Monthly Archives: December 2009

ADIDAS Originals: Superstar II X Ghostface Killah

Hard to find fault with these Tang-y offerings from the Ghostface/ Adidas hook-up. What you see is what you get – rock these and you couldn’t (Killa) Bee more fly. Difficult to see Wu wouldn’t want a pair really.

THE ALL GOOD FUNK ALLIANCE: Sock It To The Man – 2009 – EP review

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Whatever wellsprings of funk AGFA draw inspiration from they’re not the same as mine. If consuming programmed squelchy disco-influenced beats is your thing you’ll probably be all over this like a rash, the more so if you like your programmed squelchy disco-influenced beats to be especially bland. If, like me, you feel you could achieve a superior result by listening to house music while bathing with your head underwater, periodically trying to alleviate the tedium by thumping the side of the tub to add syncopation and letting out an occasional fart to simulate synth effects – you won’t. Thus I find myself hugely at variance with a range of ‘nu-funk’ scene luminaries quoted on the press release. Who will save me from these turbulent disco pedlars? Where are The Snugs for Christ’s sake?
(Out now on Super Hi Fi)

Listen to The All Good Funk Alliance – Sock It To The man EP

The All Good Funk Alliance – Myspace

INSIGHT: True Or False – 2009 – Single review

Rating: ★★★★☆

Stateside rapper Insight spits hard and fast about hidden agendas, double-dealing, corruption and general politrickery over a dope uptempo Tom Caruana beat and hammond loop with a cuts-based hook courtesy of DJ OMC. He even has a crack at Blair which can’t be bad – though if you’re going to name and shame the monkey, it is a bit remiss not to throw a few buckets of shit over the organ-grinder who in this case remains merely implicated – perhaps because Insight couldn’t think of a rhyme for Bush. Here’s one – ‘cunt’. Oops my bad – that’s a synonym not a rhyme. This particular slice of righteous and sophisticated ire is accompanied by no less than six remixes from the likes of Flevans, Evil Sun, Mr Simmonds, Savages, M.W.D. & Suhov – the best of which is probably Savages’ blaxploitation wigout.
(Out now on Tea Sea Records)

Listen to Insight – True & False

Insight – Myspace

Tom Caruana – Myspace

DIZRAELI: Engurland (City Shanties) – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★½

If you’re serious about something, if you really love it…you’ve got to be able to allow the piss to be taken out of it. Otherwise you’re a fanatic and everyone knows how those humourless bastards roll. Thus, given the overriding folk inflections to Dizraeli a.k.a. Rowan Sawday’s full-length debut, he may have to put up with Engurland (City Shanties) being referred to as ‘hippy-hop,’ by some – for this is less block party than midsummer revels. Still, if something’s good you can only take the piss for so long and this is pretty damn good. For one thing, you are unlikely to have heard anything quite like the way Engurland… takes an urban musical genre that originated in the Bronx and make it sound as English as Punch & Judy shows – although more the kind of Punch & Judy show you get in Russell Hoban’s post-apocalyptic novel Riddley Walker than any other kind.
Homeward Bound (On The Overground) opens with the sound of waves over which echo slightly ominous close vocal harmonies. Nimble-fingered acoustic guitar picking appears and ushers in an unmistakeably hip-hop beat, scratching and vocal loops about ‘Victoria Sponges.’ It shouldn’t work but it does. In The Garden showcases Dizraeli’s ear for an almost Sergeant Pepper-era psychedelic-folk tune but then morphs almost immediately into beats and rhymes. And that’s the thing about Dizraeli. It’s not just that he has a distinctive slightly hoarse rapping voice with the ghost of a burr but that he can also carry a tune with ease – witness his range on this very song – as well as rustling up beautiful acoustic instrumentals. On the track Engurland he pulls off the feat of critically analysing UK culture (“Silly thoughts tell a stranger he’s a prick/ Receive a hit, lips and teeth are split/ But it isn’t a party unless you bleed a bit”), which performs the neat trick of using a football chant’s tune to carry the ironic chorus, retaining the infectiousness of the chant itself while rendering it melodic as opposed to drunken and thuggish. I wasn’t so keen on second single Bomb Tesco which is less the rage against the machine than a slightly wordy subverting-the-deli-counter slice of whimsy but it’s succeeded in any case by the beauty of Take Me Dancing, a ‘proper’ song with singing and everything where Dizraeli is joined on vox by the very capable Cate Ferris.
The only real misstep for me on the whole album is It Won’t Be long. I’ve come to regard this as the ‘Sting’ song and have to skip the ‘de-de-de-dah-do-dah-de’ bits (surely a moment of madness on Sawday’s part) which I can only attribute to the excessive quaffing of home-brewed scrumpy. Happily, once again it’s successor is a thing of beauty and this time it’s the acoustic guitar instrumental of Reach In which precedes what was the album’s debut single (and eulogy to old tramps), the stomping blues-riff based and really rather good Reach Out.
If this gets heard by the mainstream press no doubt lazy comparisons will be made with The Streets, though if such lazy comparisons encourage more punters to listen that will be no bad thing. A genuine original, Engurland successfully combines the urban and the rural in a way you wish town planners and architects would and quite simply for that reason alone nobody beats the Diz.
(Out now)

