Tag: Leeds UK

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets. 

Coincidentally, Roberts and Allen had previously played together in the similarly named The Mastersounds, an act with a completely different bassist and without a keyboardist. Because of the intimate nature of the Lejeds scene, Roberts and Allen met and recruited Pete Hand and Bob Birch (Hammond) to join what would become The New Mastersounds. Since the release of two limited edition boogaloo leaning 7 inch singles back in 2000, the Leeds-based outfit has released 24 more 7 inch singles, 13 studio albums, three live albums, a remix album — and three compilations released in the UK, Japan and The States. And the band has done that while going through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

The band and its individual members have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers throughout their history, including Lou DonaldsonCorinne Bailey RaeQuanticCarleen Anderson, Keb DargeKenny DopeMr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of AfroPage McConnell, Grace Potter,Karl DensonMelvin SparksIdris MuhammadFred WesleyPee-Wee EllisMaceo ParkerBernard PurdieGeorge Porter, Jr.Zigaboo ModelisteArt Neville and Ernest Ranglin

Over the past few months, the members of The New Mastersounds have been collaborating with a number of incredible vocalists including Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer and Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist Adryon de León. The acclaimed soul and funk act’s latest single sees them collaborating with Macon, GA-born, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and musician Lamar Williams, Jr.

Lamar Williams, Jr.’s father, Lamar played bass with The Allman Brothers and Sea Level, and as a result, Williams grew up in a very musical home: the younger Williams can trace the origins of his own music career to his childhood, singing in church and at school functions. Although the younger Williams lost his father at a very young age, he can say that he started his career independently with the help of friends and advisors throughout the years.

Williams landed his first record deal in Miami, after winning many talent shows and working with a number of sings of bands in the early 90s. He spent the next handful of years working with more bands and artists and various recording opportunities. During that period, Williams — through those various projects — shared stages with Little Richard, 112, Jagged Edge and a lengthy list of others.

By 2000, Williams began working with then-Macon-based act Revival. After moving the band to Athens, Williams began opening with Demun Jones — for Rehab in 2007. This lead to years’ long ongoing collaboration with the band that included played with, opening for and recording with the band while working on and developing his own sound and solo projects. Along with that, Williams has been extremely busy: Following in his father’s footsteps, he has sat in with The Allman Brothers Band and with Oteil and Friends. He’s the lead singer of Les Brers. And he’s currently working on a solo album with Mike Hartnett.

The collaboration can trace its origins back to when New Mastersounds bandleader and Color Red founder Eddie Roberts met Lamar Williams, Jr. at a Denver-based benefit show in early 2018 coordinated by The Gregg Allman Band‘s Peter Levin. As the story goes, Roberts and Willliams instantly connected. So when The New Mastersounds were touring through Atlanta, Williams joined the band for three songs, which lead to a deeper musical relationship.

Recorded in November 2018, Williams’ and The New Mastersounds’ latest single is a testament to their musical bond. Featuring some gorgeous yet hypnotic pedal steel by John Macy, “Trouble” is a slow-burning, bourbon and regret tinged blues with gently padded drumming, funky organ blasts and a strutting groove. And over that soulful arrangement, Williams contributes assured yet silky smooth vocals. While sonically hinting at What’s Going On era Marvin Gaye and B.B. King‘s “The Thrill Is Gone,” the song manages to be centered around a socially-charged, conscious message: “In general, the song inspiration came from how I think people perceive each other without giving love a chance for them to learn and lend their abilities to each unique situation,” Williams explains.

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets. 

