Tag: funk

Record review: P-Hex ‘Quantum Funkanics’

P-HEX QUANTUM FUNKANICS [King Genius Records] Fuck me, these lot like a good swear, don’t they? Northampton’s baggy-funk conglomerate first emerged from in a basement in the early 1990s, but…

P-HEX
QUANTUM FUNKANICS [King Genius Records]

Fuck me, these lot like a good swear, don’t they?

Northampton’s baggy-funk conglomerate first emerged from in a basement in the early 1990s, but have never until this point saw fit to release an album – instead knocking up demos as they went along. The band, formed by Steve Gordon and Paul Chant under their previous monikor Hex, have always been that less common thing, a purely live band. But once it became clear that Chant was terminally ill, it was felt by all that a full album would be a great tribute to the bassist.

The musical stylings on Quantum Funkanics are a mix of classic ’70s funk, late ’80s dance culture/hip-hop, lashings of ’90s baggy, and a little bit of the Big Beat too. Black Grape is probably the most relevant band comparison to make, but there’s also traces of Talking Heads, Parliament, Big Audio Dynamite, and Pop Will Eat Itself present too.

A lot of the fun, the heart and soul of this album comes from the duel vocal attack of Lindsay Spence [the verses, the raps] and Katie Paton [the choruses/refrains]. Between them they provide a succession of one-liners that either make you think a little deeper, or just elicit a belly laugh. Not knowing which comes next is surely a significant part of the appeal. Twenty plays in and new phrases rear up that previously were missed. Indeed everywhere there’s diamonds to fill your new boots with. Stories of wasters and scoundrels doing their thing could be deemed ‘cartoon-esque’ – but this is Northampton, so most of it is probably true anyway.

And if the words of your scribe weren’t enough to have you heading to purchase, be aware that Alan Moore loves them and wrote the liner notes. And if his nibs is onboard the mothership then you should be too, pronto.

Phil Istine

Quantum Funkanics is out now here

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Record review: Greg Coulson

GREG COULSON What’s New [self-released] Coulson is still only in his mid-20s but he’s crammed an awful lot in so far. He joined local Northampton band Danny Connors and The…

GREG COULSON
What’s New [self-released]

Coulson is still only in his mid-20s but he’s crammed an awful lot in so far. He joined local Northampton band Danny Connors and The Ladders at just 17, he hooked up with Two-Tone legends The Selecter at 19 – and stayed there for five years. He’s toured America, playing both South by SouthWest and Coachella festivals, and he even did a stint in a Burt Bacharach-themed West End show. Even now he’s gone solo, he is still called upon by The Blockheads to fill in on guitar when needed. Talk about paying your dues off early…

Finally the multi-instrumentalist has fulfilled the dream of a debut album. It’s full of vim and blues-funk energy, as demonstrated on the jive-tastic opener ’10/10′ [Adam Gammage’s drums propelling the whole thing to its peaks]. Follow-up ‘Girls’ sees the Flat Pack Horn Co give it some Daptones swing, plus Coulson lets loose on his Hammond to great, Stevie Winwood-esque effect. The pop melody vocal is so spot on it could give most of the Stax singles a run for their money.

‘Stitch Me Up’, a co-write with Danny Connors, is their idea of Stevie Wonder if he roamed The Mounts. The rhythm playing is as steady as a metronomic beat, though the feel of the lead instruments is a little on the wild side. Coulson runs through a ’60s reggae-styled Farfisa solo in the middle – completely changing the feel of things for a minute – before relaunching into that soulful groove chorus. The words are a treat too. It’s a seriously impressive five minutes, and should be the first thing you listen to on the album if in a rush. ‘Love Nest’ is the only really cheesy moment on the album, the ’80s blues-rock sound a tad too close to function band for comfort [nice guitar lines though]. All is quickly forgiven though as the title track roars into view, with it’s modern rock’n’roll feel [Jack White, Black Keys] and great call-and-response chorus. The fuzzy guitar from Staurt Dixon practically launches out of the speakers, such is his enthusiasm. And New Boots isn’t sure if there’s a word that could sufficiently sum up the outrageous Hammond solo.

The second half of the album is more of the same, and the quality never lets up. ‘Someone To Be There’ swaggers over the horizon with a great [or should that be Wonder-ful] soaring chorus in it’s back pocket. ‘End Of The Line’ introduces Coulson’s ability with a Michael Jackson-mimicked falsetto. It’s perhaps the most emotional song on the album, a plea to return to the past glories of love. Indeed it’s a song that seems to effortlessly amalgamate the last 50 years of blues rock into a coherent whole; and that’s no mean feat. ‘Ran Out And Ready’ is a slice of staccato Hammond-funk that would have been issued in 1968 on some obscure mid-Western label. In other words, very special. Great percussion movements on this too, muso fans.

Closer ‘Sick Note’ returns the horns to the fore, and is a fun-if-familiar number to sign off with. And there you have it: 40 minutes of blues-funk bliss from one of its newer exponents. Greg takes on the often unfashionable R&B sound and makes an album with personality, finesse and fine songs. We should all get behind him.

Phil Istine

What’s New? is out now on CD and the usual downloading/streaming sites

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Charles to bring Funk & Soul show back to town

The Roadmender has announced Craig Charles will bring his funk and soul show back to the venue next year. The legendary actor, host, poet and broadcaster is familiar to millions…

The Roadmender has announced Craig Charles will bring his funk and soul show back to the venue next year.

The legendary actor, host, poet and broadcaster is familiar to millions for his roles in Red Dwarf, Robot Wars and Coronation Street.

He is also one of the UK’s best loved funk and soul DJs. with a popular primetime Saturday night BBC 6 Music radio show,

Having been broadcasting live every Saturday Night for more than 10 years, Charles has garnered global support and recognition as one of the UK’s foremost funk and soul commentators, DJs and promoters of new music while still championing the golden age funk artists of the 60s and 70s.

Support will be by Northampton’s The RePro Jam Squad and DJs from Inspiration FM.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £15 before fees.

Doors open at 9pm and the event runs until 9pm.

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