Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Some of you may remember hearing the name of the Menahan Street Band last year when Jay-Z sampled one of their horn lines for his single "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)."

The Menahan Steet Band is led by Tommy Brenneck, guitarist of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Budos Band. Collaborating with his buddies from Antibalas, El Michels Affair, and Budos Band to complete the Menahan Street Band lineup, their LP Make The Road By Walking is named after a membership-based organization located around the corner from Menahan Street that promotes social and economic justice for the community through organizing, lawyering, and numerous forms of advocacy.

The album is full of hazy, rich afro-soul grooves and can't be recommended enough. Check out their version of "Going the Distance" (from the "Rocky" movies):

Friday, October 10, 2008


Here's a track from the latest Bamboos LP called Side Stepper.

I've posted a Bamboos track before--some of you may well remember that they are Australia's premier deep funk act, masters of super-heavy, raw and upfront drum-break driven grooves. Led by Guitarist Lance Ferguson (Equatorial Records/Lanu/No Comply), other members include Ben Grayson (Hammond Organ), Danny Farrugia (Drums), Yuri Pavlinov (Bass), Anton Delecca (Sax/Flute) and Ross Irwin (Trumpet). They've released a string of great records, and their live shows have evolved into non-stop mixtape-style throwdowns that draw the links between Hip Hop, Funk, and old-school Breaks.

Below, "Funky Buttercup."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


From their erotically charged album covers to their grinding, bass-heavy grooves, the Ohio Players were one of the highest profile funk bands of the 1970s. What made the Players great was how well-balanced they were--fine musicianship, a blend of fiercely syncopated rhythms with pop accessibility, and a sassy, outrageous attitude (thanks, in large part, to the animated vocals of Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner). Though the Players released several records for the Detroit-based Westbound label in the early part of their career, they really hit their stride when they signed to Mercury, where they released a string of charting albums, including the funk classics FIRE and HONEY.

Here's a previously unreleased gem from their catalog called "There It Is."

Friday, October 3, 2008


The Ultimate Breaks & Beats series is a 25-volume collection of songs that serve as the backbone to the world of sampled music. Consisting of music released during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, this series has been done and redone; released and re-released. Available in 7" format, 12" EP, CD, and even mp3, the UBB series has also served as the muse for compilations that followed including the Strictly Breaks series. Those most notorious for sampling these originals include a who's who of Rap's best such as DJ Premier, Large Professor, The Bomb Squad, Pete Rock, Dr. Dre, and Marley Marl. Up until now, these songs were never available as instrumental-only and producers have been forced to work around the grunts, screams, and crooning of these classics to isolate that perfect drum beat, breakdown, or sample. Until now.

The Ultimate Breaks & Beats Instrumentals, faithfully recreated by Brooklyn's monstrous El Michels Affair, features thirteen of the most popular cuts from the UBB series as start to finish instrumentals. It's a new day for fans of the break beat.

Below, their startlingly pitch-perfect rendition of Wilson Pickett's "Engine Number 9."