Soulful sounds from Black Pumas – a collaboration between singer Eric Burton and the great Adrian Quesada – the latter an instrumentalist and producer that you'll know from a variety of different funky projects over the years! This set might well be Adrian's ticket to the big time – as Burton's a singer with a very strong range, and great crossover potential – echoing Al Green one minute, hitting deeper vibes the next – and working alongside small combo backing that has plenty of laidback guitar lines and warm keyboards, all produced with the usual Quesada touch! Titles include "Oct 33", "Fire", "Colors", "Know You Better", "Stay Gold", "Old Man", "Confines", and "Touch The Sky". CD
Brownout sound heavier than ever here – recording in Texas, not Berlin (that's the last name of the producer) – and with a fantastic blend of deep funk, Latin elements, and lots of psychedelic touches! In fact, there may be more of that last aspect here than ever before – possibly because the guitar lines of Adrian Quesada get lots of strong placement in the mix – but also because the percussion, vocals, and other acoustic elements are all fused together in the mix in a really great way – this kind of wide wash of sound that's nice and dirty at all the right moments. Titles include "Seamus", "Nain", "Somewhere To Go", "Upon This Rock", "You've Got To Change", "Brownie", "Hold Your Way", "In Between", and "After November". CD
Calibro 35 —
Momentum ... CD Record Kicks (Italy), 2020. New Copy ...
Calibro 35 have certainly gained momentum in our book – as the group's given us more than a few albums over the years, and just keep sounding better and better with each new one! This set has the group still strongly in their core territory of Italian soundtrack and sound library funk – but they're also pushing the sound with some flavors that are very much their own – newer rhythmic and instrumental modes that fold nicely with the older-style elements, and really help keep the whole thing from just sounding like a retro-inspired set of funk! There's lots of cool sonic textures and colors throughout – and titles include "Stan Lee", "Black Moon", "Tom Down", "Automata", "4 x 4", "Glory Fake Nation", "Death Of Storytelling", and "One Nation Under A Format". (New Grooves, Deep Funk)CD
Crowd Company —
Lowdown ... CD Vintage League, 2020. New Copy ...
A nice mix of mod soul and funkier styles from Crowd Company – a group who know how to lead as strongly with their Hammond as they do with their vocals – really putting both elements to work in the frontline to carve out some very catchy songs for the set! The group sport two different female singers – Joanne Marshall and Esther Dee – and the guitarist also sings a bit too – and the whole thing was produced by longtime funk maestro Alan Evans, who helps maybe give the group some of the tighter sound of his own nice work. Titles include "Free To Choose", "Get Used To It", "Change My Mind", "Brooklyn Summer", "On This Love You Can Count", "A New Direction", "Stories", and "Now Is The Time". CD
A really different groove from El Michels Affair – but one that reminds us again that the group is really amazing at just about anything they ever try to do! The adult themes here are modes borrowed from older European styles – some of the slinky funk of Serge Gainsbourg and some of his contemporaries, mixed with maybe a touch of Euro erotic film scoring – but all given that strong undercurrent of funk that we can always expect from Leon Michels and the group – arranged and produced with a really superb quality throughout! The drums are nice and heavy, the basslines sexy and slinky, and there's some occasional wordless female vocals and larger arrangements that really expand the palette of El Michels. Titles include "Enfant", "Villa", "Kill The Lights", "Life Of Pablo", "A Swift Nap", "Munecas", "Rubix", "Hipps", and a number of "Adult Theme" tracks. CD