During a quick swoop on All City Records I stumbled upon a repressing of a Eugene McDaniels album, Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, which was originally released in 1971. It was the follow up album to the brilliant ‘Outlaw’ album from the previous year. Both of these albums were released on Atlantic Records and originals of both albums are still quite sought after. The album is a mixture of soul and funk and contains the originals of lots of samples and breaks that you will have heard in a number of rap or hip-hop albums down through the years. It also contains a nice little sleeve note thanking Roberta Flack which states ‘special thanks to ms Roberta Flack for not being afraid to help a brother, she, in my opinion, is a lady of quality, grace, humanity and talent of the highest order’. What a charmer!
Speaking of sleeve notes I also picked up the new album by the best thing to come out of Dunshaughlin since the bus home from the County Club. I refer of course to the songstress Lisa Hannigan. I met Lisa a little over a year ago and asked her what her plans were. She told me she was going to make beautiful music. It turns out that the lady is as good as her word. Various music journalists, bloggers and scene-setters, are lauding her new album ‘Sea Sew’. In an effort to be associated, albeit somewhat tenuously, with the aforementioned groupings, I’m going to row in with them and give my tuppence worth on her offering. Unfortunately I’ve had to listen to it at a very low level on my computer during work. As such even though I listened through I hardly heard any of it. Which means I can’t objectively review it. As such I’ll have to be non-objective, which suits me fine. Lisa Hannigan’s new album is brilliant. It’s a tour de force, whatever that is. The new album got me thinking about that time we were talking to one another. She was in the company of a young lady called Una. I actually mistook that Una for Una Rocks, the blogger. It appears that I got the complete wrong end of the stick. The Una that I met was actually another Una altogether, an Una that has been in constant cahoots with Lisa for the last number of years. Apologies to all the Una’s for the misunderstanding. (Update: I’ve listened to the album, I’m loving it but at the back of my mind it really reminds me of something else. I'll have to think about what that is though.)
I finally got my hands on the new Roots Manuva album, Slime & Reason, after waiting bleeding weeks for it to arrive in Dublin record stores. I’d already heard a couple of the tracks and liked the dancehall influences on them. I’ve been a big fan of all things Roots Manuva and Big Dada for a good time now and once again he’s hit the nail on the head with his latest long player. It’ll fit in nicely beside Brand New Second Hand and Run Come Save Me, two other excellent albums by the same artist.
In other vinyl news, I’ve managed to get my hands on a slew of seven inches this week. Some are good and some are absolute muck. Either way you’re going to hear about them in the next few lines. I’ll start with something good and see how it goes from there.
David Holmes – I heard Wonders
Ever since the album ‘This Films Crap Lets Slash the Seats’ I reckoned Homer was on the downward slide. I checked him out in a few of his incarnations until I eventually gave up on him. All has changed. Well at least for this single. Quite simply put, its great. Better still, it even has an interesting Andrew Weatherall remix on the b-side to get the blood racing. Buy it or get someone to buy it for you.
The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
Keeping it Northern Ireland, you all know this tune. It was John Peel’s favourite tune, which doesn’t really say much, because although he always championed diverse sounds a lot of those sounds were shite. This, however, is pretty rocking and it still stands the test of time. This seven inch four track EP was originally released thirty years ago and it gets a re-release to celebrate its birthday. Along with the famous title track you also get three others and a copy of the original poster booklet that quite ironically has a picture of some graffiti that reads ‘The Undertones are Shit’. Great stuff. Buy it. It’s limited to about five million copies or something like that.
Jazmine Sullivan – Need U Bad
This here tune caught my eye because Missy Elliott is down as a producer. The artist herself, Jazmine, is a 21-year-old R&B singer from Philadelphia (via Jamaica). The tune is based around an old reggae riddim first used by Cornell Campbell. The b-side features a Moody Boyz remix that takes it to another level again. Jazmine’s voice is not dissimilar to Jill Scott or Lauryn Hill and there’s even a guest appearance on the intro by Pepa (of Salt n Pepa fame). All in all I think it’s a lovely piece of work.
Glasvegas – Daddy’s Gone
I’m not sure what to make of this band. The lead singers thick Scottish brogue hangs heavy over the tune and much of the time spent listening to it makes me feel like an elocution teacher. His diction isn’t the best and once the lyrics are deciphered it turns out that I’m not too interested in them. People are bigging this band up at the moment but it would be unfair of me to judge them on this record alone. That said, since it’s all I’ve got to go on, I won’t be making too many efforts to hear any more by them.
King Creosote – Admiral
Another Scottish single up for review and if you know my previous form you’ll know that I like King Creosote. The a-side is staple stuff from the man but it’s the b-side that I’m more interested this time around. It’s a remix of a tune called ‘Leslie’ by another Scottish outfit, Found. They describe themselves as a DIY folk quintet and that is a very apt description. They appear to have two MySpace pages. You can check out the King Creosote remix on this one.
Le N?ko – Akedam
This is the fifth and latest release on the All City Records label. This time around it sees a French producer with an unpronounceable name to take care of business. It’s another winner in what has become a fascinating series of seven inches. It tours the periphery of hip-hop and selects the finest and freakiest beats from all over the place. This one is no different. Respect.
Fred Wesley & The JB’s – Blow your Head
This one was originally released in 1973 but has lost nothing since then. It’s a classic slice of funk with another fine cut on the b-side. There’s not much more to say about it except that its great.
Finally, I did some blind shopping, as is my way. I picked up two seven inches that had nice looking covers. As they always say, never judge a record by its cover. The first one is Underground by Belgian pop/rock act Das Pop. It’s not the worst tune ever and would not seem out of place on daytime radio. It also has very nice production on it but that’s where my praise for it stops. Mind you it’s nowhere near as shit as the next tune. I bought ‘The Spike’ by UK band The Music because Paul Hartnoll of Orbital produced it. It’s stadium pop rock at its worst. It’s a bag of mickeys.
Right, that’s it, I’m off to the Spiegeltent to see the best of Ireland’s breakdancers do their thing today. Big up to the Choice Cuts Crew for managing to put on great events on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m bringing my two lads along so that they might follow in their fathers breaking foot steps. Hopefully they’ll be better at it than I was.