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Review: Five Deez Funky

Label: !K7

The problem with rap music today is that nobody knows shit about it. I've been sayin' lately that these days, some blonde girl in a Juicy Couture outfit driving down Rodeo Drive in a 2003 Range Rover on a cell phone could be noddin' her head to the latest 50 Cent exclusive 16-bar battle verse on a mixtape by K-Slay. Thank you Five Deez for puttin' out great music that still feels like I'm up on some new shit that hasn't been tainted by a Sprite endorsement. And secondly, who else can put out a track that's 132bpm and still sound so "Funky"? Read more » 

Review: LALI PUNA Left Handed

Label: Morr Music

The missing link between M?m and Stereolab, Lali Puna continues to weave subtle, emotive electropop yarns. Here, the killer is Left Handed Dub," a slow burning no sleeper that sounds like Neu! as recorded by King Tubby. " Read more » 

Review: Noiseshaper The Signal

Label: Different Drummer

The modern dub scene in Europe is like a hybrid car mechanic who puts together an array of parts and gears (Viennese stoned beats, German microtechno, ragga) to create a smooth-running engine. Noiseshapper's dub house ("The Signal"), dancehall punch ("All Dem A Do" feat. MC Juggla) and Groove Corp-style breaks ("Keep The Focus") will handle the Autobahn with ease. Read more » 

Review: Winston Riley Productions Dancehall Techniques 86-91

Label: Maximum Pressure

The most effective way to reissue Jamaican music is by focusing on its producers. Such is the case with Winston Riley, whose importance to dancehall music is nothing less than crucial. It was Riley who produced the famed "Double Barrel" and "Stalag" rhythms. He was the epicenter of dancehall's emergence in the '80s, launching the careers of Pliers, Admiral Tibet, Super Cat, Cutty Ranks and Buju Banton, to name a few. Dancehall Techniques showcases the early works of those artists supported by the crisp digital production that made them famous. Read more » 

Review: Essential Logic Fanfare In the Garden

Label: Kill Rock Stars

The late-'70s post-/art-/avant-punk cake is not wholly eaten. There's a piece left for everyone at the table, and apparently these days it's up to labels like Kill Rock Stars, Soul Jazz and Acute to serve the platters. Enter Essential Logic. Back in the old X-Ray Spex days (1977), Logic's eardrum-shattering sax outbursts were the meaty substance to Poly Styrene's evocative, stripped-to-the-bone sass-funk. But the friendship lasted for only one summer. Abandoned by her bandmates, Logic founded her own band, Essential Logic, in 1978. Read more » 

Review: KRS-One The Krstyle

Label: Koch-In the Pain

The Johnny Appleseed of hip-hop edutainment strikes again, with scabrous boom-bap beats and lyrics about the upliftment of blackfolk. We already have high expectations of KRS-One, not only to voice discontent over political situations, but to impart durable social truths. And granted, he holds it down in The Krstyle, particularly in the hard-hitting cut "Gunnen Em Down." On the flipside, this characteristically bristly MC regales us with the piano-ribboned, sensitive-guy number "The Only One," in which he uses verbal dopeness to pay homage to his wife. Read more » 

Review: Nucleus & Paradox Funkivity

Label: Paradox Music

The first in a slew of singles from Dev Pandya and Nucleus before their Esoteric Funk album drops. "Funkivity" speaks for itself-'70s breaks rip apart the basswork of Bugz in The Attic's Mark de Clive-Lowe. Those who seek solace in the sounds of Bukem should flip this, where window rattling, switched-break atmospherica completes the package. Read more » 

Review: Manitoba Up In Flames

Label: Domino

The cover art of Up in Flames features photos skewed through some hypercolor lens, staining all with a dense, polychrome psychedelic glow. It's perfect for Dan Snaith's second folktronic album, a shambling, delicately dazzling mess that sets off gorgeous pyrotechnics throughout. "Skunks"'s pastoral, fat twanging beat fills out with sizzling walls of ambience and a flittering, free-skronking horn. Read more » 

Review: Rosalia De Souza Garota Moderna

Label: Avatar

The breezy, lounge-chair bossa nova of Rosalia de Souza's debut album, Garota Moderna, conjures visions of a snuggly, '60s-era upper-class Rio de Janeiro: the stuff of careless romances, exotic coffee drinks, and Stan Getz tunes. Airy cymbals, breathy flutes and clement pentatonic piano solos combine with Souza's seductive "da da dee diddy doo doo" in the opening tracks "Maria Moita," and "Bossa 31," setting a tone that doesn't waver for the entire album. Read more » 

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