Jalapeno Records is at the epicentre of the UK’s funkiest labels. Formed in the late 90’s, Jalapeno is a label that has encompassed many genres from soul to funk, hip hop to blues, jazz to breakbeat, disco to house with one proviso – it’s got to be funky. Jalapeno is home to artists such as: The Allergies, Smoove & Turrell, Izo FitzRoy, Flevans, Sam Redmore, Dr Rubberfunk, Soopasoul, Skeewiff, Gizelle Smith, ephemerals, Kraak & Smaak and many more.
Review: The Allergies have been, without a doubt, one of the most consistent outfits within the funk and breaks crossover space, with this new thirteen-track collection being a fabulous testament to both their consistency and creativity over the past few years. From the rave-ready horn toots of 'Mash Up The Sound' to the old school sampling flavour of 'Sometimes I Wonder', we see The Allergies unleash a full spectrum of what they can offer, alongside a host of collaborative guests including: Andy Cooper, Bootie Brown, Marietta Smith and more. Our highlights for this full project include the vibrant horn displays and steady drum builds of 'Hypnotise', along with the slow rolling bass swings of 'Treat You Right'. Lovely stuff!
Review: Over the past 20 years or so The Allergies have stretched out way beyond their Bristolian rap beginnings to (also) become a scorching live funk/soul outfit. This latest outing for Jalapeno is nevertheless something of a curveball as it reveals them to be quite capable, too, of transforming themselves into a shit-kickin' bar room blues band should they suddenly get the urge, with both 'Reconcile' and 'Treat You Right' rocking the same kind of raucous, rip-roarin' chicken shack vibes as the mighty John Fairweather. 'Sometimes I Wonder' and 'God Walked Down' find us back in more standard 'new old' funk/soul pastures, but rest assured there's not a dull moment in sight.
Review: If we've counted correctly then this is the fifth long-player from Jalapeno regular Nigel Evans, AKA Flevans. As such, fans should have a pretty good idea what to expect already, and while this album may not serve up much in the way of surprises, it's fair to say they're unlikely to be disappointed, as the Brighton-based producer serves up 12 tracks that blend funk, soul, jazz, downtempo and hip-hop influences into 42 minutes of very pleasant listening. If it's floor-burners you're after, start with 'Parasol' or the irresistibly infectious 'I Got Soul', though the standouts for yours truly are actually 'Digits' (check that jazz-funk geetar) and 'For A While' (always been a sucker for a chipmunk'd vocal).
Review: Veteran Brighton funkateer Flevans returns with two contrasting but complementary cuts, either of which'll please disco and funk lovers for sure. 'I Got Soul' is an energetic, uptempo roller featuring drawn-out female vocal samples, some truly euphoric brass and layers of crowd noise. 'Get To It', meanwhile, is a quirkier affair with a looped female vocal that's got a distinctly 60s cocktail bar kinda feel, which it places atop an equally quirky, jerky backdrop before adding a second, male vocal later on. Both are cool but the latter edges it for this reviewer, despite being perhaps one more for the bar than the nightclub.
Review: Sam Redmore is a DJ/producer from the Birmingham area who's known for his genre-hopping club sets. That electicism is well reflected in this, his debut album, which while sitting on our Funk pages actually takes in a wide range of styles, from sunny, summery nu-disco and disco-house (see 'Just Can't Wait') to fast n' furious African drum tracks ('One More Time'), and from classy soul/R&B ('Party', a clear standout for this writer) to Stereo MCs/Allergies-esque hip-hop ('On The One'). Featuring an array of guest vocalists and rappers, it's an album that sets out Redmore's stall nicely - and that bodes well for a long career in music.
Review: The 'Jalapeno Funk' series reaches its 12th installment. The title's arguably something of a misnomer, because the 20 tracks here are largely closer to Dap Kings-style neo-soul - with, in true Jalapeno style, a side order of hip-hop - than they are to phat-assed 70s funk. But look at the names involved: with the likes of Smoove & Turrell, The Allergies, Skeewiff, Dr Rubberfunk, Ivo Fitzroy and Aldo Vanucci all onboard, you know fans of the label and/or the style are going to be more than satisfied with this one! Soopasoul's jazz-tinged 'A Wild Mad Beat' is one standout for this reviewer, while Skeewiff's 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' is worth a mention for its distinctive use of a country/bluegrass-style male vocal.
Review: Big time Jalapeno legend Soopasoul is back in the spotlight with the undeniable funk of Twin Stix, a three track banger taking in some high-tailing New York jazz in "Soopasoul Theme" thanks to that sweet brass section and big band blaxploitation funk tip. With touches of dub thrown about in "Lookin' For Freddie (edit)" next to some sweetly filtered licks of guitar, it's those solo horns and sustained strings that really hit the spot. "My Place (edit)" also drops in with some soulful vocal touches and a slight "Spacer Woman" Italo feel with its electronic bassline.
Review: The Allergies arrive at the Promised Land with mambo number five - the duo's fifth studio album! Featuring classic numbers in the familiar tones of tracks like "Working On Me" next to some more rap-and-boogie tracks with Andy Cooper of Ugly Duckling fame, other lyricists include soul sensation Marietta Smith, dance music heavyweight Dynamite MC, and the unmistakable voice of hip-hop royalty, Lyrics Born. Particular highlights include the bluesy half-time hip-hop number "Lean On You", Latin funk bomb, "Move On Baby" to the stringed-disco sessions of "The Beat". Get your more soulful numbers "Up Down Left Right", "New Thing" and "Are You Ready" without overlooking the pop-funk-rock-and-hip-hop crossover hit: "Promised Land".
Review: A fine two-tracker here from Soopasoul, a loose collective headed up by Manchester-born hip-hop, funk, house and rave veteran Danny Hybrid (E-Lustrious, Direckt), coming on their regular home of Jalapeno Records. Both tracks are original productions that hail from the jazzier end of the contemporary funk spectrum, with 'A Wild Mad Beat' itself rocking the Blaxploitation soundtrack vibes while on the livelier 'Swing Down' Hybrid's hip-hop roots are showing, as he takes us a little closer to funk-breaks/funk-hop territory, albeit still with a female soul vocal in full effect. An EP no self-respecting funkateer will want to miss.