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Funk / Jazz / Blues / Soul / Gospel

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Charles Bradley
No Time For Dreaming

There simply aren't many others, if any, that make this level of soul music anymore. From the 1st track, which is the single from this LP, to the Nirvana cover, "Stay Away", every single song resonates and grows on you after multiple listens. There isn't a single pop song on here. It's all soul, baby. A lot of old school soul records were notori...view item »

Arve Henriksen
Places Of Worship

Rune Grammofon’s versatile trumpet dude Arve Henriksen is getting all spiritual on your ass this week with the release of ‘Places of Worship’, a graceful convolution of spiritual music and his mysterious smoky Scandi-jazz, backed tastefully by cleverly us...view item »

Theo Parrish
Black Jazz Signature

Arguably one of the world’s most important underground dance music producer/DJs lends his hands to selecting and mixing a set of jazz and funk records licensed from and originally released on the Black Jazz label 1971-1976. Theo gives special attention to fellow Chicago musicians The Awakening (3 consecutive t...view item »

Polar Bear with Jyager
Common Ground

Polar Bear have taken samples from a vinyl copy of their Peepers LP (in true hip-hop style!!) to build new tracks with the addition of London MC Jyager. An unexpected move but a most welcome one. Jyager straddles the hip-hop grime bridge with slick flow and well decent lyrics. Polar Bear's new compositions really shine and the pair gel brilliant...view item »

Colin Stetson
New History Warfare Vol. 3 : To See More Light

Sax machine Colin Stetson has been turning ever more heads of late with his innovative and unique playing style, and finally this week we have the third in his ‘New History Warfare’ trilogy available for your consumption, hot on the heels of his excellent collaboration with modern sax legend ...view item »

Bruno Spoerri
Teddy Bar / Lilith

“German yet fun”, screams a slightly racist quote from 808 State’s Graham Massey in the press release to Swiss composer Bruno Spoerri’s previous reissue on the mighty Finders Keepers. Well, everyone liked t...view item »

The Bang Girl Group Revue
Soul Shangri-La

Inspired by the old days of heart-wrenching and life-affirming soul music -- back when it was the much idolized '60s -- The Bang Girl Group Revue take retro and reroute it for the current day. The trio try and keep their sound on Soul Shangri-La as true to their vision as possible, doing soul re...view item »

The Ex & Brass Unbound
Enormous Door

I used to like the Ex..(circa 1983/84),then for no real reason..left them behind,they released sooo many records i could'nt keep up..then somehow i heard they had a new singer,thought hmmm,i give him a listen..probably won't like it..HOOLLYY SHIT,'catch my shoe' the previous lp...A-MA-ZING. Instantly my fave...view item »

Al Green
I'm Still In Love With You

Still in Love with You is a complete album. The type of album that you can play straight through, in order, time after time. Each song flows into the next creating the sense of a man giving a melodic testimony concerning his innermost feelings about love, life, longing, pain, sadness melancholy and redemption. Not a wasted note, sound or breath ...view item »

Land Of Kush
The Big Mango

Osama Shalabi's project Land of Kush is where esoteric sounds congregate: his mix of free whatever-you-want (as long as its improvised) is met with vocal howls and hums, strangely programmed electronic work in one big sonic ambiguation. The Big Mango uses this lens of odd sounds to consider gend...view item »

Jackson & His Computer Band

By the look of the cover of this I think Jackson’s Computer Band is now his Computerband, but no matter, Jackson is back, eight years after his debut, with another album of frankly baffling post-pop weirdness on Warp. We’ve had it on a couple of times in the office alread...view item »

Helderberg Howl / FTW

Golden Lab Records have this week sent this sloppy mess of a 7” from Chalaque, a self-proclaimed “double B-side” single featuring the songs ‘Helderberg Howl’ and ‘FTW’. I’m starting with the B-side ‘FTW’, which is two minutes of harsh vaguely rhythmic po...view item »

The Krzysztof Komeda Trio
Knife In The Water

Here’s something a bit special. This 7” of classic Polish jazz contains Krzysztof Komeda’s four themes from Roman Polanski’s debut feature film ‘The Knife In The Water’ - the two would later work together on ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac&r...view item »

