Tag: George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson have received attention from both this site and across the blogosphere with a series of singles that revealed a sound and songwriting approach that draws from a diverse array of influences, including FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

The Liverpool-based shoegazers latest single “Andrei Rublev” is the first official single from the band’s long-awaited full-length debut, slated for release sometime this summer, and interestingly enough, the song is inspired by Andre Tarkovsky’s 1996 arthouse film Andrei Rublev — and as a result, the deeply meditative song which is centered around boom bap-like drums, a sinuous bass line and some gorgeous guitar manages to nod at both classic shoegaze and 70s AM rock  — all while hinting at an urgent ache for something far bigger than oneself.

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Throughout the bulk of this site’s almost 8 year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Detroit, MI-based proto-punk/punk rock band Death, and as you may recall, the band which featured The Hackney Brothers — Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar) and Dannis (drums) — formed back in 1971, and initially they were an R&B and funk-based act  — until The Hackneys caught The Who and Alice Cooper live. As the story goes, after those concerts, David, the youngest of the siblings pushed his two older brothers towards a more hard rock-leaning sound; a sound that interestingly managed to presage punk, post-punk and the Afropunk movement while necessitating a name change. And from that point forwards the band went by Death. As Bobby Hackney famously explained in a 2010 interview that David’s concept was to spin death from the negative to the positive. “It was a hard sell,” Bobby Hackney recalled.

In 1975, the Hackneys went into Detroit’s United Sound Studios with engineer Jim Vitti to record a handful of songs written by David and Bobby, and according to the Hackney family Clive Davis funded the recording sessions; but while doing so, he had repeatedly implored and cajoled the band into changing their name into something more commercially palatable.  David refused, and his brothers while initially okay with a name change went along with their brother’s vision. Davis pulled out his financial investment, leaving the band with seven of the twelve songs they had planned to record. 1976 saw the extremely limited release of the “Politicians In My Eyes”/”Keep On Knocking” single, which was recorded during the United Sound Studios sessions and their full-length, which was released to very little fanfare.

By 1977, the Hackney Brothers decided it was time to end Death, and then relocated to Burlington, VT where they released two gospel rock/Christian rock albums in the late 70s and very early 80s as The 4 Movement. However, by 1982 David Hackney had returned to Detroit while Bobby and Dannis remained, eventually forming a reggae band Lambsbread. From what I understand there was a point where The Hackney Brothers had discussed reforming Death but unfortunately, David Hackney died of lung cancer in 2000. However, as the two surviving Hackney Brothers claim, David told them shortly before his death that although they were misunderstood and forgotten in their day, history would prove them and their work together as being truly revolutionary — but that it would mostly likely be after his own death. In a wild yet very true spin of serendipitous fortune that seems as though it were written by a screenwriter, Bobby’s sons had stumbled across the original Death masters hidden away in their parents’ attic, several years after David’s death. Bobby’s sons were impressed by their father’s and their uncles’ work that they began covering Death as a loving homage that began to receive attention both nationally and internationally.

As a result of the growing buzz around the band, Drag City Records, re-released Death’s original recordings in 2009, 35 years after its initial recording and release, and from those recordings the material proved David Hackney correct, revealing that Death’s sound and aesthetic managed to be 3 years ahead of the punk revolutionary while simultaneously playing an important role in Black music history, as they managed to fill in the gaps between Parliament Funkadelic, Bad Brains and Fishbone, while presaging the likes of Lenny Kravitz, TV on the Radio, Prince,  Unlocking the Truth and a list of others. Since the re-issue of their early demos and their full-length, Death with its current line up featuring the surviving Hackney Brothers — Bobby (bass, vocals) and Dannis Hackney (drums) with Bobbie Duncan (guitar), have had a documentary about their incredible story, released new material and spent time touring and playing on the festival circuit, including an incredible Afropunk Festival set, which has introduced the trio, their story and their sound to eager and appreciative new audiences.

