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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover !!! (CHIK CHIK CHIK) Louden Up Now (Touch & Go) cd 15.98
Everybody's favorite indie funk-dub party band returns with their second full length after almost 4 years of near silence (just an ep and a few other sporadic appearances). And they take up right where they left off. Fun and funky, silly and sexy, occasionally intense and aggressive, but always a big ol' sweaty stew of jangly wah guitars, dubbed out FX all over the place, tribal rhythms, slap bass, ska horns, hypnotic grooves, bizarre production and lots of vocals! That's right. Vocals. The boy vocals sound quite a bit like the Clash at their most dubbed out, while the female vocals are classic sounding disco diva. All this vocalising keeps the proceedings weird and unpredictable, and add some serious snarl to the party (with a mouth that Mom would want to wash out with soap!), while perfectly complimenting !!!'s super extended instrumental workouts that are equal parts funky seventies sitcom theme song, coked up Studio 54 dance mix, British punk dub, Prince-like nasty funk (complete with Prince like lyrics: "U might C U R there...") and groovy Neu like krautrock. Comes with a bonus disc that appears to be the 'bad words removed' clean edit version of the record.
MPEG Stream: "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Karazee"
MPEG Stream: "Pardon My Freedom"

album cover 24 CARAT BLACK Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero Group) cd 14.98
An amazing kind of soft-psychedelic breeze must be blowing over whatever strange and mysterious land Numero Group call home as their two most recent recent deep vault discoveries have both sizzled in a soft psychedelic glow of vibrant color. Last time we heard from this always amazing reissue/rediscovery label it was the late 60's psych-pop delights offered by Pisces. This time out it's the early '70s soft psychedelic soul of 24 Carat Black. Conceived, produced and orchestrated by the amazingly talented Dale Warren whose delicate touch can be heard on various records released on Motown and Stax including choice cuts from Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd and Albert King. As seductive and rich in his orchestration and production as fellow soul magic makers like Charles Stepney and Norman Whitfield, Warren also had a kind of vivid imagination and singular vision much like aQ fave David Axelrod. He took a little known Cincinnati group called The Ditalians under his wing and had them change their name to 24 Carat Black and released their 1973 album Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth on Stax. A record that has become big time fodder for rare groove lovers and was sampled by hip-hop artists like Digable Planets and Young Disciples.
While that record has enjoyed cult-status by a new generation, it was, sadly, a commercial flop, so the follow up record was never released. Luckily Numero Group has given this deeply satisfying record the day in the sun it so rightly deserves. This is a record filled not only with a soft psych-soul vibe but also such intense emotional weight and an overall feeling which should speak loudly to fans of What's Going On era Marvin Gaye, Rotary Connection and Ramp. We also get the feeling that if she hasn't already, Erykah Badu would find so much inspiration here, and these guys would for sure be kindred soul spirits. Truly a lost classic. Thank you once again Numero Group!
MPEG Stream: "I'll Never Let You Go"
MPEG Stream: "Gone The Promises Of Yesterday"
MPEG Stream: "I Want To Make Up"

album cover 24 CARAT BLACK Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero Group) lp 17.98
Now on Vinyl!
An amazing kind of soft-psychedelic breeze must be blowing over whatever strange and mysterious land Numero Group call home as their two most recent recent deep vault discoveries have both sizzled in a soft psychedelic glow of vibrant color. Last time we heard from this always amazing reissue/rediscovery label it was the late 60's psych-pop delights offered by Pisces. This time out it's the early '70s soft psychedelic soul of 24 Carat Black. Conceived, produced and orchestrated by the amazingly talented Dale Warren whose delicate touch can be heard on various records released on Motown and Stax including choice cuts from Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd and Albert King. As seductive and rich in his orchestration and production as fellow soul magic makers like Charles Stepney and Norman Whitfield, Warren also had a kind of vivid imagination and singular vision much like aQ fave David Axelrod. He took a little known Cincinnati group called The Ditalians under his wing and had them change their name to 24 Carat Black and released their 1973 album Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth on Stax. A record that has become big time fodder for rare groove lovers and was sampled by hip-hop artists like Digable Planets and Young Disciples.
While that record has enjoyed cult-status by a new generation, it was, sadly, a commercial flop, so the follow up record was never released. Luckily Numero Group has given this deeply satisfying record the day in the sun it so rightly deserves. This is a record filled not only with a soft psych-soul vibe but also such intense emotional weight and an overall feeling which should speak loudly to fans of What's Going On era Marvin Gaye, Rotary Connection and Ramp. We also get the feeling that if she hasn't already, Erykah Badu would find so much inspiration here, and these guys would for sure be kindred soul spirits. Truly a lost classic. Thank you once again Numero Group!
MPEG Stream: "I'll Never Let You Go"
MPEG Stream: "Gone The Promises Of Yesterday"
MPEG Stream: "I Want To Make Up"

album cover 5TH DIMENSION, THE The Magic Garden (Rev-Ola) cd 15.98
Of our many guilty pleasures around here, one which we have little opportunity to highlight is our mad love for sixties mainstream pop. Not the little known obscurities necessarily, but the big budget LA productions as performed by groups like Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, The Mamas and The Papas, The Turtles, The Association, Spanky and Our Gang, and The 5th Dimension. While they all had charted hits, they all performed at a time when the musical landscape was changing, and their charted successes gave them the ability to explore less industry-influenced album-oriented material. They all had that odd record, most likely their least successful, but at least one truly stands the test of time, and because of its lack of commercial familiarity, actually sounds the most fresh of the bunch. Case in point, this wonderful soft psych Jimmy Webb-penned song cycle from The 5th Dimension. Basically the soulful black counterpart to The Mamas and The Papas, The 5th Dimension and Jimmy Webb had such an initial breakout hit and such award-winning success with their debut album, "Up Up and Away", that Jimmy Webb was handed complete arrangement and total writing control for the groups follow-up record, The Magic Garden. With production by Bones Howe, who helmed albums by The Association and The Turtles, The Magic Garden could easily be called the best record the 5th Dimension released, even though it was far from successful. Webb, struggling with manic-depression and a bitter breakup, used the song cycle format to chart his fragmented relationship with love. Using soft psych-tinged orchestral arrangements (including sitars!), dreamy harmonies and surrealistic lyrics, the songs weave together intricately, yet belie a darker sentiment underneath all the flower child imagery. For example, the only minor hit on here, the upbeat, "Carpet Man", is about a man who lets the women in his life walk all over him, While "The Worst That Can Happen" is about a former lover getting married to someone else. The best song however is the heart-stabbing Isleys-meet Scott Walker dark orchestral funk ballad, "Requiem: 820 Latham" that is atypical of the 5th Dimension's normally sunny hits. Filled with amazing orchestral breaks that beg to be sampled, this record was recently revealed in a Nick Drake biography to be one of his favorite records to listen to (along with Love's Forever Changes, and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks) due to its stellar orchestral production. And a bonus here is that Rev-Ola took the liberty of moving the contractually obligated cover, The Beatles "Ticket to Ride" to the end of the song cycle from its original location in the middle. The Carpenters always had the better approach to that cover (dour and depressed) anyway, so it's just best to skip that track altogether. Other than that, this is one of those bittersweet gems that fans of sixties pop and production will love!!!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Dreams / Pax / Nepenthe"
MPEG Stream: "Carpet Man"
MPEG Stream: "Requiem: 820 Latham"

