I’ve always known the Australian music scene to be incredible, especially in recent years. Hiatus Kaiyote, Sampology, Variations of Light, Clever Austin, 30/70, Tiana Khasi… the list goes on and on. Melbourne in particular has been a melting pot of cultures and influences, and I’m finally glad that we have a wonderful compilation album to celebrate the hypnotic, beautiful, awe-inspiring jazz and neo-soul music that is originating from that part of the world.
Recorded over a week at The Grove, a fabled house-turned studio in the North Melbourne suburb of Coburg, nine of the most talented and wonderful musicians from the city got together to create. The result is Sunny Side Up, a beautiful 9-track compilation album that beautifully represents the inspiring, spiritual and mesmeric aura of the city. Phil Stroud kicks off this album with a lush and layered piece titled “Banksia,” with gorgeous, layered seys, synths and stunning horns that are just beautifullt arranged. “Pick Up / Galaxy” by Dufresne is a high-paced, funk-filled track with energetic drums, guitar and bass leads that give such a groovy tone to the track, as it meanders throughout keys and vocals, especially near the end of the track. Kuzich‘s stunning piece “There Is No Time” is slow-paced and spiritual, with percussion and keys throughout, being complemented by off-kilter vocals that sound fantastic. “Bleeding Hearts” sees Audrey Powne sing her heart out to a beautiful piano arrangement that breaks into saxophone leads and drums. Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange’s “Powers 2 (The People)” is a frantic, flute and key dominant track, with frantic drumming and an intensity that is infectious. Laneous‘ brilliantly colourful vocals are complemented by energetic drumming and guitar leads that are so soulful and beautiful. Silentjay’s “Eternal / Internal Peace” is incredible, as the stunning piano arrangements are complemented by vocal harmonies, as well as trumpet and saxophone leads and subtle guitars. It’s an incredible track. Horatio Luna comes through with a dance-heavy vibe on “The Wake-Up,” with bass notes that bring the funk and hypnotic grooves, as well as drumming that keeps the energy and groove to a maximum. Allysha Joy’s contribution “Orbit” is amazing as well, with horns and keys being complemented by subtle guitars and drums, giving this track a stunning, spiritual tone. Her profound and stunning vocals are incredibly soulful, making it a perfect way to end this album.
The amount of beautiful, awe-inspiring and spiritual compositions on this compilation album make it one of my favourite releases of the year. The energy and musical diversity of this richly textured project make it a phenomenal listen, and I just keep looking forward to more music from that part of the world. Big ups Gilles Peterson and Alexander Intas for making this happen. Thank You Brownswood and everyone involved in the music, you guys killed it!
Listen to Sunny Side Up below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released through Brownswood Recordings.
Portland, Oregon based future funk producer YUNG BAE comes through with a heavily infectious and fun new album titled Bae 5. Described as ‘future funk,’ his music contains infectious basslines, guitar grooves, funky synths and high-energy drumming. It’s an awesome, upbeat listen.
I don’t even know where to start with describing this album! “Pacific Standard” kicks the album off with funky synths and basslines, as well as an infectious beat and vocal samples that give this track so much character. The fact that this is the first track out of 11 on this album, and all the tracks are incredibly groovy and dance-heavy… you’re in for a treat! “Must Be Love” again features infectious grooves and high energy drumming, with vocal chops and samples that make this record a disco-infused, dance-centric, upbeat work of art. “Bad Boy” features vocal features from bbno$ and Billy Marchiafava, who bring tons of flow with their party-centric lyrics. Desired is featured on the track “What You Need,” which is heavily influenced by disco tracks of the 70s, with thick textured synths and grooves that make it sound like a retro throwback. The guitar grooves on “Up All Night” feature great and joyful vocals from Paper Idol, while Flamingosis kills it with a vocal feature on “Laa La Laaa,” a track I see myself playing on a countryside drive trip. “We Came to Boogie,” is as infectious as the title suggests, with heavy, heavy rhythms and grooves. The last two tracks “Fell in Love” featuring Party Pupils and “Welcome to the Disco” featuring Macross 82-99 carry that same energy to the energy, with the latter track having more live, percussive instrumentation as well.
Yeah this album is the perfect summer soundtrack. I kept describing it as a fun and upbeat project, nothing has come close to the level of feel-good energy YUNG BAE was able to produce on his new album, so I’m thankful that I’ve come across it.
Listen to YUNG BAE’s new album Bae 5 below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via The Future Of Funk.
