The Urban Renewal Project – ‘Shake Those Hips’

The Urban Renewal Project is a sixteen-piece hip-hop collective (yes, sixteen!) based in Los Angeles.

Their sound can be loosely defined as hip-hop, but in reality their sound seamlessly blurs the boundaries between soul, funk, jazz, and hip-hop – utilising the old adage of power in numbers, they boast a big band horn section, singers and three MCs among their ranks. And like that, strutting its funky wares is new single ‘Shake Those Hips’, offering us an opportunity to fully realise the complete, irresistible power of the ensemble’s vibrant sound.

This is slick, grooving and funky slice of infectious hip hop; ‘Shake Those Hips’ is insanely catchy, extremely addictive and pretty brilliant. It is a syrupy brew; big, brassy and funk-fuelled hip-hop. Swaggering along with an irresistible groove, huge blasts of brass, infectious bars from three MCs and more horns than a randy goat – we’re treated to a fun-filled barrel-roll through positive vibes just begging to be danced to.

This is one of the most thrilling singes of 2019 thus far and one sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul.

‘Shake Those Hips’ is the lead single from their forthcoming EP titled Love Glory Duty Death, expected later in 2019. Listen to the single below:

Night Auditor – ‘No Vacancy’

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Night Auditor is the brainchild of Los Angeles native, Omar Jamal; a multi-instrumentalist and poet at the heart of this funky genre-hopping musical endeavour.

Now based in Brazil with the rest of the Night Auditor troupe, the collective is gearing up to release a new LP called Soul Junk. Ahead of its forthcoming arrival later this year, ‘No Vacancy’ is the first single lifted from the aforementioned album. It is an effortlessly cool and timeless funk/soul delight with all the hallmarks of a modern classic. Whisking together a deliciously seductive brew of strutting funky swagger, soulful vocals, stabs of bass/guitar and to-die-for organ work, with an underlying pop sensibility and a touch of the psychedelic, we’re left with a stunning masterclass in soulful funk. So, so good – which certainly bodes well for the forthcoming LP.

For now, check out the stunning ‘No Vacancy’ below:

The Floozies – ‘Cosmic Rays’ feat. Ryan Zoidis

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Comprised of brothers Matt Hill (producer/guitarst) and Mark Hill (drums), The Floozies are not short on ideas or self-confidence.

Self-described as the “undisputed kings of electro funk”, it is the duo’s luminescent new single ‘Cosmic Rays’ ads credence to this lofty claim. Lifted from their forthcoming album, Better 4 U, ‘Cosmic Rays’ features Lettuce saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and it is a bright, colourful explosion of fun and ideas. Perfect for summer with its ridiculously sunny disposition, it is bursting with vitality, big beats, samples and funky licks rendering it pretty damn irresistible. Oh, and the stunning sax is just the icing on the cake. Fun, funky and cheesy (in a good way) and you know what, sometimes that is just what’s needed.

Listen to ‘Cosmic Rays’ feat. Ryan Zoidis below.

Bad Sounds Share Bright & Brassy New Single ‘Wages’

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Despite their self-deprecating handle, Bad Sounds bring the party vibes with deliciously catchy and funky, kaleidoscopic pop.

Much like the Bath 5-piece’s previous single, ‘Avalanche’, ‘Wages’ is insanely catchy, extremely addictive and pretty brilliant. Occupying a similarly luminescent space on the landscape as The Go! Team at their best, ‘Wages’ is a syrupy brew of big, brassy disco-funk, hip-hop and fun fun fun. Fusing bright pop hooks, fuzzy guitars, high-pitched harmonies, with an irresistible groove, sing-a-long lyrics and more horns than a randy goat – we’re treated to a fun-filled barrel-roll through the genres and decades. Impressively, ‘Wages’ joins ‘Avalanche’ as two of the most thrilling, fun-filled and addictive singles of 2016, and sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul. Not bad for a band starting out, no?

You can listen to the bright and brassy ‘Wages’ below and it is out now. It does not disappoint!

2015 According to Seth Mowshowitz from Fold

One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is the release of GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging.

It was a truly fantastic way to mark 5 years of BarryGruff and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved and the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is Seth Mowshowitz, from Fold.

Leeds based Trip Hop / Breakbeat / Hip-Hop outfit Fold have the propensity for producing the magnificent. The inventive and experimental quartet pride themselves on live production, ceating incredible music while blending their enviable creativity with a social consciousness. In a similar sort of vein to Public Service Broadcasting, spoken word samples are set to real drums, bass, guitar and a blend of triggered samples, together they combine for an utterly stunning sound of funk, groove, urgency and cool. Long-standing BarryGruff favourites, Fold are one of the most unique and exciting acts around.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Fold’s superb self-titled debut album, and their GruffWuff inclusion, ‘That’s It’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

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2015 According to Disconcerting P

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One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is the release of GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging.

