A few weeks ago I was having a beer or two with Hans & Daniel - owners and operators of Outplay and the lads behind the ridiculously in-demand Fouk project - and even though most of the night was spent trying to mimic the sound of a reindeer - very loudly, in a packed restaurant, I should add - at some point we also talked about the trials and tribulations of running a record label. The Fouksters were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the finished stock of their third missive, an EP by young Mancunian Loz Goddard, which marks the label's first foray into the realm of A&R-ing (beyond their own production projects that is). There's basically two ways to go about the noble art of 'Artist & Repertoiring'. You either A) offer a stupid amount of cash to a big name, get thrown some sloppy seconds and hope for the best or B) look for exciting new talents, cherry pick their virgin demo material and hope for the best. Whichever path you take, you're bound to lose substantial amounts of money in the end, but there's something intrinsically rewarding about giving new talent a platform and a gentle push and watch them slowly but surely become headline attractions. It's something we've always taken pride in ourselves and it's something Hans and Daniel were very adamant about as well. Good lads, Hans and Daniel. Good lads indeed.
At the end of the day, morals and ethics mean squat if the music's shit. Thankfully our Outplay pals have a great ear for a discerning groove or two, so if it's heavy-hitting, loose deephouse with loads of swing you're into, this should be right up your street. It Will Come To Me on the A is a chunky slice of beatdown savagery with killer sloppy drums, swirly synth lines and clever vocal snips dropping left and right. Also on the A, Fouk give the track a shower, a haircut and a shave and deliver a slightly cleaner version with tight drums and some added crowd noise samples and a wee bit more oomph. Hard to choose which version I like best, which is always a good thing.
Monkey Tears on the flip sees Loz exploring wonkier territories with loose drums, off kilter percussion, jazzy pads and more bleepy and squeaky synths. While it's not my pick of the bunch - it sounds a little too much like a programmed 'live jam' to my ears - it's nice to hear stuff that doesn't go straight for the jugular. Closing track Move It On gets my juices flowing again though with its driving guitar lines, sharp claps and catchy vocal. Great record by a talented chap on one of the hottest labels around, run by some of the friendliest and hardest-working chaps in the industry.
Out now over at Juno and other fine suppliers of the black gold