Review: The 'Jalapeno Funk' series reaches its 11th installment, which is no mean feat! As such, you should have a pretty good idea what to expect here already, and you'd be right. All the usual Jalapeno suspects - Flevans, Skeeweiff, Smoove & Turrell, Speedometer, The Allergies, Dr Rubberfunk, Aldo Vanucci - are present and correct, and while it has to be said there aren't many stylistic surprises or curveballs on offer, fans of the label's trademark funk 'n breaks sound will be more than satisfied, with highlights including Flevan's light-footed 'Speculate' and Vanucci's Hammond-toting 'Get A Hold On This'.
Review: The unstoppable juggernaut that is the Katakana Edits series rolls on. Regular contributor Padcore is back at the wheel for this latest three-track instalment, which kicks off with 'Mexico', which conjures visions (in glorious Technicolor(TM), of course) of 1950s westerns set during the Mexican-American War. That's followed by 'What They Do', a mid-paced ballad that recalls the likes of Dusty Springfield, Julie London or Bobby Gentry while completing the EP is 'Wanna Hear', a low-slung, slow-burning funker that packs enough sleaze into its three-minute lifespan to give Times Square in the 70s a run for its money!
Review: Turntablist-friendly US label School Yard Breaks serve up 25 jazz, funk and soundtrack gems, especially collated with the scratch DJs in mind. It's an approach that throws together some strange bedfellows: Louis Clark's 'Crime' is string-led, suspenseful and cinematic, as is Eugenio Grandi's 'Killer Squad', and Zdzislawa Sosnicka's 'Good Night Darling' is an Eastern European torch song, while other tracks such as Betty Davis's 'Your Mama Wants Ya Back' or Reith's 'No No No' operate in more straight-up funk/soul territory. But if it's simply big, dramatic stabs, jazzy horn flourishes and scorching vocal licks you're after, you'll find them in abundance here.
Max Greger Orchestra - "What Is Soul & I Feel Good" - (3:08) 86 BPM
The Funky Free - "Ride The Mule" - (2:47) 138 BPM
El Chicano - "Viva Tirado" - (4:43) 115 BPM
Con Funk Shun - "Clique" - (2:53) 104 BPM
Larry Sanders - "Story Of My Love" - (2:27) 131 BPM
The Walker Family - "Think It Over" - (3:53) 158 BPM
Lee Willams - "I Love You More" - (2:53) 84 BPM
The Vagas - "I Need Your Love" - (3:18) 76 BPM
SKIP MAHOANEY - "Bless My Soul" - (3:17) 67 BPM
The Dontells - "I Cant Wait" - (2:52) 74 BPM
Little Antony & The Imperials - "If You Love" - (2:18) 80 BPM
The Inclinations - "Im Gonna Make Love Last This Time" - (3:33) 134 BPM
Sunday - "Where Did He Come From" - (2:59) 85 BPM
The Soul Majestics - "I Done Told You Baby" - (3:01) 153 BPM
Kansas City Express - "This Is The Place" - (5:23) 74 BPM
Takeo Yamashita - "Playgirls On The Move" - (3:07) 114 BPM
Silver Convention - "Madhouse" - (7:11) 127 BPM
Washrag - "Mr Big Stuff" - (2:50) 96 BPM
Fried Chicken - "Funky Dj" - (2:56) 82 BPM
The Soul Investigators - "Mo Hash" - (2:12) 107 BPM
Art Butler - "Soul Brother" - (2:25) 110 BPM
The Soul Tomadoes - "Crazy Legs" - (3:06) 61 BPM
Review: One of two turntablist-oriented compilations this week from School Yard Breaks, but where 'Dusty Fingers' is jazzy and cinematic in mood, this one's smooth and soulful, with cuts from well-known veteran players like Mandrill, Larry Sanders, Con Funk Shun and Silver Convention nuzzling up alongside contributions from lesser-known 60s and 70s artists (The Soul Tornadoes, Kansas City Express, Lee Williams) and contemporary practitioners (Finland's Soul Investigators). Highlights include Silver Convention's phat, sleazy 'Madhouse', Lee Moses's country-soul-blues take on 'Hey Joe', Art Butler's Hammond-tastic 'Soul Brother' and a blistering James Brown medley courtesy of the Max Greger Orchestra.
Review: London-based soul singer Izo Fitzroy released her debut album 'Skyline' on Jalapeno just over two years ago. Since then, we've had the Dimitri From Paris-produced 'I Want Magic' earlier this year, and now here comes 'Blind Faith', a track that'll appeal to fans of contemporary soul artists such as The Dap Kings, Smoove & Turrell or Stone Foundation. Supplied in simple Original and Radio Edit mixes and richly embellished with horns and strings, 'Blind Faith' features some truly sumptuous production, and while it may all be a little 'polite' for some, crossover success certainly can't be ruled out.
Review: UK hip-hop/soul/Afro fusionists Nubiyan Twist return with their first new material since their 'Jungle Run' album earlier this year. 'Portraits' features Cerise on vocal duties and is a luxuriant, melancholy and jazz-tinged neo-soul cut that should please fans of the likes of Amy Winehouse or Quantic Soul Orchestra. Ruby Wood then takes over mic duties for 'If Only', a livelier affair with intricate beats that veers into the nebulous zone where R&B, soulful house and broken beat collide - expect the latter to be big with the likes of Gilles Peterson, Mr Scruff and Snowboy, thanks not least to a haunting performance from Ms Wood.
Review: Freestyle's series of genre-themed download bundles continues, with June's 'Afro & Latin!' and September's 'Funk!' comps now joined by this 40-track collection of soul and disco nuggets from the label's back catalogue. The set kicks off with a bona fide classic in the form of Omar's 'There's Nothing Like This', after which come 39 more cuts from the likes of Carleen Anderson, Kyle Audist and The Fantastics (not to mention, in featured vocalist form, Jocelyn Brown and Caron Wheeler). The title's something of a misnomer - the emphasis is firmly on 'new old' soul, future R&B and neo-soul rather than disco - but there's much to enjoy here all the same.