It was a truly fantastic way to mark 5 years of BarryGruff and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved and the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up first is Padraig McCauley of Disconcerting P.

McCauley has impressed as much as any Irish artist over the past few years – prolific, passionate and prodigious – McCauley’s already amassed a pretty impressive back catalogue. As a songwriter, singer and performer, he entertains us through a vast range of extensive influences and genre splicing styles, carefully crafted into soothing, dreamy and jaunty americana/country tinged jams. It’s been said many times, but how someone with an abundance of talent and dearth of great tunes can remain in the shadows for so long, is a bloody mystery.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out his wonderful Shakin EP, and Disconcerting P’s GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Treated You Rough’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

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Cornershop – ‘Pinpoint (Feat. Accü)’

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There are many, many reasons to love Cornershop, aside from the endearing charm, one of the biggest has to be that you never really know what they will serve up next.

While the quality is never in question, the journey thus far has taken us to all sorts of musical destinations, everything from indie, punk, funk, electronica and disco and dub. Cornershop’s latest single ‘Pinpoint’ is no less of a musical globetrotter. “Think Chic meet St Etienne,” reads Cornershop’s description of ‘Pinpoint’, and it’s not far off. Featuring vocals from Cardiff-based Accü, aka Angharad from Trwbador, it’s a summery slice of warped funky disco. ‘Pinpoint’ is certainly a groover, driven by an effervescent ’70s funk bass and accompanied by parps of horns, an abundance of tambourine, some subtle tones and of course, Accü’s pristine vocals. Peculiar and surprising (in a good way obviously) as usual but most importantly, as delectable as ever.

You can listen to ‘Pinpoint’/‘The Titi Shaker’ below, and it’s out on July 17th, through Ample Play. Rumour has it, Cornershop are working on a new album too. Happy days indeed.

Introducing: JOAN

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Fun filled, beautiful, bold and fetching – JOAN is a genre hopping pop ensemble from Brooklyn.

Formed in late 2014 by Nick Farago and Hank Mittnacht, the pair quickly added numbers to their “family”, even a cursory glance at the will tell you the adding to their numbers quicker than rabbits. Aside from multiplying at a ferocious pace, this troupe have a canny knack for a genre blending tune. To say that their self-titled debut is an eclectic affair, would be putting it mildly. It’s a genre hopping delight channelling parts pop, funk, Motown, post-punk, folk, psych and some rather French sounding electro-pop. It is seamlessly weaved together with an intoxicating blend of fun, fearlessness and boundless love of music. ‘Greenwich Dives’ is a smooth, slick, pop song that splashed subtle funk undertones with synths, while ‘Magic Bus’ sounds a lot like Ian Dury and the Blockheads meets The Velvet Underground and ‘Miami Night’ rolls the neon lit club and French electro vibes into a dreamy, summery and irresistible pop song. That’s all but a flavour of the tasty treats strewn throughout their debut, all in all, it’s a fine collection of jams.

There are some choice cuts from their self-titled debut to savour below, or you can stream/download it from here.

Fold – ‘Two Past Midnight’

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Leeds based Trip Hop / Breakbeat / Hip-Hop outfit Fold have the propensity for the magnificent, producing incredible music blending their enviable creativity with a social consciousness.

Following on from last year’s sensationally good ‘Oil-Powered Machine / Detroit Red’, Fold have announced the release of a new single, ‘Two Past Midnight’, penned in for a May 4th release. Fold’s interest in social justice is no secret and we’ve become accustomed to the band using vocal samples from speeches to convey messages, and ‘Two Past Midnight’ is in keeping with this trend. The new single pays tribute to Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist who advocated for the right to vote for black Americans and was instrumental in passing the 1965 US Voting Rights Act.

‘Two Past Midnight’ is a powerful fusion of beats and politics, as they sample Fannie Lou Hamer’s famous 1969 speech in Berkeley California to deliver a funky, cool and groovy tune that feels mightily dangerous (it reminds me of how a younger me felt, hearing Public Enemy or Immortal Technique for the first time – that’s a good feeling). The single spreads the message, if we needed to be reminded, that the scourge of racism still exists and is still an issue throughout the world. This is the sound of a band with a message, one that needs to be spread and with the music to match, while providing a timely reminder of their musical prowess and the power of music. It also raises that question again; why have musicians and artists so little to say nowadays? ‘Two Past Midnight’ comes backed with B-side ‘Don’t Kid Yourself Baby’, which is pure, unadulterated funk and will be released on May 4th. You can pre-order it now from Bandcamp.

You can listen to both it, & the B-side below, along with Fold’s GruffWuff inclusion, ‘That’s It’ – of which you can download here for FREE.