The Putbacks – “Kung Fu Pyramids” Sweet Vinyl-Style

HopeStreet Recordings unfailingly gives its music releases a description that stimulates the imagination; that invites you to press play and enter into a kooky adventure. I’d usually call copying and pasting the exact contents of a press release to be a lazy Beaver’s game. But what the label says about “Kung Fu Pyramids” and it’s B-side “Snake Eyes” by Melbourne’s funk outfit The Putbacks just shouldn’t be messed with. Not by this Beaver anyway.

For the fighters, Kung Fu Pyramids is a slice of dark, guitar-driven, psychedelic, martial arts funk. For the gamblers, the brooding downtempo minimalism of Snake Eyes is an ode to the joys of Mia, dice game of champions.

Pressing play to enter this instrumental funk adventure with The Putbacks will bring wonderful rewards you won’t find elsewhere.

Putting the needle down on your super-limited edition 7-inch vinyl copy you can buy through HopeStreet from 9.00 a.m. tomorrow (as part of Independent Label Week), will bring even greater rewards.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Fat Freddys Drop – Beyond Easy Skanking

Every album so far delivered by Fat Freddys Drop has brilliantly captured and showcased the unique blends of soul, jazz, funk, R&B, reggae and dub that New Zealand music is known and loved for. Those albums have also captured the spirit and sounds of the epic live Fat Freddys Drop journeys – from which the group built their grass-roots following and ultimate success, way back since their beginnings in the late 90s.

Fat Freddys Drop live in Brisbane - Blackbird Tour 2013

Fat Freddys Drop live at the Tivoli, Australia

In many ways the new album Bays repeats that Fat Freddys history, in others not.

Fat Freddys Drop - Bays (2015)

Bays (2015)

More so than ever before, Bays captures Fat Freddys Drop creating music in the studio rather than in the live arena. Like always, studio-style includes recording equipment and techniques at their most superior (analogue of course), pressed to sweet vinyl. The gentle, soulful voice of Dallas Tamaira is the only one you’ll find on this FFD album, consistently soothing you throughout. The subtle, perfectly-placed horn lines of Toby Laing, Joe Lindsay and Scott Towers are still present. So too are the living guitar and keyboard sounds of Tehimana Kerr and Iain Gordon.

Fat Freddys Drop - Bays

And yes Bays definitely delivers familiar doses of soul, funk, R&B and feel-good, easy skanking within its ten tracks. But this time around you’ll get a heavier-than-ever-before dose of techno rhythms in the mix. For some people those sounds will be welcome, for others they might bring discomfort. Either way, Fat Freddys Drop remain as true as always to the expression of their own evolution, independent of and unconstrained by the expectations of a label or others.

Love Bays or not. Take it or leave it. Whatever you do, at least try it.

I tried and took – ie. went to my local record store and bought it for my Forever-After Collection. And super-surprisingly, it was the epic techno-heavy journey of track 8 on Bays (“Cortina Motors”) that finally convinced me to do so. Producer and MPC genius Chris “Mu” Faiumu (who donated the base track) and the rest of Fat Freddys Drop have here achieved the unthinkable for me: made the experience of listening to techno rhythms an enjoyable and body-moving one.

Fat Freddys Drop concert - WOMADelaide 2014

Mu with Fat Freddys Drop live at WOMADelaide 2014

The killer groove of the album’s ninth and final track “Novak”, cemented my decision without doubt that I’d be a lot poorer if I didn’t have Bays in my music collection.

Check out these (mp3 only) samples of those two all-convincing tracks.

Fat Freddys Drop - Bays

Fat Freddys Drop – “Cortina Motors” – Bays
Fat Freddys Drop – “Novak” – Bays

Buy the whole of Bays direct from Fat Freddys Drop  here.

And be sure to find the live experience where you can. That’s generally where the most Fat Freddys Drop magic happens. Peeps around the world get their chance soon with upcoming tours happening in Aotearoa / New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. and Europe.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Who Is Jill Scott?

Who is Jill Scott? Well, having never met the woman I’m not qualified to say. But the words and sounds Jill Scott has created and shared with the world in the five studio albums she’s released over the last 15 years, including the most recent Woman, give us a pretty good idea of all we need to know.

Jill Scott - Woman

Woman (2015)

Our introductory glimpses of Jill Scott came in 2000 with her magnificent debut album Who Is Jill Scott? Words And Sounds Vol. 1.

Jill Scott - Who Is Jill Scott?

 “Jilltro” – Who Is Jill Scott? 


We know from “Jilltro”, from Woman’s closing track “Beautiful Love” and every Jill Scott song in between, that this North Philly artist is a beautiful poet, a stunning multi-dimensional singer and a prolific storyteller who has consistently delivered easy-listening, easy-dancing blends of soul, jazz, funk, R&B, hip hop and (now) country music, to the world.

Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun (2011)

The Light of The Sun (2011)

Jill Scott- The Real Thing

The Real Thing: Words And Sounds Vol. 3 (2007)

Jill Scott - Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2

Beautifully Human: Words And Sounds Vol. 2 (2004)






We know that on all those songs we have the pleasure of hearing Jill Scott’s divine voice singing and speaking words dripping with raw, honest, sensual emotion; telling stories of everyday human living we can all relate to around friendship, family, heartache, love and desire in their many healthy and unhealthy forms, food and play. That through those beautifully-human lyrical stories, Jill Scott unashamedly shows us both her vulnerabilities and overriding strengths – from which we get the distinct feeling she is a sensitive, passionate and powerful woman demonstrating the importance of love, compassion and humour by example.

Jill Scott - Woman (2015)

Finally, I know personally that on every Jill Scott album (Woman included) I find songs delivered in a way that make me feel stronger, happier and more hopeful. That’s an incredibly-special gift from Jill Scott to me – and to everyone else in this world moved by her music and her voice.

Listen here to 2 of Woman’s 16 tracks. Remember these are just mp3 versions, compressed glimpses of all the sounds recorded by Jill Scott and her musical collaborators; that there are 14 more songs on the album, all of which are fundamental parts of the whole of Woman; and to buy the real deal in its entirety is to thank Jill Scott for creating these beautiful sounds and words to enjoy, and to support her in making more.

Jill Scott - Woman

“Can’t Wait” – Woman

…with Pino Palladino (The Vanguard) on bass playing what for me, are the sublimest of all instrumental sounds on the album.


“Coming To You” – Woman


The whole album Woman is of course available to buy from your local, independent record store.

The extra-blessed can find themselves the ultimate Jill Scott experience: hearing her sing songs of old and new, live on stage. I expected to be amongst the Blessed this weekend at Soulfest 2015 – but am instead part of a cast of thousands devastated by the festival’s last minute cancellation :( . Jill Scott’s name has to stay on my Live Music Bucket List for now.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Georgia Anne Muldrow Accentuating The Positive

Georgia Anne Muldrow’s most recent album A Thoughtiverse Unmarred, is a fabulous and timely reminder of how very much the world (both humans and the precious environment we live in) benefits from having positive musical messengers like her within it.

During its twelve tracks of hip hop beats and rhymes soaked in funk and soul, Georgia Anne Muldrow’s conscious words unfailingly accentuate the positive over the negative. They encourage love and compassion over hate – call for equality and fairness over injustice and discrimination – promote diversity and spirituality over the monocultural and materialistic – advocate for peace over conflict – and champion self determination, hope and triumph over one’s disadvantaged social, political and economic circumstances.

Georgia Anne Muldrow - A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

A Thoughtiverse Unmarred (2015)

The bonus is that those positive lyrical messages from Georgia Anne Muldrow and featured rappers Declaime (aka Dudley Perkins) and MP Is Free come with music wholly produced by Chris Keys, all together likely to make you feel good and want to dance with them.

Check out two sample tracks from A Thoughtiverse Unmarred here, remembering they’re just compressed mp3 versions of the real deal. You can buy the full album in all its goodness (including finding a copy on sweet vinyl) to cherish forever-after amongst the other gems of your music collection.

Georgia Anne Muldrow - A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

Georgia Anne Muldrow – “Monoculture” – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred


Georgia Anne Muldrow – “Child Shot” – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred


Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

De La Soul – Bringing The Fresh To Hip Hop At Soulfest 2015

De La Soul has been bringing fresh and innovative beats, rhymes, skits and emerging artists to hip hop since its “Golden Age”. If you grew up in the late 80s, 90s or thereafter if you were switched on to the evolution of hip hop, there’s a good chance De La Soul’s music makes up an integral part of your life tapestry.De La Soul

Decades later in 2015 that tapestry is soon to become richer with Posdnuos, Maseo, Dave and a huge number of musical collaborators working on the final touches of the highly-anticipated new studio LP – funded by loyal fans through Kickstarter at the first opportunity they had early this year.  This time around De La Soul and their cohorts have recorded all their own samples for the album and the mixing process is well underway with Bob Power again at the controls.

Rightly so – excitement is high in De La Soul camps around the world.

So Soulfest couldn’t have picked a better time to bring the group to its stages in Australia, New Zealand and Kuala Lumpur next month to perform their beloved songs of old and here’s hoping, a good dose of the new.

Soulfest 2015 poster

Remind yourself or (if you’ve been living under a rock) get to know “da inner sound, y’all” expressed and bought to us by De La Soul since the release of their first revolutionary album in 1989, 3 Feet High And Rising.

