Soul

Broadway (CD)

My current favorite Bay Area duo of singer Myron and DJ/singer E The Boss, making retro soul music reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions … their backing band is the Soul Investigators, known for their fine work with soul singer Nicole Willis.

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7 Days Of Funk (CD)

In the words of the Holy Ghost of Funk, Bootsy Collins: "Well glory be! The funk's on me!" 7 Days of Funk's debut EP is a revelatory event for for fans of and freaks for The Funk, and should be particularly pleasing for those whose funk du jour is syrup-thick mid-tempo boogie-funk seasoned heavy with synthesizers a la Yarborough & Peoples or Zapp. This latter strain of funk has seen a resurgence in recent years, aided in large part by Angeleno Dam-Funk who makes up half of 7 Days of Funk's funknamic duo. Who's the other half? None other than the Doggfather himself, Snoop aka Snoop Lion aka Snoopzilla for this release, in an explicit homage to the Bootsman. Snoop has flirted with throwback funkestries on previous releases and is responsible for the global dispersal of the G-funk sound, but never before has be given himself so wholeheartedly to the funkmersive concerns expressed on this EP. Easily transcending the side-project ghetto, 7 Days of Funk is two major voices in contemporary music, subsuming their individual identities into something new and simply huge. A match made in funk heaven.

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Cupid Deluxe (CD)

Solange Knowles’ bud and producer Blood Orange (aka Dev Hynes) helped her make the True EP, one of the finest R&B releases in recent memory, and now he’s got his own album, Cupid Deluxe, to keep the smooth vibes going. In truth Hynes has been plugging away for years, first as Lightspeed Champion and as part of Test Icicles, but his recent production work has drawn more attention to him than ever before. And with good reason: everything Hynes touches seems to be impossibly smooth, channeling memories of ’80s synth-funk and classic soul into something that feels undeniably modern. “Chamakay” utilizes vibraphone and jazzy bass to set a nocturnal stage for Hynes’ breathy delivery, akin to The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye. “You’re Not Good Enough” is good enough to have been a single for any of his various collaborators, riding on a slinky funk riff and heartfelt dueting vocals. Everything comes together gorgeously on “Chosen,” a sultry ballad with Disney-quality vocals, floating horns like something out of Roxy Music’s Avalon and loads of sexy atmosphere. Remember Cupid Deluxe come Valentine’s Day—it’s a deal-closer of a record.

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Lift Your Spirit (CD)
Following the transcendental monster success of "I Need A Dollar," the O.C. native follows up with an even better record of real life contemporary soul music, anthemically imbued with the slice-of-life spirits of Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers & Pharrell in equal parts. This album also contains "Wake Me Up" in its original acoustic countrified form, pre-Avicii euro-tech-bombast. The entire album is peppered with these country and bluegrass elements, separating it from the contemporary R&B pack and making it something endearingly unique. Read more
Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics (CD)

For the first Delfonics album in many years, the legendary soul band’s singer, William Hart, teams with producer Adrian Younge (Ghostface Killah, Venice Dawn), who writes dreamy compositions with era-appropriate production for the group, now in its 80s. Just as the group once performed iconic songs like “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” becoming sampled by the likes of The Fugees and Missy Elliott and being used notably in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, Younge presents Hart with songs which could have been released in the ’70s, during the group’s prime. Amazingly, Hart’s unique, high-register drawl is intact. He warbles emotively through the darkly beautiful “Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love),” which I’ll stop short of calling a new classic for the band (but if it isn’t, it’s damn close). Younge and his band give the Hart a nasty, surf-soul ballad to croon over in “Lost Without You,” which starts like a 007 theme song before panning out into psychedelic soul, with stirring drum breaks, horns and subtle sitar. It’s touches like these that keep Adrian Young Presents the Delfonics from being merely a nostalgic trip or way for a producer to work with one of his heroes; Younge truly understands Hart’s voice, what works and what doesn’t, and he successfully adds new shades to the classic Delfonics sound while honoring their classic era. Hart croons like a man a quarter of his age in the touching “Silently”; he drops a register to sing out of falsetto on “To Be Your One,” the result equally alluring; and when he teams with a female vocalist on “Just Love,” they emerge with a gorgeous funk-soul ballad you could hear adding choice ambiance to Jackie Brown 2. To say it’s seductive listening would be an understatement.

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