It's always a good day when a new label is announced. It's an even better day when the first release on that label is from someone from your own city. The label might be Strange Neighbor from Los Angeles, but the artist is from Sydney, Australia (though he did spend a a few years in Japan, but has since relocated to Melbourne). DIZZ1 started off his musical artistry playing drums at a very early age, but in the late 90s his vinyl habit saw him becoming a skillful turntablist and an all round deejay about town. He toured with electronic groups like ON INC and dBCHILLS where his drumming abilities came back to the fore. After a freak accident in which he broke his neck, he spent the time recuperating by teaching himself musical production on an MPC. In 2008 he participated in the Red Bull Academy in Barcelona and since then he has racked up a tidy discography on eclectic labels such as The Netherlands based Rush Hour and Kindred Spirits, hooked up with ROOTS MANUVA for Big Dada and last year dropped his debut LP In Sickness & In Health on Tru Thoughts.
Now on the other side of the world comes his first 45 release via the USA label STRANGE NEIGHBOR. Having worked with many underground emcees such as SADAT X, ALOE BLACC and TAME ONE it's cool to hear the vocals of Philly born HEZEKIAH and keyboardist RALPH REAL on Shots Fired. The 84bpm tempo relies on an engaging guitar line punctuated by by some occasional buffed up brassy horns and is far more restrained than DIZZ1's more experimental excusrions. The b-side is the more spaced out remix by SWEATSON KLANK. The lyrics focus on the unfortunate observation of recent American police brutality towards those who aren't of the caucasian persuasion. Sadly an ongoing tale that shows no sign of abating.
First released as a digital file in December 2015, it is now available on 300 limited clear vinyl as of the 29th January 2016. And there's another one on the way.
Straight out of Melbourne Australia comes this debut release from a brand new label called Easy Now, focussing on a blend of Hip Hop and roots reggae. The label might be new, but the people running the show have been around for a while and have certainly brought their A game with this limited 45 release pressed to red coloured vinyl.
Originally from Southsea in the United Kingdom, DJ Maars made a move to Australia a couple of years ago, and has been steadily keeping busy and turning out some quality output. The collab with Melbourne native Tom Showtime has been in the making for some time and creates a good fit. Afterall, both producers have been making a names for themselves at home and abroad with reputations of releasing good quality party jams.
The A side takes on a classic Mos Def joint, but puts on an entirely different spin on it. If you know the original version then you know it's a stripped back beaty affair, but this new remix turns it up a notch and gives it a strong reggae melody (which was lacking in the original version), making it work nicely on the dancefloor or in the headphones. No beating around the bush here: I'm not a fan of the original Mos Def version, but this new remix is dope!
The B Side has been floating around the internet digitally for a minute, but it's super nice to have it finally on the 45 format. No awards for guessing which acapella DJ Maars has used on this. The original version which most people know and love is totally played out in my opinion - So to hear it rebuilt from the ground up with a dope skankin' rhythm on this new remix definately gives the anthem a new lease on its tired life, making this 45 an essential party rocker.
The release, available through Bandcamp also comes with the digital versions, plus the promise of the full album once it's completed.
Award winning Australian group 1200 Techniques are officially back on the block, after taking a well deserved hiatus from the better part of a decade. The group have been scheduled to drop a new album any minute now, but in the meantime have given us this dope little taster in the form of this limited edition seven inch press featuring Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang clan - and when I say limited, I'm talking about 150 hand numbered releases in total.
The band have always had a great handle on writing infectious party jams, and this one sits very nicely into thier already established repertoire. Kemstar provides a dense guitar riff (Reminiscent of the groove in Barry Whites "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More") that sits effortlessly over the beats layered with a couple of sparse samples. DJ Peril has lined up some great vocal snippets in the chorus that change up the track nicely before settling back into its catchy groove.
Rapper N'fa kicks off the proceedings, setting up the template and showing that he hasn't lost any of the lyrical prowess he is known for. Ghostface sounds very much at home over this beat. He settles into the groove immediately and gives up that dope lyrical flow you come to expect from him.
The song is big and brash, unapologetic, and very catchy. Overall a great release and a welcome return from one of Australia's favourites.
This release from Melbourne Australia comes through unstoppable like a freight train. Calling this 45 heavy is an understatement! The Traffic are a band made up of various musicians working in Melbourne's lively funk scene. With members from The Bamboos and Cookin On 3 Burners you know that these guys have a good handle on what makes a good funk record - and this release certainly does not disappoint.
The A Side sees the band cover a classic Jimi Hendrix song. Fire is big, brash and rocking. The drums propel the the band in a furious fashion, landing at three and half minutes of dancefloor perfection - But the real surprise is the B Side where the band cover a tune by EDM superstar Skrillex. It's on Bangarang that the band really shine, taking all those signature Skrillex squelches and squeals and turning them into a banging funk monster complete with break beats, making this an essential release for the B Boys.