Andy Mac - Regular & Irregular (Idle Hands)
Andy Mac, I believe, has only released one record prior to this one - on Bristol based Punch Drunk. Asteroid Belt, the B-Side on that is a certified banger. That was a couple of years ago, and he's back with a double pack on Idle Hands that A: Reminds everyone he exists and B: Blows a lot of recent dance music out of the water. Coming on like a West Country Theo Parrish, the music winds, folds, stops and starts with real grace - the five tracks add up to a real solid piece of work from a producer that takes his time in a world obsessed with moving at top speed. Excellent stuff. (Joe)
?Jamie Paton - Bizarre Feeling - Emotional Especial
Released as a limited run of 100 white labels back in July this superb release from Mr Jamie Paton of the excellent Cage & Aviary gets a proper pressing from Emotional Especial. Start to finish stone cold greatness from Mr Paton. It'd be lazy to draw comparisons of the a-side with some long forgotten New Order B-side but right down to the title but we're going to anyway. Then the flip To The Light draws us back into some jagged clavi-chord filled breakdance. It's the like the Horrors have just discovered old skool electro. To round things off last track Ju Know drops the tempo and if Mr Johnston or Mr Sabre having given this an airing already my name's Barry Bethel. All round amazing EP.
Eurythmics - Touch Dance LP
?Keeping on the dub tip, here's a discovery from the land of WU... was aware of a lot of these on the flips of Eurythmics 12"s but this was quite the discovery to find them all gathered together on the one 'Long Player'. Plus a quick search on Discogs has just told me it only costs about 50p. If you don't own this then... well I don't know whether we should be talking anymore. In fact I still don't own it so maybe I should stop talking to myself. Deep Wil, deep. (Wil)
's having a week off moving house... this was his contribution this week instead... not sure if he's trying to tell me something:
Grum- Human Touch (Heartbeats)
When Scottish born, Leeds based producer Graeme Shepherd dropped his first album back in 2010, electro pop acts, heavily indebted to the 80s were ten a penny at this time. Heartbeats was crammed full of the stuff, made better than the majority of those who only got synthesisers because everybody else had one. Tracks like Through the Night, the 5-Star-esque Cant Shake the Feeling and his version of Bowies Fashion, were all great, but had a whiff of novelty about it, it was camp, slightly silly, fun. This of course meant there would be no longevity in continuing in this vein. Shepherd is highly aware of this because Human Touch cuts out the tongue in cheek pop and has its eyes solely on the dance floor.
A criticism of Heartbeats is that the club friendly tracks that it contained were way too short to DJ with, by DJing himself, Shepherd has also realised this and for this reason, Human Touch is a massive step forward, musically and for playability awareness. The album starts off with the introspective disco title cut, the progression as a producer is immediately evident, and the hazy but still dance floor friendly vibe has him placing himself as a UK Fred Falke. The album continues in the same considered vein: Sunrise and the propulsive sadness of Raindrop uses the kind of trance lines Kris Menace favours over his electro house, Shepherd is taking his cue from French house and placing it slap bang into the middle of UK dance floors.
A really canny move from Shepherd is how he references dance musics rich past throughout. The Theme is a blatant steal of the same Simple Minds riff that Raven Maize used to jaw dropping effect on The Real Life, In Love is a modern remake of N-Jois Anthem with added hands in the air riffs and Autumn should really have the guys from Orbital calling him asking for their Chime riff back.
Orbitals influence is also apparent on the strongest track on the album, again, its a blatant crib of one of their tracks, this time Halcyon and on. He takes the same bassline and break beats and uses them to create his own epic house track; its a slow build up to an outro of dramatic, jagged and euphoric trance riffs. Infuriately; this section of the track is just the outro and lasts little more than a minute, yeah yeah, leave them wanting more etc, the shortness of this section is a misstep that MUST be rectified with a set of remixes, its one of the finest 70 seconds of music youll hear this year.
The 90s vibe continues with tracks such as Everytime and Lotta Love, these tracks come from the same place as other house revivalists such as T.E.E.D and Azari & III , rather than the retro house act for people who have never been to house club: Disclosure.
If you want chin-scratching introspection over glitchy beats, go elsewhere, Human Touch is a celebration of music of the past, its the sound of someone discovering classic dance tracks for the first time, having their ears opened and streaming Voodoo Ray into their consciences for the first time. Human Touch is the sound of an artist falling in love with the throbbing beat that keeps dance floors alive and its a real joy to share these moments with him.
Behave - Let Me Know
Lazy comparisons aside (The XX/Radiohead/Mystery Jets) there's a real naive charm to this debut single from Behave that seems to be missing from a lot of contrived saccharine indie-pop of late. I want to say it's 'almost there' and with time I think there'll be something quite interesting to come from them but that sounds pretty condescending. Let's try: "Shows real promise, look forward to hearing where they go from here." (Wil)