Promenade Blue by Nick Waterhouse


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was a work so filled with ambition, yearning, and inner contradictions that it came to represent the condition of a nation itself. Yet, at its core, the slim novel tells a story about people and, more often than not, their inability to communicate and connect with one another — forever running on parallel tracks until tragedy finally twines them together. The color green (often in the form of the faded sodium lit dock of Daisy Buchanan) comes to represent longing and unrequited love in an era (the Roaring Twenties) of decadence and spiritual vacuousness. Green is Gatsby’s North Star, simultaneously pointing backward and forward through time toward some unattainable, impossibly balanced version of his own life.
Nick Waterhouse, a century later but once again in the ’20s, takes the color blue as his hue of choice on Promenade Blue. In Nick’s musical and lyrical world, blue is a refraction of his life and memories — shadowing a deep, spiritual San Francisco that fostered his musical vocabulary but has now been stamped out irrevocably; evoking the endless tours, marathon recording sessions, and highs and lows of success he’s experienced in his decade-long career; conjuring romances that were doomed, loves that lingered, and hope for future days of parity and partnership; summoning spirits of people who have gone but permeate his mind forever. That’s the world of Promenade Blue — one that is vivid and magnetic, buoyed by both light and density due to Nick’s newfound collaboration with producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart). It’s not Gatsby’s New York in the 1920s, it’s Waterhouse’s California in the 2020s. Nick makes that crystal clear throughout the record but particularly on “Santa Ana (1986),” where he wryly sings, “Not from New York / And I never was / I’m from California.” With that, he answers all questions about place and setting…but as anyone who’s ever listened to a Waterhouse record knows: time, though clearly pegged to the dawn of this new decade, is a more malleable concept. Where he is is clear. When he is varies.
We can try as hard as we can to make sense of Promenade Blue, but in reality, context isn’t really needed because the music on the album is so damn magnificent. In no uncertain terms, it represents Waterhouse’s finest hour as a writer and bandleader — leveraging the musical partnerships he has built over many years to put something forth that is so fully realized and felt that it sparkles beatifically, reverberating with energy, heart, creativity, and vibe from start to finish. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album’s opening track, “Place Names,” perhaps the most remarkable song in the Waterhouse catalogue.

The tune is a pocket symphony, à la Spector and Wilson, with winding piano lines locking puzzle-like into a whining, weeping string arrangement courtesy of musical blood brother J.B. Flatt. A small cadre of women backing vocalists shout “Never!” and Nick replies “I never cry on cold days / I never mind a trip on the freeway / Because it’s what I know / Never really set for the big change / Learn to let things go / And say blow wind, blow.” The freeways between LA and San Francisco; the memory of spending a teenaged evening in the Vesuvio Café, which looms over the entrance of City Lights Books; the wind ripping through you on a foggy Bay Area morning, cutting into your bones; the pride one takes in his hometown; the distinct life that he has made (or that has made him) — it’s all here in “Place Names” and, honestly, if the album were to end with this one song, Waterhouse would’ve done his service to the 2020s in terms of musical creativity and vitality. Thankfully for listeners, it’s just the beginning.
The album twists and turns from the opening to the close — from swinging, sashaying jazz and blues (“Spanish Look”) to jittering, crystalline doo wop (“Very Blue”) and pure, loose, languid mood music with just a hint of Mulatu Astatke’s Ethiopian modal magic (“Promène Blue”). Most striking, perhaps, is the use of men’s voices as a backing texture, bringing an unexpected thematic unity to many of the songs. Lower-than-low gospel chants and refrains lend both energy and emotional weight to these pieces, conjuring a whole new mythic world for Nick’s compositions. This is a statement album, one to get lost in and rediscover over and over again.
In the Waterhouse catalogue, “Promenade Blue” represents rebirth and reinvigoration as well as a clarity of purpose that elevates it and may one day set it apart as something resembling a magnum opus. It’s his ‘Gatsby’ and it’s also his way of reintroducing himself to a fanbase that has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. On this record, he paints a mythic picture of his own life — lost in confusion, grating against time, overheated by false memories, being baptized by nostalgia and a vision of the future that is paradoxically both dark and apocalyptic and sparkling with promise. Sounds a lot like America in the 20s to me. Which 20s though? Which color — green or blue? Which author? Try to figure it out for yourself:
“You were smiling at me / Hanging languidly / On your car door window / Very blue / Very green / The ocean breeze / And shuffling trees / Pacific seas.”
“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

So, we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

released April 9, 2021

Sonór Tropicàl by Mankoora


45' Single Vinyl re-issue 

Midnight Madness by Moderator


The best movies are the midnight movies, cult films played for deviant, open-minded audiences long after sundown. These films are experiences, usually in the genres of horror, hippie-delia, or total freak-show. This midnight movie vibe is sonically captured by Moderator on his latest album for Melting Records, Midnight Madness. The famed Athens-based producer has assembled 14 tracks that run the gamut, each one evoking the devilish unpredictability of cult cinema and the dopeness of a phat break.

Moderator is known for his extensive musical knowledge, with his tastes running from hip-hop to rockabilly, dub to Memphis soul, and all points in-between. On Midnight Madness, these genres intersect in dreamlike scenes from imaginary movies. There’s “Unspoken,” with its Latin-psychedelics, wah-wah guitar riffs, and rousing trumpet, resembling an alternate universe Morricone. Camp spookiness also appears on tunes like “Haunted Lover,” which combines a big breakbeat and vampy vocals for a creature showdown in black and white.

The delightfully strange rears its head on cuts like “Once Upon a Time” and “Crystal Gaze,” both summoning playful witchcraft vibes straight out of a vintage Italian Giallo film. The downtempo flavor is heavy, casting spells on the fussiest of beat-headz. Moderator also whips out some twisted tribal lounge, as “Tamboo” delivers a rhythmic procession of fashionable zombies to the darkly lit dance floor.

