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Review: ECHO The Remixes

Label: New Line

Someone in the A&R department of New Line Cinema's nascent label is thinkin' with this one. Downtown NYC duo Echo (crooner Joy Askew and trumpeter/Organic Grooves regular Takuya Nakamura) get some quality re-rubs. San Fran house hero Jay-J caresses Nakamura's trumpet with deep beats and a Chicago-esque bassline, while UK downtempo macs Rae & Christian put jazz-soul voodoo on the flip's "Sparks From a Wheel." Solid. Read more » 

Review: Kevin Blechdom Bitches Without Britches

Label: Chicks on Speed

Something of a feminist antihero, Kristen Erickson provides a needed counterbalance to the male-gaze histrionics of Charlie's Angels and the catering woman that is the archetypal "Hollywood heroine." In her guise as compu-C(o)untry reverse-diva Kevin Blechdom, the SF-to-Berlin transplant has, with Bitches without Britches, made her shining opus thus far. Positively scatologically and carnally fixated, Bitches is excessive and ridiculous, and also strangely affecting. Read more » 

Review: Clyde Feat. Capitol A Serve It Up

Label: Mantis

Seems Brooks, Crazy Penis and Atjazz have jumped Clive "Clyde" Austin into their Derby, UK electro-house gang. He pays dues with a slippery, neon-lit funk number that's choppy enough to fit Philly/SF MC Capitol A's staccato prose. Tony Wah-Chu-Ku's Ritalin-popping remix plays hopscotch in your head, while the aforementioned Brooks gets regrettably nostalgic for hip-house on the flip. Tough turf. Read more » 

Review: Various Nice Up the Dance: Two Worlds Clash

Label: Soul Jazz

Revisiting the Jamaican music diaspora in novel ways has become Soul Jazz's stock in trade, and they do it very well. This collection spotlights the crossover between hip-hop and dancehall, Jamaica and the US. Cuts like Tenor Saw's classic "Ring the Alarm" transformed to a hip-hop beat, Cutty Ranks's slashing gangsta-style lyrical attacks, Ms. Thing's hip-hop soul backing up a dancehall flow, and J Live riding an Augustus Pablo melodica harmony give you an idea of what's up here. Read more » 

Review: Si Begg Director's Cut

Label: Novamute

Recording under his sizable stash of pseudonyms, Begg blends, borrows and steals perhaps the world's most eclectic samples. On Director's Cut, Begg's deeply personal perusal of favorite styles and sounds, neither genre nor era are held sacred-lively dancehall scats skitter past celestial beings on high, and references tumble over each other in an infectious riot of grooves. Read more » 

Review: Various The Pick Up

Label: No Mayo

Production is the key to this Bay Area crew. The a-side has an okay-but-not-great beat, but the track is still noteworthy thanks to tight rhymes from the massively underrated (and unknown) Gennessee. Things pick up with the b-side, "Tell U (Remix)," as Mum's the Word's soulful track keeps things interesting. The Blends are vets in this game, and their experience shows through in their consistently solid output. Read more » 

Review: Various Framed & Formed

Label: Iron Box

Deep Five is Scott Findley's first appearance on Iron Box. Thick bass tones, smooth synths and tight percussion-an excellent production! Chicago's Soultek picks up where he left off on the last release, with a thick, deep groove and spaced-out sounds. My personal favorite is Brian Aneurysm's "Ignore Me"-cool hits and vocals over a jacked-up "gr." Read more » 

Review: Transformer Man Groove Based Technology: Part 1

Label: Re:Connect

Producer Ed Budd debuts as T Man with a simmering three-track EP of electro-breaks fusion. Wading in aqueous electronics, the rhythm of his a-side, "Invalid Command," emerges from its breakdowns with epic basslines and whooshing synths. The flip's slightly more downtempo "Evil Eye" and "Breaks in Disguise" keep it in crouch-and-growl mode, contrasting the other tune's vicious spring. Great start. Read more » 

Review: Canibus Spartibus

Label: Babygrande

One thing that really has me scratching my head is this: Why would XLR8R, a magazine that promotes "accelerating music and culture," even hand me a Canibus 12" to review? There even happened to be a press release that came with the single. Let's see..."Dear Friends, Rip The Jacker is a concentrated form of lyrical mastery that does not cut any corners with the rhyme content or imagery." Hmmm...sounds good. " Read more » 

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