SONG OF THE DAY El Michels Affair – Shaolin Brew


Last month, New York’s El Michels Affair, aka the group of Leon Michels, released their highly anticipated follow-up album to their 2009, Enter the 37th Chamber.

Titled, Return To The 37th Chamber, this collection of songs revisits the albums of the Wu Tang Clan with whole new soulful take!

Featuring Lee Fields and newcomer Shannon Wise from The Shacks, the album also covers a great Wendy Rene track called Tearz, for which Shannon Wise provides the vocals.

In addition to re-interpreting the Wu compositions for a live band, El Michels Affair pays homage to the production and sonic fog that makes a RZA song to distinguished and has recorded the album completely analog!

It was tough picking a track from this album for today’s song because they are all great & in an ideal world I’d just feature the lot because this is one of those albums best played straight through! In the end I’ve chosen, Shaolin Brew ( Wu-Tang’s contribution to the St. Ide’s Hip Hop endorsement campaign from 1994) as it does sound super funky as an instrumental!  Listen above.

Return To The 37th Chamber was released April 14 with the vinyl version featuring 4 different hand painted covers!  The originals to this artwork were painted on two sewn together flour sacks in Accra, Ghana by Heavy J and Stoger, two artists who are legends in the Ghanaian Mobile Cinema scene and regular contributors to the Deadly Prey Gallery’s collection in Chicago!

Grab yourself a copy of the album from here if you haven’t already snatched this up!

 

Posted in Funk, hip hop, hip hop rap, Instrumental, new york, R&B, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SONG OF THE DAY Soul Sugar (feat Courtney John) – All I Know


Paris-based Guillaume “Gee” Metenier is an organist/keyboard player and producer who has been releasing music as Soul Sugar for nearly a decade.

Mixing psychedelic soul, jazz, funk and early reggae, he collaborates with an all-star cast of musicians from all over the world, recording his music in both Paris and Kingston, Jamaica.

Up until now, Soul Sugar has released his music in a succession of singles only, but at the end of this month he will be releasing Chase the Light, an album that encompasses all of these 45’s in one glorious place!

Guillaume “Gee” Metenier is also the founder of Gee Records (as if being an organist/keyboard player/producer/arranger-studio/live musician wasn’t enough!) and will be releasing his new LP via his label.

All I Know was originally released in 2015 and is one of two songs on the album features the gorgeous and soulful vocals of Courtney John (also signed to Gee Recordings, listen to Courtney John’s Strangers on my post here).  It’s a fantastic track that harmoniously blends just the right balance of soul,funk and reggae and the result is simply delicious! Listen above.

Chase the Light from  here. is due for release on 22nd May, pre-order your copy from

Posted in dub, Funk, Gee Recordings, Reggae, Soul | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Strange Cages – Leader of a Cult


When I’m yearning for something a little bit weird and really rather wonderful, I know I can turn to the crazed, gritty punk-fuelled power of the Strange Cages.  No stranger to the LP Blog, this Brighton-based trio always put a little shiver and shake into my days whenever I blast out their crazy psychedelic sounds!

Influenced by the classic sounds of the grand old garage days of the 60’s, the Strange Cages are influenced by the post-punk sounds of 13th Floor Elevators, The Stooges and Television to name a few and state that, “We love music that’s primal and menacing, anything twisted with a touch of evil. We are a garage/psych band with cruel intentions”.…hmm, sounds like my kind of bag!!

This summer the triptastic trio are to release a 6-track EP titled, The Cracks and will also be embarking on a UK tour at the end of this month (see dates below).  Ahead of this, the band have also released a sinister new single titled, Leader of a Cult which is accompanied by a fantastic video directed and edited by Todd McConnochie; this has brought a devilish smile to my face.  Kidnapped and at the mercy of some masked men, the unfortunate victim in this video is seen tied up and being hounded by a lizard in a Butthole Surfers T-shirt, a rabbit, a psyched-out cow and numerous other crazy disguised and dancing loons, whilst a cloaked priest overlooks this masked mayhem! Sounds like your cup of tea, or better still a typical Saturday night for you? This kaleidoscopic video may have a sinister edge, but is filled with a slinky slice of humour and I, for one, am enjoying this both the audio and visuals very much!

Their sound lurks in the shadows and dwells on the flip side of the sunshiny flower-power idealisms of the 60’s, this is angst-driven, rowdy, raw garage-punk…but they don’t call themselves the Strange Cages for nothing!

The Cracks releases on June 16th via Vallence Records .  Pre order the EP from here.