Shifty Chicken Shed

Band Tops its hat to Region The Shropshire Border area has been immortalised in the debut album of a local band. Shifty Chicken Shed will launch their album, TOWN on Satuday, as a homage to Oswestry. A collection of rhythm and blues rooted tales, the album was inspired by sunny afternoons in pubs around the area. To be released on the bands own ...view item »

Diamond Terrifier
The Subtle Body Wears A Shadow

Diamond Terrifier aka Sam Hillmer here with his latest effort on Terrible Records. DJ, artist, curator, Sam it seems is a man of many talents and here we see him living in a world where the saxophone isn’t just an instrument but a completely new way of thinking and creating music that exists bey...view item »

The Child Of Lov
The Child Of Lov

He was the mysterious person of Prince-influenced pop-funk. Black/white/male/female? No-one knew. Now all of a sudden his disjointed mug appears in everything from the Harrogate Advertiser to Dogs Monthly, including popping on the front of this, his debut album. He has also collaborated with ...view item »

The Sandman's Orchestra

Pierre Laplace was the singer in a cool French band called Vera Clouzot. Between 1994 and 2004 they played alongside the likes of Smog and Jeff Buckley, before disbanding. Laplace then holed himself up in a home studio and taught himself to play loads of different instruments until, in May 2010,...view item »

Still Life With Eggplant

Norway’s prolific psych-rock-jazz-pop-country-prog titans Motorpsycho have been on the form of their career lately, with new(ish) drummer Kenneth Kapstad well and truly settled into the unit as they blazed through their last two epic concept albums, stretching the limits of their galloping psych grooves ...view item »

The Como Mamas
Get An Understanding

In a nutshell, this album is full of soul and the timeless sound of the blues -- only sanctified. The style of a cappella singing by it's nature leaves both the lyrics, the rhythms, and the singers bathed in a clear light that leaves no room to hide behind outside instrumentation. And because these women have been singing together for so long, t...view item »


Fans of free folk will no doubt rejoice at the release of Damsen by Shiggajon, a Danish two piece made up of Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg as well as a liquid cast of backing players. The clash of sounds as they bring together noise, drone and free jazz grows discordant and beautiful. Limited...view item »

Ben Bennett

Ah, the joys of working in audio retail mean that today I get to start my review session with this platter of confrontational and mostly percussive free-clattering on Experimedia from Ben Bennett, a jazz-trained drummer with a visceral playing style whic...view item »

Cam Deas/Chie Mukai/Lena Circus
Cam Deas/Chie Mukai/Lena Circus

Here are two extended improv jams from the one-off five-piece of post-takoma guitarist Cam Deas, Botuh dancer and improviser Chie Mukai and the Parisian three-piece improv unit Lena Circus, who between them scrape and twang their way through about 45 minut...view item »

Die Forever

Cross is the brainchild of Warmer Milks’ Ma Turner and visual artist R Clint Colburn, and this album here that they’ve done is full of quite ‘80s-sounding post...view item »

The Soft Pack (The Muslims)

The Soft Pack were called The Muslims before they had to change their name for one reason or another. Whatever moniker they have traded under, they have always been a force to be reckoned with and the opening track here ‘Saratoga&rsqu...view item »

Dave Cloud & Gospel of Power
Live at Gonerfest

Moon Moods

This is the new album from Diva Dompe (ex-Black Black and Pocahaunted). Its a mish mash of skewed R’n’B and failed dancefloor classics recorded in a wholly cu...view item »

Dam Funk
I Don’t Wanna Be A Star!

The ever impressive future_funk flag bearer Dam_Funk returns with a taster of what’s to come from his sophomore effort (the follow up to awesome ‘Toeachizown’) on Stones Throw...view item »

HazelEye And The Pad
HazelEye And The Pad

My immediate response to this CD was one of confusion. The goofy name, presented on the cover in about five different fonts, made me think it might be some kind of joke, but then when I look closer, and indeed listen, it’s actually quite serious, pretty, minimalist melodic folk son...view item »

Black Twig Pickers

Yee-haw!! When is an album not an album? I’d have said this was a 12”. It has two songs on it - albeit long ones. The first, ‘Merry Mountain Hoedown’, is just as you imagine, a banjo and fiddle workout with carefully placed yee-haws. It’s thoroughly enjoyable ...view item »