As the first South Korean Woman to DJ at Berlin’s techno institution Berghain and record the 69th edition of !K7’s DJ-Kicks series by the ripe old age of 28, Peggy Gou, who played 200 shows worldwide in 2018, and now lives minutes away from the club, could be seen as a millennial pioneer. But it’s the real loose and comprehensive delivery of an across the board mix that’s radical and in line with a forgotten tradition. No genre boundaries here, Gou moves across disco, house, techno, and electro from 90 to 150 BPM. It’s a communal living room party feel where she plays her fave joints to her friends in a non-performative way. No Boiler room shenanigans here. Quite the opposite of what could be expected from “Gou-mania”. The young influencer, at the center of many advert campaigns, who launched a collection at Paris Fashion Week last October and successfully engages with her 900k following on Instagram.
Welp, the day job got shelved here. A tranquil emphasis on records, not technique, gets the attention. Within the context of her fireball type career ascension-she was working at a record shop in Berlin just a couple of years ago-Gou’s choice, looks and sounds kinda punk rock. David Mancuso Loft Party style. If her successful advert campaigns have informed the world what she looks like, her 18 track mix, a non-visual medium, tells us a version of who she is.
“Fluorescence,” an all-timer statement of chill from 1993, by the iconic Spacetime Continuum from San Francisco (shouts to The Gawd Jonah Sharp), begins this personal soundtrack and leads us into Gou’s first-ever track “Hungboo,” a playful midtempo sentiment with birdsong, koto chords and weighty dub bass. Things move sideways quirky good with the elastic bass of “Earwig” by Pearson Sound that gets nicely blended into “Perseguido Por El Rayo”, the John Carpenter like Jazz fusion of Pegasus, which next points us into the Rave Cave vibes of Sly and Lovechild.
Listen, the rest of the mix rests on her collection and praising those who came before her. While the earlier edition of DJ-Kicks featured Laurel Halo running 29 joints in an hour and crafting one of the best sets in the history of these compilations. The songs never got a chance to breathe. Gou wants you to get close and familiar. She’s paid, I mean comfortable enough, to not really care if the mix is not exact. She’s doing something else outside the algorithm. Sometimes the statement IS being in the moment.
So 30 minutes in, we get acid, old-school Chicago house and Detroit techno influences, or as Gou calls her sound “K-House”. “EPR Phenomena” an electro jam from DMX Krew comes in right after the bass trouble of “Flemmenup” by Kyle Hall. It’s a stretch equipped with a homestyle mix approach that leads, not on time, into “Magnetic City” by Kode 9. Speaking of Halo, its nice that the DJ-Kicks series had two mixes, back to back this year, curated by Women.
What was that? Sure, I’ll give you some “not male and pale” suggestions for upcoming mixes. Georgia Anne Muldrow. Yaeji. Nabihah Iqbal. Syd from The Internet. Josey Rebelle. Foxtrott. Nite Jewel. You are welcome.
Anyway, when Gou closes this out towards the end with “Vordhosbn” by Aphex Twin and “Crackdown” by Psyche(peace to Carl Craig), she’s laying flowers out for the creators. Respect lets a tune run long. If Moodyman can distribute and sell his releases at BBQ’s, in his self-described “environment” in Detroit, Gou is free to share personal choices that say something about her, anyway she chooses. Everybody has their own bag, and Gou’s is secured.
You can listen to Peggy Gou’s marvelous DJ Kicks mix below via Spotify.
Sydney-based producer Caravan comes through with an energetic, groove-heavy new EP titled Riviera. Already being a relatively influential name within house and electronic music, the talented producer continued to impress with a 4 track album that is dynamic and infectiously groovy.
With thick synths and basslines, the album kicks off “Republique,” a funky start to the album, with a heavy beat and percussion that keeps the track engaging and immersive. The synths are the dominant feature of this record, with a wonderful and catchy melody that just keeps developing throughout the track. “Le Suquet” is another smooth track, with electronic synths and effects swirling throughout the track, also accompanied by an infectious, groovy beat. “Croisette” is the most dynamic track on here, with dynamic drum patterns that bring this track to life. The heavy beat and claps on “Palm Beach” bring so much heavy funk, with swirling, acid-house inspired synths, as well as other percussion and electronic effects throughout. It’s the most hip-hop inspired track of all of them, just due to the thumping beat that drives the track forward. It’s an excellent way to end an engaging, somewhat hypnotic project.
Listen to Caravan’s excellent new project Riviera EP below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Planet Trip Records.
As one half of The Get Money Squad together with brother Jon Bap, talented musician Quinton Brock has established himself as one of the most promising new voices in music recently. His new project is titled Scooter. and features some infectious, guitar-driven funk grooves that highlight his talents as a guitarist, singer and all-round musician.
