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7″ review: The Putbacks ft Nai Palm – Spanish Harlem / The Worm

HS012 Pack Shot

March 10 marked the release of The Putbacks‘ new 7″, ‘Spanish Harlem‘, which features Melbourne’s hottest neo-soul voice NaiPalm. You may know her as the Headchief of future soul band Hiatus Kaiyote, but in this Hope Street Recordings release we see a different side of the talented vocalist.

This soulful, blues-ridden track is combined with the instrumental-only B-side ‘The Worm‘, which showcases the raw talent and unbridled rhythmic intensity that is the Putbacks.

‘Spanish Harlem’ is an upbeat, joyful cover of the Leiber and Spector song first released by Ben E King in 1960 (but you probably remember the 1971 rocking Aretha version that catapulted the song into the chart stratosphere), and in this Putbacks/Nai Palm recreation the vibe is chilled out to a sunday afternoon.

Also noticeably absent in this reinvigorated, freshly pressed version is the cheesy alto saxophone solo from the Ben E King version, which is definitely an added bonus.

The slightly more funk-oriented ‘The Worm’ is a salute to the 1970s, with screaming Hammond organs, garage-tinged drums and relentless pentatonic polyphony. The climatic highlight of the record is upon you now – if you aren’t getting down and groovy by this point in the record you’re clearly subject to severe emotional capacity deficits.

And as if that isn’t enough funk for your buck, the good folks at Hope Street Recordings have included a bonus track on the digital release of Spanish Harlem/The Worm entitled ‘In The Dirt‘.

The production on this record is in classic Hope Street Recordings style, with the listener getting the feeling that the entire 7″ has been soaked in a tub of hazy, summery 1960s-70s nostalgia.

This beautiful partnership between Nai Palm and The Putbacks is reminiscent of a funkier, more soulful lovechild of Hendrix and The Upsetters (Little Richard‘s group, not the reggae band).

Get your copy of the 7″ (plus a free download of all the tracks + bonus track ‘In The Dirt’) HERE!!! Do your bit to support and sustain the wonderful work of these artists and independent labels.

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Throwback: Madlib – Slim’s Return

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Bow Your Head for Real Hip Hop: B.Slade Introduces the Kingdom to the UK

Check out this great review of new material from B.Slade and Michael Leon from thepublicblogger.

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L.atasha A.lcindor – MOMA (prod. Ken10)

You won’t regret listening to this track…

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February 17, 2014 · 12:09 am

Thundercat – Evangelion // We’ll Die [music video]

LA-based virtuoso bassist Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) has released a double video for two of the songs off his acclaimed 2013 album Apocalypse (released on Brainfeeder).

Although Thundercat is best known for his work with Flying Lotus and thrash heads Suicidal Tendencies, Apocalypse is the second solo release from the bassist. And it’s nothing to be scoffed at – elements of jazz and free harmony coalesce with R&B and a distinct dreamy, psychadelic recording style to produce a modern masterpiece. The video for tracks ‘Evangelion‘ and ‘We’ll Die‘ is no exception to this rule, with photographer B+ (aka Brian Cross) recruited for video direction and also adding a entrancing visual element to the music.

‘Evangelion’ sees Thundercat trudging through a derelict desert landscape with guitar and samurai sword in hand, looking freaking cool while B+ utilises cinematic sweeping pans across the desert. ‘We’ll Die’ fades back in as a sweet little candid moment of just the man himself with a beautiful 6-string bass. The video is shot exquisitely and complements the music perfectly. Check out the video here and stream the entirety of Apocalypse below.

 

 

 

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Album review: Joey Bada$$ – Summer Knights

July 1st 2013 marked the release of the new full-length mixtape by Joey Bada$$, Summer Knights. With 17 tracks and approximately 10 producers, Summer Knights is similar to its prequel mixtape 1999 in that the album has a variety of production and MCing styles. A few producers on the mixtape are exceptional – all four tracks produced by Lee Bannon are fantastic, as well as ‘Sorry Bonita’ (produced by Oddisee). 

I have noticed that Joey tends to mould his rap style to each producer – in theory this is an advantage as it shows his versatility, but Summer Knights does lack a signature style that some of his peers have already developed. Yet somehow, there is continuity throughout the tape despite the many styles of production.

Standout tracks include ‘Hillary $wank’ (prod. by Lee Bannon), with Bada$$ effortlessly gliding over its nu-jazz hook and arrhythmic time signature, and also ’47 Goonz’ (ft Dirty Sanchez & Nyek Caution, prod. by Lee Bannon). A gently lagging minimal kick and snare beat complements a melodically stark 2-bar hook, with Dirty Sanchez and Nyek complementing Joey’s verse perfectly. ‘Sorry Bonita’ (prod. by Oddisee) is another jawdropping track: the beat and bassline are sampled from A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Bonita Applebum’, and a collective-style group track featuring the rest of Pro Era (almost reminiscent of Native Tongues).

I can’t commend the production style on these tracks highly enough – all the standout tracks for me are produced by Bannon and the one track by Oddisee, which is interesting. The remaining tracks on Summer Knights range from hip-boppin to mediocre, with a huge degree of variance. Perhaps Bada$$ would produce a more concrete MCing style if he made an album with just a couple of key producers?

Overall, the production on Summer Knights is outstanding. So is Bada$$’s flow and rhythm, which is so comfortable and instinctual. That said, the lyrical content on this mixtape leaves something to be desired, but considering Joey’s age (18) and maturity level this is to be expected. He shows so much potential at a young age that I think we can expect Joey to break out of his predecessors’ mould and develop an instinctual style of conscious rap a la 2013. 

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