Bobby Womack
The Bravest Man In The Universe

Now that Gil Scott Heron has died,  XL have had to go scratting around for another legend to resurrect. And who better than one of the Womack’s  - Bobby. Remember, Bobby was not part of Womack and Womack whos...view item »

Volcano The Bear
Golden Rhythm / Ink Music

My unique selling point here at Norman Towers is my ability and willingness to review records nonstop for indefinite periods of time, and yet sometimes a band is so uncategorisable that it's pretty much impossible to encapsulate their essence in a couple of paragraphs of pearly prose....view item »

The Sugarman Three
What The World Needs Now

Funk and jazz and fun. This recording by Sugarman Three contains that and some lovely standards done in their trademark style. That was a selling point for me compared to their other discs. This particular recording has class and style and does not falter in delivering the Funk goods - even if it's not as funky as "Pure Cane Sugar", but it's sol...view item »

Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Think you know what to expect from Spiritualized by now? Well, you'd be right! Yup, the English band with the American spelling are back with a new platter of their ambitious indie-psych-pop-gospel-drug music packed with 11 cuts that sound jus...view item »

Michael Kiwanuka
I'm Getting Ready

This guy's getting a lot of positive attention at the moment and brought out a recent 10” that was quite lovely if I remember correctly. On this 7” there's a couple of short and slightly insubstantial songs that highlight his lovely voice and dreamy acoustic soul stylings. I'm ...view item »

Luke Roberts
The Iron Gates At Troop and Newport

How many lonesome singer songwriters does it take for someone to figure out that we don't need any more of them?  I'm not sure if there is an upper limit but if there was some kind of cull then Luke Roberts would be on the right side of the cut. He peddles a kind of back porch melanch...view item »

Lunar Roulette

I used to be terrified of free jazz. Now I regularly go to dingy strip clubs with my mate Free Jazz Joe & we recklessly snort heroin in the humid, filth-caked toilets whilst talking about destroying form & structure & just letting rip on a piece of well-oiled brass and, like, letting your mind transcend your body and that kind of thi...view item »

Chuck Bettis
Urgency Renewal

Chuck Bettis is pals with that band Big Blood so they've put a CD out of his stuff on their own Don't Trust The Rain label. Bettis is one of them spontaneous composition types so, as you can imagine, 'Urgency Renewal' is chocker with systematically chaotic compositions. It was recorded over a period of time in different locations with...view item »

Bill Wells

Last night scratting through the obscure TV channels I came across an old episode of 'Last of the Summer Wine'. It culminated in the three old men hurtling down a hill, not in a bath this time but on a bike. You couldn't make it up. I mention this for no other reason that the opening melo...view item »

El Rego
El Rego

How exciting to have a really well selected comp of the great El Rego! My only quibble with this release is that some of the tracks overlap with the prior released compilation by Analog Africa called 'The Legends of Benin' (get it-it's great). With so many other fine tracks not compiled anywhere I wonder why they decided to release a bunch that ...view item »

Sweet Williams

Funny that Charlottefield were one of the first bands ever to be played in our new office. Post-hardcore/emo types with a brittle yet simultaneously raging character, they probably never sold that many records but gave us many an hour's pleasure with their edgy dynamism and thorough pas...view item »

The Stepkids
The Stepkids

The Stepkids have created an unconventional and unlikely mash-up of 70s psychedelic soul with avant-garde electric jazz (a la Miles Davis's fusion period of the late 60s and early 70s) and a melodic rock sound that somehow creates a completely ageless and timeless feel. This is music that is both firmly rooted in its influences yet is also start...view item »

The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing
Stormy Weather

What an odd career path Edgar 'Jones' Jones has had from The Stairs' marvellous '60s beat group racket to his excellent 'Soothing Music for Stray Cats' album to being hyped by Noel Gallagher and working with the Scouse mafia of McCulloch, Power and Mavers...view item »

Betty Davis
They Say I'm Different

Despite the "freaky" outfit on the cover, Betty Davis' "They Say I'm Different" eschews the space alien/psychedelic/glam/absurdist themes of contemporaries like Parliament & co. If those groups are the Bob Dylans of funk, Betty Davis (one-time wife of Miles Davis) is the Janis Joplin. The music has the simplicity and punchiness of blues, the...view item »

