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Surprise Chef

Education & Recreation

    Surprise Chef’s music is based on evoking mood; their vivid arrangements utilize time and space to build soundscapes that invite the listener into their world. The quintet’s distinct sound pulls from 70s film scores, the funkier side of jazz, and the samples that form the foundation of hip hop. They push the boundaries of instrumental soul and funk with their own approach honed by countless hours in the studio, studying the masters, and perhaps most importantly, the “tyranny of distance” that dictates a unique perspective to their music.

    Hailing from just outside of Melbourne, Australia their first two albums, All News Is Good News and Daylight Savings amassed a die-hard fanbase and brought their sound from their home studio to every corner of the globe. The band is now signed to Big Crown Records, joining a lineage of contemporary and classic sounds that have influenced Surprise Chef’s music since their formation in 2017.

    Surprise Chef is Lachlan Stuckey on guitar, Jethro Curtin on keys, Carl Lindeberg on bass, Andrew Congues on drums, and Hudson Whitlock—the latest member who does it all from percussion to composing to producing. Their self proclaimed "moody shades of instrumental jazz-funk" have a bit of everything: punchy drums, infectious keys, rhythm guitar you might hear on a Studio One record, and flute lines that could be from a Blue Note session. But when you step back and take in the entirety of their sound and approach, you'll hear and see a group greater than the sum of its parts.

    In many ways Surprise Chef embodies the idiom "the benefits of limits." They were limited in that there weren't many people making or talking about instrumental jazz/soul/funk in Southeast Australia, let alone putting out records. This left them to develop their sound and approach in a kind of creative isolation where a small circle of friends and like-minded musicians fed off each other. "Being in Australia, being so far away, we only get glimpses and glances of this music’s origins," Stuckey says. "But hearing a label like Big Crown was one of the first times we realized you could make fresh, new soul music that wasn't super retro or just nostalgic."

    This approach is on full display throughout their new album Education & Recreation. Tracks like “Velodrome” pair chunky drums with an earworm synth line that has all the making of something you would find on an Ultimate Breaks & Beats compilation while numbers like “Iconoclasts” show their knack for tasteful use of space. From the crushing intro of “Suburban Breeze” to the floaty mellow bop of “Spring’s Theme” Surprise Chef has weaved together an album that takes you through peaks and valleys of emotion and provides a vivid soundtrack that will pull you deeper into your imagination. There is a beauty in the vast space for interpretation of instrumental music and they are adding a modern classic to the canon with this new album. Turn on the record and enjoy the ride, wherever it may take you.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side 1
    1. A1 Bakery Pledge Of Allegiance
    2. Grinners Circle
    3. Velodrome
    4. Suburban Breeze
    5. Conversation Piece
    6. Iconoclasts
    Side 2
    1. Money Music
    2. Spring's Theme
    3. Together Again
    4. Winter’s Theme
    5. Ten & Two
    6. Goldie’s Lullaby

    Sunny & The Sunliners

    Mr. Brown Eyed Soul Vol. 2

      Sunny Ozuna is a living legend and a man worthy of praise on many levels. In the Texas and Latin Music pantheon, few have been at it longer and are more revered by their fans and peers than Sunny is. He became a star right out of high school in the late ‘50s and hasn’t looked back in the seven decades since. Among countless other honors and notable achievements, Sunny was the ­rst Latino artist to appear on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” (in 1963). He penned "Smile Now, Cry Later," a hit for him and The Sunliners, which along with the theater masks that grace the album's cover, became staples in the Chicano Soul and Lowrider Soul cultures. We have been fans of Sunny & The Sunliners' music for a long time. We fi­rst got in touch with Sunny to try to reissue some of his records in 2013 but we didn't sign a deal until 2015.

      It took a trip to San Antonio and then two years of steady phone calls before they decided "if you have been chasing us for this long, you must be serious." With Sunny's blessing we started getting everything mastered, scanned, and planned. First we released 2017's Mr Brown Eyed Soul Vol. 1 compilation that put rare 7" sides next to some of his biggest hits and mixed in some choice album cuts for good measure. In the wake of that, we released three of Sunny's full lengths with their original track lists and art: Smile Now, Cry Later, Little Brown Eyed Soul, and The Missing Link all of which were Record Store Day releases that raised money for the victims of 2017's Hurricane Harvey. For the 7" collectors, we reissued ­ve 45s, making some very hard to come by sides widely available again and pressing some tunes on the format for the ­rst time. In 2020, as an homage to Sunny, we released Dear Sunny... a compilation of Big Crown artists covering Sunny & The Sunliners songs.

