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18 Mar 13
Review: Following on from her recent teaser EP, Freestyle's resident sultry guest warbler Angeline Morrison now presents her much anticipated debut album. As expected it's all about the kitsch exotica, including the previously heard mid century boss nova fantasy of "The Feeling Sublime", the vintage hammond soul of "Fool's Gold", the downbeat jazzy lament of "Perhaps In A Little While" and the 60s go-go frenzy of the album's title track, "Are You Ready Cat? along with seven more blinders. It's taken a while, but we're glad Angeline has finally released an album of her own.
18 Feb 13
Broken Beat/Nu Jazz/Nu Soul
Review: Fans of the Freestyle label will already be familiar with the dulcet tones of Angeline's vocals, as she has appeared cooing softly all over releases by other acts on their roster. Now it's solo time and as a taster for her forthcoming debut album we have this lovely four-track teaser. Kitsch exotica is the order of the day with the pure mid century boss nova fantasy of "The Feeling Sublime", the vintage hammond soul of "Fool's Gold", the downbeat jazzy lament of "Perhaps In A Little While" and the 60s go-go frenzy of the album's title track, "Are You Ready Cat?".
26 Nov 12
Review: Dave Lister, sorry Craig Charles, isn't holding back when he says that his new compilation 'contains 19 rip snorting tunes guaranteed to tear the roof off any venue festival or house party in the known universe'. He's not far wrong either as, much like his popular 6Music show of the same name, he delivers a booty-shaking selection of vintage and modern, soul, funk and blues music. Highlights include The Bamboos' high energy banger, "Amen Brother", the everybody-knows-it "Clap Hands Song", Nostalgia 77's remarkable take on "7 Nation Army" and Al Wilson's beguiling "The Snake".
05 Nov 12
Review: A veteran soul singer of James Brown and Maceo Parker fame, Martha High has been riding er, high, again of late thanks to her work with top British R&B revivalists, Speedometer. Bandleader Leigh Gracie has now produced this new studio album for Martha and it's just what their fans are expecting: 11 tracks of vintage-tinged, retro soul and funk. Highlights include the total brass-fest of "Never, Never Love A Married Man", the bright and breezy cover of "Sunny" and her acclaimed take on the late Etta James' mournful ballad, "I'd Rather Go Blind".
03 Sep 12
Review: Speedometer are an acclaimed UK band who describe themselves as being a 'funk behemoth'. Judging by the pedigree of artists that they've collaborated with - Eddie Bo, Sharon Jones, Billy Wooten, Sir Joe Quartermain and more - you can see their point. The latest legend to get involved with the guys is veteran soul icon Martha High, formerly of James Brown's band and more recently, Maceo Parker's chief vocalist. Having recently toured with the band, they now return the favour with bandleader Leigh Gracie producing a brand new studio album for Martha called Soul Overdue. Here we have two tracks from the LP, the first of which "I'd Rather Go Blind", is an authentic take on the late Etta James' mournful ballad. Up next is a lively re-working of soul classic "No More Heartaches" that's so well done, it sounds like it's beaming in directly from the mid '60s. Top that Austin Powers!
14 Aug 12
Review: Having made a big impression with their debut LP Flight Of The Ancients, Australian band The Shaolin Afronauts follow it up in style with "Quest Under Capricorn". With an ability to evoke a superb mix of Pharaoh Sanders, Ethiopiques and Miles Davis, the wailing mournful sax of opener "Brooklyn"is instantly engaging and ushers in an album of truly standout delights - from the hushed "Gayanamede Prelude" to the riotous "The End of a Sun".
25 Jun 12
Review: Down home funk that recalls old-school greats like Marva Whitney as well as new jack funkateers like Sharon Jones and The Dap Tones from Deep Street Soul, who work up a stomp on the excellent "Hold On Me" and back it up with the more jazzy popcorn swing of "This Love Ain't Big Enough". Two excellent cuts from the group's latest LP, "Look Out, Watch Out".
11 Jun 12
Review: You can always depend on Freestyle to unearth and nurture the finest of funk's fringes, and The Shaolin Afronauts are a fine example of this great A&R. Sounding like they've just emerged from a Nigerian township circa 1970, but actually coming from Australia in the 21st century, their dedication to the Afro soul, Cuban funk and experimental jazz of the past four decades is commendably authentic. Pretty prolific, too: their debut album Flight Of The Ancients only came our way last year but yet they've already followed it up with an equally captivating, spiritually swinging sophomore that blasts, parps and fires its way into your brain. Conjuring the vibes of Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, Tony Allen and even dashes of Roy Ayers, this is one expansive long player.
