Genre: Soul / Funk
Region: London, UK
Artists’ Website: Facebook page
Label: Record Kicks
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Funky sounds have taken us by storm the past weeks and months with a constant flow of outstanding releases from Dojo Cuts, the Souljazz Orchestra, Antibalas, Elikeh and even bass-driven glitch-hop producers like Opiuo and KOAN Sound.
However, more than anyone on the list Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers dive far back into the history of the genre to craft new, irresistible tunes. Here it is slow, brutish soul that overpowers and considering Hannah’s impressive, hoarse, earth-shuttering vocals that is not a bad thing at all, even for skank-rhythm junkies like us. After all, there are more than a few upbeat funk tracks in A Hill Of Feathers to keep us moving. With a vintage, organic, live sound they have been inevitably compared to Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and labelmates Dojo Cuts.
This band is being promoted as “deep soul & raw funk” and it is hard for me to think of a better way to describe their sound, because when the grooves kick in they deliver bare-bone unadulterated funk. Percussions, bass and guitar drop the driving rhythms while keeping chord vamps accentuated by horns not unlike proto-funk outfits like Dyke & The Blazers and James Brown. Songs like “Don’t Tell Me”, ‘The Kitchen Strut” and “Get It” follow exactly that inculpable recipe to keep us moving with a jaw-dropping vocal delivery from Hannah.
Her loud and fiery voice drags immediately the listener’s attention; it is actually the centrepiece of most compositions. Songs like the first single of the album “Work It Out” demonstrate her soulful, honest performance in lyrics and style. However, the Tastemakers deserve also attention since musicianship is flawless true to the soul/funk originals. The live recording works in favour here capturing the true energy of the band while the artistic supervision/mixing by Diesler (Tru Thoughts) puts everything in the right place for a solid release. I would add only that in the more groovy tunes, the instruments could be higher in the mix.
In a short span of time Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers have been praised by many soul/funk ambassadors like the Dap-Kings and Charles Bradley and with this furious debut they seem unstoppable.
More funk at Freegan Kolektiva:
- The Souljazz Orchestra – Solidarity
- Opiuo – Butternut Slap Part 2 EP
- Elikeh – Between 2 Worlds
- Pazy And The Black Hippies – Wa Ho Ha
- Mucca Pazza – Safety Fifth (2012)
- The Bombay Royale – You Me Bullets Love (2012, Hopestreet Recordings)
- The Funk Ark – High Noon (2012, ESL Music)
- All Good Funk Alliance – Rhythm & FX (2012, Fort Knox Recordings)
- Rebirth Brass Band – Rebirth of New Orleans
- Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – From Africa With Fury: Rise