Promotional Reviews February 2015

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Happy New Year TBC followers, this is our second and very belated post for 2015. Apologies for the delay but with the festive period, a busy January and a disrupted February we have been unable to publish anything new until now. ‘Quality not quantity’ and ‘patience is a virtue’ are both sayings that come to mind in this time and fear not as we are bringing you a brand new promotional article now and this will be followed shortly by the end of year playlist for 2014 as well as our ‘Best Of’ 2014 article. This coupled with a very active 2015 for new music and you will see a lot of activity over the next month or so.

This article is being brought to you by a one armed, lame TBC writer as I unfortunately fell victim to the icey conditions in Sheffield in January. I slipped and managed to break my shoulder resulting in a long lay off, currently 3 weeks but due to be 4/5 in total, and extended rehab spanning a few months! It wasn’t pretty and I would not wish this injury on anybody. It hasn’t been nice, the pain has been bad and the partial lack of use in my left arm is frustrating. On the positive side I have had plenty of time to listen to music including an array of new promotional material from One Records, Eskimo Recordings, Culprit Records, Hot Creations, International Feel, Crosstown Rebels, Firehouse, Viva Music, Hot Trax, Rebellion and BLDG5 Records. I have also had access to plenty of pain killers to take the edge off so every cloud and all that. I hope you enjoy the article, the structure will be a short review for each of the 13 records and I will then select the TBC top 5 with a favourite which will get some extra write up.

This article has been a joy to write and we have enjoyed listening to the new records from artists such as Subb-An who recently completed his Essential Mix on BBC 1 and two great offerings from one of our favourite labels Eskimo Recordings. Skream also chips in with a new release – he has become an interesting prospect in the house and techno scene since his transition from dubstep. All this plus an array of new artists that have excited and entertained us at TBC HQ over the last few weeks.

Subb-An – Warp (One Records) 

Two great tracks on this EP; Warp and TV. Bass heavy, chunky tech-house with the A-side Warp focusing on a more stripped down groove and bassline while the B-side TV really excelling with its reverberating bassline and haunting vocals from Jacob Phono. This is Subb-An’s first release on the label he co-founded. Great first release and looking forward to the next one already.

Du Tonc – Every Song (Eskimo Recordings)

What you come to expect from Eskimo Recordings; they have such a nose for artists that deliver their signature sounds and with such a timeless quality. Du Tonc provides an uplifting summery pop/disco track with a great male vocal. Reminiscent of an Aeroplane/MGMT track which is testament to how good this track is. The only downside is that this is a single track release only.

Maxxi Soundsystem – Medicine EP feat. Name One (Culprit Records)

Culprit have a great array of artists who have featured over recent years; Lee Curtiss, Adriatique, Shonky, Subb-An and Hot Natured. Droog, a collective of DJ’s, have done a great job in developing their label. Uk based Maxxi Soundystem provides a three track release for Culprit titled the Medicine EP.The tracks sit in a nu-disco, house genre with a great vocal on each track from Name One. The title track is the standout track with wonky disco/electro infused house that accompany the vocal perfectly.

Denney – Pimp Out (Hot Creations) 

This is a two track release from Denney on Hot Creations (always such a busy record label) with Pimp Out. The title track is a catchy, nice paced and infectious house track that verges on G-House with its ghetto feel. There is even time for some acid house samples to leave this track sounding slightly old school-esque. The B-side Low Frequency has a slightly slower pace but where it slows down it adds groove and a superb acid squelch. The vocal is far more ghetto which again leaves this house near the G-House genre. Overall a great release from Denney and we could imagine dancing away to this one at Kater Blau in Berlin.

Satin Jackets – Shine on You (Eskimo Recordings)

As with Du Tonc Every Song, Eskimo Recordings are able to churn out quality disco and house with ease. Satin Jackets are stalwarts for Eskimo featuring on the label for a few years now and Shine On You doesn’t disappoint. This is a 5 track release of Shine On You and remixes: Radio, Original, Mighty Mouse, Ben Macklin Remix & Dub Remix. Ester’s vocals are perfect for this uplifting, summery, emotional and atmospheric pop/disco track. Mighty Mouse chips in with a more energetic and club ready remix while Ben Macklin slows things down to create a remix that oozes disco sophistication.

