Thursday, April 06, 2006


(Funky children: Sweden's Up Hygh)

Whooooo-weee! Time for NewReleaseCity Chapter One peoples. A spotlight on some quality full length releases I think you should know about. Focus this time is on hip-hop and soul. Its a new day, its a newreleasity...

Cleverness aside, what about:

1. Visioneers Dirty Old Hip-Hop (BBE)
4hero's Marc Mac assembles a band to play classic hip-hop tracks and sometimes its like double vision. The group covers tunes noted for their prominent jazz samples, like Nas's "The World Is Yours" and Pharcyde's "Runnin'". So, like, its a jazz-funk band recreating hip-hop tracks that sampled jazz and funk...and it works just fine. The remainder of this 15 track release is populated with crackin' boom-bap music that might be sampled by a future generation.

2. People Under The Stairs Stepfather (Basement)
This LA rhyme/production duo continually and perfectly sum up the melancholy, stressed and expansive side of Los Angeles living: the wide boulivards through South Central, randomly losing homies to street violence or car accidents, and how friends and family pull you through. In the midst of the smog is renewal and a party-ready lust for life apparent on tracks like "Tuxedo Rap" and "Jamboree." PUTS represent the less publicised but as-popular indie side of Cali rap, joining Procussions, J-5, Giant Panda, Ugly Duckling and Abstract Rude in redefining progressive hip-hop.

3. Eulorhythmics Extended Play (All Natural)
The under-repped and always active underground Chi-town label All Natural has a knack for discovering the creative neighbors of Common and Kayne. Eulorhythmics are just such a group, with more on their minds that Billboard debut numbers. Support the true school.

4. Up Hygh The Venus Album (Raw Fusion)
Stockholm, Sweden's 20-year old wonderlings Up Hygh somehow managed to rope in a ton of talented guests like Planet Asia, Black Fist, Eska, Little Brother and even some hot unknowns. Seriously, this is my most listened to hip-hop album of '06. Makes me laugh, bounce, shake, rock, doo-wop, sang, mug, rub and tug. Back-forth beats ala Sa-Ra, Dilla, PPP etc, sick rhythmic change-ups, rhymes galore. Throw that shit in the sky and put your hands up hygh...

5. Tanya Morgan Moonlighting (Loud Minority)
Tanya is not a solo singer, but a Cinci-meets-Brooklyn nerdrap trio in the trad. of De La and Jungle Brothers. There's skits and 16-odd tracks about people's personalities, things they hate, girls and sporting dreads without being rasta. These cats are expressive, lively and a whole lotta fun. Such a relief from all the "put-it-over-here, mami" hoopla that's suffocating rap radio like its smoked a pack 'n half of filterless Gauloise.

6. Various Rewind 5 (Ubiquity)
Pull the covers over your head: J*Davey, El Michels Affair, Daz-I-Cue, Osunlade and other sing the music of Prince, The Sylvers, Frank Zappa and Sting. You read right. Future soul conquers all!