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South-coast based multi-instrumentalist and producer Flevans has had a prolific year, with his full band playing across the country regularly and his 6th studio album scheduled for release in 2020.
And the first offering from that album is a real pop gem! Teaming up once again with soul songstress Laura Vane the pair offer a little nod to Chaka Khan for the bouncing and groove infused pop bubble of "Mr Right". Prince-style harmonies weave between spoken word sections and a sensational top line from Ms. Vane, as Flevans plies his playful and funky production style expertly as always. Electro influences and dancefloor synths line up alongside horns and slap bass to create a jam that everyone can’t help but bump to. Adding more bounce to the ounce the single also includes a brand new, killer instrumental track "Speculate" - Flevans goes back to basics, mixing up gritty percussion, drums loops and vocal samples over a four to floor groove - guaranteed dance-floor heat! If you're already salivating best to prepare a bib, this is just the entree!

20 Questions You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Ask... Rita Ray

1- How would you best describe what you do to the uninitiated?

?? Sorry, but I didn’t understand the question :/ 

2- Where would you say you are with regard to your career right now?

I am in a really good place right now. I enjoy writing music and singing my own tunes. This is what I have dreamt of for a long time.

3- Which song (not necessarily yours) best sums you/the band up and why?

I will pick my own song: “Disco Stu”. I didn’t have this one song in my album that would make it complete. So – I was messing around in my hometown and suddenly got this main riff stuck in my head. I had these sarcastic and cynical lyrics in my mind and I was singing and playing it, but didn’t have a title so I asked my sister:” what does it sound like?”. She immediately answered: “Disco Stu!”. Because she was watching The Simpsons and I guess the song had kind of a “disco vibe” to it. It is also the most up-tempo one in my album and was definitely favourite one to make. 

4- Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration (musically or otherwise)?

Definitely The Beatles. Their songwriting skills were just impeccable. Also, I would have to name Aretha Franklin. She was the singer in my life that I have envied for a long time.

5- Is there anyone amongst your influences that you think would surprise people and why?

At one point, I was listening a lot of  “Gentle Giant”. They were an English progressive rock band active in 70s and 80s. I guess, it is not very “my style”. 

6- What are you most proud of?

I am proud of being an estonian. 

7- In the quest to get the music ‘out there’ have you ever done or agreed to anything you’ve later regretted?

No. I have never been a fame-searching artist. And as a female singer, it sickens me how our society is pushing those who are most of the time wearing basically nothing. As an artist, I would like to be respected for my music and not for my looks. 

8- What’s the most ridiculous request that’s been asked of you/the band?

I played one wedding and they wanted me to sing and play “Kalinka”. I was really sceptical but few moments later the whole crowd was on the dancefloor.

9- What do you think is the secret to a good working relationship amongst musicians?

Respect. This is the most important thing. As long as there is respect for other musicians in the band, it is working. Secondly, it needs to be fun. Can’t take everything seriously. 

10- If you could have played on one song (that you don’t), what would it be and why?

I would’ve loved to play on some Motown’s recording. Just to see how they got the sound and how the recording sessions were etc. 

11- How do you make the balance between music and personal responsibilities?

I don’t get tired of music. It is what I do on most of my days. There is always something to do and the work never ends. But personal responsibilities like house chores is a good way to unload. 

12- In light of the internet and downloading do you feel that fans are missing out on the record buying discovery/experience?

Yes, definitely. And I also think since everyone has a chance to make a record these days, there is a lot of let’s say “interesting” music out there. I am not saying that I wish things could be like in the “old days” where labels signed artists and you had to be special and work hard, but a lot of good music came out back then. Can’t deny that.

13- Do you think that success is your motivation and do you have a preset gameplan for your music/the band? 

Not always. Success is also very subjective. But I have to admit, I feel happiest when I go on stage and sing my heart out. 

14- DJ’s are now as famous as a lot of the bands they play, what are your views on this and do you think it’s deserved?

