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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Best new single you've uncovered in the last week?</p>&mdash; Rough Trade (@RoughTrade) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RoughTrade/status/1130156163272728576?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 19, 2019</a></blockquote>
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It’s that time of the week again and so here’s the latest Music Question (on a Sunday). This week’s question is (what is the) best new single you’ve uncovered in the last week? This was tough one as there have been a few singles that have got me excited this week so it’s a three way tie between ‘Mm mmm’ by Hackney Colliery Band featuring Anglique Kodjo and Roundhouse Choir and great combination of a fantastic modern Hip-Hop influenced Brass band, powerful Malian singer Kodjo and backing vocals from the choir bonus points for the title. Next it would have to be ‘Zero Fux’ by Kool Keith featuring B-Real (Cypress Hill) a great lead single from the upcoming Kool Keith album “Keith” it doesn’t reinvent the boom bap/90’s underground Hip-Hop wheel but hearing two distinctly voiced MCs on the top of their game is great. Finally I would say ‘Favourites’ by The S.L.P. featuring Little Simz, The S.L..P. is Serge from Kasabian’s side project and this is a great debut single featuring Serge’s signature guitar riffs and the confident flow of Little Simz. 

Let me know your best single of this week below in the Comments.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>🎪 Festival season is almost upon us – where are you headed?</p>&mdash; Rough Trade (@RoughTrade) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RoughTrade/status/1125026110905786369?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 5, 2019</a></blockquote>
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Ok, so this week’s Questions concerns Festivals, which one are you heading to? I’m not going to any Festivals this year (can’t afford it) but if I could choose one to go to it would be Parkife in Manchester they have some great acts and DJs including Mr. Scruff, Solange and Little Simz. Let me know where you guys and heading who your looking to watching in the Comments.

I wasn’t expecting this album in two senses 1) I literally didn’t know it was coming out until it started popping up in my Twitter feed in the last week or so building up to it’s release 2) I wasn’t expecting it to be impressed by it as I had found her last album “Stillness in Wonderland” underwhelming after enjoying her Tiny Desk Concert performance. But I was pleasantly surprised with what I found and that is a UK Hip-Hop album that has shown me that I’m missing out by not keeping track of what is happening in the scene.

This isn’t a subtle album and it gets right to the point on opener “Offence” with it’s punchy drum break, big and bouncy synth bass and Simz confident rhymes and flow asserting their authority over your mind and ears. ‘Boss’ is no less confident or bouncy though the drums are more brittle and electronic and the synth bass is bouncy yet hollow sounding, there is some fantastic blown out distortion applied to Simz vocals in the chorus.  The third track ‘Selfish’ keeps up the quality level but it a gentler track that introduces the soulful vocals of Cleo Sol on the chorus and I’m looking forward to hearing Cleo’s forthcoming debut album. The next highlight is ‘Venom’ on which Simz rips into anyone who would doubt her just because she’s a woman. On ‘Therapy’ she bares her soul over cutting snare, distorted but sleeky guitar and thick stabs of bass guitar.

While I recommend checking out and buying “GREY Area” I still feel that Little Simz is still due to make her best and most complete work but this is a great stepping stone on that journey.

Check out Little Simz below and let me know what you think of “GREY Area” in the Comments.

 

 

With the inclusion of this album in My Favourite Releases of the Year… so far you may see a theme developing… yes I like French music and Spotify has definitely caught on to this and is putting it in front of me on a semi regular basis. I’m not complaining as I’m discovering some great music from the Funk of Cotonete to this French Hip-Hop album by Soulence. I have enjoyed French Hip-Hop over the years whether it’s the appearance of MC Solaar’s music in the film “La Haine”, hearing Saian Supa Crew on UK evening Alternative radio shows back in the early 00’s and more recent mixes on Onra’s mixes both of French Hip-Hop and of Hip-Hop that samples French music. However, never taken the plunge and actually bought any French Hip-Hop or really explored the genre properly. I think this will change with “French Cassette” as it’s just shy of an hour of funny, funky and very French instrumental Hip-Hop.

“French Cassette” is a celebratory album and it’s celebrates both cliches about France and the French and the Boom Bap era of Hip-Hop. This is a album that’s all about breaks, scratches, sampling spotting and plenty of Funk to boot!!! There are also some synth sounds dotted throughout the album that come closer to recalling Dr.Dre’s G-Funk sound. Hip-Hop isn’t the only genre that crops up on this album there is also some track that use a lot of filtering in a way that is similar to the Filter House genre that was invented in France in the 90’s and made proper by the likes of Daft Punk, Cassius and Etienne De Crecy aka Super Discount. An artist who the album often reminds me of is The Go! Team mainly due to the lo-fi sound and the fun and humour that pervades the album, Mr. Scruff would probably be another relevant reference point. However, I think it’s worth pointing out that the humour and fun of this album doesn’t detract or distract from the production talent of this duo there isn’t a duff track on the album and the sound is phat with drums slapping like the best classic Boom Bap. This an album that needs your attention (and cash) now!!!

Listen to Souleance and let me know what you think of “French Cassette” in the Comments.

I first heard of Nubiyan Twist when I went to see Joe Armon-Jones at The Crescent in York last November, as Joe introduced the band he got to bassist Luke Wynter he said he was in Nubiyan Twist from Leeds. My first thought was that’s a great name for a band and that there was another potentially great band coming out of Leeds. It turns out I was right this is another great band coming out of Leeds (though now based in London) and what’s more another great band that met and formed at Leeds College of Music. Leeds College of Music is a respected music education institution in the UK but if it keeps on producing the amount of quality bands it is currently it will become world famous and rank alongside the likes of Berklee in the USA.

But I got off the point for a while there It’s time to get back to talking about the music of Nubiyan Twist and their album “Jungle Run”. On the bands Facebook page under Band Interests it says “To encourage artistic and social unity between different cultures and musical styles.” This is definitely a mission statement the band achieves on this album, they combine the disparate styles of dance music (including House and Drum ‘n’ Bass), Dub, Latin, Afrobeat, Ethio-Jazz, Hip-Hop, Turntablism and Soul into a potent stew of sound. This is quite an achievement considering the band has ten members And also joined in this album by guests Nubiya Brandon (vocals), Tony Allen (drums) the inventor of the rhythms of Afrobeat and Mulatu Astatke (vibraphone) the inventor of Ethio-Jazz. I have to admit that I am very jealous of the fact that the band gets to work with two giants of African music. Another achievement is to not be subsumed by those legends on the track states they contribute to this is a band with a clear identity and incredible musical talent to boot. Bandleader Tom Excell also produced the record in the bands own studio in Oxfordshire in the UK and it’s an impressive feat to say the least to build to get all these competing instruments and talents to play nicely in a mix. This isn’t just an impressive album it’s a lot of fun to the irresistible beats make impossible for you not to dance and the catchy choruses will be in your head in no time.

I know I’m probably repeating myself here but it’s hard to overstate how incredible this album is not only as a musical achievement but something that truly represents what music can be in the 21st-century. This is an album of the Internet age don’t get me wrong there are albums made fused cells are music together before the Internet age but “Jungle Run” is something only truly achievable in a world where you can access any music at any time with the click of a button. This is a real Album of the Year contender and definitely check it out.

Let me know what you think of “Jungle Run” in the Comments.

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