Tag Archives: Funk

LoneLady – “Bunkerpop”

22 Jan


There are 3,867 miles separating Manchester, England from Minneapolis in America. Yet with her latest single, “Bunkerpop”, Ashton born Julie Ann Campbell (aka LoneLady) makes it feel like mere metres. Taken from her new album, Hinterland, it’s a carnival of funk and dance with a real Prince and the Revolution vibe flowing through the whole thing (which we just adore).

As the plane from North West England touches down in bright but chilly Minnesota (Minneapolis gets on average 3.5 hours more sunlight a day than Manchester, if you’re interested in that sort of thing) the digital beat kicks in and away we go. “Bunkerpop” has a fantastically neon loving, ghetto blaster toting 80’s groove to it.

It’s bright, funky and infectious but with a hidden grittiness and slightly rough edges, like the paint on the rides is starting to flake away. It gives it a reality, an underground and almost industrial quality; much like the music it draws its inspiration. The guitar skitters frenetically with the beat as the compulsion for movement grows within us. “You can’t stop this Bunkerpop” sings Campbell, nor would we want to.

”Bunkerpop” is taken from the forthcoming LoneLady album, ‘Hinterland’, which is due for release on 23 March via Warp Records. You can pre-order a copy here.

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All We Are – “Feel Safe”

21 Mar

All We Are - Feel Safe

It’s been a while since we last heard from Liverpool’s All We Are, in fact it was quite a while since we’d heard from them before that as well. Popping up once a year with an amazing tune and then disappearing again, they were beginning to resemble some mythical creature, like a Unicorn perhaps, that people aren’t 100% sure ever existed or not. Well, nearly a year on from the release of the storming disco funk of “Utmost Good” (one of our tracks of 2013) the trio are back, newly signed to Domino imprint Double Six and all doubts over their existence have been expunged.

When we first encountered them, they had recently returned from the Norwegian woodland, cradling the (now sadly no longer online) wonderfully folky sounds of “Cardhouse”. Then last year they strutted down the street in their white suits all full of laidback funk and uber-cool grooves with the aforementioned “Utmost Good”.

For 2014 they have retained the funk vibes but turned it down to an even more chilled out setting, dialling down the dirty fuzziness a little, almost as if they have taken their underground disco back to the woods of Norway and don’t want to disturb the wildlife too much. Bet the animals would all come to the party for a dance of their own though.

From the opening lick of guitar you are taken away on a heady ride of late night funk, a soft shoe shuffle of deliciously smooth and relaxed grooves that will have you on your feet and indulging in a little swaysome and smile filled boogie. Deep within the guitar lines, the gently impulsive beats and the hushed vocals are random elements of yesteryear, hidden away. Little glimpses of Beats International’s “Dub Be Good To Me” spring to mind as well as the more obvious disco, indie and pop references.

There’s a gorgeously relaxed summer vibe to “Feels Safe”, a vibe that you can’t help but love and one that makes you feel great. It’s a wonderful piece of modern indie-funk that we know we’ll be coming back to time and time again over the year and with songs this fantastic, we can forgive All We Are for taking a year at a time to make them. We just hope they’ll be back a little sooner next time.

”Feel Safe” is out now on Double Six and can be bought from iTunes.

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Emily King – “Distance”

28 Feb

Emily King

We want to share something that happened to us the other day if we may, a moment when we heard a song entirely by accident and it had just the most wonderful effect on us. A sense of warmth and happiness flooded over us as Emily King (a Grammy award nominated artist we had, until that very moment, never heard of – shame on us) sang and a Cheshire Cat grin grew across our face. Then it finished. So we pressed play and listened again, and again, and so on for a period of time that probably isn’t healthy. It’s like it hit the bullseye in our brain’s reward centre and we just had to keep going back for more.

The gently funky Motown beat gives depth and life and a sense of perfection to the relationship; slice the song in half and glitter and rainbows would spill out. An optimistic drum beat skips along with honeyed vocals that drip with innocence, infatuation and confidence in the love it is so lost inside. “Distance” begins and ends like an old Carpenter’s tune with the kind of dreamy, lilting melody that would fill a house on an idyllic, relaxed Sunday morning. An image that continues through the playful-Prince stylings of the song as it skips and dances along. Soft focus sunlight bathes the room as steam rises from the coffee pot; the delicious aroma of baking follows children’s laughter through the house to a wooden train set which passes through tunnels of Sunday supplements and passed slipper mountains.

It is a glorious throwback to emotive musical narratives of the past and one that we can’t help but feel a little bit addicted to; and it’s available to download for free from the player below. As if we needed any excuse to just keep playing it.

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Meanwhile – “Luvletta”

21 Feb


What do David Bowie, Prince and Peter Gabriel have in common?

There’s probably a lot of correct answers to that in all honesty but the one we have on the card is that they all appear to have been crumbled up into a giant bong and inhaled by mysterious newcomer Meanwhile. For everyone knows that the only way to truly know everything someone knows (and thereby get their talent and style) is by smoking them.

Featuring the same kind of bombastic energy as Mega Emotion, the debut track from this new signing to Universal imprint, Fiction, sounds a bit like all the instruments have additionally been taking LSD while Mr Meanwhile wasn’t looking. Superbold fractals of psychedelic funk pop spin and swirl in vibrant patterns taking your mind on a journey through space, time and colour and your limbs out to the dancefloor for some full on crazy boogying.

We’ve spent a couple of weeks with “Luvletta” now and it just gets better and better with each frenzied listen as colours splash in our ears. It’s music to be counteractive to and perfectly orchestrated aural chaos. Energised vocals compete with electrified synths which in turn compete with disco drums for supremacy in a schizophrenic sound-off for the ages.

It’s a big, room filling, set-closing explosion of sound, colour and energy. Perfect to send an audience home happy with a dancing spring in their step.

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Listen: Kendra Morris – “Concrete Wave”

23 Jan

Kendra Morris

We love that feeling you get when you hear the opening bars of a song and you get a tingle of excitement because you just know it’s going to be utterly fantastic. That instantaneous moment that exists when you fling a new track on and are immediately taken out of everything else and have to focus entirely and intently on the sounds filling your ears. That’s how we felt when the opening crash of drums, piano and the creeping guitar sounds of Kendra Morris’s newly re-released for the UK market “Concrete Wave” hit; we were instantly hooked.

We’d missed the track when it was originally released last year and had not heard the expression concrete wave before either. We presumed it was something architectural, a concrete wave sweeping out from the ground across the skyline for example, though it does sound a tad violent, a variation on a Glasgow Kiss perhaps?

It turns out our initial thought was mostly correct as it is apparently a skateboarding term. Flinging yourself about on an oversized roller skate never sounded so enticing as Kendra’s magnificently soulful and powerful voice rings out across the cityscape of seventies blaxploitation vibed funk (the bassline is amazing) and blues.

The skateboarding metaphor, Kendra says, is about that moment where you are doing something that “feels so good but could easily turn on you” and by God it is. It is dark and sensual, dangerous, sexy and ridiculously seductive all at once. It’s the aural equivalent of a secret sexual fantasy, one you’re not quite confident enough to suggest to your partner because it might involve kidnapping or being tied up by a stranger you met in a bar. You know it’s a bit edgy, dark and dangerous but you can’t help but be excited and turned on by it.

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