Nasty Nas gets Hi
As Chan Marshall will tell you, Teenie Hodges and his Hi Rhythm posse can enhance anyone's sound. So hiphop mash-up maestro DJ Swindle (the man who gave us the Mobb Deep-inna-reggae-style Bobb Deep and the 80s new wave revision of your fave 50 Cent jams 80 Cent) has dropped some familiar Nas linguistic heat over Al Green 's funky 70s classics to create Almatic (djswindle.com). Not every mix is magic - One Mic sounds square-pegged into You Ought To Be With Me - but Life's A Bitch works surprisingly well over Funny How Time Slips Away, and the cadence with which Nas spits Made You Look sounds like his rhymes were structured to fit the rumbling bump of Love And Happiness. Clever.
Kathrin deBoer and her turntable soul crew, Belleruche , were off to a promising start with their sweetly raunchy rip through Marc Bolan's 20th Century Boy (If Music), but every 7-inch they've released since their 2005 debut one-sider has been kind of a snooze. I'm happy to report that Belleruche are now back on track with their snazzily hand-screened Four Song EP (HippoFlex) double 7-inch, which finds the UK threesome moving in a jazzier direction much better suited to deBoer's bluesy belting and sultry crooning. Just 500 copies have been pressed, so act fast. They'll be releasing an album on Tru Thoughts in the coming months, and it should be a corker. Portishead who? www.belleruche.com.
Self-taught piano marvel Roy Meriwether , who started playing at three and wrote his first two pieces before he turned four, is known for his churchy soulfuness. He's at his funky best on the Nubian Lady album, recorded live at the Magic Carpet back in 1973, just reissued on CD by QPSM (www.roymeriwether.com). It starts off slow as Meriwether's sidemen Bill Conway and Billy Jackson warm up on a deep version of Kenny Barron's title track that builds beautifully over 20 minutes. Things really heat up when they lock into Barron's Jungle Plum, which quickly turns into a massive dance-floor burner. Awesome!
If you put out a compilation called Ultimate Brazilian Breaks & Beats , you'd better come up with something more exciting than the usual assortment of Wilson Das Neves, Som Très and Banda Black Rio tracks, and the Sugarloaf Gangster hombres who compiled this set for the Murge Discos label clearly know their shit. Even if Miguel De Deus 's club cooker Mister Funk doesn't qualify as a discovery, there are lots of lesser-known killers here like the Hot Stuff Band 's Juju Man, Orquesta CBD 's tasty Tema Da Zorra and Fre Som Orchestra 's super-rare funk banger The King's Bounce. Grab it.