Listening to Miami 2014 it sounds like this year's WMC will be dominated by interpretations of classic US house. Prok & Fitch's "South Keys (original club mix)" is a storming tribal affair, while the key changes and heavy low end on My Digital Enemy's "Change" is reminiscent of New Jersey garage. Garage of a UK variety is audible on the rolling snares and rubbery bassline of Hot Since 82 's "Hot's Groove", but in the main, this compilation is US-dominated. Piemont's "Microsleep (original mix)" recalls the darkest excesses of Armand Van Helden house, replete with scary sirens, while the Kevin Knapp take on Richy Ahmed's "The Drums" is a clap-heavy Chicago jam.
Sheffield's Matt Relton - AKA Kidnap Kid - has been an integral part of the Black Butter family since 2012, and here he returns with what we expect to be his biggest release to date. "Stronger" is perhaps what you'd expect; think heavy low-end pressure, nagging riffs, woozy electronics and a stylish female vocal, all whipped together in an oh-so-now garage-influenced deep house style. "Like You Used To" is even deeper and more atmospheric, with a bolder, fragile, outsider house style vocal drifting over melancholic chords and a dewy-eyed groove. It's refreshingly tactile and feels like an unassuming anthem in waiting.
Continuing the success of recent album Chrome Waves, Dutch disco-housers Kraak & Smaak now release one of its highlights as a single in its own right. Despite boasting an eyebrow raising title, "Love Inflation" is a serious dancefloor bomb - all Duran Duran basslines, disco drums and infectious female vocals. There's three remixes too, with Cassian delivering some tropically melodic house, NSFW going all funked up Italo disco and Baskerville opting for some haunted (if not a bit psychologically troubled) electro.
Peppermint Jam have been successfully housing it up for about 20 years now. Lately they've been releasing a slew of compilations and this one explores the deeper end of their output. Despite the specific remit, it still covers a surprising amount of ground: from the haunted urban D&B of "Lay It Down (Triads mix)", funky Latin house "A World Celebration", smooth, luxurious deep house "Look Inside" and super ecstatic jump up party anthem "Check It Out". Looks like 'deep' can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
Parisian band Venice Beach gets busy on the slap bass for this sun-kissed disco wriggler that's destined for all manner of summer scenarios. Lavinia Claws provides a distinctive vocal that worms into your head - you'll be singing along before you even know it. Remix-wise Lazaro Casanova applies a smouldering electro stomp, DJ Apt One gets his '80s synth boogie on and Futurewife gets jiggy on a chop-slapping Chicago house vibe. Tasty.
Painter, designer, erstwhile fashion label owner - Austrian Lilja is something of an auteur. Singing is where she appears most comfortable, though. And this mini-album shows just why. Ranging from the Daft Punkian soft space disco shimmers of "Golden Arrow" to the cosmic Italo arpeggios and heavily reverbed vocals on "Escape", this is her most emphatic, extensive work to date. It also comes complete with a wide range of perfectly executed remixes from Parov Stella (stomping piano house), La Rochelle Band (pumping filtered disco) AG Trio (spacey breaks and driving electro) and Makossa & Megablast (slo-mo cosmo electro).
Has there ever been an instance with pop duos of the moody, out-of-focus-bloke-at-the-back actually being the singer and the pouting glamour puss female being the socially uncomfortable producer boffin? We doubt it, but some rules aren't meant to be broken. Hotlane know this and just get on with the music instead. "On My Own" is a lovely slice of deeply seductive Europop and appears in many remixed guises too, the best of which being DJ Steef's off-kilter Balearic groover and Ricardo Baez's pristine glacial house effort.
Having previously given Justin Drake and Sascha Dive the Tsuba Loves... anthology treatment, it was probably only a matter of time before label boss Kevin Griffiths compiled an instalment featuring his greatest production moments to date. Featuring a mix of both original productions and a handful of Griffiths' best remixes, Tsuba Loves... is an enjoyable jog through the veteran DJ and producer's distinct, tech-tinged deep house sound. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the Circulation-style tech-house fluidity of Justin Drake hook-up "Midnight Special" and bongo-laden liquid house of "Lucky Three", to the downright spooky late night fare of "Jaguar Shoes".
The unstoppable funky house duo Prok & Fitch land on Toolroom once again with a one track special. "Man With Soul" is a slamming slab of timeless house that shudders and bumps with everything that's great about the dancefloor's most enduring genre. Relentless percussion, tight loops, sharp shades of disco and a groove that won't quit; this is guaranteed to drive your floor into a filtered funk frenzy.
Portuguese Alkalino and German Linntronix team up for a seismic house sensation that conjures memories of house music's most formative period in the mid '90s. Boasting a full bodied organ hook - the likes of which was last seen in Andrew Weatherall's Primal Scream album - it oozes unashamed positivity throughout. Underpinned by well executed beats and a confident electro bassline, this has potential to soundtrack many an escapade throughout 2014. You genuinely can't go wrong with a track like this. Vibes galore.