I'm sitting here with a pile of discs I've accumulated over the past couple of months while I've been sans computer. A couple are from promo firms but most are recent things I've uncovered in Charity shops etc. The market for junk CDs is booming at present and thankfully it's a buyers' market. I rarely buy anything above £1 and when I do it's because I'd have been willing to buy it at full price in regular outlets.The best finds lately have included 2 promo discs from the Buffalo Springfield Box Set at a mere 10 pence each! Lucky me. The price one pays means that most of them are rubbish, but there are gems amongst them. Several of the records in my pile I've yet to sample so I could be extolling the virtues of previously undiscovered masterpieces or slagging off dross - who knows. Read on to find out.
First up, we have...
MONKEY SONS: Uh-Oh Here Come The Monkey Sons
Naked Ape records NAR001
Actually I lied a bit above. I have heard this before - in fact I've been playing it to death. This is a great little record from a local Brighton-based band describing themselves fairly accurately as indy psychedelic hip-hoppers. The lead track Ha-Ha featuring Elemental is as good a candidate for top of the pops as I've heard in many a long year. It's fun, catchy, crazy and grooves along at 60 mph. Just the sort of thing that would have got a 'tingggggg!' on Juke Box Jury in Days of Yore. One other great highlight is their version of Down and Out from that wonderful gangster movie Bugsy Malone. Would make a great party record at Christmas. Seek it out and enjoy.
J*S*T*A*R*S: Put Me On A Planet
23 Records LINK
Well, I couldn't find much useful info on this outfit - variously described as trance, dance, electronica etc by different sites on the Net, I have to supply my own label to pigeonhole the record. It's a bit like Cacharpaya on Speed to listen to but I guess ethno-electro-jazzfunk might be an approximate description to give you some idea what it's all about. Personally I dig it and rather wish I had the whole album plus anything else they've produced in my collection. It's got a great groove throughout and although some might say it's a bit mechanical and I'd agree there is plenty of room for developing the repertoir in the future, I'd be happy to bop for a few hours to just this record at any club offering it up as an alternative in preference to most of the pappy dance tunes you hear nowadays. Interesting stuff.
Nneka: The Uncomfortable Truth
Yo Mama's Recording Company Cat. No. YPS 82876736682
1. The Uncomfortable Truth (3:49)
2. Stand Strong (Live Version) (4:01)
Great Old School (dreadful phrase!) Soul from German based Nigerian born female singer with powerfully dynamic voicebox. The instrumentation on the title track has great horns and an afro drum beat to die for. Very funky. The live track is more in the modern R'n'B bag but Nneka's voice makes it interesting and different enough not to lump it in twith the mass of dross masquerading under this epithet merey issued to grab the money burning holes in the pockets of gullible teenage girls. Pretty good stuff. I look forward to hearing and seeing more of this lady.
Gum Drop: 'Hi-Falutin'
Cool jazzy soul with variety of vibes - elements of hip-hop, jazzfunk, stevie wonder, mid-60s psychedelia, blaxploitation - you get the picture. Not exactly unforgettable but not at all bad. If any of the foregoing are your bag you'll probably dig this.
Max Tundra: Some Best Friend You Turned Out To Be
Domino Recording Company WIG82
Noodly doodly electronica this one. Good fun on the whole but a bit pedestrian in places. I notice it's from 2000 and Max has had several release on the same label since then. By rights he should be ripe for picking by now!
Well, I think that's probably all I can manage for now. Quite wearing listening to unfamiliar records and trying to pass instant fair judgement, which I hope I've been able to do. There are plenty more where these came from so I'll try and repeat the exercise again soon! Ta-ra for now. Abi