album cover 7 DAYS OF FUNK 7 Days Of Funk (Stones Throw) cd 11.98
For us, the big musical surprise of last week was not Beyonce's new album, but the release of Dam-Funk and Snoop Dogg's throwback collaboration, 7 Days Of Funk. Working with a single producer for the first time since his debut, Snoop Dogg (billed here as Snoopzilla in homage to Bootsy "Bootzilla" Collins, and of whom Snoop also does a great impression of throughout) and Dam-Funk channel late seventies P-Funk as well as the smoother synth-funk iterations that came after in the early eighties, territory that Dam-Funk traversed with great success on his debut Toeachizown. It's hard not to love a production that is all about getting high and having a good time, especially when the grooves are so laid back, stoned-out and infectious. The match-up is pretty damn perfect, and for all of Snoop Dogg's indulgent musical excursions of late, like the reggae-inspired Snoop Lion, this is the one we have been digging the most.
MPEG Stream: "Hit The Pavement"
MPEG Stream: "Faden Away"
MPEG Stream: "Systematic"

album cover 7 DAYS OF FUNK 7 Days Of Funk (Stones Throw) lp 17.98
ALSO ON VINYL, BY THE WAY!
For us, the big musical surprise of last week was not Beyonce's new album, but the release of Dam-Funk and Snoop Dogg's throwback collaboration, 7 Days Of Funk. Working with a single producer for the first time since his debut, Snoop Dogg (billed here as Snoopzilla in homage to Bootsy "Bootzilla" Collins, and of whom Snoop also does a great impression of throughout) and Dam-Funk channel late seventies P-Funk as well as the smoother synth-funk iterations that came after in the early eighties, territory that Dam-Funk traversed with great success on his debut Toeachizown. It's hard not to love a production that is all about getting high and having a good time, especially when the grooves are so laid back, stoned-out and infectious. The match-up is pretty damn perfect, and for all of Snoop Dogg's indulgent musical excursions of late, like the reggae-inspired Snoop Lion, this is the one we have been digging the most.
MPEG Stream: "Hit The Pavement"
MPEG Stream: "Faden Away"
MPEG Stream: "Systematic"

A GUY CALLED GERALD Blueprint (Blueprint) 2cd 18.98
A straight mixed CD of '70s funk classics from the techno-boffin turned drum 'n' bass innovator A Guy Called Gerald, featuring Funkadelic, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Bootsy's Rubber Band, Cymande, Slave, War, Phoebe Snow, Barry White, Mtume, Kool & The Gang, and many more. One of the discs is Gerald's mix, the other is an un-mixed selection of some of Gerald's favorite tracks.

AALIYAH s/t (Blackground) cd 17.98
Where is the "hit" on this record? It seems to be all filler, despite Timbaland's production work on several tracks and also one written by Misy Elliot. Just really generic slow jams laced with Aaliyah's pretty voice (multitracked and tweaked within an inch of its life.) Hm.

album cover ADAMS, PATRICK Master of The Masterpiece 2: More of The Best of Patrick Adams (P&P Records) cd 16.98
We couldn't be happier about the disco revival that has swept through the music scene over the last year or two. It's exciting that a whole new generation is discovering the high energy and sexually charged dance floor burners that were such important anthems for so many underrepresented communities in popular culture (queer, African-American, Latino, etc.). While producers like Giorgio Moroder and Patrick Cowley have finally been rediscovered by a whole new generation of kids who dig stuff like Justice, Glass Candy and the Chromatics, we're hoping it will happen for Patrick Adams too.
Born in Harlem in 1950, Adams is an amazingly rare breed of producer, having managed to stay fresh and vital for more then three decades. He has worked with everyone from Astrud Gilberto to Eric B. & Rakim, Sister Sledge to Salt 'n Pepa, Eddie Kendricks to The Salsoul Orchestra. Maybe best known for the irresistible disco jam by Musique "In The Bush", Adams was one of the few producers of the disco-era who continued to make cool and innovative records throughout the '80s and well into the '90s.
Master Of The Masterpiece 2 digs really deep into Adams' vaults, as none of these tracks have been available on cd before, and finding original vinyl versions is damn near impossible. From the playful disco of Bumble Bee Unlimited, the strong and soulful stylings of Debbie Taylor, the electro robotic sounds of The "P" Crew and the breezy funk of the Universal Robot Band, all 12 tracks here show how carefree sounds can be made with backbone and conviction. So when you wanna dance in style or ride around town with the top down, we can't think of a better of a soundtrack than these Patrick Adams gems!
MPEG Stream: BUMBLE BEE UNLIMITED "I Got A Big Bee (Original Demo Version)"
MPEG Stream: SINE "Rotation"
MPEG Stream: DEBBIE TAYLOR "No Deposit No Return"

