Tag Archive for 'Funk'

(Upcoming Releases) Colemine Releases First Cassettes : Sole Slabs Comp and Orgone Mixtape

Our friends at Colemine Records are dipping their toes in the audio cassette revival  with two releases set to drop 10/14/17 aka Cassette Store Day. For their first releases they picked a couple of real ringers!

One is a cassette reissue of their fantastic and essential singles compilation Sole Slabs Vol. 1 which was originally an RSD release in colored vinyl. It has recently been reissued in black vinyl as well.

The other release is a teaser of an upcoming Orgone release in January. Colemine is going to do a vinyl/CD release of a really great “mixtape” download of covers that Orgone did earlier this year called Underground Mixtape Vol. 1 that includes covers of choice funk and R&B from the likes of The Meters, Otis Redding, P-Funk, Booker T & the MG’s, Aretha Franklin and more.

You can download it from the link above, or you can listen to it here:

Either tape is a reasonable $8.99 from Colemine: Sole Slabs Vol. 1 or Orgone Undercover Mixtape Vol 1.

The Right Now Debuts “Nice Boogie” Remix of “Up All Night” By Buscrates x Nice Recs – Up All Night Mixtape

photo credit Seth Thompson Epiglotic Photographic

It’s pretty exciting to see the momentum of a band building in support of a new album– the renewed energy and mission to get the new music out to the fans. One of the hardest working bands around is Chicago’s R&B and Funk powerhouse The Right Now and on the heels of their latest release Starlight they’re already beating the pavement with hit-and-run shows through the Midwest and making appearances on Chicago TV and radio.

For the last album, the band worked with some Chicago remixers which resulted in some of my favorite dance remixes in recent history. Now for Starlight, we have the first remix of the anthemic “Up All Night” by Buscrates and Nice Recs from Pittsburgh Electro Funk group East Liberty Quarters. The remix largely leaves lead singer Stefani Berecz’s vocals intact while providing a subtle bubbling-under synth beat that would sit comfortably in a mix with Eighties divas Chaka and anything Jam and Lewis produced including Janet’s best work.

When I asked Brendan O’Connell about how he got hooked up with these guys he said, “We’ve known Buscrates since 2010 or 2011 when we used to play Shadow Lounge in Pittsburgh. We reconnected in Pittsburgh when we played there in March. We’ve all kept up with his remix and production stuff online in the interim. He’s great. Heavy shit!”

Heavy shit indeed. I’ve already spun this track a dozen times. Get it in your ears. If you’re a DJ who’d like to include it in your set, hit the band up at their website.

When I asked him for a list of songs that influenced “Up All Night” O’Connell said, “I’ve been to listening to a fair amount of disco and 70s R&B over the past few years and it directly inspired me to write “Up All Night” (and seek out Buscrates to remix it).  Here’s some tunes I can’t get enough of.

“Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me” by Quincy Jones

“Haven’t You Heard” by Patrice Rushen

“(Funny) Bone” by Chic

“Runaway Love” by Linda Clifford

“You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else” by The Jones Girls

“Hold Tight” by Change

“I’m In Love” by Evelyn Champagne King

“Keep On” D-Train

“Light Up The Night” by The Brothers Johnson

I put together a mixtape of these songs and included the Buscrates remix picking some choice remixes and adding some edits resulting in a shimmering, thumping throwback Disco/Funk mix. Enjoy!

 

(Upcoming Release) Chicago R&B Powerhouse The Right Now Return With a Pop Twinkle in Starlight (out 2/24)

Never content with staying in one particular sound, Chicago R&B band The Right Now, has embraced a classic R&B sound over the years, but has also included more updated R&B elements. Even on their debut album Carry Me Home, there were stabs of synths and electronic percussion over the proceedings. Their following 7″ “If I Wanted To“/”I Am Who I Say I Am” we get a gritty and even distortion laden track maybe akin to a more soulful Black Keys. When they returned in 2012 with Gets Over You, most of the tracks had a distinct later-period Motown and Stax bent to them, but outlying track “Call Girl” was straight up late 70’s disco and even got the remix treatment from the Deep and Disco crew.

