LACK OF AFRO

Press On” the debut album from Lack Of Afro was one of the albums of 2007, effortlessly straddling the cool crowd and the less so. The lovingly crafted samples, and stomping funk had the Hoxton set convinced the Avalanches had made a funk album, while Radio 2 lapped up the tunes and the inspired use of Steve Harriet’s golden voice on killer single “Touch My Soul“.
Brilliant though it was, I approached the live show with some trepidation… how would such a heavily sample based album translate up close and personal at The Jazz Cafe?
The Answer: Main man Adam Gibbons simply transformed Lack Of Afro into a phenomenally tight five man funk machine. Gibbons’s brilliant drumming is at the heart with added sax, guitar, bass and DJ for those essential vocal snippets. Damon Minchella in particular added extra dirt to the show with the most fantastic low down squelching bass lines ever. At first I couldn’t actually believe he was getting the sound out of his bass guitar, assuming that it must be a sample but no that guy must have a serious effects pedal (see his own fun project Trio Valore Inc, below)

In short check out the Lack Of Afro live show for furious funk with the occaisional inspired cover thrown in (The Arctic Monkeys never sounded funkier). It can get even better with the arrival of album No.2 in November and the essential Lack Of Afro remixes to keep us overdosed on funk in the meantime (look out for the Hot 8 Brass Band mix in particular – listen on myspace).

Lack Of Afro Myspace / Lack Of Afro Remixes Myspace
LISTEN: Mr Konfuse – Lookout Weekend (Lack Of Afro Disco mix)” (MP3)
Trio Valore Inc – Miracolo Dub” (MP3)
BUY: Lack Of Afro – Press On” – Highly recommended

STAN HALEN

Down in deepest Ohio, brothers Dan and Stan Halen had an upbringing steeped in the country and rock n roll of their folks. They wanted nothing more than to be in a band, and to meet Heather Locklear.
A few misdemeanours found them briefly behind bars where they met a certain Jimmy Green and bonded over a shared love of mullet headed 1980s soft rock.

Once free the unlikely trio set about achieving their dreams, i.e. making a record combining the rock of Van Halen with the country of their youth, but most importantly becoming famous enough for Ms. Locklear!!

Who’d have guessed “Jump” was such a great Country and Western song!!?

Stan Halen Myspace
LISTEN: Stan Halen – “Jump” (MP3)

SCROOBIUS PIP’S SPOKEN WORD SURGERY

Colin Murray is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most open minded DJ’s on Radio 1’s roster. Who else would hand Scroobius Pip a regular spoken word slot on his show? That’s right, spoken word every Thursday at 10.30ish on Radio 1!

The first edition began in fine style with Polar Bear performing “David” and hopefully many more hugely talented spoken word acts will get a well deserved but rare spotlight shone on them in the coming weeks. Many thanks Mr. Murray, although it should be remembered this is the mighty John Peel’s old slot but small steps should always be applauded.

Scroobius Pip Myspace / Polar Bear Myspace
LISTEN:
Every Thursday on Colin Murray’s Radio 1 show + listen again.
Polar Bear – David (Live on Scroobius Pip’s Spoken Word Surgery)” (MP3)
Polar Bear – Candlelight” (MP3)

A quick click on Scroobius’s Myspace friends revealed that Stuart James – long time favourite of this site – also has new material coming. As ever most of his tracks are available for free download, while we await a well overdue first single or album from James.

Stuart James – Hello (Camberwell Hit Factory mix)” (MP3)
Stuart James Myspace – loads of free downloads

Actually while on the subject of spoken word, I did Paul Heaton a disservice last month when applauding what I lauded as a genius cover of Bootsy Collins. It turns out it was actually a poem written by Heaton which Bootsy read for that other former Housemartin, Fat Boy Slim for inclusion on his Late Night Tales compilation.
I did think the lyrics were uncannily witty, acerbic and perfectly suited for Paul! Fine reading by Bootsy though!

Bootsy Collins – Everything is Everything” (MP3)

Paul Heaton – “Everything Is Everything” (MP3)

BUY: Paul Heaton – “Cross Eyed Rambled – Brand new solo album from England’s finest lyricist!

ALBUM OF THE MONTH – JAMES YORKSTON
BUY: Pre-Order the absolutely beautiful special edition version of the new James Yorkston album

Back with album No.4 James Yorkston is also releasing a rather special limited edition version with all sorts of goodies. It comes in a box, with 2×10″ versions, the album itself on CD, another stuffed with amazing remixes of Yorkston finest moments, and best of all a full album of interpretations of Yorkston songs by a range of artists. Not only that but tucked away Willy Wonker style in one of the 1000 editions is a golden ticket entitling its holder to James writing a song specially for them and possibly (if you don’t live on the other side of the planet) performing it for you in person!!

Oh and there’s also an enamel badge.

James Yorkston Myspace / James Yorkston Covers album Myspace

LISTEN: Rozi Plain – The Lang Toun” (MP3)

THE BEATLES

Not sure what it is with the cover version-fest this month but lets continue with the Beatles.
This months MoJo magazine comes with a White Album tribute CD with covers of all the albums tracks. One of the highlights comes from Joan As Police Woman’s take on “I Will“.
Elsewhere 1970s Japanese drummer Jimmy Takeuchi takes Sgt. Peppers and gives it a funk make over. Wonderful version and what’s more the “Stoned Circus” 7″ from which this is taken contains an equally splendid AA Side. “The Hen’s March” is the only known example of a genre known as “Bagpipe-funk!

Jimmy Takeuchi – Sgt. Peppers” (MP3)
Joan As Police Woman – I Will” (MP3)

SRI LANKAN GOODNESS

I’ve clearly got to pay more attention to the sounds emanating out of Sri Lanka if Kamaj vs Nanda Malani is anything to go by. The wonderfully wonky parping bass riff running throughout is particularly good, but it’s the unexpected instruments and vocal snippets breaking through the mix that shine. Video games, and ancient sounding flutes rub shoulders with sitars? Kamaj is clearly one to watch.

Myspace Kamaj
Kamaj vs Nanda Malani – The Bushman’s Lost Nanda Malani Tape” (MP3)

Finally The Muppets flip out to M.O.P’s classic “Ante Up” – You Tube clip of the month – Brilliant!!