22 August 2012

Review: Sola Rosa 'High And Beyond, Low And Behold'

Low And Behold, High And Beyond
[Rosa Recordings]

During the late '90s I was managing a music retail store in Auckland's Queen Street when an only marginally older Andrew Spraggon showed up hawking a box of CDs. I was vaguely familiar with him via local post-rock outfit Cicada, but the Starter For 4 EP from his brand new Sola Rosa solo project was not what I was expecting: "Kind of like spaghetti western hip hop", I vaguely recall him telling me. I paid for the CDs using money from the till without telling the boss - and, thankfully, we went on to sell many, many more copies. Time has passed, I'm no longer in music retail and Sola Rosa has been going from strength to strength. Low And Behold, High And Beyond is their fifth album, and one which sees them now more than ever functioning as a group rather than a solo project. There have been other changes since those early EPs too: where they certainly inhabited that space Spraggon described to me initially, their last album Get It Together and the new album both seem to have been geared towards the masses. This is slickly produced and cleverly arranged soul and funk music with its head in the clouds of pop music, and just enough rough edges to keep the listener intrigued. With Low And Behold... Sola Rosa have delivered an album of consistently high quality. Besides a rollcall of guest musicians, there are also a handful of guest vocalists involved, with locals LA Mitchell (who appears on three tracks) and Ned Worboys, and internationals Olivier Daysoul and Miles Bonny appearing, alongside regular contributor Spikey Tee. Daysoul provides two of the albums' many highlights with the opening track Promise (which you can check out below) and the obscenely funky Wiggle, while Mitchell proves she's worthy of the hype with a fantastic performance on the closing track Loveless. Interestingly, the other highlight is the album's sole instrumental, Lion's Den, which just goes to show Spraggon and his band are well capable of making a glorious racket all on their own. Still mad decent after all these years.

4 stars from 5

Check out the album-opener, Promise, featuring Olivier Daysoul, right here. And I encourage you to dig a little deeper - and purchase a damned copy...

Promise Ft. Olivier Daysoul by Sola Rosa

You can also check out Sweetpants and I speaking about Low And Behold, High And Beyond on the radio, for the Radio Ponsonby Record Review, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show, The Long Black...

Record Review - Sola Rosa by Radio Ponsonby

15 August 2012

Club Connoisseurs Playlist: Mon 13 Aug

Every Monday evening from 6pm some of Auckland's most keen lovers of vinyl share some of their collection for Club Connoisseurs, at Chapel Bar. This week I had the great pleasure of playing a number of tunes, alongside Messrs Murray Cammick and Jay Jeffrey. Hallowed company, indeed. My selection included these tunes...

Cal Tjader | Soul Burst
Etta James & Jimmy Smith | I Just Want To Make Love To You
D'Angelo | Spanish Joint
Rocket Juice & The Moon with Erykah Badu | Manuela
Bukky Leo & Black Egypt | Skeleton
Nancy Wilson | Sunshine
Breakout | Planet Rock (Jazz version)
The Lions with Noelle | Think (About It)
The Rebirth | Evil Vibrations
The Congoes | Fisherman
Sugar Minott | Give The People What They Want
Yesterday's New Quintet | Too High
Sinclair | Ain't No Casanova
Quincy Jones | The Dude
Cymande | It's Magic
Charles Earland | Comin' To You Live
Toshiki Kadomatsu | Step Into The Light (Onur Engin edit)
Corky McClerkin | Searchin' For The Soul

12 August 2012

Playlist: George FM 'In The Pocket' Sun 12 Aug

Sly & Robbie Meets Howie B | Into Battle
Micronism | Constructing Space
Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka | Creeper
Harry Wolfman | Nightmares On Acid
Vladivostok | Sustain This! (Berghmeister's Bam! Bad Boy Rip)
Blind Melon | No Rain (DJ Kue edit)
Ed Wizard & Double Dee | Magnificent
Jersey Street | It's A Beautiful Thing
Cole Medina | On Fire
Ben Browning | I Can't Stay
Markas | Love (edit)
Psychemagik | Boogie Drome
DJ Agent 86 | Give It To Me Baby
Jadoo | Kings & Queens
Stars On 33 | Something I Can Feel
Parliament | Chocolate City
Letta Mbulu | Kilimanjaro (The Revenge edit)
Jerrome Derradji | NYCom
Jadoo | She Can't Hate You
Keep Schtum | I Want You For Myself
Superbreak | That Loving Feeling
Kastil | Baltimore Thunder

07 August 2012

Listen Up: 'In The Pocket' with 90 & Jay Jeffrey (Pt. 3) aka The Strictly 7" Vinyl Show

'In The Pocket' with 90 & Jay "Fat Albert" Jeffrey (Pt. 3) aka "The Strictly 7" Vinyl Show"

It's always a pleasure (never a pressure) to welcome Jay "Fat Albert" Jeffrey into the studio - and never more so than when we lay down an all-7" vinyl selection, as we did at the end of July. You can listen back to the show here and peruse the playlist here. Enjoy. We certainly did.

Nice one...

05 August 2012

Playlist: George FM 'In The Pocket' Sun 5 Aug

Lava Lava | Burnt
Up, Bustle & Out | Hip Hop Barrio
Freddie Cruger with Linn  | On My Way
Moka Only | Lowdown Suite
Peven Everett | Testin' Me
Diverse | Jus' Biz
Rae & Christian with Veba | Spellbound (Old English remix)
Tosca | Chocolate Elvis
Kinny & Horne | Sacred Life
Beatfanatic | Origins (Of Hip Hop)
Visioneers | Swahililand
The Odd Couple | Paperkites
Eru Dangerspiel | Coq Au Vin
The Avalanches | Since I Left You
Smoke City | Underwater Love
The Black Seeds | Make A Move
Marvin Gaye | What's Going On (The Reflex edit)
Erykah Badu | Bump It
Roots Manuva | Movements
Take | The Highest Highs & The Lowest Lows
Lewis McCallum | Fly Or Die
King Kapisi | Sub-Cranium Feeling

04 August 2012

Bumps: Mandrill 'Dance Of Love'

Classic 1980 funky disco boogie from Mandrill, a band centered around the three Wilson Brothers. Taken from the album 'Getting In The Mood', the song Dance Of Love is a stone cold floorfiller. I love it. I hope you do too.

Mandrill - Dance Of Love by bro90