The Right Now returns in 2017 with a new album Starlight with a renewed sense of direction and passion. While the band still hangs on to the horns and brings the funk, they also are approaching the new album with an “all-killer, no-filler” album with an eye towards a modern R&B sound. CFO (Chief Funk Officer) Brendan O’Connell explains,

“Our goal was to fine-tune the songs and production to make every note count, every chorus big and memorable, and craft something really special,” says keyboardist/guitarist/bandleader Brendan O’Connell. “While I love what we achieved on the last album, I felt it was important to try to transcend the ‘retro soul’ genre and concentrate on writing the best songs I could for (lead singer Stefanie Berecz)’s voice.”

The album is available for pre-order from the band’s website, and includes a limited edition transparent blue vinyl pressing! While you’re there order the last two albums and the 7″es!

(Free Download) Karyn Paige – “Want To” from Hola Mademoiselle

When it comes to HipHop I tend to favor the musical pastiche typically purveyed by the Bay Area. Some of this is because I really cut my HipHop teeth on the seminal Bay Area label artists on Solesides (later Quannum) including Lateef, Lyrics Born, DJ Shadow, Blackalicious. In some respects California HipHop is considered a second generation from the early New York days of HipHop and rap, but it might be this distance that makes California HipHop more of a converged sound with funk. Of course these days, Left- and Right-coast isn’t so much a discernible distinction. These days there are still stylistic differences between, say Jay-Z and Snoop but beyond that there has been a lot of cross-pollination so it is difficult to make the same comment about today’s HipHop and rap.

Still, the last releases from Lyrics Born, The Gift of Gab, Blackalicious and DJ Shadow really show a very wide view of their art and I think shows them pushing the boundaries of what defines HipHop.

It’s this cultural and musical diversity in the Bay Area that fosters artists like singer Karyn Paige who, after several years of working and performing with various bands and musicians including the Jazz Mafia collective as well as Lyrics Born (who also worked with the Jazz Mafia Orchestra “Brass Bows and Beats) and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli), is ready to release her first solo record titled Hola Mademoiselle which will come out fall of this year. Prior to that she will release a digital EP this summer titled The KP EP.

The releases promise to be a “diverse blend of pop, R&B, New Wave, Soul and Funk” and this is certainly delivered in the first single being offered as a free download titled “Want To.” “Want To” was co-writted and produced by Joe Bagale and Matt Berkeley of the Jazz Mafia with Karyn and to me really recalls the purple funk heyday during Prince‘s reign in Minneapolis– the funky analog synths and beats that were the signature of Mr. Rogers Nelson and the production duo of Jam and Lewis. It is a super-catchy track  and has already made it to two of my car mp3 mixes! I can’t wait to hear the EP and album when they come out!

Do yourself a favor and grab this mp3.

Click Here to listen to “Want To” by Karyn Paige from her upcoming release Hola Mademoiselle.

Click Here to visit Karyn Paige’s website and sign up for her mailing list

Click Here to visit Karyn Paige’s Facebook Fanpage

Click Here to visit Karyn Paige’s MySpace Page

The Right Now – Carry Me Home (Review) & Upcoming Shows

I’m always concerned when an established band decides to change their name.

Chicago band The Right Now started life back in 2005 as R&B/Funk band Eli Jones and the Bare Bones by Brendan O’Connell. A live EP was recorded by this band in 2006. A few lineup changes and the addition of Stefanie Berecz as lead vocals prompted the truncating of the name to just Eli Jones. The album Make It Right was released in 2007 under this moniker while still continuing to hold true to the band’s R&B and Funk influences.

History shows that bands with names that seem like they would belong to one person tend to be confusing– just look at Jethro Tull, for example. Add in the fact that Eli Jones didn’t have the domain name for the band and the name was becoming somewhat cumbersome. So, it was the switch in name to The Right Now in 2009 that allowed the band to kind of re-invent itself. All of the fans of Eli Jones who had seen the high-energy shows in the small bars across Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa were going to follow the band even after the name change.

When I saw the band in December of 2008  at Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids, they were still called Eli Jones, but had already incorporated a lot of the songs that would make up their new album which they had planned to release in 2009 into their live setsCarry Me Home is the first release by the band under it’s new name, and listening to the CD, I was taken back to that show with its memorable performances of “Ain’t Going Back,” “I Could Really Hold On,” “Doing Nothing,” “Carry Me Home,” “Nobody,” and “Before I Know Your Name.”