Death’s latest single “Give It Back” was originally written by the band’s Bobby Hackney in 1979 and re-recorded last year but interestingly enough, the song concerns itself with persistent and troubling social and environmental issues that he saw almost 40 years ago, from increasing political, racial and social animus and disarray, global warming and the pollution of our water and air, and a growing sense that dreams and hopes you once had have been lies created by larger powers to keep you involved in a sick and demented system that exploits and destroys human lives and the only home we’ll ever know. The overall theme of the song is as you’ll hear in the lyrics “We’ve taken from this world, now it’s time to give it back” suggesting that there’s only one time to get it right, before we fuck it all up royally — and they pair that with a classic, Detroit rock ‘n’ roll groove that immediately brings The Dirtbombs to mind.

 

 


Comprised of Posdnuos, Dave and Maseo, De La Soul is arguably one of hip-hop’s most beloved and influential acts. thanks in part to their use of incredibly clever and quirky word play, innovative and soulful sampling and hilarious skits; in fact, perhaps unsurprisingly, Mos Def has openly cited them as a major influence on the early part of his career. And although their seminal debut 3 Feet High Rising may be their most commercially successful release – perhaps in part to the success of singles like “Me, Myself, and I,” which employed the use of a sample from Parliament’s “Not Just Knee Deep” and the Native Tongues anthem “Buddy” – they’ve managed to release a number of critically applauded albums including De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High among others.

I caught the legendary hip-hop trio at The Meadows Festival earlier this year, and they were among one of the festival’s most memorable and most fun  career spanning sets featuring songs off  3 Feet High Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High and their critically applauded  . . . And the Anonymous Nobody, which was released last year. Album single “Pain,” a collaboration with Snoop Dogg featured some of the most incredible bars in recent memory over a soulful, Roy Ayers-like production featuring twinkling keys paired with thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats.

Recently the JOVM mainstay artist Rhythm Scholar  remixed De La’s “Pain” with his imitable and effortless mashup/remix that retains the song’s woozy, soulful vibe but further emphasizes it with samples from Oliver  “Heart Attack,” feat the aforementioned De La Soul,The CommodoresI Like What You Do” and “Brick House” — with Keith Holden (bass), and Mr. Fender Rhodes (Fender Rhodes). And although the Rhythm Scholar remix turns the song into a 70s disco-inspired club banger, complete with explosive horns. Interestingly, the Rhythm Scholar doesn’t include Snoop’s verse — and the remix is so slick that you don’t notice it.

 

 

 

Akuba Records is a new label, whose mission is to bring listeners the very best deep, cosmic, soulful and funky disco music out of their Africa, and their debut release is a split release between He’s The Man and Atik-A. The A side single He’s The Man’s “Squeeze  Me Tight” is an old school club banger, reminiscent of Parliament Funkadelic, Heatwave and oddly enough 45:33-era LCD Soundsystem, as the track features propulsive drumming, a sinuous bass line, an enormous brass section, soulful Lou Rawls-like vocals, complete with a sultry backing section, arpeggiated keys and trippy analog effects — with the end result being something both tribal and cosmic.

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two years, you’ve likely become familiar with the  Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet The Vryll Society, and as you may recall the quintet, comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson have received attention both on this site and across the blogosphere for a contemporary take on shoegaze that draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences — including FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child ,krautrock, and others.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Sacred Flight,” a single that further cemented their growing national and international profile for crafting an enveloping, pedal effected guitar-based sound with soaring hooks and a propulsive, motorik groove; however, the single revealed that the band had been experimenting and expanding upon their sound as there was an increasing emphasis on synths. Personally speaking, the song managed to remind me of my own travels this year — in particular, being in The Netherlands, and how being “a man from far away” was both liberating and profoundly strange. The band’s second single of the year, and second single off their highly-anticipated full-leghth debut, “Shadow Of A Wave” continuee along a similar vein, complete with their signature rousing hooks but with decidedly krautrock/motorik-like groove. And interestingly enough, the song may be the most achingly lovelorn and earnest song they’ve released to date.

 

New Video: The 80s-Inspired Sounds and Visuals for Moon King’s “In & Out”

Initially formed as a solo recording project of its Toronto, ON-born creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-insrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, Moon King may arguably be best known as a duo featuring Maddy Wilde (guitar, vocals) for the bulk of the project’s existence to date; but with Wilde’s departure from the project in 2016, the project has returned to its roots — as a solo project. And interestingly enough, around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI  — notably, the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck, which unsurprisingly inspired a new batch of material, Hamtramck 16, a mixtape that not only documents his arrival into a new and unfamiliar place but serves as a radical change in sonic direction for him, as the material on Hamtramck 16 captures Benjamin’s growing obsession with electronic dance music. 