De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising

“Buddy”-De La Soul feat. Q-Tip & Jungle Brothers- 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)
De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
“A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays”- De La Soul Is Dead (1991)

De La Soul - Buhloone Mind State

“In The Woods”- Buhloone Mind State (1993)

De La Soul - Stakes Is High

“Big Brother Beat” feat. Mos Def – Stakes Is High (1996)

The inclusion of De La Soul in this year’s festival line-up means the evolution of the innovative, conscious and humorous side of hip hop between the 80s and today will be represented in true style. Not to mention Ms. Lauryn Hill and Black Star with Talib Kweli and Mos Def, the latter whose career De La Soul helped kick off, and who fans will no doubt be hoping join De La Soul on Soulfest stages.

Check out the full festival line-up and get your Soulfest 2015 tickets here.

Soulfest Australia

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

The Cactus Channel and Chet Faker – Kill The Doubt

The Cactus Channel‘s unique variety of instrumental funk-soul music wouldn’t get value-add with just any ol’ artist’s singing and songwriting talents in the mix. Many contemporary vocalists (I’d say most) would probably be a misfit for the music; do it an injustice.

But with their new single “Kill The Doubt” and it’s B-side “Sleeping Alone”, it is Chet Faker who the group’s joined musical forces with. The result of course, is two gorgeous songs oozing with heart, soul and feeling.

Get your digital dose here of “classic soul and funk seen through a uniquely Melbourne perspective”. The songs sounds damn fine even in digital format; and will undoubtedly sound a million times better on sweet vinyl.

"Kill The Doubt" - The Cactus Channel Feat. Chet Faker

“Kill The Doubt” – The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker
“Sleeping Alone” – The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Sublime Sounds Of Old: Al Green

In my musical world the sublime sounds of old inspire and make me feel more than most new music does today. Here we turn back to those sounds to remind everyone (especially the youngsters of the world) that they are there to know, learn from, love, take them higher, appreciate and cherish…for forever-after.

With heart and soul this particular artist of ol’ made some of the most stunningly perfect, sublime love songs of all time.

He is of course, The Reverend Al Green.

And these are just two of the many of his songs for the cherishing…

Al Green - I'm Still In Love With You

x x

“Love and Happiness” – Al Green – I’m Still In Love With You (1972)


Al Green - Let's Stay Together (1972)


“Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green –  Let’s Stay Together (1972)


There’s only one contemporary artist I know of whose music and vocals are of the same sublime kind and quality as Al Green’s in the 70s.

He is of course, D’Angelo.

Al Green and D’Angelo are also both messengers of Love. Thanks be to them because the world is most definitely a better place for their musical and lyrical messages. True?

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Kamasi Washington: The Jazz 2015 In Soulfest 2015

“Australia’s First Annual Neo Soul, Jazz & Hip Hop Festival” needs some jazz, right?

Soulfest Australia

The inaugural Soulfest 2014 delivered a line-up of spectacular soul and hip hop artists to Australian and New Zealand shores. Best of all it included D’Angelo & The Vanguard afresh, not long before the release of Black Messiah and they got busy playing shows around the wider world.

D'Angelo live concert - Melbourne Soulfest 2014

D’Angelo at Soulfest 2014- Melbourne


Soulfest 2015, in by bringing saxophonist, composer and bandleader Kamasi Washington from the U.S. to Australia (and New Zealand) to play, has Jazz 2015 in its finest form sufficiently and wonderfully covered.

Kamasi Washington (photo by Mike Park)

Kamasi Washington (photo by Mike Park)

If you travel in the musical realms of contemporary jazz, soul, R&B, electronica or hip hop, chances are you’ve already got the sounds of Kamasi Washington in your music collection- and maybe just don’t know it (especially if you buy your music digitally and miss out on reading an album’s linear notes with the names of all the artists who created it). You’re Dead! or Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus? To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar? Up by Stanley Clarke? The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam by Stephen Bruner (aka Thundercat)? In My Time by Gerald Wilson? All of the above?

Maybe you’ve been blessed to hear Kamasi Washington playing live on stage alongside Chaka Khan, Snoop Dog, Gerald Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Raphael Saddiq, Stanley Clarke or Lauryn Hill?

Or maybe you’re totally onto the workings of Kamasi Washington and recently added his first solo album The Epic to your music collection? Are eagerly awaiting its forthcoming release on sweet vinyl? And/or just had the pleasure of hearing he and The Next Step/West Coast Get Down “throw it up in air” to “see where it lands” at a live show in the States?

Kamasi Washington

If not, well, right here and now is a good time to check out the sounds of Jazz 2015 by some of our time’s most innovative musicians, with the first track from The Epic journey sampled below. Listen, and keep listening, as the story keeps unfolding. Enjoy the space it leaves you in during its final moments. And like always, remember this here sample is just a compressed mp3 glimpse of the full sound.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic (2015)

The Epic (2015)

Kamasi Washington – “Change of the Guard” – The Epic (Volume 1 – The Plan)


If you’re inspired to experience the whole of The Epic story in its uncompressed glory, buy the entire 17-track, three-volume, 172 minute-long album here.