30 Apr 12
Played by: Voodoocuts, Killer Funk Records Usa, Quincy Jointz, Smoove, Tosses & Varvez, Klevakeys, Double Yellow, Greg Boraman
Review: A one-man powerhouse of studio funk, Adam Gibbons' Lack of Afro alias has amassed an enormous catalogue of remixes and rarities in a relatively short space of time. On this Freestyle compilation, some of his most dynamic funk, Latin and boogaloo-shaped makeovers are here to savour, such as his extension of the Hot 8 Brass Band's "It's Real" or the more disco-slanted rejig of Kraak & Smaak's "Squeeze Me".
16 Apr 12
Broken Beat/Nu Jazz/Nu Soul
Played by: Juno Recommends Brokenbeat/Nu Jazz, Diesler, Electric Boogie (Ism Midnight Riot), Greg Boraman
Review: Having played keyboards for funk and jazz legends like Jean Carne and Dexter Wansel, plus released great tunes for labels like Soul Jazz, Jessica Lauren's latest LP for Freestyle is a treat for fans of sparklingly fresh rootsy jazz - from the Latin percussion and fusion piano playing of "Mel Benson", the fierce drum workout of "Dogtown" and the two very special appearances by Jocelyn Brown, "I Believe" and "Happiness Train". An essential purchase for jazz fans looking for a different direction.
26 Mar 12
19 Mar 12
Broken Beat/Nu Jazz/Nu Soul
Review: A keyboardist and songwriter who's worked with legends like Jean Carne and Dexter Wansel as well as releasing originals for Soul Jazz, Jessica Lauren's latest project has found a home on Freestyle records and a huge guest star for this first single. Jocelyn Brown brings her diva magic to the rootsy Latin disco charge of "Happiness Train", as well as getting soulful and delightfully mellow on the jazzy anthemics of "I Believe". Coupled with the Lonnie Liston Smith-teasing double bass licks of "White Mountain", this lead single bodes very well for JLF's self-titled debut due soon.
27 Feb 12
Review: For the last decade, Greg Boraman's Freestyle Records has championed the best in contemporary revivalist funk and soul, releasing a string of thrilling records with an authentically fuzzy feel. Here Boraman celebrates the best of contemporary underground soul, pairing familiar fare from the likes of Speedometer, the Haggis Horns and the Killer Meters with a skipload of slept-on fare. There's a great mix of instrumental blasters and breezy vocal cuts (see Nick Van Gelder's slick "Something's Got To Give" and Jo Stance's wonderful "Hey Girl"), with a few deliriously uptempo workouts (Renegaes of Jazz, The Mighty Showstoppers) thrown in for good measure.
13 Feb 12
Review: Of all of the revivalist modern funk bands around right now, Speedometer are without doubt one of the best. Since the early noughties they've provided soul and funk heads with a string of essential singles and long players. The two tracks showcased here are amongst their best, too. Taken from the 2010 album The Shakedown, they offer authentic dancefloor thrills from a bygone age. "The Shakedown (Say Yeah)", featuring Martha High (replacing Speedometer regular Rita Currie) is a riotous concoction that should get even the most ashen-faced cynics going wild on the 'floor. "Dragging Me Down", meanwhile, drops the tempo and adds some wild Hammond organs, but it's no less incendiary. Fire in the hole!
28 Nov 11
Review: The second single from Lack of Afro's latest album This Time sees singer Jake Morley provide a timeless vocal over a sequenced Latin-jazz beat, replete with vibraphones, epic piano lines and Santana-esque percussion on "Holding My Breath". The smooth party vibes roll right into the carnivalesque skank of instrumental b-side "Broken Samba" - a great excuse for LOA to show off his skilled guitar playing - while an instrumental version of album track "What The Hell" shows off his nu-funk production skills to the max.
14 Nov 11
Review: For the second single from their rather marvellous All The People LP, The Fantastics enrol singer Sulene Fleming to join them on the slow funky blues of "Cold Case". Featuring a mean harmonica and some gritty rock 'n' roll guitars, Fleming owns the song with her commanding vocals, which is presented here in its "45 Version" format. As a bonus, the band have also thrown in instrumental and live favourite "Fat Hector" on to the release, which is a must-have for fans of funk-filled retro swing.
07 Nov 11
Broken Beat/Nu Jazz/Nu Soul
Review: A chilled Latin diamond, featuring the vocals of Angeline Morrison, guitarist Nick Radford's Frootful project turns in a delight with "Slowtime" and its mix of soft strings and bossa nova sway. Lack of Afro reboots the track around some uptempo Cuban horns, while another Frootful original, "Latin Strut", goes down the same fun-filled chicano route.