Finally having some time to himself after years of relentless touring, Benjamin began collaborating with local artists and musicians, until he formed a new band — with the intention of crafting a sound that currently draws from disco, classic, Detroit house, synth pop — and even pop. In fact, as you’ll hear on Hamtramck 16’s latest single “In & Out,” Benjamin pairs his dreamy falsetto with a dance floor-friendly production that channels Nile Rodgers-era Madonna (i.e.,  “Lucky Star” and “Holiday”), Tom Tom Club (i.e., “Genius of Love”) and Larry Levan-era house as a driving groove is paired with fluttering, shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor-like beats and a razor sharp hook. And much like the sound and period, Benjamin is drawing from, the song manages to be incredibly accessible; in fact, if it wasn’t for the subtly modern production, the listener may have been tricked into believing that the song may have been released in 1983. 

The recently released visuals for “In & Out” feature neon-bright animation from Jordan Minkoff that channels the visuals for the aforementioned “Genius of Love” and George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog.” 

Comprised of Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson, GL is a Melbourne, Australia-based electronic music production and artist duo, who with the release of 2013’s Love Hexagon EP and their full-length debut Touch developed a reputation for specializing in a sound that’s very much a contemporary take on disco, funk, boogie, soul and house music, and as a result the Australian electronic music duo quickly earned international attention from The Guardiani-DThe FADERV Magazine, XLR8R and others, as well as played sets at New Zealand’s St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival and Splore Festival while nationally they’ve opened for Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker and played a successful headlining national tour to support their full-length debut.

Building upon a growing national and international profile, which resulted in a busy touring schedule, the duo locked themselves away in the studio to write and record the double A-sided single “Destiny”/”Reflect,” and as the duo explain “‘Reflect’ is an extended jam we made at TFS Studio in North Fitzroy, Melbourne. We wanted to try a long form exploration piece. Listen out for the delightful keyboard solo by Harvey Sutherland! Lyrically, it’s about searching inward, when the outside gets a bit much.” Interestingly enough, the song while being decidedly introspective manages to be joyous, suggesting that searching inward can be a profound solace in a cruel world or as George Clinton once wisely sung “The kingdom of heaven is within.” Of course, sonically, the song will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting a sound that draws so much  from 80s and 90s house music and 80s synth soul that it brings to mind The WhispersIt’s A Love Thing,” “And The Beat Goes On,” and “Rock Steady,” Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “Love Come Down” and Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love” as Pogson pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering and cascading synths, a sinuous bass line, tribal drumming, bursts of shimmering keys and a soaring hook with Thompson’s self-assured vocals. Simply put, it’s arguably one of the most DJ-leaning, club rocking tracks I’ve written about in several months; in fact, if I were DJ’ing, I’d make sure to fit this one into a set.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Genre-Blurring, Global Sound and Visuals of French Experimental Pop Act Aquaserge

Featuring members of Tame Impala, Stereolab, Acid Mothers Temple and Melody’s Echo Chamber, the French act Aquaserge formed back in 2005 as way for its members to explore and experiment with Kraut rock, prog rock, free jazz and French pop in a similar fashion to Serge Gainsbourg, Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys and others. And as you’ll hear on “Tour du Monde,” the latest single off the act’s recently released full-length debut, Laisse ça être, the act specializes in a mischievously weird, kaleidoscopic, genre-blurring sound that draws from jazz, Afropop, psych rock, free jazz, jazz fusion and pop — and they do so with a swaggering, strutting funkiness that would make Fela Kuti and George Clinton very proud.

Produced by filmmakers Amanda Robles and Matthieu Salabara, dear friends of the band, the video consists of the band’s personal collection of postcards being shot in a single take with the intention being a good luck message — or in other words, being a wishful hope that the song may get them to travel around the world to play their music. And interestingly enough, the song’s lyric manages to nod at a similar theme, as they roughly say “If you’re walking in your own footprints, you must’ve walked around the earth.”