album cover ADAMS, PATRICK Master of The Masterpiece 2: More of The Best of Patrick Adams (P&P Records) 2lp 19.98
We couldn't be happier about the disco revival that has swept through the music scene over the last year or two. It's exciting that a whole new generation is discovering the high energy and sexually charged dance floor burners that were such important anthems for so many underrepresented communities in popular culture (queer, African-American, Latino, etc.). While producers like Giorgio Moroder and Patrick Cowley have finally been rediscovered by a whole new generation of kids who dig stuff like Justice, Glass Candy and the Chromatics, we're hoping it will happen for Patrick Adams too.
Born in Harlem in 1950, Adams is an amazingly rare breed of producer, having managed to stay fresh and vital for more then three decades. He has worked with everyone from Astrud Gilberto to Eric B. & Rakim, Sister Sledge to Salt 'n Pepa, Eddie Kendricks to The Salsoul Orchestra. Maybe best known for the irresistible disco jam by Musique "In The Bush", Adams was one of the few producers of the disco-era who continued to make cool and innovative records throughout the '80s and well into the '90s.
Master Of The Masterpiece 2 digs really deep into Adams' vaults, as none of these tracks have been available on cd before, and finding original vinyl versions is damn near impossible. From the playful disco of Bumble Bee Unlimited, the strong and soulful stylings of Debbie Taylor, the electro robotic sounds of The "P" Crew and the breezy funk of the Universal Robot Band, all 12 tracks here show how carefree sounds can be made with backbone and conviction. So when you wanna dance in style or ride around town with the top down, we can't think of a better of a soundtrack than these Patrick Adams gems!
MPEG Stream: BUMBLE BEE UNLIMITED "I Got A Big Bee (Original Demo Version)"
MPEG Stream: SINE "Rotation"
MPEG Stream: DEBBIE TAYLOR "No Deposit No Return"

album cover AFRICAN MUSIC MACHINE Black Water Gold (Fuel) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is some seriously smoking vintage funk out of New Orleans from the early '70s. An 8-piece outfit, they were best known as the studio band for the Jewel / Paula Soul Power label, they backed up the likes of Fontella Bass, Little Johnny Taylor and Bobby Paterson. But even without a singer their music sounded exactly the way you want your funk to sound: raw, hot and gritty. While they never received the same acclaim as folks like The Meters or The J.B.'s this is still some top notch real-deal funk. The original vinyl of this release is pretty much impossible to find so this cd reissue is a welcome arrival for all soul and funk lovers.
MPEG Stream: "Black Water Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Tropical"

album cover AFRICAN MUSIC MACHINE Black Water Gold (Soul Power) lp 12.98
This awesome slice of funk is now available on wax.
This is some seriously smoking vintage funk out of New Orleans from the early '70s. An 8-piece outfit, they were best known as the studio band for the Jewel / Paula Soul Power label, they backed up the likes of Fontella Bass, Little Johnny Taylor and Bobby Paterson. But even without a singer their music sounded exactly the way you want your funk to sound: raw, hot and gritty. While they never received the same acclaim as folks like The Meters or The JB's, this is still some top notch real-deal funk.
MPEG Stream: "Black Water Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Tropical"

album cover AFRO FUNK Body Music (Secret Stash) cd 15.98
The latest in a series of killer now NOT on-vinyl-only releases from the Secret Stash label, now on cd!!!
Secret Stash do indeed seem to have access to a secret stash of international groove obscurities. This rare record, originally released in 1975, was the sole album from Afro Funk, a band of West Africans based in London, England. Can you guess what this one sounds like from the band name? Yes you can! Afrobeat rhythms meet electric American funk. It's chock full of percolating percussion, chirping horns, wacka-wacka guitar, and chanted funk-shaman vocals. Also, some some JB's "Blow Your Head" style synth Moog-ery, notably prominent on side two's mesmerizing 8+ minute instrumental jam "Farewell To Ibusa". Overall, the lp's got a loose languid laidback vibe, yet the playing is tight and funky throughout. Reminds us a bit of Soundway's recent reissue by the Black Truth Rhythm Band, and also would fit in with the great stuff Academy Records/Voodoo Funk digs up, like Marijata. In fact, we now remember that their track "Afro Funk" appeared, appropriately, on the comp Afro Funk Explosion some years back, alongside the likes of Blo, Manu Dibango, and, yes, Black Truth Rhythm Band. Quite a groovy gem, well worthy of reissue.
MPEG Stream: "Tei Egwu"
MPEG Stream: "Hot Love"
MPEG Stream: "Farewell To Ibusa"

