26 September 2012

Review: The Boogie Vol. 3

Various Artists
[Tokyo Dawn Records]

Boogie. A widely mis-used word. Rather like 'disco', which has so many negative connotations it actively scares some folks off using it. The word 'boogie' has many different meanings to many different people. Some music lovers might think of the guitar-led, foot-stompin' 12-bar workouts of ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd; while some would associate it with the likes of Dam Funk or perhaps Chromeo; while others still would refer us all back to Kleeer or Zapp for some schooling. Consistently strong independent label Tokyo Dawn though, point us in another direction. The Boogie Vol. 3 is a 17-song compilation which assembles a slice of boogie circa-2012, with selections from across the globe (Coco Solid open the comp with Wow). From the J Dilla-esque bounce of Get Up by Rakotep (aka Stacey Epps and Astronote) to Blaktroniks' sultry nu soul number It's All Right Now, featuring a suitably seductive sounding Alicia Rae aka Blue Eyes; from Colonel Red's banging (and almost bruq) The Riddle, to the mad-sounding '80s drum machines and distorted vocals of Erik Rico's epic Electromagnetic; and anything that has Opolopo involved in any way ( !! ), The Boogie Vol. 3 is varied and strong. While there's an undeniable influence of hip hop in many of the tracks, the weirdness and funk shine through and keep the boogie front and centre. Essentially, if spaced-out p-funk, lush vocals and soulful hip hop sounds like your bag, you need to check this. It's boogie, but perhaps not as we've known it.

4 stars from 5

Check out some snippets from the album below, or go to the Tokyo Dawn site here.

Tokyo Dawn Records - The Boogie Volume 3 by Tokyo Dawn Records

Wax Wednesday: Playlist 26th Sept 'In The Pocket with 90'

Another Wenerei, another reason to bring out the wax. All vinyl, all love.

Quantic & His Combo Barbaro | The Dreaming Mind (Pt. 1)
Cal Tjader | Soul Burst
Bukky Leo & Black Egypt | Skeleton
Sugar Minott | Give The People What They Want
Peter Tosh | Ketchy Shuby
Gotan Project meets Chet Baker | Round Midnight
Joy Denalane with Lupe Fiasco | Change
Moka Only | Lowdown Suite
Havana | Shine
Kenn Starr, Asheru & Talib Kweli | If
Open Sky Unit | Sunshine Star
Lefties Soul Connection | Doin' The Thing
Breakestra | Show And Prove
DJ Einstein & MC Zaakir | Haves and Have Nots
Nancy Wilson | Sunshine
The Hot 8 Brass Band | Sexual Healing
Antibalas | Big Man
Afrodisiac Sound System | Raygun Kills
Killer Funk Disco Allstars | Larry Levangelical (Born Again edit)
Raul Orellana | The Real Wild House (Wild mix)
Horace Silver | Won't You Open Up Your Senses?
Jazzanova | L.O.V.E. and You and I
Lord Newborn & The Magic Skulls | Just A Phaseshifter I'm Going Through

24 September 2012

Review: Various Artists 'Private Wax'

Various Artists
Super Rare Boogie & Disco 

This is the kind of compilation which gets nerdy record loving guys of my ilk very hot under the collar indeed. Lovingly put together by a completely obsessed record collector who works in the renowned Reckless Records in London's Berwick Street, Private Wax is an excursion through some of the most excitingly raw and real disco and boogie tracks ever pressed. Not just any old pressings, mind, these fifteen tunes are by genuinely independent artists who had these songs privately pressed to vinyl; an obsessiveness only matched by the fellow who put this collection together. The man we should thank for tracking down (or stumbling upon) this super rare boogie and disco goes by the name Zaf (his Zafsmusic.com website is well worth a look for anyone searching for really, really rare vinyl records), and his taste is immaculate. It's difficult to single out songs from a compilation of such quality as this, but being that I'm writing on a blog, I feel I must: Party Track by Mr Fox takes a ride on a squiggly synth riff which winds its' way through Marvin Gaye's Got To Give It Up via The Gap Band; Chuck Strong frees up a cracking version of the Willie Hutch-penned, Gwen McRae-sung boogie classic Doin' It; and smooth-ass Chicagoans Yohon raise the temperature with Fly With Me, throwing the kitchen sink of disco elements - including laser sounds - at an effortless groove and Jackson 5-alike vocal performance. Flawlessly funky from top to bottom, this set is a sure-fire floor-filler at the most discerning of disco and boogie parties. Next time you're having one of those eparties, make sure you do two things: a) play this, and b) invite me please.

