allowed the group to re-interpret the timeless rap record, “I Got It Made,” by Special Ed. The latest version of the 1989 song will only be available for consumers that purchase the Reebok Classic Remix collection on March 10, 2009 exclusively at Foot Locker retailers.

“The In Crowd Deluxe-Edition” Track Listing:
1) The Blackout featuring DJ GI Joe
2) Paper Trail featuring Phonte of Little Brother
3) Drivin Down The Block featuring Masta Ace
4) Lucifer’s Joy Ride featuring Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes
5) Snob Hop featuring Camp Lo
6) Mr. Alladatsh*t featuring Donnis & Chip The Ripper
7) Love Hangover featuring Estelle
8) Let Your Hair Down featuring Skyzoo & Lil Eddie
9) Middle of The Map Pt 1 featuring Fooch
10) Middle of The Map Pt 2 featuring Black Milk & Guilty Simpson
11) The In Crowd featuring Tim William
12) The Pledge featuring Buckshot & Sean Price
13) Inner Me
14) Drivin Down The Block Remix featuring Pusha T of The Clipse, Bun B & The Cool Kids
15) God Bless
16) Cool, Relax featuring Jay Electronica
17) Love Hangover House Remix featuring Estelle
18) Drivin Down The Block Instrumental
19) Love Hangover Instrumental
20) Drivin Down The Block Video (Album Only)
21) Love Hangover featuring Estelle Video (Album Only)

Kidz In The Hall – Myspace

BLACK MERDA!: Take A Little Time – 2009 – 7″ review

Rating: ★★★★★

Back in the day the Red Hot Chili Peppers used to have a go at making funk. In their heads they were trying to sound like these Detroit legends. Contemporaries of Hendrix, Black Merda’s sound (that’s ‘Merda’ as in ‘murder’ by the way) prefigured the super-dirty funk rock workouts of Betty Davis. Take A Little Time grooves and squelches along on a pimp-rolling b-line which, with a surprisingly Jimi-like vocal, gives you the funk you always wanted from Hendrix but never quite got. B-side Let Go is wicked too. “Just because she lets you share her bed/ Fellas don’t you let that/ Go to your head,” go the lyrics – sage advice no doubt. This is so good you’ll feel like you’ve just come.
Out now on Vampi Soul Spain

Listen to Black Merda! – Take A Little Time

Black Merda! – Myspace


She might be called Miss Led but there’s no deception in Joanna Henley’s artwork – her stuff is as dope as it appears to be. The only ever female winner of urban street art comp ‘Secret Wars’ in 2007 – it’s not hard to see why she has been referred to as the ‘first lady of street art’. In the two years since establishing her own business Henley has amassed a portfolio that includes work done for Diesel and Reebok as well as a range of magazines. Clearly influenced by comics and pop art, she’s highly versatile and seemingly happy working in any medium and size, dealing in a fairly substantial portion of her work with preoccupations like the female form and sexual power. What else do you need to know? Oh yeah – she likes jazz and drinks tea a lot.