It’s truly an exciting time for music on vinyl. So much stuff is being released it’s hard to keep track of it all. Of particular interest in our shop are the things that are being unearthed from back in the day. Old artists whose work, for one reason or another, was never properly released. Maybe because they were too regional, maybe they were too ahead of the curve, or maybe behind it.
In the case of Chicago’s Four M company, recently issued by Family Groove Records, their 1979 6 track E.P. was recorded in a legitimate studio but never released. The group, which formed in high school, may have been a bit early for the Boogie wave. Generally considered as soul music from 1980 -1985. The cuts on this range from the dance floor shakers to slow groove burners, with nice synths and harmonies. Check the SoundCloud teaser here: https://soundcloud.com/family-groove-records/the-four-m-company Limited to 500 copies world-wide, of which we have a few. Once these are gone, they’re gone for good.
What is it that attracts collectors to the White Label Promo? The promo is even earlier than the coveted first press. An advanced, demonstration copy sent out in anticipation of the record’s release. To create some buzz or drum up a few nice reviews. Some say they sound better. Pressed with extra care so the record sounds its best when it hits the air waves or the reviewer’s hi-fi. Maybe it’s the label itself? Something different from the normal pressing. Some labels have cooler promo variations than others. Columbia’s red and white variation is particularly striking.
This copy came from a large collection we bought a few years back. We thought we had unpacked all the records from the buy but apparently there was one box we missed, which happened to be comprised entirely of Monk and Mingus – the “M” section of the collection. Turns out there were two copies of Ah Um: one first press, one promo. Both Six-Eye labels. Both unplayed. Crazy to think that these were so well preserved after close to 60 years.
Recorded in 1959, this Mingus title is one of the most popular jazz records in our shop, next to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Not a surprise given that this record was also ahead of its time, merging hard bop and big band in a unique way. And just like that other jazz classic, this has experienced different presses, even absurd ones like a 4 LP single sided, 45 rpm press. A necessary addition to any jazz collection on any format.
Germany’s Dezi-Belle Records has been putting out quality instrumental HipHop since 2015. They follow a Do-It-Yourself approach since they record, master, cut, and distribute all their releases. Yes, they cut each and every release themselves in real-time from virgin wax. That’s why each of their LPs is limited to 100 copies (50 for each 45). You got to have a whole lot of respect and passion for the art form to do it like that!
This latest batch contains five titles, mostly of a chill, lo-fi leaning sounds. Peep their BandCamp for audio snippets: https://dezi-belle.bandcamp.com/music. The Raw Suppliers is a comp that features up-and-coming beat makers. A good tool to sound the depths of the ever-changing European hiphop scene.
This is the first time we’ve had this format in our shop. A two-track 4 inch flexi disc inside a printed paper sleeve. Philco, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company, released these little hip pocket records between 1967 and 1969. They advertised them as the first truly portable record. Since you could easily slide it in your hip pocket.
The catalogue consists mainly of pop tunes, given that it was a sort of novelty item. There are, however, a few soul gems. These retailed for 69 cents. At the time, prices of 45s were probably a lot cheaper and you could surely get a lot more plays out of those. Still pretty cool nonetheless.
Back-stock copies of Galt MacDermot’s Ripped Open by Metal Explosions 45 just landed in the shop. Out-of-print since 2001, this has to be one of the funkiest things Galt ever composed. And the man’s catalogue is mostly funky tunes. This cut features Idris Muhammad on drums and was sampled by the Artifacts for their classic HipHop single C’mon Wit Da Get Down.
United Artist first released this track in 1970 as part of an LP comprised as what could be called “alternative” takes to the Hair Soundtrack. Egon and company printed the track on 45 in 2001 as they dug through Galt’s archives. Around the same time, they unearthed new material (Up from the Basement Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and reprinted two of his most collectible records Shapes of Rhythm and Woman Is Sweeter. Both laced with classic rap samples.
Belgian beatmaker FloFilz has been a shop favorite ever since Melting Pot Music put out his first solo project in 2014. 5 years and several releases later, the producer is still making some of the illest beats around. Lush, jazzy, late-night, golden era throw back stuff. For example, check out his remix of Afu-Ra’s Whirlwind Thru Cities. Blasphemous as it is to say, his might just be better than Primo’s.
The aesthetic of each of Flo’s releases on Melting Pot is enhanced by the cover photography of Robert Winter. Saturated black and whites of the European urban landscape – beautiful tile geometries, subway tracks, and overpasses. All first presses include a booklet with more of Winter’s photos. Unfortunately, the second issues of “Cenario” and “Metronome” don’t have the books but the beats hit just the same. Makes us want to watch Europe go by from a train window with Flo in our ears.
Mac Dre, along with Too Short and E-40, was one of the earliest to shape the Bay Area rap sound. His first album, Young Black Brotha, dropped in 1989; the same year as De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. His early albums have long been out-of-print in any format. The material released by the Strictly Business label never really left the region and rarely surfaces from the collections of rap nerds. In fact, we’ve only had the originals twice in 5 years.
City Hall Records has been been printing some of Mac Dre’s later catalogue – mostly material previously available on CD but never on vinyl. But now they are dipping into his early stuff, which has never got its just reprint on vinyl. This collection covers all the big hits and classic collaborations with other Bay greats like Mac Mall. Check Nuthin But Love on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkU93ZW2d-0 A must have for anyone getting into that Bay sound.
Our friends from HMV Tokyo were nice enough to bring us a handful of their recent re-issue LPs. These are only available in Japan – they do not ship these abroad. Limited edition, high quality pressings on 180 gram virgin vinyl with OBI strips, heavy cardboard covers, and inserts.
The T.Honda 45 at center offers heavy jazz funk covers of two classic tunes. Fans of Kudu and CTI should peep the slow grooves on Leeward by the Mabumi Yamaguchi. For those into Boogie and AOR with recommended the albums by Haruko Kuwana and Taeko Ohnuki (the latter an all-time best seller in Japan). The jazz traditionalists who dig Bill Evans and Gene Harris will enjoy Scenery, Ryo Fukui’s lovely piano trio recording. And finally, one copy of the now sold out Sounds of Sound; a hybrid of everything pysch.
Tomorrow we are hosting a very special event: internationally known J-Pop deejay, Atsushi Sano, from HMV Tokyo, will be spinning records on the shop decks. A rare chance to hear some amazing city pop, nippon soul, Japanese jazz and boogie. Have your Shazams open and ready to catch some new sounds to add to your wantlist! Our famous local deejay Jon from Sweater Funk will accompany with boogie favorites from this side of the pond. Kicking off around 6:30.
When we were coming up, lo-fi hiphop meant DIY 4-track bedroom production with crunchy drums, skewed levels, and that prevailing background hiss. Or a 10th generation tape dub of some obscure underground group from Minnesota. Recently, the term “lo-fi” has come to describe something completely different: a specific sub-genre of instrumental hiphop. One that’s extremely well-produced but characterized by a mellow, introspective style. Pretty and subtle. As if Brian Eno made a hiphop record.
Flugehand’s latest release, entitled “Foremmi,” serves as the quintessential example of this new branch of hiphop. It’s the producers 4th release and demonstrates the high level of maturity of someone who’s been pushing the envelope of the artform. The sample choices are fantastic (jazzy), the sound is lush (of a hi-fi quality) but most impressive is the handling of his loops – the changes are so beautifully nuanced that it’s almost wrong to label them “loops.” Anyways, we highly recommend this one. Perfect listening with coffee first thing in the morning or the last record you put on before bed! Peep it here https://flughand.bandcamp.com/