AGENCY: Philosophies

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Agency plays neo-soul layered between fun-loving, message-filled hip-hop grooves on this brand new album. Agency is making an impact on the music scene, hitting number one on Traxsource and winning two Indaba Music contests. Agency’s sound encompasses indie, rock, acoustic, electronic, house, and alternative hip-hop, along with funk, soul, pop, and jazz flavors.

Coming off more like a funky, non-rock version of Lenny Kravitz on the vocals and the ‘60s-‘70s vibe of the album, I was really not prepared for what I heard. I thought it was going to be more rap/hip-hop oriented, and yes, there is that feel to an extent, but the funk…the funk. There is a modern sound on this album, especially on “Joyride,” but the first two tracks are more old-school sounding and really grabbed me right away. This is a very mixed bag that hits so many different styles, think going to a club and hearing different artists, that’s what this is, something new on every song. The cover of The Classics IV’s “Spooky” is fantastic, with such a great vocal and delightful playing. The production is clear and gives you a chance to hear everything in the mix with nothing fighting to be heard.

This is the kind of stuff that I would normally never listen to, mostly because of the way that it has the rap/hip-hop terms added to it in the description, but that is such a small part of this. This is funky, fun and a delight from start to finish…grab this one!

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Soul revivalists, Soul Messengers, are back in 2017 with a new album Vision & Faith. Both of their studio albums, 2013’s I’m Alive, and 2015’s Dirty Soul garnered great reviews and nationwide radio play, with Dirty Soul reaching #12 on the Australian Blues and Roots chart and featuring as Sydney Jazz and Blues radio station Eastside Radio’s album of the week. Soul Messengers are Rich Aljinovic (vocals, guitar), Simon Morel (guitar), Hadi Ansell (bass) and Dave Kirby (drums).

One thing that you really don’t hear much anymore is R&B/Funk tinged music ala the 70s, but you sure can on this release and it sounds amazing. The grooves are sexy and sinewy and get you up and shaking your ass and you can’t stop, not that you would want to. I remember listening to this music when I was a kid in the early 70s and it progressed into horrible music later on…remember disco kids? This shit is the real deal and I loved every second of it. This sounds like a forgotten classic that your older siblings or mom and dad might have listened to back then and you just found it in their record collection. The vocals are rich and full of emotion, the guitar playing has the sound of the Stones in parts, especially on the opening of “Don’t Let Them Tell You,” an amazing song that grabs your heart and rips it out with the raw feelings and beautiful sound of the song. “Let’s Go To Bed” has a funky soul groove with terrific guitar playing with a throbbing bass-line. A fantastic start to the album, and one of many great songs on here. As you go through the album, you find more and more amazing sounds and grooves that make you want to buy some stack heels and flares and get down and get funky. “Whiplash” is another song that just grabs you and sounds like something that you heard before and love with the horns, the funky groove, and the beautiful vocals.

I just can’t believe that I have never heard these guys before…wow, that’s really all I can say about this. This is one of the best albums that I have heard this year and will be forcing everyone I know to listen to this…you go and do the same with your friends and family…and strangers too.

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