Coincidentally, Roberts and Allen had previously played together in the similarly named The Mastersounds, an act with a completely different bassist and without a keyboardist. Because of the intimate nature of the Leeds scene, Roberts and Allen met and recruited Pete Hand and Bob Birch (Hammond) to join what would become The New Mastersounds. Since the release of two limited edition boogaloo leaning 7 inch singles back in 2000, the Leeds-based outfit has released 24 more 7 inch singles, 13 studio albums, three live albums, a remix album — and three compilations released in the UK, Japan and The States. And the band has done that while going through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

The band and its individual members have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers throughout their history, including Lou DonaldsonCorinne Bailey RaeQuanticCarleen Anderson, Keb DargeKenny DopeMr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of AfroPage McConnell, Grace Potter,Karl DensonMelvin SparksIdris MuhammadFred WesleyPee-Wee EllisMaceo ParkerBernard PurdieGeorge Porter, Jr.Zigaboo ModelisteArt Neville and Ernest Ranglin

“A Brighter Day,” can trace its origins back to just after the 2020: Roberts had written a buoyant and uplifting composition that sonically nods to civli rights era Curtis Mayfield and classic Motown soul. Roberts then invited some of Color Red Music‘s top vocalists to contribute lyrics to the song. Earlier this year, I wrote about the first version of the song, which featured Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer. Hoyer had penned some uplifting lyrics and put them in the can for whenever the right opportunity would call for them. For Hoyer, that opportunity came when Roberts called the Omaha-based artist and invited him to contribute lyrics. Hoyer’s version thematically is centered around the hope fo a fairer, more just and inclusive world for all, after a brutally difficult and uneasy few years.

The newest version of “Brighter Day” features Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist Adryon de León. de Leon has managed to have a vast and varied career. She’s been a backing vocalist for the likes of Lady GagaGeorge ClintonMacy Gray and others. de León also has a seven year stint as the frontwoman of Orgōne. Currently, she’s one of the vocalists in the soul collective Matador! Soul Sounds alongside Eddie Roberts, Alan EvansKim Dawson and Nate Edgar. Additionally, de León contrrbitued vocals to a track on Trent Reznor‘s score for the Netflix biopic Mank

de Leòn’s version of “Brighter Day” has a completely different tone and feel while retaining the uplifting composition of its predecessor. While Hoyer’s version focused on the larger outside world, de León’s version, which features lyrics written during pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions of last year, focuses on the personal — a glorious reunion with friends and loved ones. Interestingly, the song is underpinned with a simple yet profound call to check in on your loved ones, including the strongest ones because shit was mad real out there. But no matter what, both versions of the song are fueled by an optimism that brighter days will come, even if we don’t know when exactly.

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.

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: At the time Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets.

As it turned out Roberts and Simon Allen had previously played together in The Mastersounds, an act that featured a different bassist and no keyboards. Through friends and the intimate nature of the Leeds scene, Pete Shand and Bob Birch (Hammond) were recruited to join the band, which became The New Mastersounds. Their earliest material was raw and leaned heavily towards boogaloo — but their first rehearsal was so memorable and so hot that Blow It Hard Records released it on two limited-edition 7″ singles in 2000.Since then, the band has released 24 more seven inch singles, 13 full-length albums, three live albums, a remix album and three compilations released in the uK, Japan and the States. During that same period, the band went through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

As a band and individually, The New Mastersounds have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers including Lou Donaldson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Quantic, Carleen Anderson, Keb Darge, Kenny Dope, Mr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of Afro, Page McConnell, Grace Potter, Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Fred Wesley, Pee-Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, Bernard Purdie, George Porter, Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, Art Neville and Ernest Ranglin.

The New Mastersounds’ latest single “A Brighter Day” can trace its origins back to just after the 2020 election: the band’s Eddie Roberts had written a buoyant and uplifting composition that sonically seems indebted to Curtis Mayfield and classic Motown soul. Roberts then invited some of Color Red Music‘s top vocalists to contribute lyrics to the song. As the story goes, Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer had written down some uplifting lyrics and put them in the can — for whenever an opportunity would call for them. Little did he know, that the occasion would be Roberts calling him to invite him to contribute lyrics. Lyrically, the song is centered around the hope of a brighter, fairer and inclusive new day for all, after a brutally difficult and uneasy few years.