24 Oct 11
Review: Building on their self-titled debut LP for Freestyle Records, Australian funk juggernaut Deep Street Soul return stronger than ever - with new vocalist May Johnston lending a wicked soulful snarl to the raw delights of "Look Out Watch Out". With live funk drums taking centre stage in the mix over Hammond organ and chicken-scratch guitars, it's a raucous delight. In contrast, their cover of Clarence Reid's "Masterpiece" (this time sung by Greenbacks' Shirley Davis) is a slower, cowbell-driven soul stomper.
03 Oct 11
Review: Building on their self-titled debut LP for Freestyle Records, this Australian funk juggernaut returns stronger than ever - with DSS' new vocalist May Johnston lending a wicked soulful snarl to the raw delights of new single "Look Out Watch Out". With live funk drums taking centre stage in the mix over Hammond organ and chicken-scratch guitars, it's a raucous delight. In contrast, their cover of Clarence Reid's "Masterpiece" (this time sung by Greenbacks' Shirley Davis) is a slower, cowbell-driven soul stomper.
26 Sep 11
08 Aug 11
Played by: Shantisan, DJ Nova (Rodon Fm 95), Neighbour, Voodoocuts, Jayl Funk, Juno Recommends Funk/Reissues, Leo Leonardi Aka Funky Brothers
Review: A producer who's consistently been able to combine the modern with the old, Lack of Afro tees up his forthcoming album This Time with this new single featuring singer/songwriter Wayne Gidden on vocals. In a slow, soulful Al Green-mould, "A Time For" is a beautifully mellow mix of Bill Withers, Gil Scott-Heron and 70s Sly Stone, while on the B-Side, "Numero Seenko" picks up the pace with a big-beat/Northern Soul stomper featuring nicely ebullient drums, Hammond organ and dubbed-out vocal samples.
01 Aug 11
Review: Having developed from their roots as Hammond-heavy funkateers trading under the name Reverend Cleatus & The Soul Saviours, The Fantastics show off a fantastic range of styles on their second LP, All The People. Their cover of Boogaloo Joe Jones' "Sweetback" still contains all the essential funk flavours - sax solos, beautifully bluesy funk guitar and a tight rhythm section locking down the groove - while "Somewhere Finally" uses Sulene Fleming's vocals to create a modern take on doo-wop, while "Cold Case" breaks out with the slide guitars and harmonicas for a down-home blues out. Add to that the samba-jazz of "Cecils Slide" and the mellow, flute-driven Afro-funk of "Know No Gods" and it's clear The Fantastics have been very hard at work of late.
25 Jul 11
Review: On this sumptuous Juno Download exclusive, bearded soul boy Aroop Roy's smooth Nomadic Soul album gets a good going over from a wide range of like-minded artists. There's a variety of soul-flecked moods and grooves represented, from warm deep house, snappy nu-jazz and slick modern soul to wonky hip-hop, and speaker-bothering bruk. The standard of remixes is largely high throughout, with a smattering of real stand-outs. Check, in particular, the heavy late night dancefloor vibes of Greymatter's strutting mix of "I'd Die For You", the rolling, near-anthemic broken beats of Yellowtail and Simbad's sparkling efforts, and the Domu-ish wooziness of Cone's rub of "Lily".
11 Jul 11
Played by: Juno Recommends Breakbeat
Review: Building on a newie by Australian soul/funk band Randa & The Soul Kingdom (ahead of their soon-to-drop What You Need album), nu-funk breaks dons Mooqee and Beatvandals come in heavy with this radical rerub. Stripping the original down to Randa Khamis' soulful acapella, the duo add a good helping of bass and some fatback studio drums to their version, turning it into a deeper floor filler and a perfect DJ weapon for breaks-heads who fly on the funky side.
11 Jul 11
Review: While all of these mysterious cover versions of b-boy funk classics might be ascribed to a gaggle of unknown acts ("The Poly-Tones", "Leroy Palmer" or "The Jackson Dodds Trio"), they are in fact all the work of Bamboos producer Lance Ferguson and his team of session stars. The crew kick the righteous crap out of gold-plated funk favourites such as S.O.U.L's "Burning Spear", Johnny Pate's "Shaft In Africa", Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew" (definitely one for ATCQ fans) and Bob James' "Nautilus". The latter is a great example of the wide-eyed imagination and skill at work here - transforming James' subdued fusion hit into a rip-roaring samba party. Hugely fascinating and hugely funky stuff.
