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." Big Crown Records CD | LP Pre-Order
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band Dirt Off Your Shoulder / I Need Somebody To Love Tonight Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band, the kings of "wait, what is this!!!" are back with another two-sider that has a little something for everyone. Both of these songs are pulled from their forthcoming full length album Expansions. The A side is a gritty, gully, and neck snapping cover of the Timbaland produced Jay-Z club hit Dirt Off Your Shoulder. The signature crushing Bacao drums start the show and the moment they start playing the top line on the steel pans all bets are off. They push the tune to new heights and places adding brass arrangements and working around the original riff never losing the groove. The way they walk the line between the original and making it their own will woo Hip Hop heads and Funk enthusiasts alike. The B side finds BRSB taking it straight to the discoteque and ushering everyone to the floor as they cover Sylvester's underground classic I Need Somebody To Love Tonight. While Bacao have laid down a few four on the floor numbers on previous albums this is the first one making its way to a 7" and we are sure it will get their music into a new sector of DJs playboxes. Big Crown Records 7"
El Michels Affair Ekundayo Inversions 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 ?t 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. Big Crown Records CD | LP
Liam Bailey Champion (Remix) feat. Black Thought / Ugly Truth (Remix) feat. Lee "Scratch" Perry Big Crown Records 7"