Trawler Bycatch

Acid Birds
Acid Birds III

A superb double whammy wax hit this week from BR, the first of which is rotating right now. Acid Birds is the work of Andrew Barker (drums and percussion), Jaime Fennelly (harmonium and electronics) and Charles Waters (alto saxophone and bass clarinet). Things get straight into action with some clattering free j...view item »

Artichaut Orchestra
T For Teresa


here is a 7" by Prop which is nice rhodes piano and questionable twiddling bass. The next track veers into miniature, sweeter Squarepusher territory. Final track funks a bit too much but has interesting sounds and beats. Nebula is 7" only on Inventing Zero records....view item »

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Smoking In Heaven

Phil, God bless him, used to rave about these lot. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are, I believe, the precocious offspring of the bloke who owns The Exchange mastering studio and the lady who used to be the drummer in The Raincoats no less. Both appear on this record, writing, playing and producing. A bit like my VAT inspector and shop assistant parents...view item »

Jackie O Motherfucker
Ballads of the Revolution

Jackie O Motherfucker, I like these sometimes but they're quite an unpredictable bunch.. Their weirdy folky bits on albums like Fig. 5 I'm particularly into but I do think they do droney psych oddness rather nicely too. Ballads of the Revolution starts off with the former, living up to its title with melancholic songs sung over quietly experimental...view item »


Shiggajon is an ongoing collective project centred around Danish lads Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg. They specialise in free forms of music, primarily of a psychedelic nature. This is the first time Shiggajon's music has been documented on vinyl and what a fine document it is. Recorded on the final date of their UK tour 'Asco...view item »

Best Of Gloucester County

Those who stumbled across the trailer for 'A Family Movie'  - a 2006 film about the ongoing multi limbed sprawl known as 'Danielson Famile' would have seen leader Daniel Smith performing in front of baffled onlookers dressed as a tree. They would have also been aware of the slightly disarming religious undertones to their ...view item »

The Sidewinders
Flatfoot Hustlin'

Jazzman continue the eternal quest for the ultimate rarities with their 'Holy Grail' series. This time around they've uncovered a rarely heard gem of an LP from Canadian (?) Funk & Soul outfit The Sidewinders. Nova Scotia seems like an unlikely place to discover a full on Funk band of any discernible quality but I guess if you're looking har...view item »

Tony Cook
Back to Reality

Interesting release from Stones Throw rather than an essential one. Tony Cook produced boogie funk disco tracks and in some quarters has been associated with assisting in the development of House music. It is this association that has undoubtedly lent to the desire to put this co...view item »

Life of Love

These guys are doing something a little unusual. They're an NY based outfit who blend folksy art-rock, gospel, Americana & and an abstracted form of psychedelic blues into something that sounds much more appealing than what I just said. The lady singer is the main draw here. Somewhere between the Karens Dalton & Carpenter with maybe a bi...view item »

Rev. Johnny L. Jones
The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta

It's not hard to be swept up by the spirit as this jam-packed anthology spins in the CD player. For gospel fervor and exhilaration, this is potent stuff: stomping feet, roiling organ, full-throttle vocal testimony, some surprisingly hard-grooving drums...it all adds up to a thrilling document of one of Atlanta's most beloved spiritual leaders. I...view item »

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
(Baby) Hold Me Tight / Buggin' Blues

I have a soft spot for Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. I think it's cos reminds me of yesteryear when things were less shit and less complicated than they are now. Maybe I'm just being all nostalgic and all that but it has that kind of appeal to me. (Baby) Hold Me Tight is poptastic slab of 50's Hawaiian influenced rock 'n roll. It's supremely quaint and...view item »

Martin Kuchen Keith Rowe & Seymour Wright
Kuchen - Rowe - Wright

Ex-AMM fella Keith Rowe's prepared guitar assaults are definitely the focus in this trio outing with the dual alto sax's of Martin Kuchen and Seymour Wright. They give him utmost respect and huge amounts of space to take the lead, an invitation he accepts more than willingly as he wrings out all manner of tones, drones and buzzes from his humble...view item »

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