Tracks like “Hold Me” are incredibly colourful in tone, with gorgeously textured guitars, basslines and drumming that keeps a great, upbeat tempo. A lot of the melodies on this project you can dance to due to the incredibly funky and textured instrumentation, as well as Quinton’s passionate vocal performances. Speaking on themes of love throughout, he is able to create a feel good project with a lot of amazing moments. “Smoke” is a playful tune about smoking, while Pink Siifu contributes an intricate verse on “I Got Ya.” “Rush For Love” is a beautiful moment on the album, with bassist Jerry Livingston providing the grooves for a smooth, soulful ballad. Overall, this is a great, feel-good project that’s perfect for the summer and I can’t wait to hear more from the young talented musician.
Listen to Quinton Brock’s Scooter. below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Austro Nautico.
South London rapper P From Lee has released his highly anticipated new album titled I’m P From Lee. With bass-heavy production and high-energy verses from the talented musician, this album is a refreshing new addition to the music scene in the UK.
The synth leads and soothing, spacious melodies on tracks like “Hash Butter,” “Thanks Man Give” and “Seller / Buyer” are smooth, with a Clams Casino type of vibe to them. Producers on the album are NIGZ TG, The Chosen Few, Tre Mission, Uphorium, Alpha, Honeywoodsix, SOS Band, Ru and Amil Raja. They provide a smooth, eclectic soundscape for P From Lee to rhyme effortlessly about his experiences growing up, being braggadocios and more fascinating introspective raps about growing up. “Columbia” features a Latin sample and a high-energy beat to complement P From Lee’s menacing flow and lyricism. Overall, this is a pretty good album highlighting P From Lee’s talents as an emcee. Shoutout to all the producers involved too, because they killed it too.
Listen to P From Lee’s brand new album I’m P From Lee below via Spotify and don’t forget to support!
Kase Avila is an Australian-Fillipino DJ, producer and all round creative from Sydney, Australia. Soul Calibre is his brand new album, a hard-hitting and inspiring release with heavy beats, swirling electronic effects and beautiful melodies throughout. Upon first listen, this album stands out to me from other projects so far this year, just because I didn’t expect to be blown away by some of the production on here.
Starting with the first track, “First Flight” and its kick snares, electronic melodies and heavy groove that just hits so hard I had my stank face on. Tracks like “The Labyrinth,” “Unbreakable”and “Benevolent” feature smoother, synth-laden sounds with gorgeous melodies and hip-hop samples. The bass-heavy beats are still there, but they’re coupled by gorgeous keys and other sonic effects that add a futuristic tone and energy to the music. “Growing” sounds like a smooth R&B jam, with vocal samples that come in as well as glossy, smooth and lush synth leads. “Corolla Nights” is trap influenced with its heavy 808s, and is a colourful, glossy and catchy beat. “Feelin’ It” finishes the album off with bass-heavy production and an infectious groove.
Overall this is a terrific album. Kase Avila really impressed me with this release and I hope there’s more coming! Listen to his new project Soul Calibre below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Low Key Source.
The Sylvers have had their fair share of success throughout the 1970s. The R&B and soul group had hit singles such as “Fool’s Paradise”, “Boogie Fever” and “Hot Line” and have released some stellar albums throughout their time as well. As a family, they rose to fame in the early 70s with the release of a trio of albums titled The Sylvers, The Sylvers II and The Sylvers III. Released between 1972 and 1974, these albums offered some great souful cuts, written by Leon and produced by Jerry Butler (of the Impressions) and Keg Johnson.
It was their second album in this trilogy that stood out to me, mainly due to the vocal range and stunning compositions throughout. One track in particular was a particular highlight for its memorable vocal moment near the end of the track. That track was called “Cry of a Dreamer,” and it was sampled by Madlib on the track “Palmolive” with Freddie Gibbs, featuring Killer Mike and Pusha T. The sample itself is a vocal snippet that happens at at 2:37 of the track (from the YouTube video linked below). And what an absolutely stunning sample to use. “Palmolive” is arguably the best track on the album for the soulful sample and hard-hitting verses. Madlib loops the vocal sample and makes it overpowering on the record. The guitar leads and bassline add a smooth, groovy rhythm to the track, the sixth record on Bandana. Freddie and Push exchange killer verses, with the latter one being the best feature on the album in my opinion. Pusha’s menacing, aggressive, confident and assuring verse makes for a memorable coke-filled and mafioso moment on the album.
