MATS WAWA – Scuzz EP

NME once described Mats Wawa as having “monster riffs”. It’s clear that NME’s idea of monster riffs and actual monster riffs are two different animals. Kyuss they most certainly aren’t and the chosen title might actually be a tongue in cheek joke, but that doesn’t escape the fact that this 2018 EP from Mats Wawa has some enjoyable moments. Actually, “enjoyable moments” is pretty much an understatement, since three quarters of ‘Scuzz’ is superb.
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SHANDA & THE HOWLERS – Trouble

Mixing the cool of old soul 45s and a dusting of various rock ‘n’ roll revival meetings, Shanda & The Howlers are the sound of trouble walkin’. With a twang and a howl, their debut full length more than proves that you don’t always need originality to make a hell of an impression – you just need tightness, guts and a whole lot of conviction. It may so often be reminiscent of many a talent from a pre-Beatle era, but the band’s debut release ‘Trouble’ is a driven and fun affair that’s sure to thrill those who love Sharon Jones and maybe even impress those who dig a few late 50s throwbacks. Simply put, ‘Trouble’ is a really classy rock ‘n’ soul revue.

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STRANGE MAJIK – Deep In The Shadows EP

In the first half of 2017, Strange Majik released the ‘Soul Crisis‘ EP. It’s four songs melded the typical Strange Majik funk, rock and soul sounds with a less typical anger. Donald Trump had just become one of the most powerful men in the world with a mandate that would drag the US backwards at a frightening rate. No wonder Strange Majik’s head honcho David Pattillo was in a foul mood. Several months down the line, very little has changed with the state of the world. Trump has increasingly made America a laughing stock, but people aren’t taking it lying down…or letting it stifle their voices or creativity.

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BONGO & THE SOUL JAR – What Have You Got To Lose

bongo soul jar lpThe Black Milk Project released their debut EP ‘Holes‘ in March 2016. By the time the recording had been made available for streaming and purchase via Bandcamp, it had already been a case of all change for the Sheffield based jazz poppers with vocalist Delia Taffler having moved on. Guitarist Kris McAdam had other projects and interests on the go, however, and his funk pop outfit Bongo & The Soul Jar had already set about recording their debut full length. That debut, ‘What Have You Got To Lose’, is a brilliantly professional work with it’s core sounds culled from a late eighties and early nineties vintage. While the musicianship is strong, it’s never overly showy: each play of the album uncovers the work of a very natural sounding musical unity; the funk grooves that lie at the core of the best tracks possess an almost timeless quality.

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