album cover AFRO FUNK Body Music (Secret Stash) lp 17.98
Latest in a series of killer vinyl-only reissues from the Secret Stash label, who indeed seem to have access to a secret stash of international groove obscurities. This rare record, originally released in 1975, was the sole album from Afro Funk, a band of West Africans based in London, England. Can you guess what this one sounds like from the band name? Yes you can! Afrobeat rhythms meet electric American funk. It's chock full of percolating percussion, chirping horns, wacka-wacka guitar, and chanted funk-shaman vocals. Also, some some JB's "Blow Your Head" style synth Moog-ery, notably prominent on side two's mesmerizing 8+ minute instrumental jam "Farewell To Ibusa". Overall, the lp's got a loose languid laidback vibe, yet the playing is tight and funky throughout. Reminds us a bit of Soundway's recent reissue by the Black Truth Rhythm Band, and also would fit in with the great stuff Academy Records/Voodoo Funk digs up, like Marijata. In fact, we now remember that their track "Afro Funk" appeared, appropriately, on the comp Afro Funk Explosion some years back, alongside the likes of Blo, Manu Dibango, and, yes, Black Truth Rhythm Band. Quite a groovy gem, well worthy of reissue. Comes with mp3 download card.
Watch out for more reviews of Secret Stash stuff as we catch up on their catalog...
MPEG Stream: "Tei Egwu"
MPEG Stream: "Hot Love"
MPEG Stream: "Farewell To Ibusa"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 19 : Alemye (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Recorded in 1974, smack dab between the lps reissued as Ethiopiques 6 (1973) and Ethiopiques 7 (1975) Alemye is the third entry in this series given over to documenting Ahmed's complete recorded output, a totally unique, gorgeously smooth funk / soul / jazz groove accompanied by Ahmed's unmistakable crooning. There are plenty of resources to read more about Ahmed and the history of Ethiopian music, on the net, even elsewhere on our website, but this review is all about the music. This is sexy sultry stuff, lively horns and fluttering flutes sway hypnotically above a muted rhythm section of bass drum and organ, in fact the rhythm section is so subdued that it almost sounds like it's bleeding through the wall from a room next door. But that gives it a super warm, warbly droning feel, all dreamy and mesmerizing and totally otherworldly. But it's all about that croon. Ahmed is known as the James Brown of Ethiopia, which makes sense in that he is definitely a funk / soul superstar there, but sonically, he is way less hyper and energetic, less wild and teetering on the edge of collapse, and way more broodingly sexual and sensual, lights low, the room cloaked in smoke, tense and mysteriously intense, his voice slipping smoothly up and down impossible scales, a rich warm velvet purr, capable of soaring into passionate wails and back down again, slithering and shimmering with that perfect vibrato. Extensive liner notes and photos as with all of the amazing Ethiopiques releases, of which this is apparently the penultimate installment, and an especially great one at that.
MPEG Stream: "Alemye"
MPEG Stream: "Wegenie"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 26 (BudaMusique) cd 15.98
What more can we say about the amazing Ethiopiques series of compilations that we haven't already? And what else can we say about legendary Ethiopian vocalist Mahmoud Ahmed, who is probably featured on more of the various Ethiopiques collections than any other musician?
Have a look at our reviews on the aQ site of the other 25 installments, and you'll see just how much we love this stuff. In fact, Volume 4 in the series might just be one of our best selling titles EVER. For those new to Ethiopian music, this is as good a place to start as any, featuring some of the earliest recordings of Mahmoud Ahmed, recorded when he was a member of the Imperial Bodyguard Band, during a time when most modern Ethiopian music was generated exclusively by military institutions, army bands, police bands and even, yes, the Imperial Bodyguard Band, which Ahmed joined in the early sixties.
There's a wild tale in the cd booklet about a huge musical festival held every year, where the various institutional bands would perform in front of thousands, and compete for the adoration of the crowd, the competition so fierce, that the various bands would rehearse secretly, and post guards outside while they practiced, stopping immediately if anyone got too close, and it was this intense competition that drove these bands to practice incessantly, and continually get better and better. And it says something that these early tracks are so incredible, and it's not just Ahmed's voice, the arrangements are lush and intricate, the melodies, the horns, the background vocals, the music is hard to describe, it's soulful, a little funky, and distinctly Ethiopian, once you've heard a few of these comps, the second you hear Ethiopian music from this era, you know, it sounds like nothing else. Listen to the sound samples, we're guessing you'll be smitten as we are, and once you've absorbed volume 26, you can begin to work your way back through the first 25. You think we're joking, but this stuff is really that amazing...
MPEG Stream: "Yeshiharegitu"
MPEG Stream: "Eneman Neberu"
MPEG Stream: "Ebo Lala"
MPEG Stream: "Esset Mera"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Music Accompained [sic] By Ibex Band (Mississippi / Change) lp 14.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
Missisippi Records continue their welcome run of Ethiopiques vinyl releases with another blast of hot desert soul from the one and only Mahmoud Ahmed. Also released on cd as Ethiopiques Vol. 19: Aleyme, here's what we said when we first reviewed it in 2005:
Recorded in 1974, smack dab between the lps reissued as Ethiopiques 6 (1973) and Ethiopiques 7 (1975) Alemye is the third entry in this series given over to documenting Ahmed's complete recorded output, a totally unique, gorgeously smooth funk / soul / jazz groove accompanied by Ahmed's unmistakable crooning. There are plenty of resources to read more about Ahmed and the history of Ethiopian music, on the net, even elsewhere on our website, but this review is all about the music. This is sexy sultry stuff, lively horns and fluttering flutes sway hypnotically above a muted rhythm section of bass drum and organ, in fact the rhythm section is so subdued that it almost sounds like it's bleeding through the wall from a room next door. But that gives it a super warm, warbly droning feel, all dreamy and mesmerizing and totally otherworldly. But it's all about that croon. Ahmed is known as the James Brown of Ethiopia, which makes sense in that he is definitely a funk / soul superstar there, but sonically, he is way less hyper and energetic, less wild and teetering on the edge of collapse, and way more broodingly sexual and sensual, lights low, the room cloaked in smoke, tense and mysteriously intense, his voice slipping smoothly up and down impossible scales, a rich warm velvet purr, capable of soaring into passionate wails and back down again, slithering and shimmering with that perfect vibrato.
MPEG Stream: "Alemye"
MPEG Stream: "Wegenie"

ALLEN, TONY Jealousy / Progress (Evolver) cd 16.98
Finally a domestic, single disc reissue of the first two albums Tony Allen released under his own name in 1975 and '77. Legendary drummer for Nigerian visionary Fela Kuti's band Afrika '70, Allen has often been called a co-founder of Afrobeat (along with Fela). In fact Allen's drum parts were often the only element that Fela did not pre-score. These records swing and stutter and groove and majorly kick ass, stretching themselves out often to 15 minutes or more (and you never want it to end anyway). In addition to the saxophones, trumpets, congas, bass, maracas, the extraordinary standout guitar work is very hooky to these western ears, which is mostly why I like it so much, especially on the song "Jealousy", and there are lots of drum solos, more than on the Fela records. Really great -- listen to the soundclip and know there's more where that came from. Essential to any Afrobeat collection, and also a great place to start!
RealAudio clip: "Jealousy"

album cover ALLEN, TONY No Accommodation / No Discrimination (Evolver) cd 16.98

album cover AMNESTY Free Your Mind (Now-Again) cd 15.98
Wow! What an amazing discovery by the soul archivists at Stones Throw who obviously knew the world needed to hear this amazing early seventies Indianapolis funk band. Amnesty employ tasty vocal harmonies, horns that would make Antibalas drool, and a raw & gritty vibe that has had us listening to this over and over ever since we got our hands on it. A killer collection of mostly previously unreleased tracks, the socially conscious and physically addictive sounds of true soul. Think Parliament/Funkadelic and the finest moments of Roy Ayers with touches of Afrobeat, giving these songs a strength and resonance that has our ears ringing with perfect delight. So good!
MPEG Stream: "Mr President"
MPEG Stream: "Lord Help Me"
MPEG Stream: "Free Your Mind"

ANDERSON, GENE & THE DYNAMIC PSYCHEDELICS Cold Blooded Games In The Ghetto: Rare & Unreleased St. Louis Funk & Electro 1969-1979 (Tuff City / Funky Delicacies) lp 14.98

ANTIBALAS Liberation Afro*Beat Vol. 1 (Ninjatune) cd 15.98
In the time since we first listed this (a few weeks ago), the original indie-label disc went out of print and was re-released worldwide by Ninjatune! Now with different art and two bonus tracks! But otherwise, it's the same record, so this is what we said about it before:
Antibalas is a music cooperative out of Brooklyn. The same group (more-or-less) was formerly known as The Daktaris, who you may recall as the modern-day '70s styled faux-African funk combo who cut an excellent disc for the Desco label, one that's made many a JBs and Ethiopiques fan happy. Drawing both their musical and political influences from the dearly departed Fela Kuti, Antibalas continue the tradition and produce some very convincing, very butt-shaking Afro-Beat funk that would make Mr. Kuti proud. All the essential elements are here: horn section, organ (not icky synth), guitar, bass, drums and various percussion, all tightly and patiently fleshing out ostinato melodies with brief bursts of instrumental soloing. Unlike Fela's pieces, which generally had a duration of about 20 minutes -- or the length of one side of a long playing record -- these cuts all stay under 10 minutes long, with the shortest being 6 and a half minutes... important stuff to think about when making mix tapes, right?
RealAudio clip: "Dirt And Blood"
RealAudio clip: "Uprising"