We got work to do y’all. Let’s get to it!



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In 2004, Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought the Leeds-based funk act The New Mastersounds to the States as an opener for Greyboy All-Stars for what would be the acclaimed British act’s first Stateside tour. And as the story goes, Vandenberg took The New Mastersounds’ guitarist, bandleader and producer Eddie Roberts out to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on Chicago’s West Side on Roberts’ first night in town to catch local blues legend Omar Coleman, who had been playing Rosa’s for decades. Interestingly, almost two decades later, Roberts would wind up producing Coleman’s forthcoming album Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times.

Slated for release this summer through Roberts’ own Color Red Music, the album’s title is an ode to The New Mastersounds 2001 debut, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds — and in many ways Coleman’s album finds Roberts, an acclaimed musician, bandleader and producer taking on the role of curator and influencer, championing and supporting artists he believes should be heard and love, essentially paying Keb Darge’s support forward to a worthy act.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album title track “Strange Times,” a strutting and gritty synthesis of The Payback-era James Brown funk and Chicago blues featuring a looping bluesy guitar line, bursts of shimmering strings and a funky bass line that would Bootsy Collins‘ proud paired with Coleman’s powerhouse, soulful vocals. Lyrically, the song’s origins can be traced to a series of conversations Coleman had with Roberts during the album’s recording sessions about the bizarre, infuriating and tragic state of America during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the exchange between the two kept turning back to the fact that we were all living in very strange times. Coleman took that and ran with it, immediately scribbling out incisive and fiery lyrics that accurately describe life in our very moment with the song talking about the abject poverty, desperation and uncertainty that hardworking and decent folks everywhere face. As the old saying the rich get richer while the poor get sicker.

“Chicago,” Strange Times‘ latest single is a fiery song that hews to Chicago’s beloved blues tradition while brashly refusing to be pigeonholed. Much like its predecessor, it’s a bit of synthesis of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf-like blues and James Brown-era soul featuring an enormous horn line, a blazing harmonica solo and a strutting grove paired with Coleman’s soulful wailing. Starting with Coleman proudly announcing that he’s from Chicago’s West Side, the song talks about the things I love about that city: its a town inhabited by tough, hardworking people, who like countless people across the world are struggling to survive to keep their dignity intact, despite the despair, shittiness and inequity and inequality thrown in their path.

For the album, Roberts recruited an accomplished backing band that features himself, Ghost Light’Dan Africano (bass), Matador! Soul Sounds‘ Chris Spies (keys and organ), Dragondeer’s Carl Sorenson (drums), Lettuce‘s Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), Michal Menert‘s Nick Gerlach (sax), Adrienne Short (viola) and Kari Clifton (violin) to help him with a sonic approach that would combine classic blues with funkier blues. And to capture the rawness and immediacy of the material, they recorded it straight to tape on Color Red Studios’ Tascam 388. “I hear Omar’s voice as a cross between Muddy Waters and Charles Bradley,” Roberts says. “I tried to reflect those qualities in music approach and songwriting as well as the way we recorded the album and built the instrumentation of the tracks.

Back in 2004, Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought the Leeds-based funk act The New Mastersounds to the States as an opener for Greyboy All-Stars for what would be the acclaimed British act’s first Stateside tour. As the story goes, Vandenberg took The New Mastersounds’ guitarist, bandleader and producer Eddie Roberts out to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on Chicago’s West Side on Roberts’ first night in town to catch local bluesman Omar Coleman, a local blues legend, who had been playing Rosa’s for decades. 17 years later, Roberts wound up producing Coleman’s forthcoming album Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times.

Slated for release this summer through Roberts’ own Color Red Music, the album’s title is an ode to The New Mastersounds 2001 debut, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds — and in many ways Coleman’s album finds Roberts, an acclaimed musician, bandleader and producer taking on the role of curator and influencer, championing and supporting artists he believes should be heard and loved.

Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times‘ latest single, album title track is a strutting and gritty synthesis of The Payback-era James Brown funk and Chicago blues within a classic 12 bar blues structure featuring a looping bluesy guitar line reminiscent of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, an enormous horn line, bursts of shimmering strings and a funky bass line that would make Bootsy Collins‘ proud paired with Coleman’s powerhouse, soulful vocals. Lyrically, the song’s origins can be traced to a series of conversations Coleman had with Roberts during the album’s recording sessions about bizarre, infuriating and tragic state of America during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the exchange between the two kept turning back to the fact that we were all living in very strange times. Coleman took that and ran with it, immediately scribbling out incisive and fiery lyrics that accurately describe life in our very moment with the song talking about the abject poverty, desperation and uncertainty that hardworking and decent folks everywhere face. As the old saying the rich get richer while the poor get sicker.

Roberts’ recruited an accomplished backing band that features himself, Ghost Light’s Dan Africano (bass), Matador! Soul SoundsChris Spies (keys and organ), Dragondeer’s Carl Sorenson (drums), Lettuce‘s Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), Michal Menert‘s Nick Gerlach (sax), Adrienne Short (viola) and Kari Clifton (violin) to help him with a sonic approach that would combine classic blues with funkier blues. And to capture the rawness and immediacy of the material, they recorded it straight to tape on Color Red Studios’ Tascam 388. “I hear Omar’s voice as a cross between Muddy Waters and Charles Bradley,” Roberts says. “I tried to reflect those qualities in music approach and songwriting as well as the way we recorded the album and built the instrumentation of the tracks.”

New Video: Tallinn Estonia’s Lexsoul Dancemachine Release a Wild Action Movie-Inspired Visual for Swaggering “Carambola Jelly”

Formed back in 2013, the Talinn, Estonia-based funk sextet Lexsoul Dancemachine — Condor (vocals, congas), Jonas Mattius Sarapuu (keys), Kristen Kütner (keys, guitar, cowbell), Caspar Salo (drums, percussion). Jürgen Kütner (guitar) and Martin Laksberg (bass) — have developed reputation for turning venues into sweaty dance parties across Estonia and the other Baltic States with an infectious, feel good take on funk centered around thumping and propulsive bass lines, syncopated rhymes, infectious dance floor friendly grooves and soulful vocals.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Estonian funk sextet self-produced their debut effort, 2015’s Deus Lex Machina, which went on to receive praise from DJs and listeners alike — with “Beef Grinder” receiving airplay on Craig Charles’ BBC 6 and BBC 2 Funk & Soul Show and then being included on the compilation Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club Vol. 4. Building upon a rapidly growing profile. the act spent the following year extensively touring with key sets at some of the region’s biggest festivals including Talinn Music Week, Positivus, Funky Elephant and Finland’s Pori Jazz Festival.

Mid 2016 saw the release of “Coconuts,” a tropical disco-influenced, funky tune that received attention globally while topping local radio charts. And as a result of the enthusiastic response to the single internationally, the members of Lexsoul Dancemachine were encouraged and continued onward with their new sonic direction,. In 2017, the Estonian funk act went on their first UK tour, playing successful shows in London, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds with a sold-out Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club show at Band on the Wall. Further encouraged by a growing international profile, Lexsoul Dancemachine wrote and recorded their sophomore effort 2018’s Sunny Holiday in Lexico, which was released through Funk Embassy Records.

The rapidly rising Tallinn-based outfit is currently working on their third album — but in the meantime, their latest single “Carambola Jelly” is an infectious and swaggering, funky disco-tinged, club banger centered around a propulsive bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and Condor’s self-assured and sultry vocals. But peel back the layers a bit, and you’ll discover a song that playfully nods at Latin funk, tropicalia, jazz, and Larry Levan house within an expansive, jammy song structure.

