Aged In Melody – Theme For Someone Special [2016 reissue]
This soulful ’70s disco instrumental is stunning. It actually makes me feel sad, but I’m quite happy to be sad occasionally for a 4 minute stretch. Never heard so much emotion in a piece of instrumental music before. Properly released as part of a killer triple 7″ package by Floating Points.
Wah Wah Wino – Magpie
This is one of the best house tunes out in years IMO. Bouncy and fun and irreverent – the complete antithesis to all the boring stuff out nowadays. Local Dublin young fellas responsible. Man of the moment Nevan Jio played it in a back to back mix we did for Daire All City. COYBIG. Hup.
UK grime / hip hop / future rnb sounds. Big things coming for Nadia.. she slayinnn’.
Hubie Davison – Sanctified
Donna Summer tune chopped up into a house anthem. Popular song this year!
Palms Trax – High Point on Low Ground
Young lad is doing really well & deserves it, got himself a nice clean sound. It’s not exactly new territory in the grand scheme of things, but he’s a talented DJ & producer and that’s all that matters..
Rihanna – Kiss It Better
Sleazy electric guitars have found their way back into rnb / pop! This is a slow jam banger. I love how RiRi can put out super downtempo tunes that become anthems. This is like golden era Daft Punk + 2016 trap + 1980s Miami. Works a treat.
A Jazz / funk / house music collaboration between UK producers K15 & Henry Wu released on Alexander Nut’s Eglo Records. Lively!
Mood II Swing Feat. Carol Sylvan – Closer (King Street Moody Club Mix) [2016 reissue]
I rinsed this one on Sunday night at EP and a few more times throughout the year. Mood II Swing got extensively reissued this year and began touring (again?). Fair play to them. Unce unce. Yup yup.
Long Island Sound – Myrtle
Young Irish lads makin’ waaaves. Friendly & solid DJ / producers. Splash.
Ghost Town DJs – My Boo [1995, popularised again 2016]
Originally released in the mid ’90s, this unusual uptempo hit was as good as reissued this year, as it popped up in a viral video online and then reappeared everywhere again. Special mention to KP & Envyi – Swing My Way which came out a couple of years later, on a similar tip.. it even touches on a UK Garage vibe which is cool!
Love Unlimited – I’m So Glad That I’m A Woman 
This came out in 1979 but it’s one of my most played out tracks this year. Been on a huge Love Unlimited (Barry White’s band) tip over the past 12 months. Proper late ’70s, lush, string-laden disco about being a woman and loving it. What’s not to like.
The Peace Pagoda is “an alternative sanctuary” at Electric Picnic in the healing area of Body&Soul at the festival featuring live ambient and electronic music, talks yoga, workshops, DJ sets and projection mapped visuals.
Curated by Kevin A Freeney & Body&Soul with production by Algorithm and food by Native Spaces, it will feature sets from Sias, Emmet Homebeat, Somadrone, Clu and Frankie Grimes while talks include Trailblaze’s Census of the Heart, The Transformative Power of Art & Discourse in the Pro-Choice movement, John G Mind Calm coaching and more, as listed.
Diskotekken’s Papa Lou is on Sunday night before Clu so he’s put together a Clu Lagoon mix to give you a flavour of what to expect.
Junglepussy was born Shayna McHayle on Halloween Night, 1991. She’s a strong, soulful, straight talkin’ rapper and songwriter from Brooklyn. She’s cited Erykah Badu, Missy Elliot & Kelis as influences. Her releases since 2013 have seen her move from a hip hop / trap sound to a more defined neo-soul style. Her album Pregnant With Success is littered with x-rated spoken sections reminiscent of ‘70s soul diva Millie Jackson. Apart from making great music, her album was stylishly self released on USB keyring & sold directly from her website (obviously retaining all rights) which indicates she’s badass in more ways than one. She’s everything I love about 2015’s musical landscape.
“I loved Moesha as a child, but now I take away something more special from it….Brandy cared about books, culture and where she was going.” – Junglepussy.
2. Erykah Badu – ‘Cel U Lar Device’ (Hotline Bling remix)
Speaking of Erykah. The one and only Queen Badu teamed up with her 17 year-old son Seven Benjamin (Andre 3000 is the father, cool parents or what) to put together a cover version / remix of Drake’s now infamous ‘Hotline Bling’. In fact she put out a whole cell-phone themed mixtape called But You Caint Use My Phone. She flips the booty call narrative to the female perspective — “If you’re calling to beg for the shit but this is that pre-call before the actual begging, press 5. If you’ve already made that pre-call and this is the call to beg, press 6”. Acerbic wit via calm, sultry vocals like it ain’t no thang. Untouchable.
