28 February 2011

George FM Playlist Monday 28th Feb. 2011 "Groovadelica with 90"

I once more had the great pleasure of stepping into the shoes of Jason Eli, covering for his Groovadelica show on George FM on Monday morning. I do believe he was nursing his birthday wounds from a big weekend...

Tony Allen | Kilode (Waajeed dub)
Krystal Klear | Tried For Your Love
Disco Tom | Goldie's Boogie
The Streets | Those That Don't Know
Charles Earland | Comin' To You Live (edit)
Manujothi | Shake Your Body
Herbie Hancock | Stars In Your Eyes
Cole Medina | I Got My Mind Made Up (Cole's rework)
Killer Funk Disco Allstars | Look! A Van Gogh! (Good Groovin' edit)
The Dells | No Way Back (Theo Parrish edit)
Ron Basejam | Is The Word
Henry Greenwood | The Rhythm
The Blackbyrds | Rock Creek Park
Bobby C Sound TV | Boom For Rent
Common | I Am Soul (Todd Terje edit)
King Onkyo | Boogie Gonna Get Ya (Discodub)
Local Legend | Back Fo' Mo'
L.T.D. | Love To The World (DJ Day remix)
Los Charly's Orchestra | Rio Chico's Sunset
Spectral Display | It Takes A Muscle

Review: Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX 'We're New Here'

'We're New Here'
[XL/Young Turks]

We've every right to be dubious when labels pair up hip, young zeitgeist producers with respected, legendary older artists, particularly thanks to the recent release of a few disappointing collaborative efforts (did some mention Jack White and Wanda Jackson?). We're New Here is different. How? For a start, this is a remix album. Then there's the source material: living-legend Gil Scott-Heron's 2010 epic/comeback, I'm New Here. Young Jamie Smith (drummer/producer for world-conquering UK indie three-piece The XX) has completely reworked thirteen tracks from the original album sessions, placing Scott-Heron's disembodied vocals amongst pulsing, spidery soundscapes. While sounding excitingly modern, like Burial or James Blake, We're New Here is endearingly reverent, even adding a degree of warmth to the intentionally deep, dark originals. Smith also samples snatches of vocals from Scott-Heron's work in generations past, providing for some kind of deep, philosophical inter-generational link. Whatever. This is proper dance music, 2011-style.

4/5 stars

Review reprinted courtesy of Waikato Times

27 February 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 27th Feb "In The Pocket with 90"

Andreya Triana | Lost Where I Belong (Mr Scruff remix)
Dam-Funk | Night Stroll
Starkey with Anneka | Stars (Slugabed Did A Remix)
Terry Callier | Dancin' Girl
Al Green | L-O-V-E (Love)
Lalo Schifrin | Quiet Village
Funkadelic | Hit It And Quit It
Gladys Knight | Who Is She? (D-Classics remix)
Dedy Dread | M.I.A.'s Big Stuff
Mil | Emily
Reggie B | A Few Steps Forward
Cro-Magnon | Galactic Mellow (Grooveman Spot remix)
Krystal Klear | Tried For Your Love
The Streets | Those That Don't Know
The Kenneth Bager Experience with Gisli | Fragment One (And I Kept Hearing...)
Elvis Seconde, Shaggy Sharoof, Jacques Palminger & Erobique | Dengue Fieber
Big Bang with Rasiyah | To The Full Every Minute (Yam Who? rework)
Mo'Horizons | Ay Y N'ama (DJ Day remix)
Raeo & Zeb | Lunar New Year
Hydroponic Sound System | Young Ladies In The House
Steve Miller Band | Fly Like An Eagle (Team9 edit)

24 February 2011

Review: Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra 'World Of Funk' and 'Hooked Up Classics'

World Of Funk AND Hooked Up Classics

There are many words reviewers use which are superfluous. That's probably a chief culprit right there.

However, the one I'm picking on introduce this brace of Shawn Lee albums is "prolific".

The LA-based DJ, beat-maker, producer and weed-head Madlib aka Yesterday's New Quintet aka Otis Jackson Jr is prolific, recording quite literally stacks of material for the Stones Throw label, under multiple aliases. Legendary American indie rock-popper Robert Pollard is prolific, churning out something like eight albums a year via his bands Guided By Voices, Boston Spaceships, Circus Devils and too many more to mention here. Brighton-born, Cali, Columbia-resident, producer, DJ and crate-digger Will Holland is prolific, recording as Quantic, Quantic Soul Orchestra, Quantic and His Combo Barbaro and many others besides.

