Review: Long-player number four here from Croatia's Vladimir Sivc, better known as Funky Destination, and his third for Timewarp. The clue's definitely in the title, because it's largely soul rather than funk flavours that dominate - though we're talking sweaty 60s James Brown stompers rather than smoochy 70s love ballads, and admittedly that's one of music's most porous boundaries anyway! If you dig the likes of Speedometer, The Allergies, Skeewiff or Dr Rubberfunk you'll find much to enjoy here, with standouts including the blues harmonica-augmented 'Make It Fuzz' and the aptly-titled 'Bad Ass Jazz', while the string-laden 'Come Back To Me' has the most commercial, Amy-esque appeal.
Review: "A unique and captivating blend of soul, gospel and blues" is how UK vocalist Izo Fitzroy's biography describes her music... but then you probably knew that, because there's been no escaping recent single 'Blind Faith', which sees her Winehouse-like vocals backed, just like the lady herself, by the excellent Haggis Horns, as well as her own Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. And if you liked the single you're gonna love the album, because there's plenty more where 'Blind Faith' came from! It's largely a home listening affair, though the acid jazz-leaning 'Pushing Buttons' and the disco-infused, Hammond-laden 'I Want Magic' could find themselves gracing funk and soul floors.
Review: A vital thread deeply woven into the Ninja Tune complex, Jordan Rakei has long been a part of the withstanding label with his acoustic, electronic and folky, singer-song writing style. This newest release sees the musician's expression come through in what's said to be inspired by dystopian visions of our future, highlighting Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Undeniable visions of despair and harmony meet through the soft hand claps and orchestration of "Mad World" (Pool Session) while lighter, more hopeful, jazzy and ambient affairs present themselves in "Mantra" (Pool Session). Soul and sub-pop come to the surface in Rakei's original tracks like "Signs" featuring rapper Common, to the R&B styles of "You & Me" and the sultry sensation that is "Say Something". Dive into the deluxe.
Review: Jalapeno bring us the latest salvo from London producer Dr Rubberfunk, and it's very much the proverbial game of two halves. Featuring John Turrell (of Smoove & Turrell fame) on mic duties, 'Boom!' is a raw rock n' soul jam, roughly in the vein of Sly & The Family Stone, War or mid-70s Ike & Tina Turner, with a singalong-friendly "it's just a little blow-out" vocal and some exemplary six-string screechin'. But good as 'Boom!' is, it's 'Steppin' In' that's the killer here, a five-minute, organ-laden jazz-fusion workout that could well be the good doctor's finest moment to date.
Review: Philadelphia International wasn't the only label operating out of Philly in the 1970s you know! There was also CRS Records, which was the brainchild of producer Curtis R Staten, and which from around 1970 or so to the early 80s specialised in a raw, Stax-like soul and funk sound that was a million miles from the clubby sophistication of Gamble & Huff's label. Names like George Johnson Jr, The Butlers or The Caprells might not mean much to anyone but the most dedicated crate-diggers, but then that's surely the point, isn't it? If 60s/70s soul and 'deep funk' are your bag, there's a rich seam of previously under-tapped goodness to mine here...