Son Raw double dipping
I skipped February ’cause I was on vacation to witness my brother marry the love of his life in a tropical island ceremony. Now I’m back and somehow I’ve got a whopping 15 releases to cover over two posts, so let’s get to it.
Deadboy – “It Did Not Feel Right”
First up, Crazylegs kicked off the year with a new one-off: an R&B sampling, slice of ethereal loveliness from Deadboy. If Burial’s last few singles have left you confused and pining for Untrue vibes, this one’s definitely for you. But to his credit, Deadboy makes the style his own with g-funk synths and a crystalline delicateness miles away from Will Bevan’s crackly vinyl detritus. Lots more to come from this guy in 2015, so consider this a warning shot.
Damu – “I Police”
Next up, Keysound veteran Damu makes a return to the label after a few years in the shadows, and by the looks of things it’s been time well spent. The Holed up in the Hovel EP swaps in his old melodic funky vibes for up to the minute post-grime madness, delivering mentalist sound design in the Gage/Bloom/Mumdance vein and even topping that enviable trio with the title track. Drop it in the dance and watch people’s faces in utter confusion while their limbs try to figure out how to move.
Local Action Records
Local Action, my favorite label of 2014, kicked the year off strong with a remix package for Finn’s vinyl-only “Keep Calling” single, and they threw us digital DJs a bone by dropping them in WAV and MP3. Bassline legend DJ Q takes the opening spot with a killer garage rework of the title track that would make Todd Edwards blush, Samename and Strict Face (who should really release a collaboration as SameFace… just saying) both slow things down on their interpretations that fit in perfectly with the recent influx of weightless/Peace/chill tracks. Finally, Manchester Boxed affiliate Fallow MURDERS a final remix of “Keep Calling”–that’s my percy right there.
Nomis – “Backstage”
Speaking of garage, new label BUMPS is dropping the latest single by Sub.FM DJ Nomis, and it’s on a completely different flex than anything I’ve heard recently. Fully embracing the kind of jazzy, broken-beat vibe of yore but updating it for the digital era, “Symphony” is the rare track classy enough for a high-end restaurant but rude enough for the dance. Meanwhile, “Backstage” is pure darkside ruffage in the vein of dark garage specialist El-B.
Milkmakerz – The Anthems
This isn’t really Grime, but it IS one of my favorite 23 minutes of music out this year and it comes courtesy of Hotel-producer Milktray and Jon Phonics–so fuck it. A tribute to Rocafella records’ chipmunk soul era–The Milkmakerz celebrate all that was fun and caked out in early aughts hip-hop. Complete with Dame Dash, Cam’Ron and Rick Ross drops, and blessed with what will surely go down as 2015’s best cover art (Ed. Not a chance), it’s an absolute must listen for hip-hop fans.
Last time I checked in with Liminal Sounds, they’d just released a killer “Air Max 97” single. They’re back with a quick re-up, dropping the first in a series of informal releases collecting individual tracks from up-and-coming producers. Liminality 1 continues the label’s explorations at the margins of grime, funky and club music, and honestly every track’s a winner. My favorite though? Bushido’s ultra-goth take on sinogrime on “Bashful”–proper gear right there.
Finally, I gotta show some love to my Montreal crew: Raw Records’ Thomas White & Dear Lola came through in February with their . . . wait for it . . . (╯︵╰,) EP—merging ultra emotional hip-hop beats in the sadboy vein to the kind of next level sound design making wave in the North American underground electronic scene. Break beats, pianos, kitchen sinks—they’ll throw anything and everything into their tracks, and to their credit, they’ve developed a truly cohesive sound here. Catch them on their European tour next month as well.
Back next week with part 2 . . .