The mighty Maji takes the controls at his own Sweet Tooth imprint with four peaktime bumpers. Longstanding singer Jessica Luck features twice on the super-hooky "Pressure" and the creepier, sultrier "Dangerous". Elsewhere we have two straight-up slayers: the soaring samurai bass of "Back Up" and the glitch-tripped data spiked bass of "Guillotine". Massive.
Unstoppable dark vibe maestro Joe Moses returns to V with five more of his signature understated, scene-uniting constructions. "Dimmer" plays the lead role thanks to its Krust-style drum savagery and ultimate groan bass riff. Highlight b2b highlight b2b highlight follows as the whole EP hits the kill switch.... The rolling Symmetry minimalism of "Kids", the creepiness and subtleties of "Suction" and the unabashed croaks and toxicity of "So Below" are just a few of the standout, hair-raising dynamics at play here. Essential.
Agro - or Mr Aggravation if we're going to be all formal - returns to DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict with a walloping all-style five-tracker. Ranging from deeper, classically informed jungle shock-outs like "Bust Dis Ting" to creepy, toxic groaning rollers such as the Serum-style "Teasin'" and the loose-pants Full Cyclist wobbler "Culture", once again Agro is cooking up some truly authentic flavours that will work across both the jungle and jumpier sides of the dance. And that's before we even get to the killer remixes. Addictive. As always.
Belgium meets UK: Bass Boost's Basstripper makes his debut on Propz & Rowney's ever-shreddy G13 and he's really not messing around. Covering all shades across both sides of the scene he treats us to spiked-out high pitch paranoid riffage on "Safehouse", classic fuzzy bass hookiness on "Fur Dich", weirded-out robot-funk on "Level 1" and ridiculous harmonic switches on "No Laughing". Like we said... There's no room for messing around here. Crucial.
Longstanding jump-up merchant and Good 4 Nothing bossman Complex comes barging into your summer with another sledgehammer selection. "Anubis" hits with a bassline that's impossible not to compare to early Clipz. All whistling and fierce but funky, you'll be kicking yourself in the anu(bi)s if you don't pick up on this quickly. Highlights punch and bump every twist thereafter... The plucked note riff on "Real", the melting bass textures on "Ask Frank", the show-stopping wobbles of "Legohead" and the iron skank damager "Sneak Attack" all hit serious spots.
Men of the moment Serum & Voltage press the red button on Serum's nuclear new label: Souped Up. The results are as bright, bashy and bad-ass as you'd hope them to be: "8-Bit" hits with a nasty rasping riff that grizzles on the top-end and sizzles on the bottom while "Gunfingers" shoots and whips with an anthemic bass melody that's so strong you feel you've known all your life. Already massive in the dance with those lucky enough to have it dub, this is the way all new labels should launch.
Monday, Tuesday "Fappy" days. Wednesday, Thursday "Fappy" days. The weekend comes, our CDJs hum, ready to play this tune. Yeah... That's how good Heist's latest dispatch is for Low Down Deep - we can just murk up Happy Days lyrics. A massive record for Heist and Logan in recent months, you already know how big this is. "No Cure" takes us down dark pastures with more techy textures and just a mild twang of Belgium to the hook and plenty of Heist funk in the weight and swing. These "Fappy" days are yours and mine yo!
Hugh Hardie's rise up the Hospital ranks has been nothing short of astronomical. Cruising into the game at top speed with "Tearing Me Apart" in 2014 he's since gone from strength to strength, strategically dropping a cool balance of soulful and heavier cuts. His debut album backs up every bit of the hype as we're pinged and popped between his finely polished vibes. Highlights include the IA-style gritty funker "Talk The Talk", the all-out gully jams "Sound System Dub" and "Viridian", the soulful space-hopper "Reflection" and the Goodlooking homage "Camera Obscura". With all spaces between consummately coloured, Hugh's delivered a remarkable debut album right here. Essential for all flavours of junglist.
Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Remix time... Sub-Liminal look back over the last few years of releases, pick some of their many great rolling moments and get the artists to remix swap. It's gully grooves from the off as Hybrid adds a much darker dynamic to "Super Bad" and breaks up the reggae sample while Too Greezey injects serious drum muscle and switches out Hybrid's signature junglized basslines on "Kung Fu Master". Leaf follows with a darkened, clipped and steppy twist of Agro & Too Greezey's dubwise "Don't Mek Me Get Dark" and finally Agro smooths out the angular attitude of Leaf's "New Life" with a lower swung, funkier perspective. Great concept, killer versions.
If there's any tune that can truly say I'll be back it's Hizzleguy's screech-funk stepper "Terminator". Released in January, it has returned in both VIP and remix form... And the results are even more hair-raising. The former is pure mimetic poly-alloy T-1000 with its stretched out bass textures and unnerving sense of danger while the latter (courtesy of Nu Elementz) will take your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle with its added grizzly bass tones and looser sense of funk. Terminated.