Double Knots – Double Vision EP (International Feel)

“Imagine Tangerine Dream soundtracking Miami Vice through Todd Terje’s ears” is the summary of this EP on the press release, nuff said. This is a three track release, on International Feel who specialise in the more alternative side to electronic music, from Double Knots. Each track is slow, atmospheric, cosmic disco that seems to come from a film score which is testament to the production quality on offer here. Its hard to pick a favourite but I would say the title track Double Vision mixed by Toby Tobias as it reminds us of a DJ Supermarkt Too Slow To Disco track, lets see those disco fingers!

Skream – Still Lemonade (Crosstown Rebels) 

Crosstown Rebels, as Hot Creations above, continue to churn out quality releases. This time Skream offers his Still Lemonade track with a remix from Redshape on the B-side. Skream’s transition to house and techno from dubstep shows that a quality producer can perform in any genre of music. The original is a progressive techno stormer which builds to an electro infused breakdown. The bassline, drums and synths are epic. The Redshape remix cranks it up a notch and leads the track into a more full on techno track with a thunderous grumbly bass.

https://soundcloud.com/factmag/skream-still-lemonade-redshape-remix

Kim Ann Foxman – Firehouse 002 

The second release on Kim Ann Foxman’s new record label Firehouse and Kim delivers more solid house production as she develops her style since pursuing a solo career outside Hercules & The Love Affair. A 5 track release, Open The House with 2 remixes from Eli Escobar, The Lady is a Vamp and Eye See Me. The Eli Escobar remix is the stand out track as it spices up the house formula to provide an uplifting feel with strong beats, key and percussion. The Lady is a Vamp is a quirky B-side with freak show-esque horror sounds and effects. Eye See Me completes the diverse record with a cosmic, futuristic sounding progressive track with a nice breakdown.

Mark Jenkyns feat. MC Chickaboo – On Me (Hot Creations) 

This is yet another Hot Creation release and another quality one at that. Mark Jenkyns provides us with a 4 track release named On Me which has 3 iterations; original, club tweak and Skream remix plus Like This. The vocal is the standout element to this track courtesy of MC Chickaboo. The Skream remix is the best of the 3, providing a club ready, well produced and polished track remix. The remix builds and develops around the vocal perfectly with an excellent breakdown for the dance floor.

https://soundcloud.com/markjenkyns/on-me-clip-feat-mc-chickaboo-sample

Monday Club – Blackout (VIVa Music) 

Steve Lawler’s record label provides the next release from Monday Club who are Luke May and Paul Sidoli. They have been on the electronic music scene for some time and are a duo of high calibre. Blackout is a 5 track release; Blackout has two mixes (one from the recent on form Luke Solomon), Footprints and Girls Jacking. The theme for this record is ‘Accciieeeed’ and lots of it. Each track features the signature acid house sounds and squelches. Blackout has an old Speak and Spell computer vocal, Footprints is rave with a great male vocal and Girls Jacking is the most party track and does exactly what is says on the tin ‘jack’. Hard to pick a favourite as each is a solid release, the Solomon remix was not his best and doesn’t take Blackout to a new level, shame.

Raumakustik – Raider (Hot Trax)

Hot Trax is a sub-label for Hot Creations to release some tougher techno style tracks and Raumakustik provides Raider with a remix by the head honcho at Hot Creations Jamie Jones. The original is a marching tech-house track with heavy drums and effects that build, warp and reverberate the dance floor or speakers or both. Jamie Jones provides a tougher take on the track more towards techno focusing on the key elements of the track to produce a more bass heavy, sub-shaking track.

Dino Lenny – Dont Believe (Rebellion)

Another sub-label this time for Crosstown Rebels and Dino Lenny who has 90’s notoriety from remixing INXS, Underworld, Missy Elliot & Timbaland. He steps up with his newest production Don’t Believe. A two track release with Plastic Man on the B-side which is right up the street of Maceo Plex or Ten Walls which means this track is one that TBC like. The A-side is deep, progressive with haunting vocals and roaring chords that create a sinister sounding track. The B-side is dark and moody with keys that provide a ‘wub…wub….wub”  throughout. Progressive again in style with an array of effects, sounds and vocals. Couldn’t choose between the two as they are both excellent productions.