Getting ready for this review, I pulled out my copy of the Eli Jones album Make It Right for comparison. It’s an album I listened to quite a bit back when the band was rolling through the area. I thought it was really good– certainly the work of a band accomplished in R&B and Jazz, but felt ultimately  it didn’t capture the energy of their live set. Make It Right really seems to be the sound of a band in a transition– some of the tracks have the familiar throwback R&B strut, while other tracks evoke a more jazzy step.

Carry Me Home is the result of a very focused effort in the studio, apparently. The whole CD sounds like it was recorded in one marathon session– a balanced, almost live-to-tape sound. It has a polished production for certain, but not at the risk of the continuity. I find myself listening to the whole album when I put it on– I anticipate the next track at each song.

In some respects Carry Me Home is an album out-of-time– at once holding true to a retro R&B sound with its horns, stomps and claps and sneaking in a more current R&B edge in the form of lead singer Stefanie Berecz powerful lead vocals.

The album runs the gamut of emotion and energy from bright, sunny Tower-of-Powerish horn-driven songs like “You Will Know,” to the Motown harmony-mixed with clean funk picking “Before I Know Your Name” to the distinctly Southern R&B swing of “Doing Nothing” to the slow burner “Carry Me Home.” “Before I Know Your Name” was co-written by Stefanie and Brendan O’Connell (the conductor of this Soul Train) to her then-unborn child– the idea of which makes me smile when I listen to the lyrics.

The Right Now - 7 to 10 7"

It’s also worth noting that The Right Now also has a 7″ out of a non-album track “7 to 10”  which they recorded in Memphis in September 2009 at Scott Bomar’s Electraphoic Recording Studio live to 2″ 8-track tape! The flip is “The One You Love” from the album. On the return trip they took the master to Larry Nix at the legendary Ardent Studios who cut the plates. They hand-delivered the plates to United Record Pressing in Nashville and got a tour. Here is Brendan’s MySpace blog article about the experience (with video!).

It seems there are a lot of notable acts delivering the Stax/Motown-influenced sound today– Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings seems to be leading this front, certainly the last Amy Winehouse album (which uses members of the Dap-Kings), Joss Stone— so it takes a strong but distinguishable effort for a band to not get lost in the comparisons. It’s clear that The Right Now shows respect for the legacy of R&B, Soul and Funk that came before it, but in my opinion the band is building from that tradition.

One can consider the new band name as the answer to the question of what period of popular music they might draw from– no specific period, but obviously writing and performing in The Right Now.

The band just kicked off a run of shows which will bring them back to Eastern Iowa in April. On Friday, 4/16 they will be taping a second Java Blend show (the first as The Right Now), doing an on-air on IPR and hitting The Blue Moose Tap House. On Saturday, they’ll be performing at The Redstone Room in Davenport opening for Daphne Willis and hitting their favorite Iowa stop, Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, 4/18.

Visit The Right Now Store to order Carry Me Home or the “7 to 10″ 7”

Click Here to visit The Right Now collection at archive.org for some streaming and downloadable live shows.

Click Here to visit The Right Now website.

Click Here to visit The Right Now Facebook Page

Here is where they Twitter.

Click Here for The Right Now on Bandcamp

Click Here for their last.fm page.

Click Here to visit The Right Now iLike page with videos and mp3’s.

Upcoming Shows (from MySpace):

