It has been building for a while but it seems to have happened. Good ol' funky heavenly melodic soulful disco music is back in a big way and a few new key releases are eading the way.
4hero: The best might come first! "Play with the Changes" is out next week in the UK. From the couple of songs I've heard, it is yet another stunner. Some will be disappointed that their old drum'n'bass roots have mostly gone by the wayside but the new album, their first in six years, seems to deepen their ongoing exploration of the golden age of 70's soul. For the record, I still can't listen to their remake of Minnie Riperton's "Les Fleur" without getting goosebumps! Let's hope they tour the United States down the line. Past hightlights: "Escape That," "Loveless," "Star Chasers"
Tracey Thorn: While Ben Watt has struck gold with his Buzzin' Fly imprint and on the DJ circuit, his Everything But the Girl partner-in-crime Tracey Thorn resurfaces with her first solo album ever (titled "Out in the Woods" and out in March on Astralwerks in the US) after mostly gracing other bands' singles with her magnificent voice. First single "It's All True" looks back at the mid-80's NY house sound (with an amazing Martin Buttrich mix making the rounds). There is also a song about gay kids getting bullied in school called "A to Z" and a remake of the Pet Shop Boys "King's Cross" which should keep the gay press happy. Past highlights: Massive Attack's "Protection," "Five Fanthoms," "Before Today (Live)," "Walking Wounded," Deep Dish's "Future of the Future," "Rollercoaster," "Driving"
Quentin Harris: Bringing the Detroit sound into the 21st century, out DJ/producer/remixer of the moment Quentin Harris (pictured above) has already released his "No Politics" CD in Japan (not sure if and when it will be released states side). "Who?" you say? Well, he's remixed Mariah and Beyonice already, among others, and has a banging new mix/unmixed compilation of some of his productions inaugurating a new NRK records series called "Coast2Coast." He also has a bonafide classic or two under his belt ("Let's Be Young" among them) but the future seems wide open. For one thing he's got the amazing (and out) Joi Cardwell singing again on "What It Feels Like." He also has an equally legendary Byron Stingily on "Hate Won't Change Me." Quentin, who has made a living in NYC as of late, is also known for his involvement in local HIV prevention initiatives among gay men of color.
Karizma: Back in September we were lucky to catch Karizma out at Prospect Park when he performed at Li'l Ray's Clubhouse Jamboree (check him drop the Johnny Dangerous mix of Jazmina's "Let the Rain Come Down" with her vocals gliding over Frankie Knuckle's all-time classic "Tears"). If Quentin Harris brings Detroit back, Karizma is all about the Baltimore house sound. You might have heard "4 the Love" before, now he's releasing a full album, "A Mind of Its Own" on r2 Records.
Peven Everett: Detroit, Baltimore, can Chicago be next? You already know how I feel about Peven Everett but, as we told you, following the success of "Stuck," Peven is set to release what will probably be his most successful production thanks to the push that Defected's Soul Heaven imprint will probably give his new full-length: "Power Soul" will be out in the UK next week as well (snippets of all songs available at that link). Can't wait for it!
Mr. V: Last but not least, wussup New York! So aparently Mr. V (representing Loisaida, as we Naw Yorkers call Manhattan's Lower East Side) has already released his "Welcome Home" album. Hm, so how come I can't find a CD copy anywhere in this city? Sounds like one big great party going by its first single "Da Bump" (produced by Alix Alvarez and featuring the groovilicious Ms. Patty) and a live performance of "Put Your Drink Down."
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