I am not a DJ myself so I don’t know how much work they put into their careers. 

15- To date, what has been your most memorable gig (either as a performer or as a fan)?

It was definitely in “Sõru Jazz 2018” festival. I did a tribute to Etta James’s 80th birthday. For the last song “I’d Rather Go Blind”, estonian best jazz musicians gathered on stage as a surprise to do the song together. Kadri Voorand and Liina Saar sang backvocals for me. This was a gig I will never forget. 

16- How do you overcome pre-gig nerves (if you get them)?

Of course I get nervous sometimes. Especially before some really big performance. But I breathe slowly and deeply and think happy thoughts. Nothing more special than that. 

17- When did you last write something?

It was in the summer the day before the last recording session. I had booked a studio, but didn’t have the last two songs. So I had to fill the void in my album and wrote those last two. But I am taking a break right now. Although, after releasing my album, I will definitely start to work on a new one.

18- Have you ever reached a point where you’ve thought about throwing the towel in and walking away (and if so, what persuaded you otherwise)?

Nope, not that I remember. Mama didn’t raise a quitter haha! 

19- What are your views on electronics muscling in and replacing live instruments during recording?

We did everything in my album with live instruments. Horns, strings, original Hammond organ, original Wurlitzer etc. I think that is already saying how I feel about the topic. 

20- Lastly, thank you for your time. What made you agree to answer these questions?

It is a good way to look back and think stuff through. Was fun to answer!

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Rita Ray, the young Estonian soul singer and songwriter, just released ‘Disco Stu’, her third single. Latest addition to Funk Embassy Records - Rita is destined to find her place next to the likes of Dojo Cuts, The Dip and Hannah Williams. Previous singles included a mid-60’s R&B reminiscent heart melter ‘Fool For Loving You’ and ‘Lover Man’ - a piano-led ballad that’s surely influenced by Amy Winehouse.

’Disco Stu’ sees Rita Ray flip the switch and reveal her upbeat and cheerful side. Although the artists blue-eyed Soul sensibilities are well present, the listener is treated to a disco thump that makes the feet tap. The crisp production includes a percussion and string section that tips the hat to the works of Alice Russell and Quantic.

Now available on Bandcamp and Spotify, this single whets the fans’ appetite for ‘Old Love Will Rust’, Rita Ray’s upcoming debut album. After being positively surprised by the high praises received for ‘Fool For Loving You’ and ‘Lover Man’, Rita Ray expects this one to show her fans another side of her compositions. ‘’Disco Stu’ makes the album a whole’ Rita reveals.

Check out ‘Disco Stu’ here!

"Rides Again" is Shawn Lee’s first vocal and songwriter album and is a very personal journey into the world of soul-inspired country music. 2019 arrived and the American born and London based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger and filmmaker decided that the time was now. Recorded and arranged very quickly in stolen hours from other recording and touring commitments. The songs came together intuitively and organically.
“This is a very reflective and personal album. I am looking back to my childhood in Wichita/Kansas and thinking about where I’m at the present moment and the idea of an unwritten future. I could have only made this album at this point of my life”, Shawn Lee says. Recorded in London at Shawn Lee’s studio by long time engineer Pierre Duplan, it features Shawn playing all most all of the instrumentals with haunting pedal steel by Joe Harvey-Whyte, Carwyn Ellis (The Pretenders, Edwyn Collins) on keyboards in two songs plus Andy Ross on saxophone and Everton Nelson on violin on one song. Definitely: Shawn Lee is ‘still on the line’.