For an extra-special experience of Kamasi Washington’s music, find your way to Soulfest 2015 and elsewhere he and his band are playing it live. Discover where the sounds land at that particular show. Just know the bonus of getting it at Soulfest is that Kamasi Washington’s jazz set will be amongst performances by some of history’s most beloved soul and hip hop artists too.

Soulfest 2015 poster

Soulfest 2015 tickets here.

Folks in Australia wanting a longer, cosier live experience of Kamasi Washington and his band can also catch their Sydney sideshow on Oct 22nd.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Hiatus Kaiyote Dropping You Into It

Just like I thought as few words as possible should be said about the new Hiatus Kaiyote album Choose Your Weapon in order to do the music and its makers justice, I think the less words said about Hiatus Kaiyote’s live show at Brisbane’s Woolly Mammoth, the better. To experience is the goal.

Early in their set during ‘Shaolin Monk Motherfunk’, when Nai Palm sang to the crowd to “Drop into this”, the direction was unnecessary. Already by then, the very first sounds of music created on stage by Nai Palm, Paul Bender, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and the group’s regular three Australian-based support vocalists, had well and truly dropped us into It. With no way out.

Nai Palm - Hiatus Kaiyote live concert 2015

Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote) at Woolly Mammoth

‘It’ of course being the truly Multi-Dimensionalfantasy journey this music takes you on with its multiple rhythmic, melodic and stylistic changes that make no sense to many- but perfectly-divine sense to the room full of Hiatus Kaiyote music appreciators so comfortable and joyous being taken to a space outside the dreaded Square.

There was just no jumping out of that wondrous musical journey; and absolutely no desire to anyway.

The rest, all the details about Hiatus Kaiyote’s show…(the setlist, exquisite jams and solos within songs or the pleasure in hearing the live raw vocals of Nai Palm which sound like no other in the world except for some newly-developing female vocalists I’ve heard recently who could only be described as sounding like Nai Palm, for example)…don’t matter for you.

What matters is that you find yourself the experience of Hiatus Kaiyote dropping you into your very own multi-dimensional fantasy adventure, with its killer soundtrack played to perfection.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert 2015

Folks in the U.K, U.S, New Zealand and Europe get their chance soon when Hiatus Kaiyote head back overseas to continue touring the new album. Check out the dates here – more music and past live shows by Hiatus Kaiyote here – and, one more sample track from Choose Your Weapon to get you on your feet towards your local record store to buy the full album if you haven’t already.

“Laputa” by Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (2015)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)



Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Native Sun: Hip Hop+Afrobeat+Sunshine+Love On Foot

So much music being created by artists in this world. So many barriers to getting it heard, properly valued, sold and any money into their pockets. We all know it’s a travesty of epic proportions.

To all the artists who share their music with me digitally: thank you, and, I’m truly sorry. Lots of it I simply won’t have the time nor energy to spend attached to a computer to hear.

I’m an old fashioned girl when it comes to finding music. I want to use my feet whenever I can- to physically go out into the world and scour record stores; act on recommendations from real people I talk with in those music stores and elsewhere about the music we love; take a cd home from an awesome live gig; or buy it directly from artists I find sharing their music in streets and plazas.

I swear my methods are much more fun and healthier than excess computer time.

Hormigas Negrasvinyl records - Kingston, JamaicaSupport Sweet Music in public spaces










It’s in that context I give kudos to London-based music duo Native Sun for using their minds and feet to speak of and sell their music to the many folks of a similarly-styled musical ilk to them, waiting in line for doors to open at D’Angelo & The Vanguard’s Roundhouse show. The fact that they did so was reason enough to hand over my valuable English pounds for their take-home album Indigenous Soundwaves; and to share some of its sounds here on their behalf.

Native Sun - Indigenous Soundwaves

Indigenous Soundwaves (2012)


“Hip Hop, Afrobeat, a little Sunshine and lots of Love” from Native Sun 2012 via Indigenous Soundwaves

‘Out of the Box (feat. Akala)’ –  Native Sun


‘Original Inhabitants’ – Native Sun


…and “Hip Hop, Afrobeat, a little Sunshine and lots of Love” from Native Sun 2015 via the single Day By Day’:


If Native Sun’s sounds are up your musical alley the bonus prize is the opportunity to buy them [relatively] direct from the artists.

Native Sun

Mohammed Yahya & Sarina Leah   (photo by Bumi Thomas)


Native Sun plus everyone else out there – keep making music. Please. May you make it heard in the world; and may humankind support and encourage you to do so.

That’s Beaver’s good old-fashioned dream. :)

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Facebook