The band will also hit the road this May for a series of dates throughout the UK, see dates below:

12 May – SHEFFIELD – Picture House Social (w/ Vulgarians)

16 May – CARDIFF – Moon Club (w/ Vulgarians)

19 May – BRIGHTON – The Globe

20 May – MANCHESTER – The Peer Hat

22 May – BRISTOL – Crofters Rights (w/ Vulgarians)

23 May – LONDON – The Old Blue Last (w/ Vulgarians)

25 May – HULL – The New Adelphi

27 May – NOTTINGHAM – Rock City (w/ Vulgarians)

28 May – LEEDS – Eiger Studios

Posted in Alt rock, Alternative, Blues, Brighton, Garage punk, Garage Rock, Psych punk, Psych rock, Punk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics – Be Counted


Nigerian musical innovator Orlando Julius made his reputation internationally in the mid-’60s with his smash album Super Afro Soul, which was not only considered to be very much ahead of its time when released, but has helped to shape the funk movement in America.

Starting out in the early 60’s, Julius began fusing traditional African sounds and rhythms with American pop, soul and R&B.  He spent many years performing and recording in his native Nigeria as well as in the USA where he worked and collaborated with an array of artists including, Louis Armstrong, Lamont Dozier, the Crusaders and Hugh Masekela.

In 2014 Orlando teamed up with The Heliocentrics to record an album of deep afro beats titled, Jaiyede Afro.   The collaboration mixes rare original compositions (Buju Buje, Aseni), unreleased original songs (Jaiyede Afro) with many new tracks…and even an Afrocentric cover of James Brown’s In The Middle!

Today’s song, Be Counted features on this album and, with just over 11 minutes of playing time, is a rather blissful way to lose yourself for a few magical musical moments…and if you find that you want to extend those musical moments, check out the whole album, it’s well worth a listen!

Posted in Afro beat, afro funk, Afro Pop, Funk, Soul, strut records, World | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Slift – The Sword


“A deafening mass where both guitar and drums, aligned formation, repeat repetitive riffs. The frenzied swaying and incessant screams are resolutely garage, but like the sacrosanct Oh Sees, the psychedelic music of the 70’s (kraut and space rock at the head of the line) is never far away”.

This is how the French 3-piece, Slift, describe their sound and if Thee Oh Sees, Damaged Bug and all things psychedelic float your boat, you are in for a treat here!!

Inspired by the likes of Can, Hawkwind, Brant Bjork, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters and many more eclectic influences, Slift have managed to not only to replicate these sounds, but have them mashed up, mixed them around and created their very own psychedelic take…and the result will fill your ears and leave you wanting more!

This June the band are to release their debut EP, Space is the Key, via Howlin’ Banana and Exag Records , with their first mind-bending offering from this EP available now!  The Sword is packed full of chunky fuzzed-out guitar riffs, hefty drum beats and cosmic laser beam sounds, all of which come at you in a fast-paced frenzy of garage punk.  Listen above.

Purchase your copy of The Sword from here.   Space Is The Key is out June 16th on Howlin’ Banana Rds and Exag’ Rrds.

Posted in France, Garage punk, Garage Rock, Howlin Banana, Indie, krautrock | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Nick Hakim – Roller Skates


In a couple of weeks, the New York psychedelic soul revivalist Nick Hakim will release his full-length debut Green Twins, which I anticipate will be well worth checking out.

What first struck me about Nick Hakim was just how refreshingly original his sound is! Instantly recognisable, his music is invigorating and dreamy all at the same time.  It’s fresh and cool, whilst both audibly and visually it is intoxicating.

New song, Roller Skates demonstrates this perfectly with its psychotropic animated video and mellow, dreamy sounds.  Check it out above and read more about Nick Hakim on my post here. 

Nick Hakim’s debut album Green Twins is out May 19 on ATO Records. Pre-order now and instantly download Roller Skates, Bet She Looks Like You, and the title track Green Twins.

Posted in Atmospheric, ATO records, Dream Pop, Dreamy landscapes, Experimental, Psych pop, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Dee Dee Sharp – I Really Love You


Behind every great hip hop tune, there is usually a great sample and today’s song has been sampled in Shabazz Palaces’ new track, Shine A Light (listen to this in yesterdays post).

Originally performed by the Philidelphia r&b Singer, Dione LaRue (a.k.a Dee Dee Sharp), I Really Love You was first recorded in 1965 and released on the Cameo label.  Dee Dee Sharp began her career recording as a backing vocalist in 1961, but less than a year later she had already began to record a string of successful chart hits, including:  Slow Twistin’ (with Chubby Checker) which reached number 3 in 1962 (for which she was uncredited on the label), Mashed Potato Time, this reached Number 2, Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) hit number 9,  Ride got to number 5 and Do the Bird  reached number 10! Both Mashed Potato Time and Ride sold over one million copies each with Do the Bird Dee Dee Sharp’s only entry into the UK Singles Chart in 1963.

I Really Love You is brimming with a smooth, shimmering soulful sound, watch Dee Dee Sharp above.

