Review: A Merle Travis blues standard, as laid down by the one and only BB King in 56. A homage to the coal miner with strong clear lyrics and vibrant horns, the original was one of many breakthrough's BB made in the 50s. It was also futureproofed for Belgium's popcorn sound with a bold brass version that's loaded with so much swing you almost forget its deep deep blues. Records like this are what 45s are made for.
Review: This desirable 7" single brings together two of the many highlights from the bulging catalogue of New Orleans soul singer Ernie K Doe. On the A-side you'll find 1961's "A Certain Girl", a sweet rhythm and blues number from the dawn of the soul era that ticks all the right boxes (strong lead vocal, jaunty piano lines, lolloping groove, question-asking female backing vocals). Arguably even better is the better known "Here Come The Girls", a later K-Doe recording that was produced by the song's writer, Allen Toussaint, and originally appeared on the artist's eponymous 1972 album. We all know it, of course, but it still remains a sing-along soul staple.
Review: It's always a pleasure to find another release from those well-dressed men: Interpol. That great New York band that defined an era and a sound of their own with a stretch of LPs across the 2000s; from Turn On The Bright Lights all the way to 2010's self-titled triumph. With the release of "A Fine Mess" there's seems to be a new influx of energy dedicated to their 2019 world tour, laced with the group's unique tonic of melancholia, of course. This is undeniably heard on opener "Fine Mess", and at five tracks long it's something of a mini album. Recorded during their time spent in upstate New York with acclaimed producer Dave Fridmann (think Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and Mogwai), the resulting collection of tracks delivers something of a fiery compliment to the deep and visceral energy heard on their sixth studio album "Marauder". Long live Interpol.
Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) (3:11)
Blues In The Night (3:13)
Review: A powerful Stax flashback of two tracks from Arkansas soul don Taylor's 1967 debut album Wanted One Soul Singer. As covered by the likes of Lou Rawls, "Ain't That Loving You" is heartfelt bluesy ballad with a sultry swagger and serious yearning on the choruses while the even rarer "Blues In The Night" closes the B on a super-tight floor-bound riff and gutsy delivery from Taylor. Both bonafide northern soul classics and confirmed rarities with both cuts regularly fetching triple figures, this reissue changes everything. For more reasons than one.
Better Man (Craig Bratley instrumental remix) (4:44)
Review: Here's a question for you: What happens when you take a track by a British power trio heavily influenced by blues and psychedelia, and get a master of wayward, left-of-centre Balearica to remix it? You get the latest 12" missive from Claremont 56, which sees Bella Figura's "Better Man" reworked twice in impressive fashion by Magic Feet boss Craig Bratley. If you are familiar with Bratley's output for s It Balearic, Bird Scarer and Tsuba, you know the man breathes cosmic goodness and his work on Bella Figura's track offers a subtle new version that loses none of Justin Gartry's bluesy poignancy whilst adding a sparsely treated beat and plenty of low lying studio trickery.
Review: Claremont 56 continue to disregard the genre boundaries - preferring instead to give good music the attention it deserves - as their latest looker of a twelve inch presents us the sounds of Torn Sail. Fronted by Smith & Mudd vocalist Huw Costin, Torn Sail go all 60s West Coast rock on us with the gloriously rich sounds of "Birds". From its acoustic beginnings the track gradually unfurls into a delightful groove embellished by soothing vocal harmonies. It's almost a thankless task enlisting anyone to try and remix what sounds like a perfect song, but Claremont 56 obviously chose right in requesting the services of Tiago. In the Portuguese producer's hands "Birds" is transformed into a heavily psychedelic freakout which gently develops into a kraut rock behemoth filled with swathes of heavy organ vibes. Containing several shifts in momentum - including a glorious half speed finish - this is a truly stunning remix which left our jaws occupying the floor!
