Review: Vinyl Only reach their seventh release with a fresh grip of lesser known producers bringing high grade grooves to the table. Bubbadog opens the 12" up in a woozy fashion with the warbling piano chords of "Goin' Round", capturing a time-slip mood that carries through to the dusty jazz soaked beat down of Minus The Majors' "Strole On Through". On the B-side, Alex Zuiev gets into an exotic, chiming, 80s-inflected mood on "Down By The River", creating a slow-burning dancefloor heater out of classic ingredients. Ugly Frankie finishes the EP off with the stripped down funk of "Your Ears Look Great".
Review: It's a new Palham Music episode, people! The German label has been at the forefront of the house-techno underground for over ten years now, and thanks to releases by artists such as Lowtec and The Analog Roland Orchestra, among others, Dan Bust's imprint has always been given the respect it deserves. For their new, limited Purple Series, it's Cologne's Ugly Drums who comes through with his singular brand of funked-up dance music! "Scorpio Things Related" is a Theo Parrish Kinda tune - jittery percussion and sweet chords - while "Can't Take You Down is deeper and more cerebral thanks to its broken beat and lower-than-low-end! On the flip, "Spend With It" showcases some more of Ugly Drums' inimitable percussion flex, whereas "Stick With It" is pure soulful house magic. Ah, what a load of sweet cuts! Screen-printed jackets!
Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner - "Vulbitch Bazaar"
Review: Minuendo keep things interesting on this latest various artists 12", primarily focusing on Owen Jay and Brian James on the A side for two tracks of adventurous experimentation on the wild frontier of minimal house music. The wobbly synth running through "Niko's Groove" is a real head turner, while "Imagery" nudges the grand tradition of dub house into a new pocket of ambience that draws you in immediately. There's a lovely, classic deep house joint from Untitled called "Seafood", and then Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner completely flip the script on the B2 with rowdy acid burner "Vulbitch Bazaar".
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Review: Entrepot Records is a Brussels based imprint, founded in 2014 by UC Beatz - who some of you may know from his Underluxxe digital label The idea here is simple: to release raw house beats on wax. For their eighth edition the label chez himself takes on duties, with some fine slo-mo house grooves - perfectly suited to late summer nights. The A side features the lo-slung boogie down vibes of "Rainbows", but the real dancefloor burners belong to the flipside. The looped-up disco inferno "Playground" is covered in just the right amount of dust and grit that would make Phil Weeks stand up and notice, while the sultry "Nocturne" is a crafty edit of a fine vintage track that's rather familiar indeed.
Review: Belgian producer and owner of Entrepot Records, UC Beatz, is the next artist to appear on the San Jose label, Roundabout Sounds.
Coming out on vinyl only, the La Nuit EP features some sublime house, including my favourite track on the ep, Alta Paper, and a remix of the title track by Jeremiah of Grow! Records out of Vienna.
Roundabout Sounds which is now up to release number 14 with this ep, is the label run by Joe 'Babylon' Marougi, co-founder of Plug Research. The label released a great various artists triple vinyl package, Connecting The Compass, that featured such house luminaries Marcellus Pittman, Norm Talley and Theo Parrish, among others.
Review: For their fifth release, Ultra Knites welcome a new family member to the label - Turkish producer Ugur Project. Kicking off proceedings on the A side, "Feeling Deep" is a combination of traditional deep vibes, rolling basslines and subtle vocal snippets. "Works On Dope" truly lives up to the name of this EP with its sultry yet groovy feeling that radiates when it is played - reminiscent of the light , simple, yet also fierce feeling of house music of the early-mid 90's. On the flip, "Wanna Be" is a track reminiscent of the legendary Eddie Perez/Mentalinstrum combined with strong soulful vocals which will remind the biggest house junkies of the likes of Loleatta Holloway and such. "Detroit Groovin", with its thumping bass and simple yet effective chords really give it that real, raw Detroit feeling. In summary, this release shows quality on all fronts and is brought to you on 180g 12" vinyl.
Review: Ultra Knites return with their first release of 2014, the follow up to their debut from late last year which gained the duo much credibility and recognition from some of the scenes leading players. UKR002 finally sees the release of a 'Extacy', a track that has been in demand for over a year having been used as a 'secret weapon' in the duo's own DJ sets. It has been described as genius, but the formula is simple - a stabby rhodes riff accompanied by an infectious vocal hook while a cleverly filtered pad weaves in and out until eventually, the filters open and the track erupts. UK veteran Danny J Lewis steps up for remix duties - a personal inspiration to the pair since the mid 90's who delivers his own unique stamp on the track. "In My Life" takes things in another direction, however the duo's trademark sound remains instantly recognisable - throbbing basslines, filtered synth pads, ruffed up beats and a keyboard solo. Once again this EP has something for everyone and as always, we bring it to you on 180g vinyl.
Review: When Roger Sanchez donned the Underground Solution alias in 1990 and released "Luv Dancin", the New York producer had yet to become a household name. The single, long considered one of the producer's finest moments, quickly became a deep house classic, with DJs quickly gravitating towards the rich, Nu Groove influenced grooves, twinkling electric pianos and choice disco samples of the "In Deep Mix". This timely reissue also includes the other tracks featured on the original Strictly Rhythm release, including the even deeper and more loved up Egotrip mix and the brilliant "Afterthought", which expertly combines the haziness of NYC deep house with the alien melodies and dub-influenced low-end of UK bleep and bass.