ANTIBALAS s/t (Daptone) lp 23.00

album cover ANTIBALAS Security (Anti) cd 14.98
Wow! There is no doubt that Antibalas have always been really good at what they do. One of the few bands carrying the torch of Afro-beat in honor of the late great Fela Kuti, and doing it better then pretty much anyone here in the states. But with this most recent release they have taken things a step further and expanded their sound from merely being capable clones to constructing one of the most lively and rich sounding soul/funk/afro-beat records we've heard in FOREVER. With John McEntire (Tortoise) manning the controls, this is the kind of fusion record all the post-rockers of the 90's wish they had the soul to create. Rich and dirty organs, wild horns, and killer breakbeats all coming together to ignite an undeniable groove. The opening track "Beaten Metal" is for sure one of our favorite songs of '07, but the entire album is pretty much just as mind blowing!
MPEG Stream: "Beaten Metal"
MPEG Stream: "Filibuster XXX"

ANTIBALAS Talkatif (Ninja Tune) cd 16.98
Here at AQ we try as often as possible to review records without quoting or paraphrasing from the press releases (and when we do it makes us feel kind of dirty). But in the case of New York-based Antibalas, their self-written bio says it better than I can:
"Antibalas (Spanish for "Bulletproof" literally "Anti-bullets") is the next generation of afrobeat in the tradition of the Black President, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. This fourteen-plus piece band hits hard with the left and the right -- monstrous horns and bass layered over funky polyrhythmic beats and breaks coupled with furious lyrics challenging and attacking the dehumanizing capitalist system and inciting insurrection in English, Yoruba, and Spanish. Antibalas formed in May 1998 of members of Desco Records' Soul Providers and Daktaris. This union of Latinos, whites, Afro-Americans, Africans and Asian-Americans resides in New York, spread out over Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx."
So, if you don't already have some Fela albums, by all means get one or two or twenty before you acquire Antibalas. But if you're already familiar with Fela's Afrobeat sound, how wonderful is it that a modern band can replicate the sound so joyously and exactly. This group must be *amazing* to see live.
RealAudio clip: "War is a Crime"

album cover ANTIBALAS Who Is This America? (Ropadope) cd 16.98
These excellent Afrobeat merchants from Brooklyn are back, with their third album of booty-shaking, politically-minded jams in the vital tradition of the late great Fela Kuti. They haven't lost a step since their last disc Talkatif. A mixed race, very muliticultural group with all the ingredients: hot horn section, polyrhythmic percussion, groovy keyboards, socially conscious singing and chanting. Even the longest tracks (up to 20 minutes) are packed with an excess of energy. Even the angriest anti-Bush rhetoric on here still sounds like a party. Weirdly jazzy, funkifed good times. Funk and Fela fans will want both this record and a ticket to Antibalas' next concert (and they are great live, as this and their other discs would lead you to imagine).
MPEG Stream: "Pay Back Africa"
MPEG Stream: "Indictment"

album cover APOSTLES, THE Onye Akpa / Oshi Onwu (Academy) 7" 9.98
And here's a Record Store Day release that we still have simply 'cause our shipment of these 7"s from Academy Records didn't arrive until a few days ago, AFTER Record Store Day. Billed as the funkiest Record Store Day release ever, and we don't doubt it, Academy's expert Afro-Funk bona fides being second to none. Working in conjunction with DJ/digger Frank "Voodoo Funk" Gossner, as they so often do, they've unearthed and reissued this early '70s West African gem, an ultra rare, ultra funky 45 of which only two original copies are known to exist today. Both A side "Onye Akpa" and "Oshi Onwu" on the flip offer up a head nodding, hip swinging stew of call-and-response chanting vox, chicka-chicka-chicka funk guitar, boom-boom-bap drumming, and psychedelic organ warble.
It's a remastered, official reish, limited edition of course, and "pressed extra loud for maximum impact".

album cover AQUARIUS BUTTONS 2 x 1" buttons 1.00
Hey, we just got another batch of AQ buttons made up...
Spread the word! Show the world your true aQ colors! COOL COOL COOL aQ buttons, now in 6 different vibrant color combinations. 5 new color combos (blue on pink, red on dark grey, dark blue on blue, orange on black, and yellowish green on dark green) and a popular one we had previously (brown on yellow).
TWO FOR $1!!! Colors are random, but buy enough and you'll be guaranteed to get 'em all! And of course all feature our spiffy James Gang style logo!! So stylish!

album cover ASHBY, DOROTHY Afro-Harping (Verve/Cadet) cd 12.98
If David Axelrod produced an Alice Coltrane record, the results might sound something like Dorothy Ashby's 1968 breakout recording, Afro-Harpin'. Of course that's not giving credit where credit is surely due. Dorothy Ashby was on the scene way before Alice Coltrane and she was the first artist to front a jazz combo with the harp in the early fifties inspiring Alice Coltrane to take it up after moving on from the vibraphone. And though David Axelrod is better known nowadays, Richard Evans isn't some nobody producer, having created, along with fellow producer Charles Stepney, the richly textured soulful sound of Chicago's Cadet Records. A sound that relied more heavily on strings, flutes, and vibes rather than horns, and that along with some tribal percussion and hypnotic beats underscored some of the most diverse and underrated soul recordings of the late sixties (Rotary Connection, Ramsey Lewis, Fugi, Marlena Shaw and Soulful Strings). Eccentric Soul indeed!
From the opening off-kilter Theremin and drum breaks on "Soul Vibrations", you know we're in for a truly different kind of soul-jazz record. By the time the flutes and harp kick in, we're well under Ashby and Evans spell. A cool summery cocktail of majestic funkiness that will satisfy every groovy nerve in your body. Comprised mostly of original compositions with the exception of a couple of then-contemporary standards like "The Look of Love" and Theme From Valley Of The Dolls", there are some tracks that settle into a nice soft lounge vibe without ever getting cheesy. In fact the Hammond organ solo on "The Look of Love" finishes the album quite nicely. Having recorded three amazing break-filled and heavily sampled records for the Cadet label, we hope we will be hearing more of Miss Ashby's harp grooves again real soon. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Soul Vibrations"
MPEG Stream: "Afro-Harping"
MPEG Stream: "Little Sunflower"