 

Posted in R&B, Soul | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SONG OF THE DAY Shabazz Palaces – Shine A Light (feat. Thaddillac)


It’s been nearly three years since Seattle art-rap Shabazz Palaces released their last album, Lese Majesty.  This July, they will return with a new LP called Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star, an album appears to be a sort of Brother From Another Planet concept album, a musical story about an alien named Quazarz who visits America and sees nothing but cruelty and injustice. Here’s how a press release puts it:

Herein the Palaceer continues the tale of Quazars, a sentient being from somewhere else, an observer sent here to Amurderca to chronicle and explore as a musical emissary. What he finds in our world is a cutthroat place, a landscape where someone like him could never quite feel comfortable amidst all the brutality and alternative facts and death masquerading as connectivity.

Quazarz is, of course, the new alter-ego if Shabazz frontman Palaceer and here’s how he describes his new persona:

I, Quazarz, Born On A Gangster Star, son only of Barbara Dream Caster and Reginald The Dark Hoper — he who rides on light – dreamer of the seventh dream and kissed eternal by Awet the Sun Scented — who far from home I found my same self differents in those constellies that be Dai at my weap-side immediate and all us Water Guild affiliates who revelries in the futures passed recordings and ceremonies flexing resplendent in the Paradise Sportif armor — raising these musics a joy/cry that way into these aquadescent diamondized ethers of the Migosphere here on Drake world. Welcome To Quazarz.

Shabazz Palaces have shared first single Shine A Light, a song just featuring Seattle rapper, Thaddillac which is just perfect for Spring; brimming with of the promise of summery delights and the shape of things to come..  Listen above and if you would like to hear where the sample in this song comes from, check it out on my blog here.

Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star is out July 14th on Sub Pop.  Pre-order it here.

Posted in beats, hip hop, hip hop rap, sampled, Seattle, Sub Pop | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

SONG OF THE DAY Gene Faith – My Baby’s Missing


In a couple of days time, Germany’s Tramp Records are going to release a double album called Virtue Recording Studios.  Consisting of 24 soul & funk tracks by a variety of artists, this compilation has been named after the Philadelphia musician, record producer and record label owner, Frank Virtue.

Frank Virtue had an impressive career that stretched from the big bands of the 1940’s to the hip-hop and rap of the 1990’s.  In 1958 he formed the band, The Virtues, recording with them until 1962 when he decided to go full-time into the recording studio business.

Contrary to popular belief, Virtue Studios did not close in the early 80’s and became home to a number of rap artists during the 1980’s and early 1990’s; also housing a wide variety of other artists and styles of music over the years.  There is much to discover here and what I have briefly outlined is just the tip of a very large and musical iceberg; Frank Virtue is worth checking out and researching further!

The tragic thing about this whole story, however, is that after Frank Virtue passed away in 1994, his studio was sold and in 2001 was knocked down, which means that today there is no historical marker that Virtue Recording Studios ever existed.  His only legacy is the music, records and acetates that he produced….but this is where Tramp Records comes in with their forthcoming compilation and most of the songs on Virtue Recording Studios appears legitimately licensed for the very first time on CD/digital, alongside a selection of previously unseen photos!

Featuring on this album are a few songs by soul singer, Gene Faith and I have to say that these little gems really stuck out for me, I looooove this sound and am eagerly awaiting the release of Virtue Recording Studios so I can hear the other Gene Faith songs!  Check out the fantastic My Baby’s Missing above and if you like this, check out the rest of the album on Tramp Records Bandcamp page here. 

Posted in Funk, R&B, Soul, tramp records | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Lando Chill – Break Them Shackles


I was having a browse online tonight and came upon today’s song, but what initially grabbed my attention wasn’t the music itself ( I hadn’t heard it at this point), but the name of the album it came from! 

Due this summer, The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind is the latest release from the Chicago-born rapper and producer, Lando Chill.  Instantly drawn to the title, I was intrigued and had to have a listen to the albums first and only available track, Break Them Shackles.  Pleasantly surprised by my double whammy of good fortune (interesting title and equally interesting and good sounding music), I read a bit more about this album.  I discovered that Lando Chill’s philosophies has inspired the writings of The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind and how the album is a personal tribute to self-actualisation, spiritual acceptance and social activism.  Speaking about the title on his Bandcamp page, Lando has said, “The wind is one’s soul. It represents the human spirit and the earth.”  

Described as a warrior-poet, with one ear to mother nature and one to the plight of humankind, Lando Chill’s mission is to bring the issues of political freedom, police brutality to national conversation, giving a voice to marginalised communities….and what better way to get a message out there than with the power of music?!

Inspired by the Paulo Coelho book, “The Alchemist,” (a book I own but have yet to read), Lando’s new album is about transformation, personally and spiritually and if first track, Break Them Shackles is anything to go by, it should make for an inspiring listen.  So, if you’ve ever thought about exploring the realms of spiritual evolution, this could be the perfect place to start! Or, if it’s something a bit lighter you crave and good sounds are what you want to discover, this is also a good place to start! One thing’s for certain, I’m enjoying Lando Chill’s philosophies and his new single! Listen above.

The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind is due for release on June 23rd, pre-order your copy and grab your free download (yes, I said free!) download of today’s song from here.

 

Posted in hip hop, Rap | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment