High on the Hawk
What workaholic UK sound library Hammond heavyweight Alan Hawkshaw refers to as "just a routine session" resulted in the classic funk groove masterwork by the Mohawks . You can find four of those raunchy floor-shakers on the Mo'Hawk (RPM) compilation - a long-overdue 20-track sampler of the swinging tunes the Hawk cut in swinging London for commercial and television theme use between 67 and 75. Much of it sounds remarkably fresh 30 years on. www.rpmrecords.co.uk
Evidently, the Toronto fascination of mature UK b-boy DJ Format doesn't begin and end with Abs & Fase . Format's new puck-weight single for The Hit Song (Genuine/PIAS), featuring the vocal skill of Abdominal, has a new version of Here Comes The Fuzz created by Planet Pea and the Quartertones crew, backed by a horn section that completely reinvents the song with stunning results. It's even better than the Constantines' reworking of the Talking Heads ' Thank You For Sending Me An Angel on their fab new Night Time ( Sub Pop ) EP.
Wanna be startin' somethin'
The appearance of two Michael Jackson -related 12-inch EPs of mysterious origin - both called Michael - bearing the caveat "These are weird renditions of weirder songs originally recorded by the weirdest artist" - was very intriguing. The first was oddball covers of Jackson's tunes, the best being a take on I Want You Back screeched in Japanese, but the Billie Jean answer song I'm Billie Jean (the kid was his son) is also entertaining. Better still is the companion 12-inch with the hilarious "mumble version" of Billie Jean, which sounds like an early demo with Jackson blabbering wordlike sounds, trying to figure out how the lyrics might fit the tune. As a bonus you get Vincent Price 's dope rap from Thriller.
Fela vs. Flash
Just when you thought the whole mash-up thing was over, the Afrodisiac Sound System comes up with the Afro Heat #1 single, dropping vintage Fela Kuti vocal tracks over Grandmaster Flash 's The Message on one side and Queen 's Another One Bites The Dust on the flip. I'd take Afro Heat #1 over Slide 's uninspired house hijacking of the White Stripes ' Seven Nation Army any day.