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: For a classic 7" that makes you wish you could have experienced the rock and roll and blues heyday, these two dusty gems by Lavern Baker and Jackie Wilson are a great start. Taken from 1960, "Bumble Bees" by Baker is a chiming, doo-wop sing-a-long love song with a tastefully disgruntled character, while Baker & Wilson provide the excellent and X-rated "Think Twice", which sings about taboo topics like cocaine, pussy and reefa. It also boasts lyrics like 'son of a bitch', 'I aint gonna kiss your ass no more' and 'I've had enough of your shit' - not to mention the other out-there obscenities for the time which include references to oral sex. Lil Kim and Khia - eat your heart out!
Review: Outta Sight has only been around for two years but their catalogue would suggest otherwise. In this short space of time they've out our a truck loads of records, all in the form of sweet, highly sought after reissues - hot damn! Dee Dee Sight's "Comin Home Baby" gets the rounds this time and it's a peach. Those swingy rhythm & blues strings sounding so ahead of their time. The B side is "Standing In The Need Of Love", equally as amazing but more of anthem - we can almost imagine a lazy summer day in the mid 60s. Soulful would be too much of an understantement.
Review: The Dark Entries label continue their impressive run of form with another killer reissue LP, this time by The Prefects member Joe Crow. Compulsion was Crow's first solo work from the early '80s and has been a digger's favourite for a long time, its itchy drum machine beats and disjointed guitar riffs being utterly singular at the time of the album's initial release. "Compulsion" itself is a mid-tempo beat jam containing Crow's own dreary vocals and beautiful synthesized keys. "Absent Friends" is slower, full of languish and life at the same time, while on the B-side, "Each To His Own" is the winner thanks to its punky aesthetic surrounded by that early 80's electronic oddity. A masterclass piece of music and an essential collector's item.
Review: Following previous outings for Los Angeles-based imprint ESP Institute such as 2016's Jaguar Mirror and 2017's Night School Of Universal Wisdom, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Oscar "Thunder" Tillman and his 'personal shaman' Pontus make the kind of music you only hear in your most vivid dreams. Incorporating kraut, prog-rock, ambient and disco at the heart of their boundless sound creations, they complete an illustrious trilogy here on their most expansive work to date. "Condor Sunflower" is a truly mesmerising psychedelic folk journey in convincing '70s fashion. On the B side, things take a more upbeat direction on the tripped-out disco funk of "Creation Discotheque".
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Dance Your Life Away (Andrew Weatherall remix) (7:51)
Review: The pairing of Evangeline Ling and David Wrench might seem an unlikely pairing. Yet a chance encounter at a mutual friend's party just one week after Wrench moved to London had led to an experimental studio session that's been going on ever since. Speaking about the track, Audiobooks claim to have wrote and recorded this "Dance Your Life Away" in a couple of days, with Ling so excited that she travelled across the city in her pyjamas so as not to waste any time. The pair's groovy disco-pop is complimented wonderfully by the inimitable Andrew Weatherall's groovy remix on the flip - working his magic as always.
Review: While he lived a musical life that spanned from boogie to gospel before he passed away in 2016, Nairobi's David Waciuma didn't get to record much. He was known much more for his live performances with bands such as The Monks Experience then, later, Rapture Voices who he recorded these two records in the mid-70s. "Devil Go" is a thumping rhythm and blues call and response piece while "Jesu Kristo" hits with more of a frazzled bluesy funk. Both make you wish he recorded much more.
Review: The latest outing from Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW takes us back to 1981 and the debut single from Bern-based post-punk combo Grauzone. The 12" release of "Eisbaer" has long been a must-have amongst fans of off-kilter, dancefloor-ready new wave, and this replica reissue includes all three tracks featured on that version. Opener "Eisbar" sets the tone, with the bands weary, half spoken/half sung vocals rising above a backing track that's powered forwards by relentless bass guitar, screeching riffs and broken computer style electronics. "Film 2" is a heavy, synthesizer powered workout peppered with delay-laden drum hits and odd noises, while closing cut "Ich Liebe Sie" is a clicking and quietly melodious affair that's almost entirely electronic.