      Through all of this we were able to do what we set out to do: get Sunny's music to a new audience of people and make it all accessible and available again to his existing fanbase. Sunny still keeps a busy schedule and loves performing as much as he did as a teenager. His music and the music that it directly in‑uenced are seeing a resurgence in popularity in the last few years.

      With any luck at all, our efforts played some small part in that, and on that note, we present Mr Brown Eyed Soul Vol. 2 – another compilation curated by us, where we dig a little deeper into Sunny's catalog and pull some lesser known gems that hold court with his hits. Hats off again to Mr Brown Eyed Soul himself, San Antonio's own, Sunny Ozuna, we are sure you will enjoy the music

      TRACK LISTING


      1 I Can Remember
      2 Sitting In The Park
      3 Give Me Time
      4 Should I Take You Home (Keyloc Version)
      5 If I Could See You Now
      6 Come Back Baby
      7 Viva Mi Triestesa 
      8 Runaway
      9 Sharing You
      10 I’ve Never Found A Girl
      11 Together
      12 I’m No Stranger
      13 Best Of Both Worlds
      14 Baby, I Apologize

      El Michels Affair Meets Liam Bailey

      Ekundayo Inversions (Instrumentals)

        By popular demand, we are proud to present Ekundayo Inversions (Instrumentals).

        Liam Bailey released his debut album Ekundayo on the label at the end of 2020, then in the Summer of 2021 El Michels Affair took the tapes from that and did a dub version of the album in his own style aptly titled Ekundayo Inversions. Both of these releases quickly became cult classics in their own right. The chemistry between Liam and producer Leon Michels is undeniable, each pushing the other to new places in their sounds. Here we take the vocals out of the mix and focus on the production and the players pulling instrumentals versions from both the Ekundayo album and the Ekundayo Inversions album.

        This is a limited one time pressing of 1000 pieces.

        TRACK LISTING

        Side A
        Conquer & Divide (Instrumental)
        She Hates This Life (Instrumental)
        Angel Dust (Instrumental)
        Don’t Blame Ny (Instrumental)
        Cold & Clear (Instrumental)
        White Light (Instrumental)
        Side B
        Ugly Truth (Instrumental)
        Angel Face (Instrumental)
        Walk With Me (Instrumental)
        King (Instrumental)
        Where Do I Start? (Instrumental)
        Faded (Instrumental)
        Awkward (Take 2) (Instrumental)

        Bobby Oroza

        Get On The Otherside

          Bobby Oroza puts his desire for the profound on wax with his sophomore album Get On The Otherside. Musically, he has updated the formula we were introduced to on the first record. But lyrically, songs are bravely rooted in the more complicated, ubiquitous inner tangles of life like self-examination and coming to terms with the vastness of the human experience. With Coronavirus bringing the world to a halt, Bobby—a father and husband—had to do something. No tours to play or studio time to fill, Bobby found himself back in the construction yard, doing blue-collar work to provide for his family. "I was super grateful for the work—a lot of my colleagues didn't have an option like that," Bobby admits. More than a few personal hardships forced him to acknowledge and work through some brutal truths. And what came of it?

          Well, for one, this new record Get On The Otherside which pretty well describes what Bobby's been through: He had to demolish his ego, his old ways of thinking, and his tried approaches to anchor into a refreshed perspective with new understandings. As Bobby tells it, "I had to do some real self-searching, come to terms with what was wrong, and how much of it I was responsible for." So how does this translate to the new album? Moments of clarity as to where the real value in life lies on "I Got Love," encouraging numbers like the title track "The Otherside", and declarations of self actualization on "My Place, My Time." Even the more straightforward love songs are outside the box lyrically like "Sweet Agony" and "Loving Body." If you have never had the pleasure of catching one of Bobby's live shows you may have no idea that he is a maverick on the guitar.

          He lets us in on a little of that on "Passing Things" with a solo that possesses the same restrained and space that his lyrics do. As we'd expect, the songwriting still has that raw, direct edge to it. But an evolution has taken place. There are new points of view on familiar territory which in Bobby's words "For me to love, I needed to take a bigger view of love. One with less ego and more empathy" really hold true. The result is a record with Bobby's new found humility on full display and a message of encouragement to anyone who is struggling and can't see a way out. It still may be hard to nail down and define Bobby and his sound. He's no one thing more than the other. But what he's showing us now, on Get On The Otherside, is that we can also label him a soulful, philosophical optimist. Someone who can say a lot with a little, and who wants us all to know that it's us that has to do the hard lifting to truly live a life in love—both with the world and with yourself

          TRACK LISTING

          Side A:

          I Got Love
          Loving Body
          Bobby’s New Mood
          The Otherside
          Soon Everyone Will Know
          Blinding Light

          Side B:


          My Place My Time
          Sweet Agony
          Passing Thing
          Make Me Believe
          Real Connection
          Through These Tears

          Bobby Oroza

          The Otherside / Make Me Believe

          While Bobby Oroza puts the finishing touches on his next album, he treats us to this killer two-sider to end out 2021 and hold us over until the new record is finished. Bobby's debut album "This Love" made big waves around the world and amassed him a cult following from the US to Japan and everywhere in between.

          He found big love in the sweet soul scene early, but has since made fans in a myriad of circles and subcultures globally. It has by now become clear that his music is not just one thing, analog soul textured for sure, but also with an array of influences that span far beyond the soul ballad world. It is that inability to really nail down his sound that has become the biggest charm, an esoteric and profound passion permeate the lyrics and vibe of everything about Mr. Oroza.

          This new 7" shows off two sides of Bobby's song writing, an upbeat number on the "plug" side and a heavy duty ballad on the flip. The A side "The Otherside" is an optimistic tune that Bobby humbly shares his story about the troubles we can create for ourselves and the possibility of having a change of mind that frees us from them.

          The track is equally encouraging with its sunny energy that carries an important message from Bobby to anyone who is struggling and can't see a way out. The B side "Make Me Believe" is another instant classic for the slowie enthusiasts. A moody, soul bearing, cry for help that comes off with a sweet- ness. The vulnerability makes it romantic while the heavy backing track brings it that unique energy that classic B sides have where they are heart- breaking and gorgeous at the same time.


          TRACK LISTING

          Make Me Believe
          The Otherside

          Various Artists

          Crown Jewels Vol. 2

            Big Crown is proud to present the next volume of Crown Jewels, our various artists compilation series that highlights some of the most popular tunes next to some of the more obscure.

            Every artist on Big Crown stands on their own two feet with ease, but together, something else becomes apparent. If you discover one artist on the roster and it brings you to the label, it's very likely you will ­nd more that you enjoy. The Crown Jewels comps are just that, a chance to get a listen to the whole roster in one place.

            Even though not all BC artists can be found in the same aisle of the record store, after listening to Crown Jewels Vol. 2, it should be clear how they all ­t on the same record label. When we started Big Crown we wanted to have a label that’s only boundaries were de­ned by our taste, not by genre. We think that this is a perfect example of that. Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far and please stay tuned as we have a lot more music on deck.

            TRACK LISTING

            SIDE A:
            1. Piece Of Me - Lady Wray
            2. Follow Me - The Shacks
            3. Xxplosive - Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
            4. Murkit Gem - El Michels Affair Feat. Piya Malik
            5. Float Back To You - Holy Hive
            6. Grow Forever - Lizette & Quevin

            SIDE B:
            1. Enfant - El Michels Affair Feat. The Shacks
            2. Fight - Liam Bailey
            3. Tonight You Might - Synthia Feat. Lady Wray
            4. Reasons - El Michels Affair Feat. Bobby Oroza
            5. Then We’ll Wave - Paul & The Tall Trees
            6. Bye Bye - Brainstory

            Lady Wray

            Piece Of Me

              Big Crown Records is proud to present Piece of Me, the sophomore full length offering from Lady Wray. This is something of a homecoming for Nicole. Where her 2016 solo debut Queen Alone leaned more towards Soul and R&B with tinges of hip-hop, this record changes the mixture. It's still R&B with the textures of analog Soul, but there is a heavy Hip Hop infl­uence that brings the sum of Nicole's career together in a new sound that will de‑ne her future.

