Thursday, 21 February 2013

King Porter Stomp- The Shuffle

King Porter Stomp, an ever-expanding band from Brighton offer a seemingly ever-changing mixture of Ska, Dub and Hip-hop. Bringing a new look and interesting take on these genres, King Porter Stomp show here the sheer range of styles and grooves that they can use. From the Dance-y Ska number of the title track “The Shuffle”, to the sophisticated, laid back groove of “Let it all Out”, to the Latin-edged raver that is “The Last Bat Train to Cuba.”  
The opening number “The Shuffle” shows off a little bit of everything the whole album has to offer, mixing a heavy, funky beat with Ska-based horn lines and a rapid-fire, machine-gun lyrical style.  The track keeps building and dropping throughout, retaining interest and bringing the track to a point where it all has to break down to a heavily danceable groove.
This shows exactly how the rest of the album continues, complete with a barrage of funky riffs, dirty grooves, and an aware, relevant and critical lyrical style. The way in which the album is ordered shows awareness for the styles, offering a mix of upbeat anthems and chilled out tracks.
King Porter Stomp have only been growing in the last year, both in terms of band members and in audience size, and should only continue to do so. With regular packed out gigs and large festival performances which go from strength to strength, spreading the word of this brand of good time music to an international audience.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Smerins Anti-Social Club- Primordial Cordial

Whether it is upbeat instrumental Ska-based, highly danceable funk, or if it’s an arrangement of a famous TV Theme remade in a completely unexpected fashion, there’s seemingly nothing that this collective can seem not to be able to play.

This nine-piece group of instrumentalists take influences from wherever they can, collaborating with a wide range of underground vocalists from all across the South of England. The sheer range can be heard in the way that the main guest vocalists on the album are Nuala Honan, a soulful singer, who’s powerful vocal chords create an added melodic layer to the already complex melodies of the group as a whole, and Dizraeli who lends his culturally aware, critical, occasionally scathing and satirical style of underground rapping to a ska-based backing. Whichever any one person prefers is irrelevant, as both vocal styles, and any others in between, work incredibly well with the music. The plurality here can best be seen with the Swing-inspired track “The Alibi”, featuring Nuala, and Celebrate (A Vague Recollection of a Tw*t) which stars Dizraeli, both showing off the incredible talents of these two stand-out vocalists.
Other highlights include a Dub-Ska rendition of Doctor Who (Yes, the theme from the television show) which, featuring Tenor Fly, is a great, chilled out groove with a heavy beat which drives the whole track forward.
Not only is the music this band produces high energy stuff, but their shows also show the quality and enthusiasm that the band produces, packing out clubs with crowds of energetic, enthusiastic supporters dancing the night away.

The Roller Trio- Roller Trio

As modern Jazz goes, The Roller Trio have exploded onto the scene. This Leeds-based three-piece were picked up part way through 2012 by BBC introducing, and immediately their album was picked up for nomination at the Mercury Awards and the MOBOs. It’s easy to see why; the album immediately kicks off in fine style. De-ep Heat opens with James Mainwairing’s saxophone explorations transforming into a heavy groove based track which definitely sets the pace for the whole album. Interesting, electronic soundscapes, Jazz-inspired saxophone lines and heavy, funky grooves are the order of the day. The music on this album is heavily based on repeated riffs, which meander into expressions and explorations of the way in which the basic, original ideas can be altered.
For these three graduates of Leeds College of Music, the music controls everything- the odd use of punctuation in the song titles giving the names the same stops and starts as the tracks themselves (The Na-il Tha-t Stan-ds Up, A Dark Plac-e To T-hink), and the cover art coming from tying a pen to their speakers whilst the album was playing and letting the motion of the music create the image. The punctuation in the music shows where riffs change, and where tracks either slow down, or when the band returns to a single idea from group improvisations, creating a sense of structure in the compositions.

This album is a visceral new route that these modern Jazzmen are experimenting with, mixing the old with the new and creating a unique, angular approach to an older style.