For Milan’s dancefloor-heavy label Record Kicks the summer is shaping up to be hot and sweaty, with essential funk, afro-funk artist full-lengths and compilations hitting the streets. Representing some of the freshest new live sounds from Australia’s massive scene as well as Europe and the U.S.A., Record Kicks has its pulse on the resurgent afro-funk & soul sounds that are burning up the dancefloor.
The Dojo Cuts
Formed late in 2008, it didn’t take long for six piece band THE DOJO CUTS to become Australia’s hottest heavy funk unit. With drummer Ed, bassist Locky, guitarist Nathan, trumpet player Matt, saxophonist Andrew and the delectable Roxie Ray on vocals, Dojo combine crisp, tight, funky instrumentals with some killer vocals that are in equal parts power and grit. Inspired by the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s, combined with elements of modern funk, Dojo Cuts create timeless, classic feel-good music. Their debut self-titled album dropped in 2009 following the release of first single “The 1-2-3’s”, which had already secured them massive airplay on radios and dancefloors worldwide.
Everything is raw and loud in the world of Dojo, with heavy breaks coming from the inexorably-in-sync rhythm section, accompanied by a harmonious horn section and the awesome vocals of the one and only Roxie Ray, that never fail to get audiences strutting and squawking at their explosive live shows. Their full-length captures all that energy and lets it unfold throughout the 9 tracks it contains, from the cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight”, to that of Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons’ “See and Don’t See”, to the originally-penned cuts such as “Say What You Mean” and “Something Going On”, all testifying to the healthy state of the contemporary funk and soul scene.
Legendary NYC producer Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman have already declared themselves fans of the band, and Roth even wrote the liner notes of the album, so you know this is a group worth keeping an eye on!
Sydney-based new afro-funk formation THE LIBERATORS can certainly be said to be off to a smoldering start; with their debut gig taking place at Russ Dewbury’s famous A Night At The Jazz Rooms, the liner notes of their debut album being written by Antibalas frontman Amayo (Daptone Records / Ropeadope / Afrosound Records), and the patronage of DJs such as Gilles Peterson (BBC 1), this group can count on some serious support! Not only does this 10 piece outfit include members of Dojo Cuts among its division, but for their first full-length they also call on the vocal talents of guests such as Jojo Kuo (Fela Kuti / Daktaris / Antibalas), Roxie Ray (Dojo Cuts / Underbelly) and Ghanaian-born Afro Moses. The result is an incredible set of new afrobeat tunes and funky jazz-dance grooves proving the masterful musicianship of this band.
The self-titled debut effort by The Liberators is a solid example of the type of new afro-inspired funk that is rivaling the greatness of classics from 70s Africa. With a fierce array of super heavy guitars, percussion, and horns – all put together with a range of sounds that really portray the full spectrum of their style – The Liberators serve up some sizzling treats! From opening stormer “Multiculture”, to the kicking rhythm of “Rags To Riches”, the uplifting “Liberation” or the jazzy inflections of “Denga” featuring legendary drummer JoJo Kuo on vocals, this album is a tightly delivered assortment of funky afrobeat tunes with a jazz-dance flavor. Turn on your air-conditioning people, the heat is on!
VA – Smoove presents MO’ RECORD KICKS Act II
MO’ RECORD KICKS is back! And Act II is an even heavier collection of RK exclusives, b-sides, remixes and material that appears on CD and compilation for the very first time. The man behind this fine selection of RK sounds needs no introduction, DJ/Producer SMOOVE has been an avid collector of all that is funk for more than 30 years and is one half of the renown duo Smoove & Turrell. He has releases out on Acid Jazz, Jalapeno and Unique to name a few, as well as having founded the labels Wack Records and Wass Records. Not only did Smoove lovingly hand-pick each cut that appears on MO’ RK II, but he is also responsible for 2 of the first-rate remixes that appear here: THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS and NICK PRIDE & THE PIMPTONES both get a Smoove reworking, while brand new afro-funk combo from Sydney THE LIBERATORS are remixed by KOKOLO head honcho Ray Lugo, THE DIPLOMATS OF SOLID SOUND are given the Lack Of Afro treatment, RAY HARRIS & THE FUSION EXPERIENCE get a makeover by Valique and “Are You Ready” by MR. COMICSTORE feat. NICOLE WILLIS appears in a new discomix version. Other highlights of the compilation include a cracking gospel funk piece by WILLIAM JOSEPH FOWLER & THE DISCIPLES, some deep funk by recent RK signing HANNAH WILLIAMS & THE TASTEMAKERS, and brand new material by Big Boss Man’s bass player Scott Milsom aka THE HAWK. Plus singles by THE BAKER BROTHERS, LINK QUARTET, FLOYD LAWSON, CRABS CORPORATION and more! From deep funk to afrobeat, early reggae and vintage soul, MO’ RK II packs in the best of the Record Kicks sound. Whether you’re a cool cat of a funky monkey, this collection will have you out of your seat and ready to hit the dancefloor at any time or day![soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13792777″]
Nick Pride & the Pimptones
After breaking through with 45 “Waitin’ So Long” / “Lay It On The Line” released earlier in the year and lauded by the likes of Adrian Gibson (Freestyle Records), Dr. Bob Jones (Future Soul) and Dean Rudland (Acid Jazz / Kent / BGP), Newcastle hip cats NICK PRIDE AND THE PIMPTONES land at Record Kicks with an impressive debut album. Jazz guitarist Nick Pride formed The Pimptones in 2007, and after the release of a self-financed album and a highly acclaimed 7” single on Wack Records, the band was picked up by Record Kicks. “Midnight Feast of Jazz” is therefore the first official full-length for this group, and includes 10 tracks of phat grooves, smooth arrangements and dance-floor friendly soul jazz available on CD/Digital and limited edition LP!
With this album Nick Pride & The Pimptones prove their growing maturity and attention to stylistic detail, providing an engaging listen from start to finish. In uptempo funk monster “Come And Get It” The Pimptones immediately provide a clear demonstration of why they can be considered one of the finest horn sections in the UK, while “Gold Leader”, “Midnight Feast Of Jazz” and “Mia Sorella” take us deeper into dance-floor jazz territory, highlighting the group’s transition towards sleeker atmospheres. Stand-out vocal tracks “Brighter Day feat. Susan Hamilton” alongside “Waitin’ So Long feat. Jess Roberts” and “Lay It On The Line feat. Zoe Gilby” each supply a dose of quality soul to the mix, making “Midnight Feast of Jazz” an essential album for the savvy soul-jazz dancer!
Yes, the real live sound of afro-funky jazz & soul is back and by the sounds of it, Record Kicks is one label that will be consistently releasing the best music in the field.
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