Directed by cult Ugandan low budget action movie director Nabwana I.G.G., the recently released video for “Carambola Jelly” is set in the slums of Kampala. While telling a Taken-like tale of a woman being abducted and her loved ones desperately searching for her, we see some surrealistic yet gorgeous moments of profound joy — in which we see people captured by the groove in the middle of action movie tropes. There’s also cameo from the band, too. Of course, the video ends with a happy ending with a romantic reunion of the video’s central couple.

 

Fold is a Leeds-based collective currently centered around its core quartet Seth Mowshowitz (beats, keys), Kane Rattray (drums), Ben Walsh (bass) and Sam Hutchinson (guitar) with contributions from collaborators like Emma Johnson (saxophones), Simon Dennis (trumpet), Rosie Nicholl (trombone) and Kieran O’Malley (violins). The act’s sound is informed and influenced by hip-hop, trip-hop, downtempo, soul, Brazilian and funk and others — and as a result, they employ as many organic instruments as possible, avoiding the use of click tracks or pre-sequenced material in any context.

The act explores different ways in which narrative and poetry can be interwoven into music — with the aim of honestly reflecting out contemporary world, to speak truth clearly and to represent diverse perspectives across space and time, encouraging a sense of empowerment, understanding and unity among listeners. Focusing on diverse voices and perspectives has allowed the rising British collective an opportunity to collaborate with an eclectic array of emcees, poets, vocalists and historical figures. Since their formation, the act has quickly developed a reputation as a rising act in England: BBC 6 Music‘s Lauren Laverne chose the collective to represent Leeds and the region for a special Record Store Day eve broadcast at Huddersfield‘s Vinyl Tap Records

Fold’s forthcoming album is a concept album that pays tribute to Civil Rights activist and acclaimed playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry is best known as the author of A Raisin in the Sun — and as the first Black woman to have her work performed on Broadway. As a result, Hansberry’s voice and ideas is the heart and core of the album’s material. Featuring some old-school turntabilism and scratching, a sinuous bass line, stuttering boom bap-like drumming, soulful horns played through delay and reverb, the  track is centered around Hansberry’s husky voice imploring the listener to use their cognitive gifts to steer themselves towards the light. But perhaps more important, as the band notes, Hansberry reminds us that in order to progress — hell, even to survive at this point — that we must always be adaptable. Sonically, the track reminds me a bit of Makaya McCraven‘s bold reimagining of Gil Scott-Heron‘s We’re New Here but with a J. Dilla-like swagger. Both efforts put each visionary’s voice and work in a new and very different context but while reminding contemporaries that their work is even more vital and necessary than they could have ever imagined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Joel Johnston (vocals, guitar), Jof Cabedo (drums) and Alessio Scozzaro (bass), the Leeds, UK-based indie trio Far Caspian exploded into the national and international scene with the release of their debut EP Between Days, an effort that established a lo-fi sound and aesthetic that the band has dubbed melanjolly. Interestingly, the band’s latest single, the self-produced “Astoria” manages to continue their on-going melanjolly approach, centered around shimmering guitars, a slow-burning, wistful groove and soaring hooks — but paired with a subtle 80s production sheen, as a result of the addition of atmospheric synths that find the band pushing their sound in a direction that recalls JOVM mainstays Yumi Zouma

The band’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated sophomore EP, The Heights is slated for a June 11, 2019 release through Dance To The Radio Records, and as the band’s Joel Johnston says of the song,  “‘Astoria’ is the song on the EP that kind of sums up the feeling we wanted to put across, embracing the good things in your life when things aren’t so good. 

“Before we had started writing any of the songs I had already decided that there would be a track with this name. It’s a town in Oregon where The Goonies was shot. The Goonies has been my favourite movie since I was no age, and I’ve always wished I lived in that neighbourhood – this is me trying to emulate what I heard in my head when I pictured the town.

“Me and Alessio were lying in the living room hungover when we wrote the chorus for the song. It came from nowhere and we just went with it.”