Review: Here's something to write home about: a surprise debut album from on-point retro-futurists Tuff City Kids, AKA Running Back boss Gerd Janson and old pal Phillip Lauer. Given the opportunities for expression offered by the album format, it's perhaps unsurprising to find that they've decided against packing it entirely with hustling, warehouse-ready old skool house jams. Instead, their usual vintage synth stabs and drum machine rhythms are put to work on tracks that variously doff a cap to skewed synth-pop (Joe Goddard collaboration "Tell Me", Annie hook-up "Labyrinth"), cello-laden late night house (Kelley Polar hook-up "Aska"), acid-flecked electro ("Boilered"), early Human League tributes ("Scared"), and blissfully positive electronica ("Farewell House").
Review: This Christmas, if you run out of board games to play round the fire, don't fear: just throw this bulging collection (26 tracks!) on the stereo and enjoy hours of fun for all the family, guessing which sample matches which Jay-Z song (no prizes for Hard Knock Life though). Highlights of the many vintage grooves featured include The Doors "Five To One", The Jackson 5 "I Want You Back", Al Green's "Free At Last", Marcus Miller's "Much Too Much" and Talking Heads' classic, "Once In A Lifetime".
Review: Once again the compilation master, Strictly Breaks, is back with another collection of often-sampled tunes, providing both delight for sample-spotters and fans of eclectic collections alike. Here Strictly Breaks Vol 7 features a wide range of thoroughly enjoyable tunes - from the camp musical shenanigans of 'Hard Knock Life" from Annie to Ramon Harris' cool jazz joint "Don't Ask Me" via Steve Arrington's sleazy funk jam "Weak At The Knees" and Diana Ross' bonkers orchestrated meltdown "My Hero Is A Gun" (yes it's really called that).
Review: Supposedly recorded to mark Permanent Vacation's 10th anniversary party, Raketenmix is full of surprises. Certainly the tripped out electronic disco of DMX Krew's "Disco Theme" is not what one might expect from the German label, while a similar, albeit more glossy-sounding approach is audible on Tensnake's remix of Sally Shapiro's "I'll Be By Your Side". There are plenty of feel good house tracks here as well; for example, the mix revisits Holy Ghost's 2008 disco reshape of indie rockers Panthers' "Goblin City" and the 'Rave Dub' version of John Talabot's "Destiny" is an excellent low-slung groove. It all comes together to create the ultimate party mix for a Munich keller.