Funk & Soul

New album: Sgt. Splendor || Death Of The Hoochie Koo

Less than a year after their debut album Occasions for Self​-​Congratulations, New York City-based power duo Sgt. Splendor returns with their sophomore LP Death Of The Hoochie Koo, recorded in a new studio – The Jam Cave – at the same location where the first demos of The Grateful Dead originated. Kate Vargas and Eric McFadden had already made their mark – solo or in other projects – before joining forces, but together they create a wonderful synergistic effect. In the ten new songs, not only do the amazing vocals and skillful guitar playing of the two musicians complement each other very well, but alt-funk, desert rock and dirty blues also merge seamlessly. Groovy and brooding, mysterious and memorable – this is hot music with cool cover art.

Death Of The Hoochie Koo, self-produced, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Color Red.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Color Red

New album: Mozzy Dee || ¡Órale!

Equal parts soul, rock and style, you can’t miss what Mozzy Dee is all about. Mozzy Dee aka Dolores D. Fuentes (mighty lead vocals), together with C.E. Clendening (electric & rhythm guitar, backup vocals), Luke Metz (electric bass guitar), Guido Tries (drums), Shanda Cisneros Ratto (backup vocals) and Frankie Lee (backup vocals), not only breathe rhythm & blues and rockabilly from 50s America, but also know how to write amazing songs and manage to catapult them skillfully to 2023. On their full-length debut album ¡Órale! you’ll hear nine infectious floor fillers (plus two bonus tracks), some of which have been performed live for years, which are guaranteed to provide a good time. Vintage rock ‘n’ roll executed to perfection.

¡Órale!, produced by John Fallon and Joe Lawless with Dolores D. Fuentes, is out now digitally and on CD through Rum Bar Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Mozzy Dee

New album: Angela Tini || Have You Met Me Yet?

“There are jivers and strollers, but every song is an ass shaker.” That’s the justified promise of Have You Met Me Yet?, the first full-length solo album from Angela Tini aka “the Duchess of Rhythm & Blues.” She made her mark fronting both The Starjays and Angelatini & The Treblemakers, now she has Carl Sonny Leyland (piano), Shorty Poole (upright bass), Tommy Harkenrider (guitar), Jonny Viau (sax) and Josh Collazo (drums) behind her. Angela Tini’s mighty vocals naturally claim the leading role, but can glory because of the swinging foundation that this skilled rock ‘n’ roll band lays down. All twelve tunes here are floor fillers – rooted in the 50s, but exactly what we need in 2023. If you can only listen to one song today, let it be 200 Pounds Of Fun (a Candye Kane cover), because that’s what this is all about. Shake what you got!

Have You Met Me Yet?, produced by Carl Sonny Leyland, is out now digitally and on CD through Rum Bar Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Televisionaries & Les Greene || Televisionaries & Les Greene

As you’ll know by now, we are fans of Rochester, New York’s Televisionaries, the rock ‘n’ roll combo featuring brothers Austin, Brendan and Trevor Lake, and their friend Aaron Mika. For this new 3-track EP they teamed up with Les Greene, frontman of The Swayzees, also responsible for Little Richard’s vocals in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film and soundtrack. It’s a golden combination, in which the danceable sound of the band forms the ideal base for the singer’s soulful throat. Opening song Airbound is a raging floor filler, after which the pace drops slightly for powerful soul hits Reconcile and Few and Far Between. Live even more fun.

Televisionaries & Les Greene is out digitally and on vinyl 7″ through Nu-Tone, a division of Hi-Tide Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Hi-Tide

Gimme 5! American Restless Shares Ten Albums That Influenced Rust Belt Rock N Roll (Out June 16th)

Photo by Kristy Walker

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share five records THEY love.

In 2021, American writer, editor and musician Noah C Lekas made it to the top of my year-end list with his Sounds From The Shadow Factory EP. The unique collection of beat poetry songs – ‘jazz for the mind, blues for the soul’ – blew me away. But he has more up his sleeve: I would like to introduce you to American Restless, a promising band he started with two old friends from Rancine, Wisconsin – bassist Ian Grant and drummer Arjuna “RJ” Contreras (Reverend Horton Heat). They describe their music as ‘Rust Belt Rock and Roll’, a strong expression that also works well as the title for their debut album, which will be released June 16 by Blind Owl (pre-order Rust Belt Rock N Roll here). Listen to its lead single Cadillac Head below for a first impression.

It’s quite a fearless and cool sound, bluesy garage rock with the swagger of rockabilly, restless and typically American. We’ll review the LP when it’s out, but we were bold enough to already ask Noah Lekas (vocals, guitar) and Ian Grant (bass) about the artists that influenced Rust Belt Rock N Roll: “We have played music together since we were kids, so it was a lot of fun getting to talk about some of the records that have really shaped our musical life.”

