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Review: Quantic Soul Orchestra Stampede

Label: Tru Thoughts

Downtempo prodigy Will Holland (a.k.a. Quantic) broadens his previous output's scope with this vibrant album of raw, blistering funk, jazz and soul featuring Holland and friends as an all-live groove machine. Bad-ass jams like "South Coastin'" (which combines a bass-heavy backbeat with bubbling flute licks) or opening salvo "Stampede" (which kicks off the album with a furiously-paced guitar, horn and breakbeat workout) transcend the funk template with expressive soloing that lends a psychedelic edge to its heavy, earthy grooves. Read more » 

Review: Prince Malachi Can't Control

Label: Stingray

Currently a favorite amongst modern roots lovers. "Can't Control" is a positive anthem of resistance and survival-the lyrics are well thought out and clearly delivered. Malachi does it again. Read more » 

Review: Cridge & Tasha Gwan Now!!

Label: Tribe

Dave Cridge, head of Bristol's Tribe imprint, teams up with American DJ Tasha to let ya know that drum & bass has well retained its ragga roots. Rugged, subtly placed vocal samples, half-time chords and them damn sirens decorate the buzz-bass-&-Amen scheme of the title tune, while the flip's "Cuban Lingo" hands over skillfully arranged, conga-heavy Latin flavor. Ace. Read more » 

Review: Akrobatik Balance

Label: Coup D'Eta

Coming out of Dorchester, MA, Akrobatik has been making noise for several years now, releasing an EP and multiple singles, such as the notorious "Internet MCs" joint back in '99. On his debut full-length, Balance, he flaunts a smooth but strong rhyme style, addressing ever-pertinent topics like the ladies, knuckleheads and real hip-hop. Production duties are handled by Fakts One, DJ Revolution, Diamond D and Da Beatminerz, who all come nice with bump-heavy, sample-based beats. Read more » 

Review: Pendulum Trail of Sevens

Label: Hardware

Coming from Australia, these boys know how to fire up the dance. "Trail of Sevens" is an epic tune, starting off with a nice melodic intro and a simple but effective arpeggio-style sound, just to drop into funked-up Reese-ness with some punchy beats and bass. Read more » 

Review: Tame One When Rappers Attack

Label: Eastern Conference

Coming back from the wrong side of the tracks is the Artifacts' Tame One, giving indie hip-hop a much-needed dose of back-to-basics rhyming. Considering how long it has been since he's had product out, Tame has very quickly knocked the dust off his flow, updating it with a few more multisyllabic rhymes. His delivery shows that he hasn't missed a step during his hiatus, as he confidently kicks clever metaphors like I register game like "Jon Schecter." Unfortunately, the production isn't up to Tame's level-the tracks range from plodding and boring to mediocre. Read more » 

Review: abicah Soul Meets GU S/t

Label: Big 50

Chicago dons DJ Stax and Glen Underground go the laidback, Latin-jazzy route over three tracks that emphasize Stax's shuffly rhythms and GU's smooth synth improv. Although some parts of "Negro Yosoy Peligro" fall into the cheeze column, it's all good in face of the thumpy "Esta Hermosa Cancion." For the lounge, where we all need to be at points. Read more » 

Review: Daily Planet Why You Wanna

Label: All Natural

Chicago's twin rhymers Allstar and Spotlite enlist fellow vocal soldier Iomos Marad and producer Dug Infinite to follow up their masterful debut, "We Like to Party," with another banga. These kids just don't play when it comes to confident, laidback flows that dispense with haters and industry booshit. Backed by Dug Inf's smooth beats, the Daily's styles'll keep ya watchin' like Miramax. Tune in, sucka. Read more » 

Review: Family Tree Tree House Rock

Label: All Natural Inc

Chicago's Family Tree crew has been building up a rep for making solid tunes. This compilation illustrates that, though it isn't without some skipworthy tracks. The production, largely by the criminally underrated Molemen, is consistent throughout, heavy on the boom-bap and buoyed by creative samples. And there's plenty of great scratch hooks courtesy of Tone B. Nimble and DJ Precyse. The rapping, on the other hand, has a few dead spots. Take, for example, "Horse," featuring Mr. Greenweedz and Allstar. Read more » 

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