Garden City Movement – Modern West EP (BLDG5 Records)

The most alternative music offering of this article and to be honest it wasn’t strictly TBC material but we are always open to new music. Garden City Movement are an alternative urban group who produce experimental, urban sounding, dubstep,grime and pop crossover. A five track release with the title track being the weakest offering as it was just too cheesy. Each of the other 4 tracks were interesting with uplifting dubby track Rebellion and an alternative disco track with balearic sounds called My Only Love. Sorting Things Out was a crackly hubby number with nice percussion and beats while When We Had It Easy provides a broken beat pop record. Sorting Things Out was probably our favourite but the whole record was a nice alternative offering.

Our Top Five, in no particular order:

  1. Subb-An – Warp (One Records)
  2. Denney – Pimp Out (Hot Creations)
  3. Skream – Still Lemonade (Crosstown Rebels) 
  4. Mark Jenkyns feat. MC Chickaboo – On Me (Hot Creations)
  5. Monday Club – Blackout (VIVa Music)

Just choosing a top five has been difficult as there are some great records covered in this article. Dino Lenny’s Don’t Believe and the Eskimo Recordings releases were very close to squeezing in. Unfortunately we had to shortlist otherwise we would just be selecting every release from the 13 which is not only lazy but a failing when writing up a review article. In the shortlist we have a great Subb-An record on One Records (who were kind enough to share this promo release with us). He has been on a roll recently with his Essential Mix on BBC that was well received – we are sure he will have a good 2015. Denny is a new artist to TBC but his sound isn’t and this release is a great addition to our G-House collection, we can’t fault a good G-House record as we have become hooked since discovering the genre last year via Amine Edge and Dance’s Essential Mix and our experience at Kater Haus in Kater Blau, Berlin. Skream provides a sample of his upcoming album, which is to be released via Damian Lazarus’s Crosstown Rebels label, with Still Lemonade. This is a well produced club stormer with a great remix from Redshape, we challenge you not to be impressed with this record and we can’t wait to hear it out in a club. Mark Jenkyns is another newbie to TBC but MC Chickaboo isn’t as she featured on one of my all time favourite songs by Timo Maas which I loved so much back in the day I even invented a dance called the ‘Shifter’, I am not joking! On Me and Like This are great tracks plus the Skream remix is superb, he is on a roll at the moment. Monday Club was the surprise of the bunch as we weren’t expecting much from this one but it has provided the most fun at TBC HQ with the warehouse rave tracks, great acid house style and quirky effects, vocals etc. including the excellent ‘Speak & Spell’ vocal effect on Blackout which is so retro its excellent.

As you can tell from the positive words above selecting a favourite is difficult and to be honest has divided opinion at TBC HQ as it is between Monday Club and Skream and both are excellent. The remaining entries in the shortlist have to be commended and it is great to see such a great selection of new tracks from just the 13 we have been lucky enough to review. Having spent a great deal of time listening to each of the favourites we had to go with Monday Clubs latest EP Blackout. The duo have created a superb 5 track EP that captures the Acid sound and warehouse party vibe perfectly. Each track would be well received at a party but could be equally enjoyed at home on a nice bassy sound system. The reason this release sets itself apart from Skream’s release, only just mind you, is that Monday Club deliver on three different tracks and even throw in a Luke Solomon stripped back remix along with an Acapella mix for good measure. It isn’t often an EP provides entertainment from start to finish so not only is this the best release it is also the one with the best value for money. Please have a look at Monday Club’s Soundcloud page below and check out Blackout once it is released, unfortunately there isn’t a streaming link we can offer currently.

Congratulations to Monday Club – Blackout (VIVa Music)

soundcloud.com/mondayclubmusic

Many thanks for reading and we hoped that you enjoyed. We will be back soon with more on TBC.

We would like to thanks Maouris, One Records and all of the individual record labels mentioned above for the opportunity to review their latest releases.

Nick

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