Just as midnight movies bring endless surprises, the tracks on Midnight Madness won’t stop revealing after multiple listens. Moderator’s intricate fusions unfold in exotic layers and there are sinister secrets to discover. These movies play on the turntable, in the nightclub, and inside your head. And you don’t have to wait for the witching hour to have a listen.
released March 21, 2021

I Got Love b​/​w Loving Body by Bobby Oroza

Bobby Oroza is a soul artist hailing from Helsinki, Finland. Teaming up with the Timmion Records house band Cold Diamond & Mink, he has a tight quartet of musicians to support his vision. His cult classic debut album This Love introduced the world to his strange and unique shade of Soul.

The Finnish crooner, Bobby Oroza, is back with a new set of tunes that pick up right where his glorious 2018 debut album, This Love, left off.
The A side “I Got Love” is a sweet soul anthem for those with their priorities straight and an encouraging reminder to those who may have lost sight of what is truly important in life. Bobby has penned another hit. He sings about choosing love over all things material and recognizing what you have when you have it. Bobby sings an earworm of a chorus that sums it up perfectly, “I got love, and that’s enough”.

The B side, “Loving Body”, is as seductive as it is profound. Bobby propositions his love interest over a gorgeous Cold Diamond & Mink production for more than a light hearted love affair. Mr. Oroza is not your average Joe, and this is not your average roses and candy song. Bobby lays out his desire to become one loving body in the way two rivers become part of the sea. A beautiful song about attraction and desire that will be an instant staple in the sweet soul world and beyond.
released March 29, 2021

Strange Times by Omar Coleman - Color Red Records

Stange Times” is a reflection of initial conversations Omar Coleman had with Eddie Roberts during Coleman’s 2020 sessions at Color Red Studios (Denver, CO) testifying the bizarre state of America amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The exchange kept running back to the strange times that they were living in and Coleman took the stanza and ran with it. He immediately compiled lyrics he scribbled out on pieces of paper and knocked out lyrics from start to finish. Roberts approached the album combining classic blues with funkier blues and captured the rawness and immediacy of the music by recording through tape on Color Red Studios’ Tascam 388. “I hear Omar’s voice as a cross between Muddy Waters and Charles Bradley,” he states, “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.” Joining Coleman and Roberts on “Strange Times” are Dan Africano (Ghost Light) on bass, Chris Spies (Matador! Soul Sounds) on keyboards and organ, Carl Sorenson (Dragondeer) on drums, Eric Bloom (Lettuce) on trumpet, Nick Gerlach (Michal Menert) on saxophone, Adrienne Short on viola and Kari Clifton on violin. ‘Eddie Roberts presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times’ comes out in summer 2021.

When Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought The New Mastersounds to the US for their first time to open for Greyboy All-Stars in 2004, little did Eddie know nearly two decades later there would be full-circle energy tied into that first night out in Chicago and working with Omar Coleman, an icon-clad staple in the city heralded as ‘Home of the Blues.’ On Eddie's first night in Chicago, Vandenberg took him to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on the West Side of town, a club that Coleman had been playing for decades. Fast forward to 2021 producing Coleman's upcoming record on Color Red, Coleman started to lay down his original tune "Old Man Teaser" and explained that it was a story about the lady behind the bar at Rosa's teasing all the older blues musicians.

An instance like that goes beyond coincidence and demonstrates the ripple effect of Color Red’s collaborative spirit and the minuscule degrees of separation in their musical network. As for the album’s title, Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times, it’s an ode to The New Mastersounds’ 2001 debut record, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds, that was championed by the iconic Scottish DJ and curator launching the band into a 20+ year career and nine more records to boot. Now, the baton is passed to Eddie as a leading voice in the modern funk and soul revival era with notable producer and bandleader accolades and the launch of Color Red that curates top-notch musical talent from all over the globe
released March 18, 2021

I Can't Give You Up by Smoove & Turrell

Free Download of the Smoove & Turrell classic, taken from their debut album, ANTIQUE SOUL

Enter 0 at checkout for free download or name your price to support the band.

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released February 8, 2021

Nobody's Clown by Los Yesterdays


Beggin / Ms. Jackson by The Diasonics free download


Initiators of the hussar funk from Russia

Rare groove sound
Raw funk feeling
Sensual dramatic melodiesreleased February 15, 2021

'Every Day (Every Night​)​' b​/​w 'I Don't Need No Doctor' by PM Warson


Part of the UK’s vibrant, modernist Rhythm & Blues lineage, PM Warson established himself self-releasing raw-cut 45s in the vein of the independent studios of the ‘50s & ‘60s.
Recorded direct to tape with a live rhythm section, just before the global lockdown of 2020, his debut LP is due early 2021 on Legere Recordings.I been to long away from my baby...'

A song for soul-searching in 2020, 'Every Day (Every Night)' was cut just in time direct to tape in East London in February. For love lost to lockdown, Ashford, Simpson & Armstead's 'I Don't Need No Doctor' appears on the flip.
released September 14, 2020

Basilisk by Orgone


Basilisk” is a brooding instrumental theme that brings a dusty psychedelic flavor to Orgone’s signature brand of heavy funk. The hard-hitting drum groove and snaky rhythm section pulsate in lock step, fueling the hypnotic sway and bite of the tripped-out RMI Electra-piano melody. “Basilisk” is propulsive with a dark, cinematic feel that finds a home somewhere between psych-rock, library music, and classic 1970s jazz-funk. This is a teaser track from the upcoming Orgone stoney-voodoo-psych album Chimera.
released February 19, 2021