Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mavis (2015)

Dir: Jessica Edwards
United States / 2015 / 81mins

Mavis! is the first feature documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers. From the freedom songs of the ’60s and hits like I’ll Take You There in the ’70s, to funked-up collaborations with Prince and her recent albums with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis has stayed true to her roots, kept her family close, and inspired millions along the way.
Featuring powerful live performances, rare archival footage, and conversations with friends and contemporaries including Bob Dylan, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm, Jeff Tweedy, Chuck D, and more, MAVIS! reveals the struggles, successes, and intimate stories of her journey. At 75, she's making the most vital music of her career, winning Grammy awards, and reaching a new generation of fans. Her message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Submotion Orchestra - Colour Theory (2016)


After the success of 2014’s Alium, Submotion Orchestra raise the bar yet again with their new album, Colour Theory. Renowned for their stunning live performances, for “smoky jazz, skittering live percussion and swooping synths” (Mojo), the band have this time taken a conscious decision to focus their energy and attention on to their production, shaping a record of immense poise and epic scope, where attention to detail and shape has resulted in a new dynamism and contemporary sheen. As producer Dom Ruckspin puts it, “we wanted to go somewhere radically different.” While Colour Theory is indeed radically different, it also stays true to what made Submotion Orchestra so exciting to begin with.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Marta Ren & The Groovejets - Stop Look Listen (2016)


 After three years of waiting since her seminal Sister funk hit single ‘2 Kinds Of Men’, Record Kicks finally present Stop Look Listen the debut album from the new Oporto soul diva Marta Ren & The Groovelvets that will hit the streets 19 February 2016. Anticipated from the first single ‘I’m Not A Regular Woman’, which is getting airwaves all over Europe (including BBC 6 Music, Rai Radio 1, LeMouv / Radio France), produced and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by New Max from Portuguese funk combo Expensive Soul and mastered in NYC by Andy Vandette, Stop Look Listen is pure dynamite and follows the best tradition of the Soul Sisters of the 60s. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

The James Hunter Six - Hold On ! (2016)


This may be James Hunter’s fourth album, but it is his first Daptone record.  Produced by Daptone’s own Bosco Mann (Gabriel Roth) at Penrose Recorders (Daptone West) near his home in Riverside, California, ‘Hold On!’ is a perfect portrait of an artist at the top of his game. James Hunter has been on the scene for enough years to acquire plenty of feathers in his cap. Billboard charts, Grammy nominations, and Van Morrison collaborations aside, he has earned an international reputation as a Rhythm and Blues troubadour for his command of the microphone both on stage and in studio. This album, however, is something far deeper than just another notch in his belt. It is truly an artist’s vision come to fruition.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

GoGo Penguin - Man Made Object (2016)


It’s been an astonishing couple of years for GoGo Penguin, the UK trio of drummer Rob Turner, double bassist Nick Blacka and pianist Chris Illingworth. Their trademark mash-up of minimalist piano themes, deeply propulsive bass lines and electronica-inspired drums has seen their 2014 album v2.0 shortlisted for the Mercury Prize and fuelled their exhilarating live shows from their hometown of Manchester to Montreal and Paris to London. Drawing on a heady brew of influences from Brian Eno, John Cage, Massive Attack and Aphex Twin, GoGo Penguin has created a brave new sound that is wholly their own.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra – Into Forever (2015)


Over the course of five albums, Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and band-leader Matthew Halsall has carved out a niche for himself on the UK music scene as one of it's brightest talents. His languid, soulful music has won friends from Jamie Cullum and Gilles Peterson to Jazz FM and Mojo as well as an ever-growing international following. His new album Into Forever, puts the spotlight on Halsall the composer, arranger and producer. Halsall draws on a diverse range of influences from Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, Phil Cohran and Leon Thomas to the more contemporary sounds of The Cinematic Orchestra, Max Richter and Nils Frahm to deliver his most complete recording to date.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

VA - 25 Years of Mr Bongo [Mr Bongo Records, 2014]


Mr Bongo started life in 1989 as a small record shop underneath Daddy Kool’s Reggae Store on Berwick Street in London. They were the first shop to sell vinyl releases from independent hip-hop labels such as Def Jam, Rawkus, Nervous and Big Beat outside of the USA. They also became the established bearer for hard-to-find, classic Latin music, particularly Brazilian, outside of the Americas. Such characters as Gilles Peterson and clubs such as Dingwalls championed this music and in the following years Mr Bongo established itself as the leader and provider for whole scene.