It's been a few years since Ulterior Motive last delivered original material on Headz but these two ageless designs more than make up for lost time. "Step Change" is the assassin of the two: one click head shot business, this is a run for cover brock out with all the grit and aggression we need in these dark, paranoid times. "Get Close", meanwhile, proceeds to soften our edges. An unnerving, droning stepper that's restrained, but gradually built with measured menace, it's quintessential Ulterior Motive.
Two rising soulful D&B stars on one of the most reliable and on-point deep labels in the game with cameos from golden-toned Steo and hotly tipped newcomers GLXY... This EP ticks so many boxes you might run out of ink. "A Minute After Always" is a subtle-star gazing space soul number that's brought together immaculately by Steo's distinctive dulcets. "Lovin U" maintains the vocal velvet alongside blissful keys but a stern and weighted groove, "Serenade" (with GLXY) translates to soul grenade with its surging vocals and cosmic undertones and "Still The Same" vibes out with a futuristic Commix-style step. Comes complete with an instrumental of the title track... Just in case you needed even more boxes ticked.
Marcus nasty: The man, the myth, the legend. A pivotal figure behind the emergence of Grime and UK Funky sounds, there is no one better placed to compile and present a comprehensive collection of the latest evolutions of the House & Garage sound. Curiously enough, the package drops on Dallas imprint Audiophile XXL, as Americas biggest dance music Europhiles the Texans constantly have their ear to the ground and are no strangers to good old fashioned British basslines!
Superabound with dance floor ammunition and A-list names, it is an all killer no filler collection. Wittyboy & Tengu hook up on "Bioshock" with a bassline so harsh it will leave you with a sore throat. LR Groove drifts into more traditional tech-house territory on epic track "The Journey". Brent Kilner rattles he ribcage with a 2017 take on the Sheffield Niche nightclub sound. There are too many standout tracks to mention and in all honesty we have a lot of music to focus on but we would seriously rinse this day and night for the next fortnight if we could.
SMBD aka Simbad is back on GAMM again after a longer break and said to be planning a few EPs with seasonal themes for the label. The first EP as you might expect delivers three tasteful season influenced reworks and remixes which the label claims will 'be your perfect DJ weapons over the Summer months.' If the Afro broken beat groove of Bootsy's "Rather Be With You" (Alphabets Heaven X SMBD remix) won't do it for you, or the super soulful Colonel Abrams tribute "Table 42" (SMBD Tribute) does not grab your attention, guaranteed that the stunning 4/4 rework with Mike Lowrey of Jazzy Jeff's Summer classic "Summertime" has the potential to be a huge tune in the coming months.
What an absolute treat from the F2 stable this is! The courageous label has taken it upon itself to keep releasing puristic garage in an era where genres are bbeing blurred like Saturday night cocktails, and it really is a great thing to have someone carrying on the UK's seminal tradition along the hardcore continuum. This is the first volume of their F2 comps, and features a whol load of break-ready, gun-toting individuals wishing to inject some class into modern house. Inside, you'll find some absolute bangers for peeps like Champion, Tuff Culture, Deadbeat - who comes through with some twisted two-step - and Pharaoh K, among the many fresh faces on here. SICK!
Three years on from his first Talamanca System collaboration with Tuff City Kids duo Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer, Mark Barrott gets the gang back together for an album of typically loved-up excursions. International Feel's eccentric press release describes it as "a sunburned imagination of a day and night spent on Ibiza during a moment in time that probably never was". Given the album's repeated nods to baggy, piano-laden Italian house, the saucer-eyed, sunrise-friendly brilliance of 808 State's "Pacific State", sun-kissed post Italo-disco chuggers, percussion-laden tropical workouts and head-in-the-clouds ambience, it's actually rather an apt description. It's shamelessly Balearic from start to finish, but pulls it off with an authenticity that others could only dream of.
It was way back in 1992 when Detroiters Raphael Merriweathers Jr. and Niko Marks first joined forces under the Unit 2 alias. "Sunshine", their cheery, piano-laden debut single, has long been one of Gerd Janson's favourite house tracks. Here, the Running Back boss has roped in Kink and Tiger & Woods to put a fresh spin on the stone cold classic. While Kink's version - all fizzing drum machine rhythms, steady bold and explosive piano solos - is top-notch, we prefer the Tiger & Woods rework. Typically loopy and tactile in the Italian duo's distinctive style, their mix is a lesson in the dancefloor potential of bass heavy, saucer-eyed, piano-laden loop funk. We have no doubts that it will become one of the house hits of the summer.
The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
The don-dadda, badman Santa Ray 'renegade' Keith returns with four brand new jams. Each one tickling a different underbelly of the dance, it's the full Dread experience: "Feel Some" lashes out with barbed jungle soul, very much like a Break track but in Ray's distinctive style. "Do You Wanna Cook?" is the flip-switcher with its tripped, melting bassline swung low under the drums. "Zion Dread" takes us right back to the Dread's jungle roots while "Virus" is an iced-out techstepper that wouldn't go amiss on Headz. Consistently denting the dance since day one, Ray remains king.