4 stars from 5

For an extra special 45min mix by DJ Chris Read, check this link. I recommend you do.

Friday Freshie: Playlist 21st Sept 'In The Pocket with 90' on Radio Ponsonby

Fridays on 'In The Pocket with 90' on Radio Ponsonby are all about keeping it FRESH. Fresh new music, fresh suggestions for your weekend's entertainment and a fresh approach to life. After all, the weekend is within sniffing distance. Here's the playlist for the Friday Freshie:

The Broken Orchestra with Natalie Gardiner | Over & Over
Blu & Exile | Maybe One Day
Get Down Edits | Sneakin' In The Back
Funkommunity | The Light
Estere | Cruel Charlie
Visioneers | Ice Cream On My Kicks
Mayer Hawthorne | Work To Do
Sola Rosa | Lion's Den
Dub Asylum | Skavoovie
Esther Philips | Home Is Where The Hatred Is (Shmix edit)
Stevie Wonder | Golden Lady (Scrimshire edit)
Satin Jackets v Aaliyah | Rock The Boat (edit)
Slow Hands | Rhabarbarum (original)
Lou Teti | Dare Me
Only Children | Down Fever
Haggis Horns | The Traveller (Pt. 2)
? | Cokehead (edit)
Bondax | Baby I Got That (Justin Martin 'Endless Summer' remix)
Aurra | Make Up Your Mind (Space Duke remix)
Onur Engin | Brisk (original)
Jade | Every Day Of The Week (Finnebassen remix)
Boogie Culture | Lipstick

19 September 2012

Wax Wednesday: Playlist 19th Sept 'In The Pocket with 90' on Radio Ponsonby

Every Wednesday is "Wax Wednesday" between 12-2pm on Radio Ponsonby. Here is the playlist from today's show:

Rocket Juice & The Moon with Erykah Badu | Manuela
Tony Allen | Kilode (Waajeed rework)
Big Bang with Rasiyah | To The Full Every Minute (Yam Who? rework)
Platinum Pied Pipers | Pigeon Hole
Assembly Line | Cosmic Ballad
Julien Dyne with Parks | Stained Glass Fresh Frozen
Electric Wire Hustle | Perception
House Shoes | The Makings
James Pants | Crystal Lite
Van Hunt | If I Take You Home
Krystal Klear | Tried For Your Love
Claws For? | Colour Theory
Disco Tom | Goldie's Boogie
Slow & Local | All The Way Down (We Love Esther)
Unknown Artist | Climbing Girl
The Gap Band | Baby Baba Boogie
James Brown | Star Generation
Snowboy with Anna Ross | Girl Overboard
Windjammer | Tossing And Turning
Joe Bataan | Ordinary Guy
Johnnie Taylor | Please Don't Stop (That Song From Playing)
L.A. Carnival | Flyin'
Mayer Hawthorne | Just Ain't Gonna Work Out

In The Pocket with 90 NOW ON Radio Ponsonby!

In The Pocket with 90 now EXCLUSIVELY on Radio Ponsonby 107.7FM and streaming live on www.radioponsonby.co.nz, every weekday from 12-2pm.

I'm stoked to join me old mate Murry Sweetpants on the radio Monday-Friday, as he hosts the stations' Breakfast Show on a daily basis. We're just about to make a move into the brand new Ponsonby Central development on the corner of Richmond and Ponsonby Roads - at which time you'll be able to come in and have a chat with us as we spin tunes live on the radio.

