Man of many monikers Gerd returns to the NY Stomp alias he last used in 2012. "I Feel It Comin' On", featuring Matthew Kirkwood, is a sparkling chunk of revivalist US house, with pianos and cut-up soul vocals riding a classic bassline and stomping, basement-friendly beats. There's a couple of more UKG-friendly revisions in the shape of the Bass'N'Dirt Remix and Dub, while Ovis gives the original a thunderous makeover - all raw drum machine beats, powerful sub and cut-up, hands-in-the-air vocals. There's also a solid bonus cut, "Beatattak", in which Gerd laces chopped-up freestyle vocals and dreamy chords over a skipping, US garage style rhythm.
Defkline is one of the alternate monikers used by breakstep pioneer Deekline (of I Don't Smoke fame). This Londoner never rests - running no less than six labels including Hot Cakes. Here on "Push Dat" he's having a bit of throwaway fun taking the riff from '90s superhit Push The Feeling On by Nightcrawlers and mixing it in both 2-step and housey styles. Sure to conjure up smiles in clubs everywhere.
With releases on Mad Decent and Southern Fried to their name, Birmingham duo Hybrid Theory are fast becoming stars in the all-action world of bass music. Here, they continue their hard-to-define explorations, which variously doff a Snapback to grime, UKG, UK funky and deep house. Opener "Drop To The Max" gets things rolling via pulsating sub-bass, cut down rave stabs, locked in house beats and an almighty breakdown that should get hands rocketing skywards on the dancefloor. "Raw Sex" is an altogether more robust proposition, with dirty great bass and grime electronics wrapped around a hissing UKG rhythm. Finally, Hybrid Theory break up the beats a little on "Dollars", which is impressively sparse in its production, but no less effective. Once the bass and watery melodies take hold, you'll be hooked.
Cameron Jenkison and John Neenan aka South Royston are steadily making their way to the top of the garage game. The Southampton duo drop their first EP on the irritably on-point Four40 and as expected, it's a doozy. "Another Night" starts all floaty and pad-rich but quickly drops into a funky, militant 4/4 beat for the peak time hours. "Bad Format" goes even nastier thanks to a chopped up vocal sample that twists and turns over those silky, fast-paced garage kicks and hats. Bombs, the lot of em!
Two new sizzlers here from UK garage-meister Billy Kenny; his productions always perfectly straddle the fine line between garage and deep house and these are no different. "Burnin' Up" is livelier of two - a big room banger with an infectious ascending/descending bassline and wailing diva samples. Our favourite though, is "Your Dreams" - a sleek slice of late night moodiness.
Dub Soloution gets deep and dingy from the very first beat of his Footprint EP, with the techy title-track combining smooth but dark house music with throbbing acid-tinged bass stabs. "Clear Your Fear" is an upright deep house jam driven by chord progressions, while "Fractions Of Time", can you believe it, samples Simian's hit "We Are Your Friends". "Tex" is the EP's super downbeat jam and sounds like it's been tailor made for the tiled Berlin nightclub, while "Just Tell Em" has a tribal feel with the 'ooh' sample sounding like it comes from Duke's pop hit "So In Love With You".
This collaborative four-track EP by Deezy & Embee exhibits a broad range of bass-driven dancefloor styles, kicked off with the grungy, but house-tinged "Always", which is certainly the highlight. "Holding Me" is almost like a rehash of Crookers production done well circa 2014, while "Pawnee" looks to progressive house for its inspiration. "Running Late" is what concludes the EP and although it has some trancy and house elements, it oozes deep garage subtleties.
The smart production of Royce Rolls rolls like a Rolls Royce across cooler dancefloors everywhere. If further evidence is needed, this DJ has appeared on Boiler Room, spun from here to Dubai and has received support from the likes of Jackmaster, Drums Of Death, Redlight, Rudimental and Zed Bias. "Do U Believe" is a deep street roller with seven minutes of moody tropical beats and escalating cinematic pads. Elsewhere the energy levels increase for the UKF & dubstep-tinged electronic shoot-outs "Battle 4 London Parts 1&2)". Safe.
Louie John style is all about losing yourself on the dancefloor. Perhaps he lost himself a bit too much lately, because this is his first release this year, too much of a good thing and all that. Anyway, he makes up for his absence with the Just Give EP, bulging with five new sizzlers. As usual it's feelgood o'clock here with retro house vibes all sharing speedy garage rhythms - highlights include the Junior Vasquez-era NYC party vibes of "Burning For You", the skippy and hypnotic "Inspiration" and the sultry and deep late nighter, "Get It Right".
The vocal sample from Tuff Culture's "Africa" will be familiar to any Chemical Brothers fans out there who know the track "It Began In Afrika" (originally sampled from Jim Ingram's "Drumbeat"). The lead cut here is a great tune which combines baile funk with splashes of dubstep and skipping house. "Bye Your Side" is the standout garage track on this EP, while "You & Me" and "Touched VIP" are deep, bass driven and flecked with flashes of cooling chords.
Although Steve Brooke and Deckstar's Nu Wave label has generally stuck to moody garage and deep house, they've branched a bit further for their latest release. At least on Zak Moore's "Come On" anyway, which, despite the skippy beats, is pure electro-house at heart. Wayne H and Official Nancie represent the label's more traditional side on "One Last Time" which marries deep and breathy moods to an accelerated speed garage motor for maximum energy.
Mike Millrain knows how to make garage music, and here he delivers a cut focusing on all the hallmarks of the genre with a specific focus on bit-crushed vocals, which become rhythmically complete once the Carl Cox-esque groove section drops. Meanwhile Urban Myths craft Millrain's original into something much techier, providing a deep listen and suitable alternative. Two weapons for the weekend.