Tag: funk

New Audio: Montreal’s Fredy V. & The Foundation Release an Uplifting and Anthemic Ode to Self-Determination

Montreal-based collective The Foundation features some of the city’s best musicians, who also play in the Canadian city’s top R&B, hip-hop, funk, gospel, soul and jazz acts. The members of The Foundation gained collective experience from production and performing on a weekly, nationally aired TV show — and they used their momentum of their show to write and record their critically applauded debut EP One Step.

The Foundation also collaborates with some of the French Canadian city’s top and upcoming R&B, hip-hop, soul and funk acts, including Mel Pacifico and Fredy V — both, who are full-time members of the collective. The collective’s latest single “On The Rise,” marks the one-year anniversary of the release of their debut EP. But song is also a bold mission statement of stops, description the group’s current direction and mindset.

Featuring glistening synths, twinkling keys, thumping beats, hand-claps, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, wobbling bass synth, “On The Rise” is centered around a warm and roomy, New Jack Swing meets neo-soul with a hint of classic Chic-like production. Fredy V. contributes self-assured and thoughtful verses describing the sacrifices he had to take to get to where he is right now, including distancing from the people and habits that didn’t align with his goals. Pacifico contributes her soulful vocals to the song’s uplifting and infectious hook.Unsurprisingly, the new single is informed by and inspired by the collective’s experiences during the pandemic: Both individually and as a collective, The Foundation was forced to reflect on the direction of their careers in music — and their lives.

Thematically, the song touches upon self-empowerment, maturation, self-determination and accountability — that come about as someone matures and is actively attempting to make serious moves for themselves. The song — and the band — seem to say to the listener, “well, if you wanna fulfill your dreams, stop the bullshit and get to work. It ain’t easy but once you get there, it’ll be worth it.”

Moscow-based instrumental funk outfit The Diasonics — Anton Moskvin (drums), Maxim Brusov (bass guitar), Anton Katyrin (percussions), Daniil Lutsenko (guitar) and Kamil Gzizov (keys) — formed back in 2019 and in a relatively short period of time, the Russian quintet quickly amassed a cult following, honing what they’ve dubbed “hussar funk,” a blend of hip-hop rhythms, 60s and 70s psychedelia, Eastern European flavor within cinematic arrangements.

Since their formation, The Diasonics have released ten highly celebrated singles and various in-demand 45 vinyl records through funk labels like Funk Night Records and Mocambo Records. The Russian funk outfit’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Origins of Forms is slated for a January 28, 2022 release through Italian funk and soul purveyors Record Kicks. Recorded on an Otari MX-5050 MK III at Moscow’s Magnetone Studio and mixed by The Cactus Channel‘s and Karate Boogaloo‘s Henry Jenkins in Melbourne, the album’s overall aesthetic is firmly rooted in the early 60s and 70s.

“Gurami,” Origins of Forms‘ first single is a slow-burning and soulful strut, centered around shimmering wah wah pedaled guitar that sounds inspired by Turkish psychedelia, boom bap breakbeats, soaring keys, and at trippy groove rooted in a sinuous bass line. While we all know the composition was written and recorded by a contemporary act, “Gurami” sounds as though it could have been part of the soundtrack of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western or an deep instrumental soul obscurity sampled by the RZA and then later played by El Michels Affair.


 

Oakland-based funk and soul outfit The Grease Traps can trace their origins back through about two decades and two prior projects: Back in 2000, Aaron Julin (keys) answered a classified ad by Kevin O’Dea (guitar), searching for players who were hip to the grooves laid down by Blue Note Records artists like Grant Green and Lou Donaldson. The duo quickly formed Groovement, an act that covered those artists, along with others jazz-funk staples.

When their sax player and frontman moved, Julin and O’Dea switched gears and formed Brown Baggin’, an act that got into the harder hitting funk of The JBs, The Meters, Kool & The Gang, Mickey & the Soul Generation and a lengthy list of others. They increasingly became influenced by the rare funk compilations released by Keb Darge, Gerald Jazzman Short and labels like Harmless, Ubiquity, Soul Jazz and Now-Again, as well as contemporary outfits like Breakestra, The Whitefield Brothers and the Daptone and Soul Fire crews.