ASHBY, DOROTHY Hip Harp (Prestige) lp 12.98

ASHBY, DOROTHY Hip Harp (Prestige) lp 12.98

album cover ASHBY, DOROTHY The Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby (Dusty Groove) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Man, are we ever so excited to get this title, Dorothy Ashby's third and most originally authorial album with Richard Evans, The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby. Based on the mystical poetry of the eleventh century Persian astronomer, Omar Khayyam, Ashby has created ten original compositions that feature an array of far eastern instrumentation and for the first time, her voice. Sung and recited, sometimes in bewitched multi-vocal incantations, the mystical vibe is heightened by electrified harp, distorted kalimba and koto but grounded in the driving percussive and bass grooves of Richard Evans' majestic production which evokes Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Pan-Asian sensibilities. The opener, "Myself When Young," has the cinematic power of a James Bond ballad. Her voice, commanding but never over-powering, becomes more intriguing and mysterious as the album progresses, immersing us deeply into the esoteric cosmos of her muse. A truly magical record and it can't be recommended enough!
MPEG Stream: "Myself When Young"
MPEG Stream: "Wax & Wane"
MPEG Stream: "Joyful Grass & Grape"

album cover AXELROD, DAVID Earth Rot (Capitol) lp 11.98
Always ahead of his time, this 1970 eco-friendly concept album from mastermind producer David Axelrod finds him warning and bringing light to the damage man has done to nature. Lush, psychedelic arrangements and a haunting overall quality make this one of the more underrated records in Axelrod's catalog.

album cover AXELROD, DAVID Seriously Deep (Dusty Groove America) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another often overlooked ambitious album in the amazing career of producer/arranger/musical mastermind David Axelrod. Unlike the orchestrated and conceptual records he made earlier in his career, this 1975 album is all about the totally deep and funky jazz. Very much an album of its time, this is some over the top fusion jazz-funk action that definitely has its moments but can get very very wanky. That said, there are plenty of moments that you could imagine J Dilla sampling, or snippets that would fit so perfectly on the Beastie Boys record Pauls Boutique. Kind of like a 70's cop show meets porno soundtrack vibe. If you don't have any David Axelrod in your music collection (which you should remedy post haste!) this isn't necessarily the place to start. Try, Songs Of Innocence or the great collection The Edge: David Axelrod At Capitol Records 1966-1970, as those really capture the true genius and innovation of Axelrod. But for those who want to dig deeper into his sound or just have a sweet soft spot for this era in all its funky weirdness then we say why not go seriously deep?
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "1000 Rads"

album cover AXELROD, DAVID Songs Of Experience (Capitol) lp 11.98

album cover AXELROD, DAVID The Edge: David Axelrod At Capitol Records 1966-1970 (Capitol) cd 16.98
So good! Axelrod founded the "black music" division of Capitol records in the '60s. During his reign at Capitol he produced amazing records by Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls and David McCallum. He also pretty much created the two weirdest Electric Prunes albums. What has been hardest to track down are three of his own records during that era: Songs of Experience, Songs Of Innocence, and Earth Rot. On these, Axelrod put together an orchestra of sound complete with strings, hammond organ and a super rich backbeat that's been sampled and worshiped by the likes of DJ Shadow, Madlib and Dr Dre. This collection compiles tracks from those three albums as well as a few choice cuts he produced for other artists at Captiol circa '66-'70. His sound is one that laid the foundation for the explosion in fusion which would happen in the '70s. Miles Davis always gave props to Axelrod and one could argue that he was very responsible for helping lay the foundation for a work like Bitches Brew to be born. Taking the richness of soul, the freedom of jazz, elements of classical composition and hints of rock and psych-pop Axelrod is one of the few guys who can get away with wearing sunglasses inside 'cause he was just that cool!
MPEG Stream: "Song Of Innocence"
MPEG Stream: "The Fly"

album cover AYERS, ROY Lots Of Love (Universal Sound) cd 19.98
Wow, this one's a real surprise, because as much as we're fans of jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers' early to mid-seventies rare groove and jazz albums, his later output that we knew of, pretty much fell into cheesy disco and RnB. So when Universal Sounds re-issued this album from 1983 that we had never heard of, we were a bit wary but also highly intrigued. Released on his own independent label Uno Melodic while he was between major-label tenures with Polydor and Columbia, Lots of Love clearly shows Ayers independence as he freely explores many styles of post-disco dance music from the Afro-beat inspired "Black Family", the electro-funk of "Fast Money", and the minimal house of "Chicago", while "D.C. City" hearkens back to the simmering rare groove classics he recorded with Sylvia Striplin and Ethel Beatty. He also gets in a couple of grooving instrumentals with the vibes, showing that he never lost his chops. His best record since 1976's Everybody Loves The Sunshine!
Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Black Family"
MPEG Stream: "Fast Money"
MPEG Stream: "Chicago"

album cover AYERS, ROY Lots Of Love (Universal Sound) 2lp 24.00
Now available on vinyl, sweet.
Wow, this one's a real surprise, because as much as we're fans of jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers' early to mid-seventies rare groove and jazz albums, his later output that we knew of, pretty much fell into cheesy disco and RnB. So when Universal Sounds re-issued this album from 1983 that we had never heard of, we were a bit wary but also highly intrigued. Released on his own independent label Uno Melodic while he was between major-label tenures with Polydor and Columbia, Lots of Love clearly shows Ayers independence as he freely explores many styles of post-disco dance music from the Afro-beat inspired "Black Family", the electro-funk of "Fast Money", and the minimal house of "Chicago", while "D.C. City" hearkens back to the simmering rare groove classics he recorded with Sylvia Striplin and Ethel Beatty. He also gets in a couple of grooving instrumentals with the vibes, showing that he never lost his chops. His best record since 1976's Everybody Loves The Sunshine!
Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Black Family"
MPEG Stream: "Fast Money"
MPEG Stream: "Chicago"

album cover B.T. EXPRESS Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) (Scepter Records) lp 12.98
Vinyl reish of a '70s funk/disco classic. Comin' atcha out of Brooklyn, the B.T. Express got a lot more disco as the decade progressed, but you can't go wrong this this debut from '74. Best known for the title track, this groovy platter is chock full of chicka-chicka-chicka guitars, funky brass, some heavy-handed synth, and lyrical wisdom like the messages delivered by "Everything Good To You (Ain't Always Good For You)", "If It Don't Turn You On (You Oughta' Leave It Alone)", and the aforementioned title track, ferinstance.
For fans of Kool and The Gang, The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Bootsy, Parliament, etc.; this record definitely belongs in any self-respecting funkateer's collection.
MPEG Stream: "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)"
MPEG Stream: "Once You Get It"