Add American-born, UK-resident Shawn Lee to this list.

This multi-instrumentalist, producer & musicologist is genuinely prolific, having released literally dozens of albums on his own, as the Ping Pong Orchestra and in collaboration with the likes of Money Mark, Tommy Guerrero, Clutchy Hopkins - not to mention in his past life as a session musician for hire, when he worked with everyone from The Dust Brothers & Jeff Buckley to the Spice Girls, while the man has made a mint from providing the musical backing for hugely popular TV shows like Lost, CSI, House, Ugly Betty etc. You could argue he began his career as a "library" music composer and performer when he released the phenomenal Ape Breaks series back in the day.

Under his Shawn Lee and The Ping Pong Orchestra guise, he now presents two more albums of heavily conceptualised library music, each as eminently listenable as his past work.

Following in the footsteps of recent albums Soul In The Hole and Sing A Song, where Lee was joined by a roll-call of guests in albums dedicated to various readings of one musical style, World Of Funk is packed with churning, riveting afro-funk in all its many flavours.

Guests include legendary Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas, multi-instrumentalist Brazilian artist Curumin, Dengue Fever's LA-based Vietnamese singer Chhom Nimol, Truth and Soul recording artist Michael Leonhart, NOMO band-leader Elliot Bergman and others.

While some may rail against Lee ripping off or bastardising these musical styles, the fact remains that this is a labour of love for him. He really does pour himself into these albums, playing many of the instruments himself & wholeheartedly committing himself to an authentic, genuine approach to song-writing, performing and recording the music.

The second of this pair of Ping Pong Orchestra albums is inspired by the Hooked On Classics series of the early '80s (factoid: put together by ELO's Louis Clark) and follows more in the vein of previous Lee albums Hit The Hits and his Christmas album.

Hooked Up Classics sees universally known songs like 1812 Overture, Swan Lake, Dance Of The Sugar P{lum Fairy, Also Spracg Zarathustra and eight others given a right odl dressing down, with Lee taking the essential elements from each piece and reinventing them within entirely new frameworks: 1812 Overture becomes a sweet, sunny, BBQ reggae track; Flight Of The Bumblebee welcomes a freestyle "chorus" over a boom-bap beat; and Hall Of The Mountain King gets twisted into a frenzied surf-guitar stomp.

This is an entirely enjoyable, hilarious and musically unpredictable journey through some of the best known songs ever written. Upon first listen I snorted, more than once, thinking "Sure, this is fun, but how many times am I actually going to listen to this gimmicky record?"

The answer? Prolifically.

World Of Funk: SIX AND A HALF sitars out of TEN
Hooked Up Classics: SEVEN AND A HALF outraged classical music buffs out of TEN

Listen to the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90, every Weneri morning around 8.30am, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show. Thanks To Longroom.

20 February 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 20th Feb 2011 "In The Pocket with 90"

DJ Day | Skyy, Can You Feel Me?
Platinum Pied Pipers | Pigeon Hole
Datsun Stereo | 4 My Pepys
Take | Dream Over
Black Gold Massive | Sometimes It Snows In April (Mr Gone's Southport Weekender remix)
Amp Fiddler | Cool About It (Living Room remix)
Tony Cook with Dam-Funk | Tell Me What's On Your Mind
7 Samurai with Desmond Foster | Feel The Same
Kinny & Horne | Us On Fire
Eric Benet with Faith Evans | Georgy Porgy
Maxwell | Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) (Ken At Work remix)
Tweet | Boogie II Night
Beatconductor | All Night Long
Charanga 79 | Good Times
Lord Echo with Lisa Tomlins | Thinking Of You
Icasoul with Capitol A | Givin' It Up
Vin Sol & Charles McCloud | Couldn't Love You More
Chic v Trus'Me | 4 Working Nights
GQ | Lies (Theo Parrish remix)

Lazy Sunday Selections

16 February 2011

Review: So Frenchy So Chic 2011

Various Artists

Those crafty frogs.

With their effortlessly stylish ways, a seemingly unshakeable self-confidence & the ability to strike the balance between sexy & not taking themselves too seriously, the French have always seemed so... well, just so damned charming.

The double-disc compilation So Frenchy So Chic 2011 does nothing whatsoever to dispel those stereotypes.