Mar 8 2010    Bullfrog Brewery – CD Release Show!     Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Mar 10 2010     Puck Live – CD Release Show!     Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Mar 11 2010     Groove – CD Release Show!     New York, New York
Mar 12 2010     The Saint     Asbury Park, New Jersey
Mar 13 2010     Shadow Lounge – CD RELEASE SHOW!     Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mar 18 2010     Vocalo 89.5FM – In-studio     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010     Fearless Radio – Live In-Studio     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 18 2010     WLUW – Radio Free Chicago (Interview)     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010     WGN Television     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 19 2010     Lincoln Hall – CD RELEASE SHOW!     Chicago, Illinois
Mar 26 2010     This Must Be The Place     Lemont, Illinois
Apr 9 2010     KSDK – Show Me St. Louis     Saint Louis, Missouri
Apr 9 2010     The Gramophone – CD Release Show!     St. Louis, Missouri
Apr 15 2010     The Frequency w/ Unicycle Loves You     Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 16 2010     Java Blend     Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010     KRUI 89.7 FM – In-studio     Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 16 2010     The Blue Moose Taphouse – CD Release Show!     Iowa City, Iowa
Apr 17 2010     Redstone Room     Davenport, Iowa
Apr 18 2010     Mahoney’s Pub     Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Apr 24 2010     Downtown Holland Groovewalk     Holland, Michigan
Apr 30 2010     Marly’s Pub – CD Release Show!     Springfield, Illinois
Apr 30 2010     Alice at 97.7 – Studio A Sessions     Springfield, Illinois
May 17 2010     Cosmic Charlies     lexington, Kentucky
May 20 2010     Rogue Tavern w/ Deep Fried 5     Birmingham, Alabama
Jun 4 2010     Upfront & Company     Marquette, Michigan
Jun 5 2010     Upfront & Company     Marquette, Michigan

Upcoming Show: Curumin at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 1/26/09

This might be as close as a Quannum artist will get to Cedar Rapids…

While touring Brazil, Chief Xcel of the formidable Blackalicious fell in love with the locally released Achados e Perdidos and quickly signed Luciano Nakata Albuquerque who performs under the moniker Curumin (KOO-roo-mean). Achados e Perididos with its pan-continental mix of salsa and funk was re-released on Quannum in September 2005 to critical praise– quite an achievement for an artist who sings primarily in Portuguese!

In October, 2008 Curumin released the much-anticipated follow up JapanPopShow— the title of which is a nod to his split Spanish and Japanese heritage. JapanPopShow picks up where Achados left of with its strong samba-soul vibe and warps it with the heat of afro-beat, dub and experimental funk with refreshing spritzes of tropicalia. At times it reminds me of Air or Gilberto Gil in it’s easy casual feel. The Quannum collective jumps in to lend a hand on some of the tracks– Herve Salters from Honeycut, the Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel from Blackalicious and Lateef. Frankly a brilliant and original album. I especially dig Curumin’s testament to his love of 45RPM records “Compactu.”

So, Cedar Rapids will be warmed with Brazil’s ambassador of samba soul in the dead of winter on Monday, January 26th at Cedar Rapids own CSPS! The show starts at 8PM and tickets are $13 in advance and $16 the day of the show.

According to his press releases, Curumin typically tours with a couple of musicians and each took the stage armed with an MPC sampler providing live beat manipulations combined with live instrumentation. Curumin also switches between live drums and cavaquinho which is like a ukelele.

Don’t sleep on this, folks– it promises to be a head-bobbin’ evening.

Click Here to visit the Facebook Event for Curumin at CSPS.

Click Here for more information on the show

Click Here for Curumin’s MySpace Page which has streams of some of his tracks.

Click Below to download “Compacto” (personal favorite)

JapanPopShowCurumin
“Compacto” (mp3)
from “JapanPopShow”
(Quannum Projects)

Buy at Pre-order from Insound
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Puretracks
Buy at mTraks
More On This Album

Upcoming Show: Chicago Soul Group Eli Jones at Mahoney’s, Cedar Rapids 12/7/08

Eli Jones is an eight-piece band from Chicago that delivers tight accomplished Soul and R&B that draws equally from the annals of classic R&B and Soul of Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin or Stax as it does from the contemporary renewed interest in authentic Soul and R&B delivered by Alicia Keys, John Legend or Joss Stone. The seven-piece Eli Jones band led by the tasty guitar tone of Brendan O’Connell deftly supports the vocal powerhouse of Stefanie Berecz.

The band started in 2005 as a trio and added horns and Berecz arriving at their current lineup in 2007. They released their first studio album Make It Right in November of 2007 and are planning to release their second album in the Summer of 2009. The band has been gigging steadily around the Midwest and played Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids back in April to a receptive crowd.