B.T. EXPRESS The Best Of (Rhino) cd 15.98
Newly released 15-track collection of long-out-of-print stuff from this kick ass 70's funk band. Concentrating mainly on their first two lps, with such classic jams as "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" and "Give It What You Got". Fans of P-Funk, early Kool & The Gang, Jimmy Castor Bunch, etc., will surely dig!!

album cover BABY HUEY The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (Water) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
I've always wanted to hear this heavily-sampled, late '60s funk/soul rarity, and now here it is at last reissued on cd! Does it live up to its reputation? Well, first, for those who haven't heard of him, Baby Huey's "story" is a sad one. The soul singer from Chi Town known as James Thomas Ramey, aka Baby Huey, only made one album, unfortunately released posthumously. Drugs and obesity (he weighed somewhere near 400 pounds -- a big guy, with an Afro to match!) contributed to his death from a heart attack in 1970 at age 26. RIP Baby Huey. That's one reason that the original LP is such a collectable... and also because heck, it DOES boast some mighty funky grooves. Including three numbers by Curtis Mayfield (who also produced the album) plus a powerful cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Going To Come" and a flute-filled, funked-up instrumental version of "California Dreamin'" among other groovy gems. This is very 'of its era', for sure, which means it's got lotsa brassy horns, DJ-friendly drum breaks, lush arrangements, some slightly psychedelic touches...and great vocals. If you're into Mayfield and Otis Redding and other '60s soul/funk, chances are you'll dig this.
MPEG Stream: "A Change Is Going To Come"
MPEG Stream: "Hard Times"

album cover BABY HUEY The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (Curtom) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This longtime AQ fave, always a steady seller on cd, is now available as a vinyl reissue! Here's what we said when it was first reissued on cd:
I've always wanted to hear this heavily-sampled, late '60s funk/soul rarity, and now here it is at last reissued! Does it live up to its reputation? Well, first, for those who haven't heard of him, Baby Huey's "story" is a sad one. The soul singer from Chi Town known as James Thomas Ramey, aka Baby Huey, only made one album, unfortunately released posthumously. Drugs and obesity (he weighed somewhere near 400 pounds -- a big guy, with an Afro to match!) contributed to his death from a heart attack in 1970 at age 26. RIP Baby Huey. That's one reason that the original LP is such a collectable... and also because heck, it DOES boast some mighty funky grooves. Including three numbers by Curtis Mayfield (who also produced the album) plus a powerful cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Going To Come" and a flute-filled, funked-up instrumental version of "California Dreamin'" among other groovy gems. This is very 'of its era', for sure, which means it's got lotsa brassy horns, DJ-friendly drum breaks, lush arrangements, some slightly psychedelic touches...and great vocals. If you're into Mayfield and Otis Redding and other '60s soul/funk, chances are you'll dig this.
MPEG Stream: "A Change Is Going To Come"
MPEG Stream: "Hard Times"

BADU, ERYKAH Mama's Gun (Motown) cd 16.98

album cover BADU, ERYKAH New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War (Universal / Motown) cd 16.98
Let's get this right out of the way, Erykah Badu is a genius! While we love and can't get enough of folks like Sharon Jones and Nicole Willis, there really is no one else like Erykah Badu, someone who is taking soul and funk into new and outer dimensions. She represents the best of hip-hop culture as well as carrying on a legacy of spiritual and cosmic soul. Badu has that something special that you can't really put your finger on but you sure can feel.
Her last record Worldwide Underground ranks as one of our favorite psychedelic soul/hip-hop records ever made! Five years later, she returns with another ambitious and crazy rewarding record that boasts Madlib as a producer, as well as the Sa-Ra crew, collaborations and guest spots by Georgia Ann Muldrew, Bilal, Omar Rodriguez (Mars Volta), and more. There's super tight and punchy live instrumentation, and samples that demonstrate a wide reaching and enlightened taste (The Yamasuki Singers, Eddie Kendricks, Curtis Mayfield, Nancy Wilson, etc). Badu is mindful and super knowledgeable about the past but she isn't a retro act, she is so about the here and now and could care less about trends and fads. She is one of the few high profile modern artists who truly has her own vision and such a special touch. Her live show a few years ago at the Paramount Theater in Oakland we reminisce about all the time, her band was so out there in the best of ways, and she owned the stage, even playing the Theremin and taking everyone in attendance to the outer limits of a super soul planet we wish we could always orbit.
Her new record starts off with an adaptation of the Roy Ayers produced Ramp classic "American Promise" and from there on out is filled with some of the best songs Badu has recorded to date, including a couple chilling tributes to her close friend J Dilla who passed away since her last album. New Amerykah has a couple moments where it trips up, but like all brave artists it takes the courage to slip up from time to time in order to create so much musical magic. Highly recommended, and for sure check out Worldwide Underground as well if you haven't!
MPEG Stream: "The Healer"
MPEG Stream: "Soldier"

album cover BADU, ERYKAH New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return Of The Ankh (Universal Motown) cd 16.98
Erykah Badu is one of those singular artists who is able to create such a devotional and personal relationship with her listeners. Where New Amerykah Pt. 1 had a fiery political undertone, New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return Of The Ankh, is much more personal and relationship minded. But no matter what Erykah's songs are about, there is always a sense of authenticity and integrity that runs so strongly through them. In many ways this is the closest in sound and theme to her breathtaking debut Baduizm, as it shares a similar slow melting groove and such rich instrumentation that you just don't come by on many contemporary soul records. The amazing thing about Erykah Badu is how she is both so modern, futuristic yet an integral link to the history of powerful and spiritual soul. She doesn't rehash, or mimic, instead she's created a sound and style that is so totally her own.
New Amerykah Pt. 2 is as seductive as it is psychedelic. You can tell she has a deep love of pioneers like Ramp, The Rotary Connection, and Dorothy Ashby, but she has learned from her deep love of true hip-hop how to take from her influences yet create something totally new and unique out of it. There is no one like Erykah Badu around, she has proven she is a musical visionary, and her live shows only further prove that she is the real deal, capable of creating magic with her music that hits the soul in such deep and true ways. She also stands out in the way she is still very committed to the artform of the album. From start to finish this is a record that takes you on a journey that you want to revisit over and over again. The thing that makes Erykah Badu albums so remarkable is how they slowly seep into your subconscious. They are never about the latest trends or a quick fun ride, instead they are the kind of records you turn to at those crucial moments of your life and become a narrative that becomes as much a part of your journey as it is hers. These are songs that empower, comfort and challenge. Once again Erykah Badu has proven to be one of the strongest and most unique musical voices of our time!
MPEG Stream: "Window Seat"
MPEG Stream: "Love"
MPEG Stream: "20 Feet Tall"