Far from being solely about endearing chanteuses or deep, throbbing dance beats though, modern French music is inspired by the melting pot of cultures & peoples present in the country. Combining African rhythms & elements of indie rock; soulful singer-songwriters & the sweetest pop; edgy electro & twisted trad-folk sounds, So Frenchy So Chic delves deep to uncover some glittering gems.

Frenchies resident in Oz, Juliette Bouquerel & Jean-Francois Ponthieux have assembled yet another joyful & highly enjoyable romp, showcasing some of France's brightest new musical talents, across a number of genres.

And yes, absolutely charming.

Listen to the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90 every Wenerei morning, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show. Thanks to Longroom.

13 February 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 13th Feb. "In The Pocket with 90"

I had the great pleasure of welcoming Fat Albert himself into the studio this afternoon, with Jay Jeffrey bringing along a bag of goodness. We dropped two-for-two across the 2hr show & time flew.

Linkwood Family | Miles Away
Fat Freddy's Drop | Boondigga
Leonard Seeley's Heritage | Feel It (BT Magnum edit)
The Blackbyrds | Rock Creek Park (Onur Engin edit)
David Joseph | You Can't Hide Your Love (Larry Levan remix)
Sharon Redd | Never Give You Up
* Change | Mutual Attraction
* Russ Brown | Find A Way
Manujothi | Shake Your Body
Michael McGlory | Love Every Inch Of Me
* Candido | Thousand Finger Man
* Loose Joints | Is It All Over My Face
Lakeside | We Want You On The Floor
Disco Tom | I Wanna Take You For A Ride
* Young Disciples | Move On
* Galliano | So Much Confusion
Bernard Wright | Haboglabotribin
Mtume | Juicy Fruit
* Q-Tip with Erykah Badu | Show Me The Way
* The Roots | Mellow My Man
Esther Phillips | Home Is Where The Hatred Is (Onur Engin edit)
Guru with Erykah Badu | Plenty

* denotes a selection from the deep crates of my good mate Jay Jeffrey.

12 February 2011

For Your Ears aka Random Review: Anna Coddington - Cat & Bird

Cat & Bird

Some people make this music lark look easy. Anna Coddington is one of those people.

One her 2nd solo album, Cat & Bird, Coddington effortlessly glides through a balanced set of exceptional indie pop. Deceptively simple sounding, with each listen the songs reveal subtle turns of phrase & clever melodic interplay between the stellar band - producer & guitarist Ned Ngatae, drummer Riki Gooch (Trinity Roots), bassist Mike Hall (Nightchoir) & keyboardist/vocalist L.A. Mitchell (Dave Dobbyn).

Cat & Bird has a more guitar-driven, full band sound than her excellent, alt-country influenced debut The Lake, but long-time fans need not worry: there are also a handful of gorgeous, delicate & incredibly touching songs here, showcasing Coddington's considered approach & strong vocals.

Her unassuming presentation belies a clever song-writing brain & though she's relatively unknown, Cat & Bird is further evidence Coddington is a NZ artist we willl treasure in years to come.

4 stars from 5

Review reprinted courtesy of Waikato Times

09 February 2011

Review: Kelis - Flesh Tone

Flesh Tone

Reviewing this album confused me.

On one hand it's as light & fluffy as chewing clouds, while on the other hand it almost seems there's something a little darker going on just beneath the surface.

Strictly speaking I should strongly dislike, if not hate this album.

It's essentially euphoric dance pop music, blending electropop, synthpop & house music. Production is by David Guetta, Boys Noize, Jean Baptiste & Benny Benassi, among others. It's released on Will.I.Am's label. While it may be a radical departure from Kelis' previous R&B-styled albums, Flesh Tone breaks no new ground & she does nothing we've not heard from others before.

However, I don't strongly dislike this album & I certainly do not hate it. I'm still not sure I like it, necessarily either. Here are three reasons why I'm struggling to get a true handle on my feelings about this album.

Firstly, despite brimming with sleek dance pop, the album flows as a listening experience incredibly well - something which can seldom be said these days, as most albums are really just collections of radio singles - while also playing host to a handful of potential major club anthems. Of particular note is the lead single Acapella & forthcoming single Scream, both of which incidentally, are produced by cheesy house maestro du jour David Guetta.

Secondly, Kelis sounds good. Really good. Full-tilt house diva mode clearly suits her. As does Motherhood. She has been quoted as saying that Flesh Tone is an uplifting album which celebrates the birth of her first child, so while she's obviously in good spirits, the Giorgio Moroder-era Donna Summer v modern Euro club pop sound is also an apt fit.