3. Jim Dunloop – Leap Year feat. Sherry & S. Squair Blaq
It’s been a good year for R’n’B! So much so it’s become a buzz word. Jim Dunloop’s LP ‘Opus 78BPM’ on BBE Music has come out of nowhere. Dilla-inspired beats, neo-soul, hip hop and all that other good stuff come together for a really solid end of year release. I keep mentioning Erykah Badu but it’s hard to imagine this album existing without her influence. The tempo of every song clocks in at 78 beats per minute, which highlights the perception of pace and actual speed are often quite different. Interestin’. Jim brings 30 years of jazz piano playing to the table, i.e. he’s the real deal. Apart from this release, BBE’s output this year has been relentless, releasing music by Bilal, Inkswel, Ghostchant and countless others. I put them in the same category as Soul Jazz / Universal Sounds. I don’t know where they get the time, energy or indeed money to do what they do – releasing the cream of old and new music both digitally and physically. The world is lucky that people like this exist.
4. D’Angelo and The Vanguard – ‘Really Love’
D’Angelo has gifted us with new music after a 15 year wait. A full album and live tour no less. Listening to D’Angelo is good for your health. Truly beautiful.
5. The Reynolds – ‘Don’t You Worry Baby The Best Is Yet To Come’
Greg Wilson is well and truly back on the scene burning up dance floors the world over. He’s also been back in the studio producing and putting out records. The first time I heard this was via poor quality laptop speakers so I didn’t notice the modern production. I thought it was an old disco record getting the reissue treatment, but no, it’s a brand new 2015 release with a lovely and genuine nod to the past. Loads of people are trying this and making a balls of it – this is the real deal. Seems to have gone under a radar which is a shame.
6. Shanti Celeste – ‘Nu4him’
Chilean born, Bristol based Shanti Celeste has been quietly killing it recently putting out mellow, contemplative deep house & electro tinged records, equally relevant at home in your sitting room or on a busy unce-unce Saturday night dance floor. She’s a killer DJ, producer and co-runs the record label Brstl. What I like about Shanti is you can tell she’s doing her own thing, no scene or trend is gonna dictate her next move. I mean, electro’s popularity must be at an all-time low but she digs it so you can hear it in her sound, simple as that.
7. Mutual Attraction – ‘Lost Tape’
Gritty lo-fi deep house on some trendy hyped up vinyl only label from Berlin. I love and hate this kind of thing in equal measures. The music is good, but all the pretentious ‘vinyl only, no digital release’ stuff drives me crazy. It limits the music to a tiny demographic. Surely the point of releasing music is to spread it far and wide? This kind of carry isn’t gonna save the record industry. I’ll say no more.
8. Mary Clark – ‘Take Me I’m Yours’
Mid-tempo, soulful, string laden disco number originally released in 1980 (sounds more ’70s though) by one hit wonder Mary Clark. It was reissued this year on Bill Brewster’s ‘P&P Records Soul/Disco Anthology’ compilation. The cover describes it as a “legendary underground independent New York ghetto soul & disco label”.. so if you’re a disco freak you know what to do. P&P was run by Patrick Adams & Peter Brown, two serious movers and shakers from the golden era of disco, soul & boogie music.
9. Bitch Falcon – ‘Wolfstooth’
These guys are my favourite Irish act of recent years. Loads of energy & swagger. Bringing ’90s grunge / rock firmly and uncompromisingly into 2015. Anyone into Nirvana, The Pixies et al, you’re probably already a fan, but if not, get on it. They perform frequently around Ireland so keep an eye out and do try see them live. I don’t listen to a whole lot of ‘rock music’ at home, but a Bitch Falcon live show will blow you away. It’s refreshing to see them doing so well. They work hard for it and I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings for them.
10. Tayá – ‘Got Me Wondering’
I’ve been hooked on this modern R’n’B cut since it came out. Don’t have much info on Tayá though. She’s a young vocalist from Liverpool, that much is clear. Seems to be getting attention from all the right places so let’s hope big things happen for her in 2016. She has a great voice. You never know, we could have another Aaliyah on our hands.