As the story goes, in 2005 while still with Brown Baggin,’ Julin and O’Dea began to get fed up juggling the schedules of seven band members, who each had their own varying professional and personal obligations. Julin and O’Dea put out a classified ad seeking a bassist and drummer to jam with as a quartet. The first two musicians, who answered the ad and showed up were Goopy Rossi (bass) and Dave Brick (drums). It was clear from those early jam sessions, that the quartet had a great musical and creative chemistry.

Originally intended as a fun side project, The Grease Traps quickly became a priority as Brown Baggin broke up. Performing as an instrumental quartet four a handful of years, the band expanded their lineup with the addition of a horn section and lead vocalist The Gata. Over the years, the band has shared stages with the likes of Shuggie Otis, Robert Walter, Durand Jones and The Indications, Monophonics, Neal Francis and Jungle Fire.

The band’s long-anticipated full-length debut Solid Ground is slated for a November 5, 2021 release through Italian purveyors of funk and soul, Record Kicks. Six years in the making, Solid Ground was recorded between Monophonics’ Kelly Finnigan‘s San Francisco-based Transistor Sound by Finnigan and Ian McDonald and Oakland-based Fifty Filth Studio by Orgone‘s Sergio Rios, live and straight to eight-track tape on a Tascam 388 to recreate that old-school analog sound. The album’s material features guest spots from the Monophonics’ horn section, backing vocals by Bay Area-based vocalists Sally Green and Bryan Dyer, as well as strings organized by Kansas City-based violist Alyssa Bell.

The album’s material features a mix of covers and originals. The originals draw from the Oakland-based soul outfit’s various influences including gritty funk, fuzzy psych soul, lowrider soul and funk. Lyrically and thematically, the album’s material sees The Gata openly discussing the pressing issues of our moment: racism, finding hope in a world that seems pitted against you and so on. The albums’ covers manage to capture the energy of the band’s live set.

Album single ” Birds of Paradise” is a strutting bit of Muscle Shoals, The Meters and The JB’s funk centered around shimmering and arpeggiated Rhodes, a chugging bass line, old school breakbeat-like drumming, wah wah pedaled guitar, a big horn line, and an enormous hook paired with The Gata’s soulful crooning, yelps and howls. Fittingly, the song focuses on affairs of the heart: the song’s narrator brags, struts and attempts to do anything and everything he could to prove that he’s the man for the woman he desires.


 

 

Formed by Eddie Roberts and Robert Walter founding members of The New Mastersounds and The Greyboy AllStars respectively, The Rare Sounds is a new act that also features The Greyboy All Stars’ Chris Stillwell and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and The Greyboy AllStars’ Zak Najor.

The Rare Sounds’ debut single “Yeah You” is a gritty and urgent bit of 70s-like jazz funk and fusion centered around a relentlessly funky groove and some inspired soloing that to my ears is a slick mix of The JBs Booker, T and the MGs and Headhunters era Herbie Hancock. And at its core, is the knowing familiarity, comfort and esteem held by musicians who have played together for years in a number of different projects and configurations.

Interestingly, the Robert Walter penned composition had been workshopped in several different projects but its found a home during the band’s session at San Francisco‘s Hyde Street Studios last August. Walter describes “Yeah, You!” as “70s jazz-funk and fusion before the edges and dissonance were smoothed over to make it more commercial.” 

The band will be releasing additional tracks from their Hyde Street Studios session in the coming months and plan on booking additional performances in select markets to showcase the material.

New Video: Tony Glausi Releases a Funky New Bop Paired with Sultry Visuals

Portland, OR-born, New York-based musician Tony Glausi is an accomplished jazz trumpeter. But with his latest full-length effort EVERYTHING AT ONCE, which has already seen praise from Soulbounce, Under the Radar, Sonofmarketing, NYS Music, Earmilk, American Songwriter and Ghettoblaster, Glausi steps out into the spotlight as a bandleader, producer and singer/songwriter, boldly pushing his sound and approach into new directions with the album’s material drawing from pop, R&B and funk. “Coming out of high school and studying music in college, I was pretty fixated on jazz trumpet playing, and my earlier releases were heavily oriented around improvisation and swing,” Glausi explains in press notes. “But as I continue to write and explore new sounds, I feel like I get closer and closer to my true voice, one record at a time.”