20 Jun 11
Review: With a growing rep on the UK funk scene, and BBC support from Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles, The Fantastics are on the grow. With new singer Sulene Fleming also on board, they sound magisterial on "Somewhere Finally" - a slow and classically soulful funk song which makes great use of the interplay between Mark Norton's sax and Fleming's warm and swooping delivery. On a more Meters/Jimmy Smith tip, "Up Yours" on the flipside is a Hammond-led slinker, while "Mushroom Strut" goes all out on a 90s Acid Jazz groove. Look out for their second album which should be hitting the stores soon.
20 Jun 11
20 Jun 11
Review: Pitched somewhere between the rhythms of Fela Kuti and the sharp instrumentation and funk of Mulatu Astatke, Australian band The Shaolin Afronauts shine on this new LP. Boasting a three-piece horn crew, five on the rhythm section and a further three percussionists, they're more juggernaut than Afronaut, thundering in with live tunes like "Shira" and "Journey Through Time" like they were Kool and the Gang relocated to 70's Ethiopia. On a fast vibe, the lyrical guitars of "Kilimanjaro" are a delight, while the deep and slow sax-dominated "The Scarab" is nicely evocative of North Africa. What's most stunning is just how well they've captured both the sounds and styles of their influences on this dreamy instrumental funk set.
13 Jun 11
Review: Following their excellent self-titled debut album, Perth funk troupe Randa and the Soul Kingdom have retooled with The Bamboos' Lance Ferguson on the dials, the first fruits of which drop this week in the shape of "The Things". Released ahead of their follow-up LP, "The Things" bodes well: with a Loft-esque disco beat and chanking guitars driving the tune along nicely, Randa vocalises perfectly over the top resulting in a sound that recalls The JBs playing at Studio 54. Also look out for OK Ma's polished nu-funk rerub, and of course the album itself, due very soon.
30 May 11
Played by: Ennio Styles (Stylin Radio Show), Los Charly's Orchestra, Voodoocuts, Quincy Jointz, Greg Boraman
Review: A man with Venezuelan roots who was brought up on Fania Records' stars, as well as being a roadie for the Beasties circa "License To Ill", Ray Lugo now not only leads Afro-beat band Kokolo but also his Boogaloo Destroyers, who drop this new album on Freestyle. Taking in covers of greats like Mongo Santamaria, Willie Rosario, Ray Baretto and El Gran Combo, Lugo's homage to NYC's boogaloo scene is a riot, and with tongue-in-cheek tunes like "My Shingaling" and "At The Party" included, it's also a hell of a lot of fun.
16 May 11
Broken Beat/Nu Jazz/Nu Soul
Played by: Juno Recommends Brokenbeat/Nu Jazz
Review: A man with Venezuelan roots who was brought up on Fania Records' stars, as well as being a roadie for the Beastie Boys circa "License To Ill", Ray Lugo now leads not only Afro-beat band Kokolo but also his Boogaloo Destroyers - who sound on fine form on this latest single. Capturing the spirit of Nu-Yorican soul, the group nail that rich and authentic boogaloo sound - using natural handclaps, infectious piano motifs and huge helpings of Latin brass on "Swingy Boogaloo". Ian Toole adds an extended edit of the single, which allows an Afro-sounding guitar solo to shine alongside Lugo's laidback vocals, which pepper the track throughout.
21 Mar 11
28 Feb 11
Played by: In Flagranti
28 Feb 11
Review: A side-project from Adelaide funkateers The Transatlantics, The Shaolin Afronauts let Afro-beat and Ethiopiques influences shine through over these two new tracks. "Journey Through Time" is a mystic groover with plenty of brass-driven charm, live percussion and some killer sax solos - all underpinned by effortlessly funky drumming. "Kibo" ups the pace a little for a Fela-esque jam with an itchy bassline and even more rambunctious percussion. Look out for a full-length LP later in the year.
07 Feb 11
Review: Made up of guitarist Nick Radford, plus Lack Of Afro (aka Adam Gibbons) and singer Angeline Morrison, Frootful brilliantly get back to the boogaloo days of the late 50/early 60s with the fantastic period-funk of "Fish In The Sea". Capturing the swinging Latin blues style perfectly, the brass and guitars work in sync alongside the raw, uptempo drums, while Morrison captures the gliding and sweeping vocal style just right. With the instrumental just as vital for funk fans, this is hopefully just the start of great things for Frootful.
18 Nov 10
2BR 8310011 102
18 Nov 10
12 Nov 10
12 Nov 10
Played by: Hero Records
09 Nov 10
29 Oct 10
Euro Dance/Pop Dance
20 Oct 10
20 Oct 10
04 Oct 10
20 Sep 10