              Boom-bap drums and chunky bass lines are front-and-center creating a perfect head-nodding backdrop for Lady Wray to take on the good, the bad, the difficult, and the joyful on her most personal collection of songs to date. The title track, "Piece of Me," which has already become a classic since it's 2019 release is about the people in your life who need more than you are willing to give. This tune and the B side of the 7” “Come On In” were the first songs put to tape for this album and they were recorded with Nicole sitting in a chair 8 months pregnant with her daughter. Her voice is so powerful, so raw, so thorough on these initial songs—it's wild to think that they were recorded this way. And even wilder to know that she knocked them all out in one take. Long time collaborator and producer Leon Michels keeps the musical backing restrained and expertly executed, setting up Lady Wray for the full spotlight and setting the tone for the rest of the album.

              While the upbeat energies of “Under The Sun” and “Through It All” are sure to become hits that reconnect Lady Wray with her 90s R&B fanbase, “Where Were You” offers a behind the scenes look at what those days of stardom in her youth were really like. Nicole takes on the racial tension in America with her poetic and powerful “Beauty In The Fire” and leans heavy into her faith and church upbringing on the showstopper, “Thank You”. She gushes about the profound love she’s come to know for her daughter on “Melody” and celebrates life’s ups and downs on “Joy & Pain”. In 2021 it is rare to hear a varied yet cohesive album with no “skippers”, but that is what you have here in spades. The tried and true chemistry between Lady Wray and Leon Michels has undeniably found a higher level and this album stands as a testament to conviction and dedication for all of us to enjoy and be inspired by.

              With this in mind, when talking about this record, for Lady Wray, it's about a larger purpose. "My goal is always to help and to heal people with singing," she explains. "Part of that is to try and bring back real music, real singing, so people can feel something again." Now, she's not dissing anyone here, to be clear. It's just that Lady Wray cannot sing without tapping into something deeper, searching for that shared compassion between all of us. Perhaps it comes from her church upbringing, or maybe from her years of trials and tribulations in the music industry. Either way, Lady Wray is looking to bring that "Good Sound" back and the good feelings that come with it. She calls it "those inner hands," and she always means to stir them up, grabbing your attention from within.

              TRACK LISTING

              SIDE A:
              1. I Do
              2. Through It All
              3. Piece Of Me
              4. Come On In
              5. Under The Sun
              6. Where Were You

              SIDE B:
              1. Beauty In The Fire
              2. Games People Play
              3. Melody
              4. Thank You
              5. Joy & Pain
              6. Storms

              El Michels Affair

              Stack The Deck / Things Done Changed

              Big Crown Records is proud to present this rock solid two-sider from El Michels Affair. This 7" is part of a new Big Crown X El Oms collaboration that includes a custom deck of playing cards and a t shirt series illustrated by El Oms. The labels of this 45 are pulled from some of the King & Queen illustrations contained in the deck. To go with this project, El Michels teamed up again with Bobby Oroza for the A side tune which plays along with the collab theme called "Stack The Deck". These two proved their chemistry on 2020's "Reasons" which became a fast favorite around the globe. This time El Michels comes with a heavier more orchestrated track that Bobby finds the perfect groove on as he plays up the gamble of love. The B side is a speaker smashing cover of the late, great, Notorious B.I.G.'s "Things Done Changed" from his "Ready To Die" album. El Michels Affair stays close to the tone of the original Easy Mo Bee production but makes it their own with their signature horns and cinematic grit. 45 and playing cards are sold separately!