New album: Tito Ramírez || El Prince

And now for something completely different. Tito Ramírez started out as a masked mystery, but after five singles, one album and some exciting live shows, we now know we’re dealing with artist Pedro Poyatos aka Peter Boogie Parker (Los Granadians), who has dubbed himself “His most excellent perversity”, “The Kink of Mambo” and “El Prince”. The last two names are also the titles of his previous and new LP. On El Prince you’ll hear thirteen pieces of psychedelic rhythm ‘n’ blues, exuberant and uplifting, all danceable for people who know how to do the boogaloo. Expect a mash-up of timeless Latin soul (unmistakably the main ingredient), 60s garage beat and 50s rock ‘n’ roll, like an exotic soundtrack that doesn’t need a movie, because it takes no effort to envision a colorful world full of swinging adventures.

El Prince, produced by Óscar Martos, is out streaming and on vinyl LP through Antifaz Discos & El Volcán Música.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Antifaz || El Volcán

New album: Ian Kay || Walk That Road Again

France-via-Barcelona singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ian Kay may be a new name, but it turns out he’s played in some of our favorite garage/beat bands before. After Les Rencards, The Cavemen V and The Missing Souls, he now releases his debut solo album, Walk That Road Again. Largely on his own he played and recorded eleven 60s-inspired rhythm & beat tunes with psych influences, chock full of hooks. Not wild and dirty, but groovy and graceful, danceable and challenging, catchy and ravishing. This record really offers a lot of fun.

Walk That Road Again, produced/mixed by Jeremy Yeremian, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP via Discos Antifaz.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Discos Antifaz

New album: Jason Joshua || La Voz De Oro

Unfortunately, not much new soul music has been released lately that manages to reach my heart, realizing that it’s not easy to add something original to the rich history of the genre. Miami Maestro Jason Joshua is the extraordinary exception, because although his sound is rooted in the late 60s and early 70s, his songs and vocal range are truly unique. His previous album Alegría Y Tristeza made it to my 2020 year-end list, sophomore full-length La Voz De Oro (translated: The Golden Voice – listen and you’ll understand why) is at least as attractive. In nine new mid-tempo tunes (hits!), influences from Latin soul, salsa, funk, pop and cinematic psychedelia are mixed with themes of love, happiness, mental state and betrayal, a classy cocktail with those great vocals as the icing in the glass. They are inviting and moody, but also groovy and rough around the edges, touching head and heart.

La Voz De Oro is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Borinquen / Mango Hill Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: ah! || Well Do Ya Punk?

Here is something you may either hate or love, depending on your mood and fondness of the mashup genre. Meet Alan Hurley (Ireland), who in addition to being a standup comedian, filmmaker and creative artist, also is an avid mash-up magician. Under the ah! moniker, his Bandcamp page has ten plus mix tapes of mashups. Sometimes his focus lies on mashing pop songs with alt rock and classic rock, sometimes it’s on mashing up advertising songs, at other times Hurley mashes up Irish artists, or songs from movie soundtracks.

Hurley’s latest collection Well Do Ya Punk? mashes pop songs with punk tracks. Well Do Ya Punk? opens with Earth Wind & Fire singing September over Sex Pistols’s God Save The Queen. The execution is pretty flawless and it’s sure nice to hear those two bands playing along so well. Remember the Bobby Ramone experience? I am getting similar vibes from this song. Other highlights on the compilation are mashups between Wet Leg and The Chats (I’m On Smoko On A Chaise Longue), Birdy and Buzzcocks (Ever Fallen In Skinny Love?), Olivia Rodrigo and The Damned (neat neat neat 4 u) and between Starship and Stiff Little Fingers (We Built This City On Suspect Device).

Well Do Ya Punk? may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for some tracks to get your next party started, you might find some great material here.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Sensation Seekers || It’s Clappin’ Time

Do you know what time it is? It’s Clappin’ Time, always a good idea. The Sensation Seekers – Angus McPake (organ), Damon McNally (guitar), Joe Peat (bass) and Murray Briggs (drums) – know how to throw a party. They already showed that with their Jerk Beat LP (2018), and the four new instrumental songs here are just as infectious, the title track leading the way (the EP closes with a cover of Booker T. & the MG’s Be My Lady). You can call it mod soul, freak-beat or even garage rock, but that doesn’t really matter – as far as I’m concerned, these organ-driven tunes are new dance floor classics that we’re going to enjoy for a very long time.

The It’s Clappin’ Time EP is out now digitally and on vinyl 7″ trough Spinout Nuggets.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Spinout Nuggets

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