A year since their latest release (live album "Live At The Jazz Cafe") and more than 2 years since their last studio album ("Stone & Sky", both out on Vintage League Music), acclaimed UK-based funk & soul band Crowd Companydrop new music with single "Express 76", a high impact, groovy instrumental tour de force that features sax & trumpet virtuosos Ryan Zodis & Eric Bloomfrom veteran US funk band Lettuce. 
"Express 76" is an uptempo workout that sees Crowd Company flexing their their musical muscles as they hit, pluck, press and blow for almost 3 minutes of relentless groove. Released digitally on October 25th, this track anticipates the upcoming new album by Crowd Company, which will see the light of day on CD, LP & Digital download on January 31st 2020. 
Both the single and the album will be out on Vintage League Music and were recorded in Millers Falls, USA at the studio of Alan Evans (Soulive / Ae3) who also produced the record. Before the album drops you can expect additional singles to be released by the band. Here is your first taste!

Who is Leon Dinero? From whence did he come? The soulful singer dropped his first single this past June, tearing up a ska version of Lee Fields & Sugarman 3's classic "Lover Like Me". Backed by The Frightnrs, and with Victor Axelrod in the producer's chair Leon returns with "If You Ask Me", a gorgeous piece of wax that draws inspiration from the deep vaults of Jamaican Rocksteady.

Originally penned for The Frightnrs' debut long player but never tracked as such, this version showcases Dinero's timeless vocal delivery - his voice etched with honey-dipped imperfections that call to mind the classic vocals of Alton Ellis and Hopeton Lewis. Gracing the flip-side is"Bandits", a lyrical takedown of the continuing gentrification of New York City that rides the A-Side's instrumental in pure Jamaican DJ style. Vocal duties for this stellar side are brought to you by Screechy Dan, who's often described as the glue that holds the NYC reggae community together.

Beyond his classic tunes like"Pose Off" and "Big Bills", Screechy has nurtured generations of young artists, sound systems and selectors, forging deep ties that bind Jamaica to New York and veteran artists to the new school. Victor Axelrod expertly handles the production by employing the rhythmic powerhouse that is The Frightnrs to help mine the sweetness of rock steady for the A-side whilst tempering it with the drum and bass toughness of classic rub-a-dub for the flip.

German funk superstars The Mighty Mocambos are back! 4 years since their latest album “Showdown“, the Hamburg groove machine announce new full-length "2066" landing in stores on October 18th on LP via Mocambo Recordsand on CD & Digital via Légère Recordings. 
In anticipation of the new full-length and their premiere tour through France, UK and Germany, Hamburg’s deep funk legends drop a first taste of the album with single “Preaching To The Choir”, an infectious and witty instrumental sermon straight from the church of electric funk.
The single is accompanied by a videoclip directed by Roeler that sees our heroes zulu walking their way through urban landscapes, hoola-hooping, skateboarding, twirling umbrellas and taking over a church while in their crisp, white uniforms and a series of decorative headpieces.

Hannah Williams, the British soul hurricane who sensationally became part of Jay-Z's chart-topping 4:44 album, is primed and ready for her own national and international breakthrough.

Williams turned heads worldwide when the hip-hop superstar sampled her heart-stopping vocals on 'Late Nights & Heartbreak' for the title track, ‘4.44’ on his 2017 album. Now Hannah and her exemplary, Bristol-based band the Affirmations deliver a definitive career statement with the drop-dead soulful new album 50 Foot Woman which will be released October 18th on the Milan based imprint Record Kicks.  

The album captures all of the visceral power of the band's increasingly legendary live performances. Shades of classic Soul and Psychedelic Funk blend uniquely with modern-day flavours on a record destined to set the soul agenda for 2019 and far beyond. “I've never been as proud of anything in my entire career” says Hannah.

Born in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Williams' father was a musically gifted minister, and her mother let her join the church choir at the age of six. Hannah could read music before she could properly read words, and when she discovered soul by listening with her mum to Motown and Bill Withers,
there was no turning back.