Listen to The Sylvers’ “Cry of a Dreamer” below. If you’d like to purchase this record, head over to discogs.com. Released on the 1973 album The Sylvers II through Pride Records.
The Sylvers- Cry of a Dreamer - YouTube
Listen to Madlib and Freddie Gibbs’ “Palmolive” featuring Killer Mike and Pusha T. It was released on their collaborative album Bandana, via Keep Cool/RCA Records. If you want purchase information, click here.
Freddie Gibbs, Madlib - Palmolive (Audio) ft. Pusha T, Killer Mike - YouTube
Since last October, Eric Porter, the ever-transforming electronic music producer, has gone on a determined run, self-releasing albums, via Bandcamp, that hopscotch through House, Techno, and Breakbeat. It’s been a clockwork-like doubling down, challenging the Big Box EDM status quo by making digitized music that carries the great spirit of Blackness. Everything and nothing at the same time. Assembled with wings, intellect and omnipotent connectivity. It’s old and new simultaneously. Always traveling.
He’s received praise and recognition by Gilles Peterson, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and many others, but the adulation fails to give sustained exposure or opportunity like those who trend, lack ingenuity, and most definitely do not look like him. There is a passage from Porter, referring to the artwork of a flower pushing through cement, that speaks on it.
“This phenomenal contradiction of nature says so much about life’s potentials. All too often stories of Black sacrifices and achievements are hidden from us so that we will not dare to struggle. We have been given exceptional bodies and brains to obtain greatness. Always encourage children, friends, and family that no dream is impossible or unattainable. We have the power to reach for the sun even under concrete”-Afrikan Sciences.
Centered, Porter’s most recent album, sees the producer facilitating breakbeat music, with a bit more redemption this time around. Recording under the name Afrikan Sciences, this New York-based artist, known for his recontextualized sound collages, grinds up various kick drum assisted genres on his sixth LP. This change-up of sorts is right in line with his tendency for refusing to repeat. So when he’s not winking at us with nod’s to the iconic show “Breaking Bad” or praising the Bronx Producer and DJ legend “45 King” in song titles, the album leans on percolating rhythms, discordant pathways, and pressurized breakbeat mayhem.
Now don’t trip, the terrain still speaketh in the tongue of outliers and how they maneuver in the world. “Tuco’s Revenge” and “The 45 King is a mark” both serve up cold steel in the hour of chaos. Matter of fact, the closing track, “Back To Scratch”, is a lumbering mood, with some dark Miles “Live Evil” type mojo on loop, constantly getting pushed to the brink. During the 2nd half of the song, more layers and revolutions get added to flesh out this muggy outpost.
“aRuema”, which comes in and stays humid during its 8-minute runtime, features a talking drum conversing non-stop over a side to side moving bass line. It carries the spirit of the Ancestors, holding court in the nebula, communicating via the drum over digital frequencies. It’s got THAT feel.
But “Momma Luv”, a hidden bonus track, which comes with the full purchase of the album, a suggestion I humbly make unto thee, leads with a simple keyboard melody that takes us, with great ease, down the wormhole of groove. It just keeps chugging, grinding, mashing along. Dishing out major amounts of joy in repetition, until the meditative funk, ambient waves and pastel speckles of noise, ebb, and flow all over your get down. Radiating warmth and soft edges upfront, its straightaway proclaiming that in moments of struggle, movement, if only for a couple of minutes, is indeed our salvation.
Listen to Afrikan Sciences’ new album Centered below via Bandcamp. It is released through The Student Body Presents.
Pip Millett is one of the upcoming R&B talents coming out of the UK. Her new project is titled Do Well, a beautiful and soothing 4 track project that shows her gorgeous vocals meandering between lush synths and keys that add depth and soul to her music.
The playful guitar and key arrangements on “Something Bout The Rain” make for an upbeat, fun listening experience, with Pip’s vocals adding character to the already lively and pretty track. The harder-hitting drums on “Fancy” are infectious, as she proclaims “I’m so fancy, I’m so sexy,” as a message of love and self-love. The slow-paced, ethereal tone of “Contact” is a nice, welcome change of pace. Her vocals sound as incredible as ever, as she portrays such emotion on this track. Finally, “Do Well” ends on an upbeat note, with a looped sample that brings a joyful and optimistic energy, really finishing the album on a high. It might be my favourite track on the project, to be honest. Overall, Pip Millett excels in every way on this project, bringing soul, energy, and a beautiful aura with her music. Definitely recommend this one.
Listen to Pip Millett’s new EP Do Well below via Spotify and don’t forget to support! Released via + FOURS.