              TRACK LISTING

              Stack The Deck
              Things Done Changed

              Lady Wray

              Through It All / Under The Sun

                Lady Wray releases an instant classic two-sider with two certified bangers from her forthcoming album 'Piece Of Me'. Side A is the in your face, head nodding, "Through It All". A tune that rips out of the speaker from the first snare crack with Nicole's pitched up and infectious chorus. The tried and true chemistry of Lady Wray and producer Leon Michels is on full display here as they push the envelope of current R&B and Soul making a stark declaration of why they are out in front of the pack of any of their peers. Nicole sings a song about dedication through the ups and downs on a track that has so much energy it is sure to move crowds around the globe. Side B, "Under The Sun" is a feel good homage to the sun and summertime. Lady Wray encapsulates all things good and lovely about warm weather and where it puts our minds. The infectious good vibes of the tune will change your attitude and have you turning the volume knob up while the earworm choruses will stay on the tip of your tongue long after the song ends.

                Holy Hive

                Holy Hive

                  Featuring musical contributions from Mary Lattimore, Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), Anant Pradhan, Nick Movshon, Leon Michels (El Michels Affair), Shannon Wise (The Shacks), Dave Guy (The Roots), and Elliot Skinner.

                  In 2020 Brooklyn's Holy Hive introduced us all to something we didn't know we needed. Homer Steinweiss' thickly pocketed drumming paired with Paul Spring's ­oaty falsetto vocal produces a sound that's like a salve. It's been dubbed Folk Soul and Holy Hive not only expertly overlay the more apparent musical aspects of folk and soul but they also draw from the more profound: being able to pull traditions from the past and make them their own. When Homer wasn't playing drums for Lady Gaga or Adele or Bruno Mars, he'd produce Paul's solo folk records. Along with original bassist and frequent collaborator Joe Harrison, these sessions proved to be Holy Hive's foundation. And their ‑rst record, Float Back to You, expertly combined what each musician does best: Paul's heady, re­ective approach to folk with Homer's universal classic soul sound.

                  With their new record released on Big Crown, Holy Hive's beautifully simple-and-sparse Folk Soul sound is back but updated. With new in­uences and the challenge of creating and capturing music during a global pandemic, this new self-titled album, is more personal, more re­ective.

                  The first single off of Holy Hive, "I Don't Envy Yesterdays," picks up right where Homer and Paul left off. The song weighs the question of time and the human condition a deeply thoughtful and typically tricky subject but in a light, almost easy-breezy way. Homer's drumming provides the song a space, a kind of breathing room. Written in the Yucca Valley desert before the world broke in 2020, it's no wonder Paul's voice drifts and darts on top of it all like a heat shimmer.

                  They describe three distinct phases when piecing together Holy Hive: this first stage was pre-pandemic in California while traveling as a group, then like the rest of us they were separated, creating together but apart, and lastly an explosion of output once they reunited in New York.

                  There is a natural but subtle evolution for Holy Hive on this record. Homer and Paul drew from new and maybe more obscure-yet-honest in­uences. It's still very much Folk Soul how could it not be. But, like all artists, they've taken in what they've made and how they've made it, only to push it into new places.

                  We know of Holy Hive's ability to lyrically convey the abstract and complex in poetic and palatable ways. But where the ‑rst record was soulfully silver-tongued with chill songs about love and affection, Holy Hive widens the lens with these novel in­uences, re­ecting the points both Homer and Paul are in their own lives. "We put the utmost importance on having lyrics that mean something to us," Homer explains. "A lot of the songs on the ‑rst record were fun, but could be kind of surface. On this record, we wanted to be more personal—we wanted to write more about life."

                  TRACK LISTING

                  SIDE A:
                  1. Color It Easy
                  2. Story Of My Life
                  3. Golden Crown
                  4. Aint That The Way
                  5. Runaways
                  6. Deadly Valentine
                  7. I Don’t Envy Yesterdays

                  SIDE B:
                  1. A Wind Rose
                  2. All I’d Be Is Where You Are
                  3. Great Chains
                  4. Cynthia’s Meditation
                  5. Brooklyn Ferry
                  6. Circling The Surface
                  7. Starless
                  8. Star Crossed

                  There has always been a Reggae in­uence in the music of El Michels Affair. From their cover of “Hung Up On My Baby” done in a Reggae style, to the general sound and approach that permeates Leon’s production style. While recording Bailey’s 2020 Ekundayo album, they did some straight forward reggae tunes inspired by different eras alongside some modern R&B tracks that would sit more comfortably next to Frank Ocean than Jacob Miller. It is this same notion that old and new can live so comfortably together that birthed the idea of Ekundayo Inversions.