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Review: Italian reissue experts Groovin continue to explore the vast vaults of outspoken Chicago house veteran Glenn Underground. The two tracks here are, naturally, both sought-after and obscure. On the A-side you'll find "Escuchame", a cut that originally appeared on a DJ Deep mix back in 2010. It's something of a driving, body-rocking beast, with the Windy City stalwart wrapping a jazzy electric piano riff (slightly reminiscent of Black Science Orchestra's "Save Us" and Lil' Louis' "French Kiss") and spacey synth flourishes around a thrusting drum machine rhythm and booming bass. Turn to the flip for the melodious and spacey deep house classic that is "Hi-Tech Soul", a previously digital-only track first released way back in 2008.
Review: Trawl through Glenn Underground's vast discography and you'll frequently come across sought-after gems ripe for the reissue treatment. That appears to be what Italian reissue specialists Groove Records has done. GU Archives first appeared back in 2000, and bundled two hard-to-find tracks from the acclaimed Love & Hurt triple-album with the (then) previously unreleased "HardTymes" (a particularly breezy, jazzy, sun-kissed and musically rich chunk of bossa-house blessed with some particularly special vibraphone style solos). 18 years on, the EP has lost none of its sparkle, with the "Elle"-goes-Chicago deep warmth of "Stringing Me" and impeccably spacey and shimmering "Storm Raiders (Tribute to Larry Heard)" standing out. Simply essential.
Review: As the title suggests, this essential double-pack offers up a quartet of tracks from Glenn Underground's 2009 album "Silent", a set that has never been released on vinyl. Epic opener "CVO's Prelude" is one of the Chicago veteran's most fluid and life-affirming tracks, with extended jazz piano solos and positive chord sequences rising above a sumptuous Latin-house groove. "Negro Muzic" cleverly combines groovy deep house with jazz-funk flourishes and '70s funk style studio party samples, while "7 Minutes Of Funk" is a warmer and more organic sounding dancefloor jazz-funk workout. Those looking for some bumpin' beats should check closing cut "Shake It", where tasty lead vocals sit atop a classic deep house backing track.
Review: Zurich based deepArtsounds is a promising young label that has previously brought us the likes of T.C. White, Jenifa Mayanja of Underground Quality through to legends such as Ron Trent and Anthony Nicholson of Prescription Records fame. When you consider that some of the scene's finest purveyors of modern day deepness such as Baaz, The Mountain People and Eli Verveine (to name but a few) all hail from Zurich too.. there must be something in the water! Deep and boompty/feelgood soulful business from the finest of The Windy City's second wave here: none other than Glenn Underground and Boo Williams, who are it again on the super sweet "Stallions" which is eight minutes of pure bliss so check it out! There's a bit of house (mainly) merged with disco and latin vibes all working in perfect harmony. The instrumental version on the flip foregoes those lovely Latin vocals for those who aren't really feeling them: your loss!
Review: We're very happy to see a renewed interest in Underground Resistance sub-label Happy Records: which is sure known for its fair share of house classics. Quite fitting then that the chief retrovert Gerd Janson over at Running Back saw it fit to issue some remixes of the classic "Sunshine" by Unit 2 aka Raphael Merriweathers Jr. and Niko Marks. KiNK's remix on the A side is a nice modern revision of the track which retains those uplifting trademark pianos but adds some of his thunderous trademark 909 drum machine workouts beneath. On the flip, lo-slung disco pranksters Tiger & Woods do a remix which cuts up and stutters those said pianos (and the vocals) to interesting effect plus adding some nice boompty swagger into it.
Review: Having proved their stripes live with an extensive tour last year, Theo Parrish's live supergroup get busy on the release front. With Theo and Amp Fiddler both on keys and vocals and Myele Manzanza on drums, the grooves on both sides are that perfect balance of dancefloor tightness and a loose funk from players who are confident in each other's abilities. Skye cover "Ain't No Need" is a swinging broken beat adventure with rolling frenetic drums where the keys wrap around the vocals like a thick tog duvet. "Walkin Thru The Sky", meanwhile, takes us back to 1996 and Theo's Baby Steps EP. With a strutting rhythm and insistent hook, it's a perfect example of how house music can be executed live with perfection.
Review: This is a cheeky single-sided affair that contains a gently tooled-up, rolling and rearranged version of a Marlena Shaw-sampling jazz-house classic that is rightly considered something of a dancefloor classic. The edit itself is undoubtedly rather good, subtly adding a little more bottom-end grunt whilst making a little more of the original's snaking sax parts, much-loved vocal sample and groovy jazz percussion. You can decide or not whether the re-edit was needed; certainly, the mystery re-editor has done a rather tidy job on the rework.
Review: Just 4 The Beat's first release of the year was well worth waiting for. It comes from Eastern Europe's Urban Haven, who is now based in London but clearly takes great inspiration from deep and soulful Chicago house masters like Glenn Underground and Ron Trent. His first ever EP is an impossibly classy one, and "Roots (Reprise)" is a glorious highlight that starts with luxurious synth puddles and a romantic, conversational sax line. After a three minute build, you sink into a Latin flecked deep house groove of the highest order. This is as musical as house gets and is, unsurprisingly, already big with Mike Huckaby and Kai Alce.