Thirdly, even though there's not one single fresh idea present on Flesh Tone, only one track really outstays its' welcome (the mindlessly repetitive Emancipate) & in all, the album's nine tracks barely scratch the 38min mark, strangely leaving me quite happy to listen again.

I admire any artist willing to change up their sound from album to album, and Flesh Tone is nothing if not a departure from her previous work. It's even highly enjoyable, in places, kinda like candy floss.

Hmmm... when was the last time you ate candy floss & felt good about it afterwards...?

In A Nutshell: candy-coated sleek club pop which is a non-fattening guilty pleasure
90's Rating: SIX glittering disco balls OUT OF TEN

The Radio Ponsonby Record Review airs on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show every Wenerei morning at around 8.30am. Big thanks to Longroom.

07 February 2011

George FM Playlist Waitangi Day Sunday 6th Feb "In The Pocket with 90"

Flying Lotus | Sangria Spin Cycles
Tosca | Heidi Bruhl (Plantlife's Love Philosophy remix)
Sa-Ra Creative Partners with Noni Limar | I Swear
Al Green with John Legend | Stay With Me (Max Kane Slump)
Mayer Hawthorne | Just Ain't Gonna Work Out (El Camino remix)
Roy Ayers | Liquid Love
Blackstreet | No Diggity (B.Cause Blend)
Beat Assailant | Hard Twelve (instrumental)
Marvin Gaye | Sexual Healing (Simon's Dark Keys remix)
Stonephace | Wedgehead Gets Lucky
KMD | Sounded Like A Roc
Kinny | Backstreet Lust (Azaxx remix)
The Black Seeds | Rotten Apples (Lowman's Block Rockin' Bass remix)
Bittersweet | Overdue (Blackbeard remix)
Jamiroquai | Just Another Story
Lanu with Megan Washington | Beautiful Trash
Me&You | Texture Like Sun
Law | Winning Hand
B.O.B. with Bruno Mars & Common | Nothin' On You (B.Cause GO edit)

03 February 2011

Review LANU 'Her 12 Faces'

Her 12 Faces
[Tru Thoughts]

Upfront: I'm a big fan of Lanu's work.

Under his birth name Lance Ferguson he has produced five albums as the bandleader, guitarist & chief songwriter for The Bamboos, one of the best Deep Funk bands on the planet. He was the producer & co-songwriter for two albums by Bamboos frontwoman Kylie Auldist, showcasing a slick, R&B-styled soul-pop. As Lanu, his debut solo album, 2007's This Is My Home, blended West London broken beat with Detroit-styled future soul & an intuitive jazz sensibility.

So I was excited to hear he is about to release his 2nd solo album, titled Her 12 Faces. I came to the album with no indication how it might sound other than having been told "it's a little different from my other albums" by the man himself. I hadn't read the record company press release. I hadn't heard the single.

And I must admit upon first listen I was entirely underwhelmed.

Where's the edginess? Where are the "interesting" bits? Where the bloody hell has Lanu gone!?

However as I persevered, the hidden charms of this electronic-flecked dream pop began to reveal themselves. Dream pop? Oh yes, dream pop. And Lounge, Folk, even a little Latin music, all drawn together into a subtle sonic stew - which utilises clever songwriting alongside the kind of scholarly approach to contemporary beats you'd expect of someone who counts Mr Scruff, Keb Darge, DJ Food & Kenny Dope as fans/friends.

Despite the access to well-known international names (This Is My Home featured Aloe Blacc & Quantic, among others) the key guest on Her 12 Faces is Aussie popstress Megan Washington.

Fresh from a Gold-selling album in Oz, which also won her two ARIA awards last year, Washington's involvement here seems to have allowed Lanu licence to approach his songwriting from another angle stylistically. I mean, let's face it: the man knows his way around a tue, we're already well aware of that, but, given a new muse to work with, Lanu has branched out further from his past work to deliver 12 slices of peerless indie dream pop.

Having now read the press release I see they mention Koop, Feist & Janelle Monae, but I reckon Her 12 Faces pitches almost exactly halfway between Little Dragon & Steely Dan. To be frank, I can't think of anything dreamier, or more appealing in pop terms, than that. Nice one, Lance.

In A Nutshell: 12 slices of peerless indie dream pop from a modern songwriting wunderkind
90's Rating: SEVEN swaying sunflowers in a summer's meadow OUT OF TEN

Check out the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with 90 every Wednesday morning around 8.30am, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show. Thanks to Longroom. And youse fullas.