                  Traditional dub came out of reggae in the late 60s and early 70s when pioneers like King Tubby and Lee Perry started taking the multi track recordings of songs and running them back through the board adding effects and additional instrumentation. These recordings are called “dubs” or “versions” and are typically instrumentals with ­ourishes of vocals from the original tracks.

                  El Michels decided to use the blueprints left behind and make something using the in­uences of today. He wound up straying so far from the traditional format that it didn’t seem right to use the word ‘Dub’, hence Ekundayo Inversions. All the songs are tied together by WhatsApp messages between Leon and Liam that perfectly narrate the story of this record and their working relationship.

                  One of the highlights on Ekundayo Inversions is a guest appearance from the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry on the “Ugly Truth” version. L$P switches between singing and talking, proclaiming his powers one minute and playing with the track’s title the next. On “Awkward take. 2” Leon takes one of the most experimental songs from Ekundayo and actually straightens it out. A track that once seemed to be ­oating in space has now been anchored by the addition of drums and bass. “Faded”, a version of “Paper Tiger”, is given the full EMA treatment with the addition of emotive horns over an uncomfortably sparse rhythm track peppered with Liam’s voice drenched in delay and echo.

                  “Champions” features a verse from Black Thought of The Roots and halfway through, El Michels sends the rhythm section 50 years back. At the end of the day, Ekundayo Inversions is a testament to how strong the original songs are. Whether they’re in a R&B style, reggae style, stripped down to their bare bones, or loaded with production, the songs will move you.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: What a truly stunning set of songs this is, swimming in dubby atmospherics while still retaining the groove and soul of the originals. Some of the pieces are a little bit more in the downbeat realm, before we get the smooth as silk R&B and dubby cuts that bring things back to the (decidedly relaxed) dancefloor. A superb selection of versions, perfectly at home with the orignals, while remaining resolutely distinct from them.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  SIDE A:
                  1. Conquer & Divide
                  Feat. Black Thought
                  2. Amazing Woman
                  3. Angel Face
                  4. Walk With Me
                  5. No One Else
                  6. King

                  SIDE B:
                  1. Ugly Truths Feat. Lee Scratch Perry
                  2. I Love NY
                  3. Superstar
                  4. Awkward (Take 2)
                  5. Lucky Man
                  6. Faded

                  Steel Drum Covers of Grace Jones, Galt MacDermot, Slum Village, Minnie Riperton, Jay Z, Ike Turner, and more.

                  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, the mysterious steel pan out­t hailing from Hamburg, Germany have amassed a cult following around the globe. With a slew of classic 7”s and two critically acclaimed full length albums, they set a high bar for themselves, one they clearly intend on pushing even higher with this new offering. On their third album, aptly titled Expansions, BRSB are back with more of the same, but more of the same with them is inherently different. Covering songs that span genres and range from mega hits to album cuts, they make them their own with their unique approach to the traditional steel pans of Trinidad and Tobago.

                  Part of the allure of a new record from Bacao is ­nding out what covers they chose. However, die hard fans are also waiting to hear the original numbers like the stellar album opener “Tough Victory”. Its airtight rhythm section, brass arrangements, and layers of steel pan melodies make the term “cover band” a shoe that could never ­t Bacao. Within the next three songs they go from Jazz (Galt MacDermot), to Hip Hop (Slum Village / J Dilla), to a dance ‑oor classic (Grace Jones) taking them all on with their signature style, expanding on the originals. An easy crowd favorite is their gritty, gully, and neck snapping cover of the Timbaland produced Jay-Z club hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. The infamous crushing Bacao drums start the show and the moment they start playing the top line on the pans, all bets are off. Sure to become a dance ‑oor ­ller is their bottom heavy, four on the ‑oor version of Sylvester’s classic “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight”. They venture into some gutbucket funk with Ike Turner’s “Getting Nasty” and bring the steel pans to Minnie Riperton’s Jazz classic “Les Fleurs”. Digging deeper in the modern canon and paying tribute to a tribute, they cover Erykah Badu’s homage to the late great J Dilla, “The Healer”. This is the type of thing to make Spice Adams jump on his kitchen counter and scream. From the second the beat drops they give the original Madlib production a run for its money, shaking subwoofers with the eerie tremolo bass while the pans play E. Badu’s vocal melodies.

