Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BEN LOVETT*** THE GROOVEYARD

Ben Lovett's Grooveyard (January 2010)
Ben Lovett's Grooveyard (January 2010)

It's so cold at the moment. My fingers are rattling the keyboard and I'm not even typing yet! Just as well then that clubland is gearing up for some white-hot activity this month. The Miami Winter Conference, of course, is still a way away so many of us are already crying out for the kind of killer music that will warm those tootsies and pretty much everything else, as we blast it on the dancefloor...

JOEY NEGRO's SHINDIG

A Joey Negro show is most definitely what the doctor ordered. Negro, Dave Lee's fiendish disco-house alter-ego, will be headlining at Newcastle institution Shindig on January 23; Shindig, of course, is 18 this year, a North Eastern bastion of quality house, techno and nu-disco that has attracted the great and good to play including, last year, Dennis Ferrer.

Shindig's 18th celebrations, due in May, are set to be something totally special but the promoters are keeping schtum for now. Instead, I can only talk on about that January 23 party. Shindig no longer runs weekly events, opting instead for 'regular' get-togethers at local venues Legends and The World Headquarters. Negro will be playing the latter, backed by able residents Scott Bradford, Neil Bainbridge and Mark Lowry. Tickets are £12 on the door; the club opens 10.30pm. Check www.shindiguk.com for more.

AL KENT

Meantime Al Kent - the talented producer who ran with Darrell Banks and Milton Jackson on niche house labels such as Tronicsole many moons ago - is due to release Disco Love: Rare Disco & Soul Uncovered on January 29.

Kent hopped aboard the deep disco train back at the start of the Noughties, setting up his Million Dollar Disco imprint - an imprint responsible for superior 70s re-edits and, on the whole, delectable sample-led house grooves. Come 2007, and our boy had added a live disco band to the mix; Kent's Million Dollar Orchestra project released the acclaimed Better Days album in the same.

Mr Lee, I'm sure, would approve. Kent's new double-CD compilation - one mixed, one unmixed - for the consistently 'on it' BBE stable, gathers some truly special 'collectables.' Expect lesser known cuts from Crosstown Traffic, Patricia White, Quinn Harris and New Ghetto Express. A special digital release will feature four bonus tracks. We'll have the review soon.

RED BULL GIVES YOU...

Into February, and you'll have a sweep of music workshops-cum-shows as part of the Red Bull Music Academy's five-week stop in London. February 12's Southbank Centre soiree is arguably the highlight, with Detroit techno legend Carl Craig joining Matmos, Bugge Wessetoft and Henrik Schwarz for an aural melting pot of cool tech, electronica, nu-jazz and house. On the same evening, and still under the Red Bull banner, Plan B hosts SIN CITY - expect bass-driven madness via reggae, dubstep, grime and funky house sets from the likes of David Rodigan, Appleblim, Scientist and Kenny Ken.

DELI @MATTER

Over at London's Matter venue, Simian Mobile Disco will be helming a one-off Delicatessen bash featuring their highly rated live electro show, as well as dirty, dubby beats from four-to-the-floor's finest; namely Green Velvet, wild pitch king DJ Pierre, Ralph Lawson and Mowgli. Visit www.matterlondon.com for booking info.

DEFECTED IN THE HOUSE

Just time to wrap up with Defected Records; their latest In The House compulation will receive instruction from Aydin The Funki Chile (ATFC) and feature suitably bouncy house tracks from Dennis Ferrer, Copyright and Basement Jaxx; not to mention ATFC's new solo outing Computer Love, based partly on the identically titled Kraftwerk track. Release is scheduled for February 1.

DR RUBBERFUNK

Oh, and what about Simon Ward? Sorry, Dr Rubberfunk. Ward's outrageously talented funk-soul alter-ego is releasing his long awaited third album Hot Stone this month - another blistering release set to ease us away from all this 'Big Freeze' malarkey.