After a 2012 debut with her previous band the Tastemakers, it was 2016's Late Nights & Heartbreak that announced the arrival of Hannah Williams and the Affirmations. But little did she know that Jay-Z was listening.
One day, at herthen-day job running the music department at the University of Winchester, he sent her a text.
Once she'd established that it wasn't a wind-up, and summoned the courage to call him back, she learned that JayZ's producer, No I.D., had played him Hannah's track to inspire his response to Beyoncé's Lemonade,
on which she sang of his infidelities.

Williams was as in the dark about how 'Late Nights & Heartbreak' would be used until 4:44 dropped. But the substantial sample of her voice opened doors she never dreamed of. “It was an incredible catalyst,” she says, “as a change in our collective career, and getting a global audience. Suddenly, there were millions of predominantly American hip-hop fans listening to my voice, going 'Is this from the '60s? Is she dead?'”

What followed was a year of the band's widest-ever touring including an invitation to perform at Central Park Summer Stage NY, Toronto Jazz Festival and Brooklyn Bowl NY and expanded audiences in continental Europe where she and the Affirmations had already made a mark. Then came the burning determination to make the record of their lives. The captivating 50 Foot Woman is that album, produced by Shawn Lee, a respected presence on the funk/soul scene whose credits include Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey and Alicia Keys. Lee has released five solo albums as Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra on San Francisco label Ubiquity Records and is also one half of the cool melodic pop duo Young Gun Silver Fox.

Now the world will hear what the cognoscenti have known for a while: that Hannah Williams is the real deal, and sings from her very soul. “I feel like my performance comes from my solar plexus,” she says. “The emotional side of it is so intrinsic; I can't take it away from what I do".

September 20th marks the release of "I'm a good woman", the vibrant new single from the fine purveyors of energetic soul and funk music The Soul Immigrants, featuring special guest vocalist Ria Currie (Speedometer, Snowboy, Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band), a hefty slice of lively retro soul.
The single includes guests from the UK funk & soul scene such as Mark Ashfield (The Get Up) on Hammond organ, Ian Bailey (The Boom Yeh) on saxes and Dave Boraston (Stone Foundation) on trumpet. Kat Sandel on background vocals. This is the sole cover version (originally recorded by Barbara Lynn) on the forthcoming new album "Back From The Brink" which will be released mid Nov 2019 on an exclusive limited-edition Vinyl only release. 
Hailing from South London, The Soul Immigrants have been quietly turning out vinyl 45’s for their own label Dry Rooti Records. Their new exclusive Vinyl only release on Laterilize Records, will feature special guests such as Jamaican artist Freddie Notes.

  “Never Did Look Like Love” is the long-awaited debut solo single from  former New Street Adventure frontman, Nick Corbin.Produced by Gavin Monaghan and Joe Murray (Editors, The Twang, Paolo Nutini, Ocean Colour Scene, Robert Plant) at Magic Garden Studio in Wolverhampton, the track has a mournful yet triumphant feel, in turn hypnotic and rousing and while there are influences as diverse as Scott Walker, Ned Doheny, Angie Stone and Frank Ocean the track is unmistakably Nick’s.

“Never Did Look Like Love” sets the standard for Nick’s first solo album, which will be released in early 2020. Expect more.“Never Did Look Like Love” will be released digitally on 10th September 2019.

Nick Corbin has spent the last year in good company, touring with the likes of The Milk, Stone Foundation, Corduroy and The Spitfires as well as opening for Mavis Staples at London’s iconic Union Chapel and for Tom Odell at three Pub in the Park festivals.

As well as an even busier live schedule this year, Nick has started working on his debut solo album with producer Gavin Monaghan at Magic Garden Studioin Wolverhampton.Many of Nick’s songs have a strong social conscience, although he is just as comfortable singing whimsical ballads as he is commenting on the trials and tribulations of the UK government.Expect an eclectic set of hard-hitting, soulful tunes with a distinctly British edge and keep your eyes peeled for new releases later in 2019.Until February 2018, Nick was the singer and main songwriter of New Street Adventure, who released two albums on the legendary Acid Jazz label: “No Hard Feelings” in 2014 and “Stubborn Sons” in 2017.Nick was brought up with soul music constantly playing in the background, thanks to his Father’s love for the genre and obsessive collecting of rare records.