                  By the time the album is through Bacao has taken the listener on a journey that spans a myriad of energies, tempos, and moods while somehow managing to keep it all under one umbrella. For all that, these songs are alive, and they will be taken out of the context of this album and sewn into the fabric of DJ sets around the globe for many years to come. Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is breathing renewed life into the originals and continuing to push the boundaries of steel pan music, or, as the title suggests, expanding on it.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  SIDE A:
                  1. Tough Victory
                  2. Space
                  3. Raise It Up
                  4. My Jamaican Dub
                  5. I Need Somebody To Love Tonight
                  6. Dirt Off Your Shoulder

                  SIDE B:
                  1. Getting Nasty
                  2. Blow Your Cover
                  3. Represent
                  4. The Healer
                  5. Les Fleur
                  6. Squaring The Circles

                  CD Has Three Bonus Tracks:
                  Juicy
                  Look Out Baby (Here I Come)
                  Kaiser Noir

                  Bobby Oroza

                  Strange Girl / Down On My Knees

                  In the wake of his instant classic album "This Love", Bobby Oroza drops a new tune they cut during some downtime between tours. This is something of a Big Crown family affair as they cover The Shacks tune "Strange Boy" giving it that signature Bobby sound and flipping the title to "Strange Girl." Once again the winning combo of Bobby and Cold Diamond & Mink come out swinging, and to add to the family affair we enlisted our very own Leon Michels to do horns on the track. Side B is one of the killer ballads pulled from the album, "Down On My Knees" is already a hit with the slowie crowd and pressing it to this 7" is sure to make a bunch of the sweet soul collectors very happy.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  A. Strange Girl
                  B. Down On My Knees

                  Paul & The Tall Trees

                  So Long

                    Paul Schalda is a poet, perhaps a bit of a tortured soul, a hopeless romantic, and a guy from Staten Island. That last bit might not make sense to people who aren't from New York. Let's say that it puts the blue in his collar and sticks his feet to the ground. Paul's music seems to embody the unexpected overlap of The Band's Americana, Ian MacKaye's unhinged emotion, Otis Redding's raw soul, and the doo-wop melodies his father, Bill Schalda Sr. (a member of Brooklyn vocal group, The Montereys) raised him on. His sophomore album is produced by long time collaborator and old friend Tommy Brenneck and Big Crown's own Leon Michels.

                    For the people who are already fans of Paul's debut Our Love In Light, the growth and maturity will be impossible to miss. So Long reads and feels like you snuck in his room and read his journal. Deeply personal and heartfelt, he takes on a variety of topics in the songs, the common thread being the vulnerability and passion he delivers them with. The opener "Although We Cry" is perhaps a perfect example what makes Paul's music so unique. He finds a way to cut right to the bone, entirely emotional and simultaneously emotionless. "Although we cry, we are not meant to be". The title track "Then We'll Wave (So Long)" puts Paul amongst the great storytellers of song; tension, misdirection, and irony all play a part in taking one of the most sung about topics in life; love, and putting a brand new twist on it. Paul spent some years out on the road playing guitar in The Extraordinaires backing the late great Charles Bradley where they became close friends.

                    During that time he penned a few songs for Charles, one of which he wound up recording himself. That song, "Beware" showcases another side of P&TTT's range, a gritty, driving, warning tune where the band has a chance to get funky. One thing you hear in Schalda's music, no matter which song, is that the road hasn't been easy. His voice can be hauntingly harsh, yet hopeful and tender, raucous and gravelly one moment, smooth and intimate the next. Even though he is being compared to the famous groups and musicians mentioned above, he can only call it Rock and Roll and be humbled. "I'm very lucky to be able to do this," Schalda says. "And I'm extremely happy. Especially for my father. He worked hard for his sons and this record." 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    SIDE A:

                    1. Although We Cry
                    2. Then We’ll Wave (So Long)
                    3. Shining
                    4. Someone To Someone
                    5. Over The Echoes

                    SIDE B:

                    1. Beware
                    2. I Remember 98’ (My God)
                    3. Ask Me
                    4. Patiently Awaiting
                    5. Numerous Times


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