Released on London label Jalapeno, Hot Stone sees Rubberfunk maintaining his more than rich vein of form. Good job too. The Doc's first two albums - released on his own imprint GPS - earned wide-ranging plaudits and, three years in the making, his latest record has attracted sky high expectations.

Hot Stone features veteran singer Roachford, Dutch chanteuse Sitzka, Breakestra hornsman Todd Simon and rising Geordie soul boy John Turrell among many - ably conducted by Rubberfunk, the extended line-up helps strike up a truly panoramic, widescreen sound that eclipses anything our boy has released to date.

Moving from soul-jazz (Magic Beans) and psychedelic (Theme From Hot Stone) instrumentals to bullish funk, deep tribal and springy hip-hop vocal numbers (Sitzka's appearance on the feisty funker You're No Good is a particular joy,) Hot Stone's variety is impressive, so too its consistent quality. It's a blueprint that should transfer effectively to the stage.

Ah, the perfect tonic....

And now for some other over-the-counter goodies - a handful of singles and albums for your consideration:

SINGLES

DJ Spen Presents LaShay - All By Myself (US Code Red)

The Baltimore and former Basement boy knocks out another sweet soulful house cut here but with plenty of deepness, rawness and general organ-punching goodness - it's already turned heads, and moved feet, over the festive break. LaShay's vocals offer plenty of fire and Spen supports proceedings with a number of killer dubs.
4/5

David Penn & Rober Gaze - Deep Inside (Spain Urbana)

Another Penn partnership bearing ripe fruit - rich house vocals working rather wonderfully with the tough, saw-edged percussive backing. Tougher, still, remixes from Nick & Danny Chatelain; good meaty package this.
3.5/5

Matthias Heilbronn & Joeski - Stuck In A Dream (US Maya Records)

Heilbronn can always be relied upon for a truly musical, soulful glide onto the house dancefloor, and his Maya partnership with fellow New Yorker Joeski is no different. This is slick, classy club music but with welcome Latin hustle in the drums department. Moody guitar riffs and male Blues vocals add further drama, as does some nimble flute work. Emotional stuff.
5/5

Tortured Soul - In My Fantasy (UK Dome)

Another single release from the New York 'live house' band's sublime album Did You Miss Me and, as you'd expect, there's a welter of quality remixes. The original boogie-groove vocal gains a spaced-out vocoder re-rub from band member Ethan White; Tortured comrade JKriv adds his own neat piano 'n' synth spin. That leaves gorgeous neo-soul tweaks from DJ Spinna; delicate disco licks via the legendary Tom Moulton; and lush house vibes courtesy of Jask. Winning package.
5/5

Example - Won't Go Quietly (UK Data)

Fast-rising Brit rapper Example once again treads the overground-underground tightrope with admirable poise. Won't Go Quietly follows on from Watch The Sun Come Up in sufficient style, fusing punchy raps with tight pop production. Not the usual Grooveyard 'bag' but loud enough to gain some attention. Decent remixes from the clubby, punky Juan MacClean, also.
4/5

ALBUM

Various Artists - Fabric 50: Martyn (UK Fabric)

Great start to the year for Fabric, their latest comp a masterful ramble through dubstep, Detroit techno, wonky house and zany electronica led by Dutch label-avoiding producer Martyn. The rapid switches between genres and BPMs are handled with real aplomb, and the track selections are spot on - quirky but accessible. Infectious funky 4-4 from Roska (Without It) and Uncle Bakongo (Afar), rubs shoulders with spine-tingling tech via Bristolian double act Jamie Anderson & Deepgroove (The Clock) and the twisting garage-house fusions of rising Croydon star Joy Orbison (Brkln Clln), whilst thunderously dubby vibes on tunes by Cooly G and Zomby compliment a sweep of eclectic offerings from Martyn himself. Expect more exciting genre-blending like this across clubland in 2010 - pioneering stuff.
5/5

See you next month
Ben

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Please feel free to contact me at ben@bluesandsoul.com with any House & Dance news that you feel would benefit others - Thank you.

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