An early visit to London’s iconic 100 Club for a Northern Soul all-nighter inspired Nick to pen “The Big A.C, a tribute to what Nick saw as “the ultimate underground”, and which went on to become NSA’s best-loved song.Over the years the band received critical acclaim from the likes of Q Magazine (4/5 stars for album two) and The Guardian’s Tim Jonze, who praised Nick as having “an innate understanding of classic soul songwriting”.Despite the soulful roots in Nick’s music, his voice remains distinctive and unmistakeable. Q’s Paul Moody referred to him as “a mod Mike Skinner”, whilst comparisons to Paul Weller and, more recently, Tom Misch have been frequently made.

www.nickcorbin.co.uk

@nickcorbinmusic

  With the release of their first two albums and live shows supporting Snarky Puppy, Roy Ayers, Marcus Miller, Larry Mizell & the Blackbyrds and more, Resolution 88 have already established themselves as one of the UK’s leading exponents of jazz-funk. The Resolution 88 sound is synonymous with the silky, buttery sound of the Fender Rhodes. The band's new album "Revolutions" represents a lot of firsts - the first time Resolution 88 have recorded to multi-track tape, the first time that they’ve included a real string and brass section, the first time they’ve included special guests on record and the first time they’ve pressed an album on vinyl. Imagine a combination of an undiscovered Herbie Hancock album from the mid’ 70’s, rare-groove samples from the golden era of hip hop (ATCQ, Pharcyde etc) and the new London sound of bands like Yussef Kamaal.  

  Twenty years in the game is no small feat in the fickle world of music, especially for an instrumental funk band. Celebrating two decades as a band, new album "Shake It" sees The New Mastersounds, shake it up, with a departure from the jazz-funk-fusion meanderings of their recent releases and a new entry in the form of singer Lamar Williams Jr. (son of late Allman Brothers bassist Lamar Williams). Add to the mix Mike Olmos on trumpet (a NMS regular who has already appeared on albums such as "Renewable Energy" and "Made For Pleasure"), and Jason Mingledorff on sax and flute (previously on tour with St. Paul and the Broken Bones), and you have yourself a very tasty cocktail indeed (shake it, don't stir). Appearing on the majority of the album's tracks, Lamar Williams Jr.'s husky voice is a match made in heaven with the tight groove that NMS seem effortlessly to provide. From the first to the last note "Shake It" is a treat for the ears. And why wouldn't it be? In 20 years of activity, one thing The New Mastersounds surely are is a guarantee.   

   Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their celebrated 2009  album "Soul Messin", Australia’s finest Hammond Organ trio Cookin' On 3 Burners re-release two of their hardest-hitting dance floor cuts on a Limited Edition 7” vinyl single.The double-sided 45’ features the bands deftly-chosen instrumental cover versions of Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc" and Gary Numans’ New Wave classic "Cars" - two incendiary tracks which have lit up Club floors, B-Boy Battles, stereo speakers and headphones worldwide, but which have never before featured on the Funk DJ’s preferred format and weapon of choice.  

  Since the release of Scone Cash Playersʼ (yes, that's right! Adam Scone from thee legendary Sugarman 3) latest long player, As the Screw Turns , a flood of inquiries poured into Daptone HQ as to whether or not there would be a 45 pressed of the lead single "Canned Champagne". After mulling it over for a few seconds Daptone brass came back with a resounding YES! We're talking, heavy, heavy funk here people. The Recipe? Take one heaping helping of hard-nosed drums, a double dose of off-the-wall organ, a pinch of chicken-scratch guitar, and slather it all in the greasy vocals stylings of rising star, Jason Joshua, and what you get is quite possibly the rawest slab of party funk to hit the scene since the heady days of Desco and Soul Fire records.