album cover BADU, ERYKAH New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return Of The Ankh (Universal Motown) lp 16.98
ALSO ON VINYL!!
Erykah Badu is one of those singular artists who is able to create such a devotional and personal relationship with her listeners. Where New Amerykah Pt. 1 had a fiery political undertone, New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return Of The Ankh, is much more personal and relationship minded. But no matter what Erykah's songs are about, there is always a sense of authenticity and integrity that runs so strongly through them. In many ways this is the closest in sound and theme to her breathtaking debut Baduizm, as it shares a similar slow melting groove and such rich instrumentation that you just don't come by on many contemporary soul records. The amazing thing about Erykah Badu is how she is both so modern, futuristic yet an integral link to the history of powerful and spiritual soul. She doesn't rehash, or mimic, instead she's created a sound and style that is so totally her own.
New Amerykah Pt. 2 is as seductive as it is psychedelic. You can tell she has a deep love of pioneers like Ramp, The Rotary Connection, and Dorothy Ashby, but she has learned from her deep love of true hip-hop how to take from her influences yet create something totally new and unique out of it. There is no one like Erykah Badu around, she has proven she is a musical visionary, and her live shows only further prove that she is the real deal, capable of creating magic with her music that hits the soul in such deep and true ways. She also stands out in the way she is still very committed to the artform of the album. From start to finish this is a record that takes you on a journey that you want to revisit over and over again. The thing that makes Erykah Badu albums so remarkable is how they slowly seep into your subconscious. They are never about the latest trends or a quick fun ride, instead they are the kind of records you turn to at those crucial moments of your life and become a narrative that becomes as much a part of your journey as it is hers. These are songs that empower, comfort and challenge. Once again Erykah Badu has proven to be one of the strongest and most unique musical voices of our time!
MPEG Stream: "Window Seat"
MPEG Stream: "Love"
MPEG Stream: "20 Feet Tall"

album cover BANKS, AZEALIA 1991 (Polydor / Interscope) cd ep 4.98
It's hard to predict what songs will become hits, it's a magical mystical mysterious talent that few possess, and the ones who do wield that power like kings. But every once in a while, it's totally obvious, no secret talent needed, that jam you heard in the grocery store, in the background of a commercial, on the radio in the car, all it takes is a few seconds, and it's lodged in your head for good. The music, the vocals, the hook, the beat, the lyrics, when everything falls into place, few can resist. Which is also when songs and records get crazy hyped, and inevitably then incur some crazy backlash, which is precisely what happened to Azealia Banks and her song "212". A song we had been hearing about for months, but hadn't actually heard. Or hadn't realized we'd heard. Cuz we had just caught a second of some song on the radio that blew our minds, a weird, double-dutch-y Missy Elliott style stuttery hip-hop jam, all warped beats, skittery rhythms, and some of the craziest vocals, a sort of valley girl drawl, distorted and a little bit blown out, occasionally slipping into a weird dubbed out effects heavy loop, or a squelchy electro groove with an almost shouted hook, before lurching right back into it, with a cool little bloopy synth horn melody, and a lush soulful bridge, weird and warped, but CRAZY catchy. We did some digging and discovered that it was in fact the very same song we had been hearing about. So we looked it up on YouTube, watched the video, which only made us dig it more, AB a total cutie in a Mickey Mouse sweater, dancing with a nerdy pal, while spitting rhymes, and then we noticed just how nasty the lyrics were, easily the most occurrences of the word 'cunt' in a top 40 pop song, and then we wondered how the fuck they could have altered the song for radioplay, considering the 'chorus' is pretty much unbroadcastable. As is the verse really. But whatever. You've probably heard this already, and you probably already dig it too. Needless to say, this is WAY worth the $5 for that song alone, and we listened to that song about a hundred times before we even bothered listening to the rest. But the other three songs are pretty good too, the Missy Elliott influence even more prevalent, one a little bit of a techno vibe, one a little bit housey (with some dark bark beats, and a goofy slowed down vocal outro), and the title track sounding like Missy Elliott by way of Tribe Called Quest. Cool.
MPEG Stream: "212"

album cover BANKS, DARRELL Is Here! (Sepia Tone) cd 13.98
Darrell Banks was a great, if obscure, soul singer whose too-short career started in the mid '60s and ended abruptly with his death in 1970. In that time he sadly only released two albums and seven singles of beautiful soul music in the vein of groups on the Stax records roster. This Sepia Tone collection isn't super-lengthy, but it's still exciting to be exposed to good ol' soul that's new to you (me at least) just when you thought you'd heard it all.
RealAudio clip: "I've Got that Feelin'"
RealAudio clip: "I'm Gonna Hang My Head and Cry"

album cover BEASTIE BOYS The Mix-Up (Capitol) cd 14.98
A surprise of sorts comin' at ya from those beloved lil' Beasties. They've dished out a completely instrumental album! That's right no samples and no vocals whatsoever! The absence of their telltale voices allows for the tracks to reveal more clearly the deep and broad influences that other musical genres and elder artists have had on the Boys over the years -- '70s funk and soul, '60s spy movie kitsch, old school hip hop, Perrey & Kingsley, Afrika Bambaataa, The Meters, Santana and Run DMC. They checked their youthful, snotty, smartaleck, punky 'tudes at the door long ago, but despite their tempered maturity and composure, they clearly haven't lost their rambunctious playfulness. This is some solid fresh and funky goodness from start to finish. And yes, the ultra groove pop meister Money Mark is along for the ride too!
If you dug their 1996 In Sounds From Way Out! collection of instrumentals from their Ill Communication and Check Your Head albums, you won't wanna miss this.
MPEG Stream: "Suco De Tangerina"
MPEG Stream: "Dramastically Different"

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