The Bamboos: Ghost
From 4 (Tru Thoughts, 2010)

Kings Go Forth: High On Your Love
From The Outsiders are Back (Also @ Amazon) (Luaka Bop, 2010)

Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7: Madhouse Mumbai
From Seahorse and the Storyteller (Truth and Soul, 2010)

Flowering Inferno: Dub Y Guanguanco
From Dog With a Rope (forthcoming on Tru Thoughts, 2010)

Rakaa: C.F.P.
From Crown of Thorns (forthcoming on Decon, 2010)

Though public awareness for the Bamboos – the foremost of Australia’s deep funk/retro-soul bands – still lags behind some of their British and American counterparts, they continue to churn out releases at an admirably prodigious paste. While they’re now on their 4th album, Milwaukee’s Minneapolis Kings Go Forth have finally just put out their debut LP after putting out some highly regarded 7″s.

I’ll be straight up – neither one of these albums really are what I’d call “my sound.” Maybe I’ve just moved off the uptempo funk style but while each have their own distinct lane (Bamboos = hard and funky, KGF has a slicker, ’70s feel), both are a bit too speedy for my current tastes. Maybe that’s why the songs I did gravitate to were each artists’ stronger offerings in soul (rather than funk). Especially with “High On Your Love,” Danny Fernandez Black Wolf gets to work out his vocals something nice.

The Michael Leonhart release is an unexpectedly psych rocky/hippy poppy/soul project released by Truth and Soul who seem to be moving in some new sonic direction with this strange but intriguing release. You can find a good deal of this kind of trippy, reverb slathered, Afro-influenced tunes on the album and out of the batch, “Madhouse Mumbai,” with its obvious Ethio-jazz touches, resonated with me the most. Maybe I just like the way Leonhart sings, “shalom.”

Lastly, we have a cut off the upcoming sophomore album by Quantic’s Flowering Inferno. “Dub Y Guanguanco” sounds exactly like what you’d expect – the flirty rhythms of Cuban guanguanco mixed with the heavy bottom of dub; a lovely combo here and one of the best songs off this new album. Will Holland done did it again.

I’m ending with another forthcoming cut, this one off of Rakaa’s solo debut (due out in July). I’m thinking DJ Babu produced this one and I’m really feeling his flip on the Motown classic “Heatwave.” A fun, lively lil’ cut that lets Rakaa unleash his distinctive flow over.