Sonically, the album is much like a mixtape to the Portland-born, New York-based musician’s life, as a result of his willingness to try anything. But thematically, the album is quintessentially a New York album, full of the places, random faces and random interactions that you’d fully expect here. “The album is literally a two year snapshot of my life. Each story is like a scene from a film, or I guess 10 different films” Glausi says.

“Writing EVERYTHING AT ONCE, I felt like the project wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about Tony, the trumpet player. I just wanted to make fucking songs,” Glausi explains. “I sing on three of them, but I just wanted to produce the music and ultimately let my collaborators shine,” he adds. The album features guest spots from vocalist/saxophonist Braxton Cook, Latin Grammy-nominated artist Nana Mendoza Brooklyn-based vocalist Elysse, British vocalist Max Milner and emcee Charlemagne the Goddess.

EVERYTHING AT ONCE‘s latest single “Backseat Bump” is a slinky, late night funky jam centered around buzzing bass synths, wobbling bass lines, squiggling guitars, soulful cooing from Nana Mendoaz and a strutting trumpet solo from Glausi. Sonically, the track is one part Dam-Funk, one part Future Shock era Herbie Hancock — while being something that just exudes New York flavor.

The recently released video by Evan Hansen follows Morgan Bryant and Glausi on a wild day and night out on the town, with the incredibly attractive pair goofing off and being a carefree young couple, hooking up in the backseat of a cab.

WRD Trio is a dynamic and gritty organ trio that features three highly accomplished bandleaders and musicians:

Walter, Roberts and Deitch would often bump into each other at New Orleans Jazz Fest, and in those those meetings, the trio would longingly discuss future collaborations together. Generally fueled by Roberts’ long-held belief that the trio would yield something impactful and interesting, the Leeds-born, Denver-based guitarist realized that with the co-founding of Color Red Music, that it was a perfect time to bring everyone into the studio to put some tracks on wax.

The end result is the trio’s recently released full-length debut The Hit, which was written and recorded in just two single-day sessions at Color Red Studios. Sonically, the album is reportedly one-part Sunday stroll and one-part rocket ship to Saturn centered around their unmistakable simpatico. (Perhaps that simpatico draws from the fact that each member is a Taurus, with each member’s birthday being a week after the other.)

The Hit‘s first single “Chum City” finds the trio collaborating with The Twin CatsNick Gerlach on a funky and strutting number centered around a grinding and muscular groove reminiscent of Chuck Brown-era go-go music and Booker T and The MGs and an arrangement that’s loose enough for all of these talented musicians to deliver some impressive solos. Simply put, this one is just fucking nasty y’all.

MMYYKK (pronounced “Mike”) is a rising Inland Empire, CA-born, Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. 2019’s highly praised Electro Soul EP found the Inland Empire-born, Minneapolis-based multi-hyphenate artist further establishing a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from soul, future funk, R&B, hip-hop, jazz and fusion — and seems equally indebted to Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder.

MMYYKK is also an accomplished ambient artist: Last year’s Mellow Moods and Meditations was released to praise. Earlier this year, he produced PASSAGE, a Black mental health and wellness initiative done in collaboration with the folks at Okayplayer. Building upon a busy year, the Inland Empire-born, Minneapolis-based artist will be releasing the Science EP through London-based label Rhythm Section INTL in September.

Science EP‘s first single is the slinky “Divine.” Centered around MMYYKK’s sultry falsetto, glistening synth arpeggios and a strutting bass line, the flirtatious “Divine” sonically will draw comparisons to D’Angelo and Thundercat, as the crafted manages to be effortless yet carefully crafted. Interestingly, underneath the funky grooves, the song is a much-needed and loving ode to Black women. “Black women taught me how to love. Women literally save the world every day. This track was a way for me to express appreciation and sing praises to the women in my life,” MMYYKK explains in press notes.