The group is coming back to the area again next weekend playing The Busted Lift in Dubuque on Saturday, December 6th, and here in Cedar Rapids at Mahoney’s on Sunday, December 7th. I’m not sure about the cover at the Busted Lift, but the Mahoney’s show is FREE! I can’t think of a better way to wrap up a weekend than some soulful, funky R&B, really. You can always watch “Desperate Housewives” online or Tivo it.

Click Here for the Facebook Event Page– let the band know you’re coming!

Click Here to visit Eli Jones’s website. They have four songs that you can stream.

Click Here to visit Eli Jones’s MySpace Page

Click Here to see the shows up on Archive.org

Click Here to listen to an amazing acoustic “Candlelight and Satin Sheets” from Alice FM in May. The song is taken to an intimate singer-songwriter performance.

Diplomats of Solid Sound featuring The Diplomettes US Domestic Release on Pravda Records 7/8/08

Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the Diplomettes on Pravda RecordsFinally a domestic record label has the sense to release the great new release from The Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the Diplomettes! Longtime Chicago Indie label Pravda Records. Although the instrumental releases were primarily on Estrus Records, this release coming out on Pravda makes sense as the Andre Williams album Aphrodisiac which utilized The Diplomats as his band as well as future Diplomette Sarah Cram on backing vocals.

The album is set to drop on July 8th and should be available via your favorite independent record store as well as Amazon and other online spots. This is good news for US fans of the band– the Italian Record Kicks releases are imports and really pricey! At the moment Amazon has one for $23! Dustygroove.com seems to be out of the CD at the moment with more coming at “the end of June,” but has the tasty vinyl version in at $18. According to the press release from Pravda these should be $14.98 MSRP, and indeed this is what Amazon lists the price to be.

This release has new cover art and packaging (you can see the Record Kicks cover art here). Otherwise, this is an identical release to the import version down to the “Hurt Me So (Lack of Afro Remix)” bonus track. The album was recorded live in the studio by Justin Kennedy at Minstrel Studios in Iowa city and subsequently shipped to Lack of Afro for final mixing and production. I think it is the live recording that gives the record its energy and ultimately why it stands up to repeated listening so well. Ultimately, the album was recorded in 2007 but it took a while to sort out what label was going to release it. In the meantime the band had very smartly put early mixes out on their MySpace pages. By The time the record was released most of their fans were already very familiar with the funk and soul of tracks like “Lights Out,” “Hurt Me So,” and “Come In My Kitchen.” Around my house, these songs are as familiar as any major label release would be and very much a soundtrack to our lives.

Even with the seemingly long career arc this band has had– I remember talking to Doug at a Bo Ramsey show in 1997 or 1998 at the Green Room in Iowa City about his “New Project” and the five albums since 2001– it seems like with the constant touring with the Diplomettes in tow has started to build a well-deserved buzz.

The Diplomats have at the moment about 11 shows coming up including three live shows in between Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Coralville and a handful of festivals. Make sure you get out to see them and pick up this album while you’re at it.

The Diplomats of Solid Sound MySpace Page with samples from the new album.

The Diplomettes MySpace Page with songs from the new album

Jun 20 2008 9:00P
Silver Dollar Cantina Dubuque, Iowa
Jun 27 2008 9:00P
Triple Rock Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 28 2008 8:00P
The Bottom Lounge Chicago, Illinois
Jul 3 2008 9:00P
The Picador Iowa City, Iowa
Jul 4 2008 7:15P
80/35 Festival Des Moines, Iowa
Jul 11 2008 4:00P
Camp Euforia Lone Tree, Iowa
Jul 12 2008 5:00P
Riverside Casino & Resort Riverside, Iowa
Jul 26 2008 9:00P
Linneman’s Riverwest Inn Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Jul 31 2008 6:30P
Music In The Park Coralville, Iowa
Aug 28 2008 8:00P
KCCK Jazz Under The Stars Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Aug 29 2008 6:00P
Friday Night Concert Series Iowa City, Iowa
Aug 30 2008 4:00P
New Bohemian Festival Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Aug 30 2008 8:00P
Rock Island Brewing Compnay Rock Island, Illinois
Aug 31 2008 9:00P
Blankfest / Funny Bone Comedy Club West Des Moines, Iowa
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