Earl McGrath was an enigmatic figure of the American jet set of the 70s. He had variously worked as a record company executive, film manager, screenwriter and art dealer. After his death in 2016, journalist Joe Hagan discovered a treasure trove of rare and forgotten tapes in Earl’s New York appartment – including previously unheard recordings by Daryl Hall & John Oates, David Johansen of the New York Dolls, Tom Snow’s country-rock group Country, Terry Allen, The Jim Carroll Band and Glen Clark. With the double album “Earl’s Closet”, the renowned archival reissue label Light in the Attic now makes a selection of this unpolished and authentic recordings available to the public – a captivating journey through folk, rock, country, funk and R&B of the 70s.
Earth, Wind & Fire’s “That’s The Way of the World” is indisputably one of the greatest songs in popular music history. The song was co-written by American record producer, arranger, songwriter and musician Charles Stepney and Maurice and Verdine White. Now, for the first time after nearly 50 years, International Anthem has released Stepney’s original, uncut 4-track demo version of this 70s classic – a feast for rare groove aficionados, music archaeologists and R&B lovers.
Lost albums are often tainted with myth, just think of “Smile” by The Beach Boys. Now Omnivore Recordings has finally released Linda Hoover’s unissued first album “I Mean To Shine”, which she recorded in New York in 1970 together with Gary Katz, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. This album is a treasure chest and a time capsule full of wonderful, previously unheard songs that take you back to the golden days of American singer-songwriter pop and also document Becker and Fagen’s work before Steely Dan. “I Mean To Shine” is one of the finest discoveries of the year.
With his new single “Lose It”, Le Commandant Couche-Tôt delivers an adorably groovy nu-disco anthem that, along with suntan lotion and a beach towel, should be part of the basic equipment on this year’s summer holiday. Michael Jackson would have loved it.
After a sold-out tour through the Netherlands, Young Gun Silver Fox finally release their new single, “West Side Jet”, which again combines all the qualities you love about Andy Platts and Shawn Lee: an infectious melody, a driving groove and a crisp production. It’s definitely one of our summer anthems of the year. The single is a foretaste of their new album “Ticket To Shangri-La”, which will be released in October 2022.
On his second album “Get On The Otherside”, now released on Big Crown Records, Finnish soul singer Bobby Oroza succeeds in transcending the personal existential crises of the past COVID years into forward-looking, positive messages, which he packs into marvellous analogue, atmospheric soul deeply rooted in the 70s. With this record, Oroza releases one of the most beautiful soul albums of the year with a clear message that never gets old: all you really need is love.
When Shawn Lee released his very personal country-soul solo album “Rides Again” in 2019, it was to remain a one-off. In the middle of the tour for the album, the pandemic set in and life came to a standstill. The consequences of the lockdown, personal strokes of fate and experiences inspired the US-born and London-based singer, songwriter, musician, producer and arranger to record a sequel under the title “Rides Yet Again”, now released by Légère Recordings. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the “Silver Fox” about the making of the new album, music as a way of processing personal crises, his eternal search for the perfect sound and much more.
After smooth detours into Soul covers, French Neo-Disco, modern Sunset Disco and Brazilian AOR, DJ Supermarkt’s “Too Slow To Disco” series makes a joyous return to its original West Coast AOR and Yacht roots this year with its tenth edition. The anniversary compilation, which features 16 rare gems from the 70s and 80s, will be released on August 26th. If you can’t wait that long, you can already listen to a first minimix.
Her inimitable voice ennobled the groundbreaking recordings of artists such as George Duke, Chick Corea and Miles Davis, her solo albums rank among the masterpieces of jazz fusion, now Brazilian music legend Flora Purim returns at the age of 80 with her new album “If You Will” to continue her musical journey.
“Bring On The Good Times” is the debut album by Dawn Patrol, a brand new Dutch collective led by producer, songwriter and musician Phil Martin (Jazzinvaders, AIFF, Martin & Garp), that sets out to explore the essence of West Coast music, Softrock spirit and European pop sensibility. The result is an album that celebrates the slick LA sound of the early 80s and pays homage to West Coast heroes like Pages and Player.
“Mr Experience”. “Konichiwa”. “Santorini” – these songs represent just a small taste of the enigma that is Donny Benét. On 1 April, the Sydney-based composer and multi-instrumentalist – hailed and panned by critics as “Prince on a serious budget cut” – returned with a new EP, “Le Piano”, an intoxicatingly groovy instrumental album paying homage to 80’s funk, city pop and disco. West Coast Soul talked with “The Don” about his new EP, his eternal love of 80s culture, the power of instrumental music, his return to touring and further plans.
Taking advantage of the off-time that the covid pandemic provided, ATA Records boss Neil Innes decided to dig into the label’s archive and take a look back at some of the earlier recordings, compiling them into a new collection called “Early Works Vol. 2” – a treasure chest full of stirring Funk, Soul, Jazz and Latin grooves.
When it comes to new West Coast music from Europe, bands and artists from the Netherlands, Great Britain and France quickly come to mind. Germany has rarely been in the focus. This could now change with the band project Woodbeez from Hanover. “Volume 1” is the name of their just released first EP, on which they revive the sophisticated L.A. sound that bands like Pages and Steely Dan have shaped with skill and joy of playing – a real discovery.
With our Spotify series “Smooth & Soulful Sounds”, the WEST COAST SOUL.de editorial team presents current favorites, potential hits as well as fresh songs and artists that deserve more airplay. Discover the latest from Soul, West Coast, Slow Funk and Sunset Disco.
In the past few years, the San Diego based Thee Sacred Souls has developed from an insider tip to the next big soul music hope. Co-signs by artists like Alicia Keys, Princess Nokia, Black Pumas and Timbaland speak for themselves. Their new single “Easier Said Than Done” shows the qualities of the band: it is a piece of timeless, authentic soul music that knows about its roots and yet stands with both feet in the here and now. On 26 August, their debut album will finally be released on Daptone/Penrose Records.
Summer is at its best and for many of us a long weekend is just around the corner. Reason enough for the WEST COAST SOUL.de team to descend into the vaults, dig out some summery R&B, funk and boogie records and compile a playlist that will hopefully sweeten the time for you.
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