Funk & Soul

New song: Acantha Lang || Lois Lang

Acantha Lang’s first single He Said / She Said was one of my favorite tracks from last year. That song came out on October 28, just before we started this website. So I was not able to share that with you here then, but I have waited for the day when more music would appear so that I could write about it. Today is that day: here’s Lois Lang, a tribute to Acantha’s mother: ‘It tells the story of her life growing up in New Orleans, a young girl living during segregation, bringing up 4 kids as a single mother, losing everything in 3 major hurricanes.’ Given the subject, this song is less exuberant than the debut, but just as impressive.

“Her name is Lois Lang // But she ain’t have no superman”

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New post: Hoodna Orchestra || Alem Alem

And now for something complete different. Hoodna Afrobeat Orchestra is a 14 piece Afrobeat group from Tel Aviv (Israel). They describe their music as a blend of free flow Afrobeat riddims and heavy dance-floor Afro funk. Their new EP Alem Alem is a tribute to Ethiopian Jazz legends Mahmoud Ahmed, Tilahun Gessesse and Alemayehu Eshete. I would describe it as five swinging instrumental funk tracks by a great group of skilled musicians. Out now digitally trough Agogo Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New reissue: Al ‘Man’ Muntzie And The Embraceables || Die Happy

This great soul / funk song was originally released in 1976 and was the only release on S.B. Moon Records. For those who do not want to pay 100+ euros for the original Die Happy single, MR BONGO has now released a reissue on black or red vinyl. I didn’t know the track for the past 44 years, today I can’t live without it. RIYL Curtis Mayfield.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Josh Del || Who Do You Love

Josh Del’s music encapsulates the time growing up in the scorching desert of the Coachella Valley. And although I’m a long way from there, it comes across loud and clear when he sings ‘I can’t believe this is happening’. His new (digital) single Who Do You Love is a slow soul / blues tune that probably will give you goosebumps. Raspy vocals, a bluesy guitar and heartfelt emotion, I love it.

Add to wantlist: original version || acoustic version (both “pay what you want” downloads at Bandcamp)

New single: Thee Sacred Souls || Will I See You Again? / It’s Our Love

Alex Garcia, Sal Samano and Josh Lane formed Thee Sacred Souls in 2019 but they are quickly becoming an established name with soul lovers. Their first 7 “, the wonderful Can I Call You Rose? / Weak For Your Love, sold already for € 164 on Discogs. And now the American soul trio has released a new single, of which both sides, Will I See You Again? and It’s Our Love, are just as wonderful. Out now on Daptone’s imprint Penrose Records. A band and a voice to cherish.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New video: Johnny Ruiz & The Escapers || Stay

This debut single by Johnny Ruiz & The Escapers offers a summery combination of sweet soul and rocksteady, but also a story of the harshest realities of saying goodbye after an evening of maximum joy. After the release of Stay through Bang! Riddims / Mango Hill Records in November 2020, a first and second run of vinyl 7″ singles quickly sold out, but as of today a video of the song by the American sextet is online. Frontman ‘El Diamante’ Johnny Ruiz behind the microphone in combination with atmospheric images from 11th Street Records and Chops Barbershop & Shave Parlor in Las Vegas. What’s not to like?

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Aaron Frazer || Introducing…

American songwriter Aaron Frazer rose to fame as drummer with the golden voice behind Durand Jones. You can hear his falsetto on fan favorite Is It Any Wonder?, for example. Before that, he played and sang with the blues rock band Charlie Patton’s War, who made one – hard to find – album (Rock ‘N’ Roll House Party is on my wantlist for years; anyone have a copy available?). You can recognize him out of thousands in a video of an old street performance, but both his drumming and singing were a lot rougher then than nowadays. What a contrast to Introducing…, Aaron Frazer’s debut solo album, produced by Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach and recorded with a crew of heavy session players, including members of the Memphis Boys. The 12 new tracks offer a mix of classic soul, disco, gospel and doo-wop, all pretty smooth and radio / bedroom friendly. Introducing… is co-released today on Easy Eye Sound and Dead Oceans. It might be too slick for our taste, but it could just become a soul classic that you put next to your Curtis Mayfield and Smokey Robinson records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Aaron Frazer Store

New song: Chris Lujan & Electric Butter feat. Andre Cruz || New Years Day

New Year’s Day is a special day every year (in 2021 perhaps even more than usual), in that respect it’s remarkable that relatively few songs are devoted to it (compare it with the enormous amount of Christmas songs). Fortunately, Chris Lujan and Andre Cruz are now making a nice new contribution. From the idea that any day can be the beginning of a new year they wrote the tune New Years Day, an optimistic and atmospheric soul song that promises a new start. Available digitally through Lugnut Brand Records. Happy New Year!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Overlooked album: Kyle Lacy || The Road To Tomorrow

Every year it happens again: you have published your album of the year list and then you discover that you missed LPs that you really didn’t want to miss. Today I listened for the first time to the music American singer-songwriter Kyle Lacy released in 2020: his first full-length solo album The Road To Tomorrow (released February 14, CD on Dala Records; listen to stand-out tracks Low and Slow and Hangin’ On below), his EP Bad Bad Days (May 1, independently available from Bandcamp), his EP in collaboration with Warren Malone Lunchbox Special (August 7, Bandcamp) and his EP No Better Me (October 1, Bandcamp). All worth checking out. A fine mix of soul, blues, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll that deserves a larger audience (why isn’t this dude as famous as Eli “Paperboy” Reed and Nick Waterhouse?). Kyle Lacy may be missing from my year-end list, but it’s never too late to discover such good music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dala Records

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Singles And EPs of 2020

Last week, I published my Top 50 Albums of 2020. The week before, Dennis published his. Time for the final AtW list of 2020: my Top 40 Singles and EP’s of year. There was a lot to choose from, and I am sure I overlooked and forgot several releases that would otherwise be included on this list. I opted out of the painstaking process of ranking these singles and EPs, so the bands are in alphabetical order. If I had to choose though, Romero probably would be my #1 pick, followed by Hard Action, Civic. Click below on read more to go to the list. I’ve included short explanations and my favorite song of each single/EP, either with a bandcamp embed or a video. If you like what you hear, just click on the title and AddToWantlist. There is an almost complete Spotify playlist of the releases at the bottom of this post – six are currently not on that platform.

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