Listen to Dizraeli – Engurland (City Shanties)

Dizraeli – Myspace

FEATURECAST: Goodgroove Artist Series no. 11

If you like danceable breakbeats mashed with old funk or hip-hop vocals and club sensibility it’s a bit of a golden era right now as labels like Wack, Sunsetsoul, Manmade and of course, Goodgroove, along with random individuals like Aldo Vanucci and DJ Shepdog all push each other on a monthly basis. Hot on the heels of the latest drops from Da Wiesel and Vanucci comes this Featurecast effort which hands a chopped-up version of soul standard Too Hard To Handle a break that tugs at the leash, provides us with a frankly nasty 80s vibe on Get It On The Floor, a colossal mambo-breaks hybrid floor-filler in Rock Ya Body and even finds a place for recent Red Hot Pipe And Slippers track Hump-De-Bump on Bump. Ok so Goodgroove drops often seem to have the most house-like sensibilities of all the above named labels and those old enough might have trouble differentiating between this and 90s ‘big beat’ but it’s still a funky breakbeat and until proper hip-hop remembers where the dancefloor is, nothing is going to light a fire under clubbers’ asses than stuff like this.
(PRESS RELEASE) The 20th release for Goodgroove brings a 4 tracker from the mighty Featurecast himself. The label has supported Featurecast all the way from the first release and now a household name he is hotter then ever. Askillz, Ali B and almost anyone who got hold of the promos has been rinsin the hell out of all these tracks. Funky breaks at their best.
(Out on Goodgroove 15 December 2009 – vinyl only release)

“Every track is a winner on this release, been rinsing “Whoah!” every gig. Featurecast always delivers!” A SKILLZ
“Big tunes!” DJ YODA

Featurecast: Goodgroove Artist Series no. 11 – Tracklist
A1. Whoah!
A2. Rock Ya Body
B1. Bump
B2. Get On The Floor

Listen to Featurecast: Goodgroove Artist Series 11

Featurecast – Myspace

Goodgroove – Myspace

DUBBLEDGE: One Inch Punch LP news + ‘Juice’ feat. Kyza and ‘’09 Til Infinity’ free downloads

I’m not sure about this. On the one hand hip-hop has always been about sampling stuff and re-presenting it. On the other hand Juice lifts Eric B’s beat for Know The Ledge pretty much wholesale and substitutes Kyza for Rakim which (no disrespect to Kyza) could be regarded as being as fruitless as it is pointless. And then he does pretty much the same with Soul’s Of Mischief’s ’93 Til Infinity. Mind you, Sway did something similar with The 900 Number earlier in the year. But then again, he did actually speed the beat up and add some crappy aerosol horn effects. Although hang on a sec…gahhh!…I dunno – the kids must just be tired of shitty beats that are made to sound good on mobile phone speakers. Classy artwork mind.
Juice feat. Kyza – DOWNLOAD
09 Til Infinity – DOWNLOAD
Here’s the sales guff:
(PRESS RELEASE) Dubbledge is back with a new project entitled ‘One Inch Punch’. It seems like a million years ago since Dubbledge’s 2007 debut album ‘The Richest Man In Babylon’ on the well-respected Lowlife Records, but trust us its been the worth the wait. This pre-album mixtape sees Dubbledge pay homage to the golden era of rap as he takes us back to the early nineties with beats jacked from Method Man, Black Moon, Dr Dre and Snoop, Group Home, Raekwon, Jeru Da Damaja and many more.
This release shows us why Dubbledge is an artist that everyone is talking about. Lyrically he is unique as he attacks subject matters with string opinions and views, whilst always adding his own unique humor. Here we get a collection of tracks that every real Hip-Hop fan happy! Releases like this make you proud to be British!
Check out these two FREE tracks and then get your money out and buy a copy of ‘One Inch Punch’. This is one of the best and most important homegrown releases of 2009. Please don’t sleep on Dubbledge and get ready for the new album coming sooner than you think!

Dubbledge – Myspace

T BIRD & THE BREAKS: Monthly singles campaign

Obviously keen (in the wake of a rash of international releases) not to let the rest of the planet forget which country funky-ass soul originated in, T Bird & The Breaks return with some super-heavy Texan funk. The band upped the ante last month by stating their resolve to release a new single every month for the following six months and promptly made good their word by dropping the breaks/ horns driven Monkey Wrench backed with the loping swamp groove of Nightshade Mary. And when I say backed I mean literally – not only are downloads available but you can actually buy these singles in classic 7” format…only if you’re quick though – it’s all about the limited editions so don’t sleep on it. December’s release has now appeared in the more uptempo voodoo-themed Rock That Skull backed with the organ/ harmonica tinged Juju Baby both of which recall, by turns, everything from Dr John to The Majestics to very early G Love and Special Sauce. All cuts are vocals and feature the melodic rasp of T Bird himself. If you’ve already checked out the band’s debut LP Learn About It you can expect similar high standards but a fuller production sound a la Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Chek.

Listen to T Bird & The Breaks – Monkey Wrench b/w Nightshade Mary

Listen to T Bird & The Breaks – Rock That Skull b/w Juju Baby

T Bird & The Breaks – Myspace