Radio Ponsonby 107.7FM

13 September 2012

Review: Seva Hi Fi 'Early'


There's a well-known and very successful New Zealand group called Fat Freddy's Drop who have earned the misnomer 'BBQ reggae'. I have issues with this for many reasons - not least that the bands' music is remarkably forward-thinking within a genre that's generally fairly limited in its scope for experimentation - but also because there are albums far more deserving of that label than Freddys' ground-breaking and best-selling debut album Based On A True Story. Like Early, the debut set from Seva Hi Fi, for example. The first release on locally-based label Sugarlicks in five years, Early is a collaboration between producer/Sugarlicks founder Gareth Farry (aka Gmuva), percussionist Levani Vosasi and musician/vocalist Baz Suamili. The three key players blend not only cultures (New Zealand-Lebanese, Fijian and Niuean) but also technologies, with an ambitious mix of traditional Island sounds, analog synths and modern electronica. The high point is undoubtedly the lead single, Pressures Of Life, which has a killer hook and features the vocal talents of Nat Rose. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. Early is an inconsistent, patchy affair, with too few moments musically which match the heights of that first single. There are other good songs - Starting Up, Til I Make You Move - but even these run out of steam a minute or two before they actually end. Lyrically it's a little disappointing also, with lazy cliches (who uses the words "struggles and strife" anymore?) and predictable messages of remaining positive despite the 'pressures of life'. However, in an effort to end this review in that same spirit of positivity I can highly recommend Early as perfect fodder for your next BBQ.

2 stars from 5

Please check out the fantastic lead single from this album right here:

Seva Hifi - Pressures of Life (radio edit) by Sugarlixx Studio

10 September 2012

Playlist: George FM 'In The Pocket' Sun 9 Sept

The Nomad with Farda P | 141
Sola Rosa with Olivier Daysoul | Wiggle
Duff Disco | Moy
Elias Tzikas | The One
Heartbreak Sound | Brown Sugar
Erykah Badu | Bump It
The Reflex | What's Goin' On
Raphael Saadiq | Skyy, Can You Feel Me?
Chet Faker | No Diggity
Tony Ansell | Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
Tosca | Chocolate Elvis
Greg Perry | Come Fly With Me
The Beatles | Don't Let Me Down (Gramatik edit)
The Dynamics | 90% Of Me Is You
Harry J Allstars | Liquidator (Leftside Wobble edit)
Lowe 1 & Jordinary K | Dubble-O-Revolution
Roy Ayers | We Live In Brooklyn Baby
VKTA | Don't Explain
Copycat | Nautilus
Stevie Wonder | Golden Lady (Scrimshire edit)
Appo | Getaway
Slowhymn | Revival
Sleeve | Hipness

08 September 2012

Review: DJ Vadim 'Don't Be Scared'

Don't Be Scared

DJ Vadim is one of those artists who has always managed to skirt around the edges of the mainstream without any apparent interest in engaging with it. He's been playing his trade for almost twenty years, initially via his own label, Jazz Fudge, and then through renowned indies Ninja Tune and now BBE. His new record Don't Be Scared, is something like his seventh solo album, and it sits alongside a raft of other work, including joint efforts - the outstanding One Self and The Electric projects among them - and countless remixes, re-works, collaborations and such. One aspect of his career that is without question is his desire to keep pushing his sound forward, constantly looking to the next thing, the fresh approach, the excitingly new. Don't Be Scared is no different - but that's not to say it all works all of the time. There's an incredible array of influences and styles present here, with bass-heavy dubstep and treacle-thick hip hop beats the main basis; but the overall feeling is that this particular pudding has been considerably over-egged. All is not lost, as there are some great tracks on here - Lost My Love with the oustanding Jazz Bailey on vocals, and Set Them Free, featuring Sabira Jade, being the highlights - but even the "merely" good tracks (I'm Feeling You, Lemon Haze) outstay their welcome and the album quickly loses its charm. While I admire what Vadim is endeavouring to achieve, I'm just not convinced he has nailed this one. Don't Be Scared? Don't be disappointed.

2 & 1/2 stars from 5