Thunderball- “12 Mile High”

Photo courtesy of ESL Records

One of my favorite chillout artists is back with a vengeance.  The tremendous Washington, DC trio Thunderball (Rob Myers, Steve Raskin and Sid Barcelona) has a new album dropping on November 9th and the Chillout Scene has the lowdown on “12 Mile High” for you.

I previously reviewed the title track “12 Mile High” and first single at The Couch Sessions.  It has an irresistable groove and the quick hitting horns and strings in the background that are common in Thunderball’s music are prevalent here.  It definitely is one of the highlights of the album and there are many, many more.

The first track “Enter the Brahmin” continues the mid-eastern/Indian feel of their other albums with a great sitar part.  It also continues the super spy movie imagery where our hero is working on a mission and just arrives to Mumbai to encounter a diabolical criminal posing as a Brahmin hellbent on taking over the world.  The slower, steady beat creates the feeling of tension in the cinematic story Thunderball is about to drop on us.

“Make Your Move” has a beautiful flowing intro with a flight attendant announcing the plane is about to take off then actually does take off into a wonderful funk-styled groove.  I really enjoyed the numerous tempo changes on this one as well as the soulful vocals of Mustafa Akbar.

“Low Down Weather” reminded me of a Santana track with the “fish” being played in the background and the sexy, bluesy guitar part throughout.  Definitely a great lounge track to chill out with.

The peppy and 70’s disco funk fused “I C Colors” was a blast to listen to.  I immediately thought of the “Shaft” theme song or watching “The Streets of San Francisco” and having this track as the soundtrack for a high speed chase.  Akbar’s awesome vocals return on this one for another welcomed treat.  “Flippin’ It On”  has a similar 70’s funk/disco feel with brilliant jazzy flute and sax parts weaving in and out of the funkiness.  This one is quite catchy…watch out!

“Runaway” is a very pretty reggae/pop flavored track which is made even more pretty by the beautiful vocals of Miss Johnna M.  The relaxing bass line and horn ensemble parts create a love scene with our hero and a beautiful vixen walking along the beach in the Caribbean.

“Penthouse Soul” closes the album out with a style previously seen in “Low Down Weather” with the bluesy guitar and jazz flute combining with the keys to make for another fantastic lounge/chill track.  It’s as though the hero has come back to his super-spy apartment and can finally sit down and take a breather while the credits roll over the end of our cinematic story.

“12 Mile High” has so many different styles- lounge bossa, reggae, a bit of smooth jazz, funk, latin, drum and bass, you name it, these guys include it and do it well!  It has a nice mix of instrumental and vocal tracks but seems to have a bit more instrumentals than their last effort “Cinescope.”  Thunderball’s greatest asset is the ability to create a mental picture of their music for the listener so easily, which gets one emotionally involved in their music and wanting more.  That is fine by me, since once you start listening, you won’t want to stop!

Here’s a Soundcloud track of “12 Mile High” for your listening pleasure until you buy the album when it drops on November 9th!

12 Mile High by Thunderballdc

Track listing-

1.  Enter the Brahmin

2.  12 Mile High

3.  Make Your Move (feat. Mustafa akbar)

4.  Dub Science feat. Zeebo

5.  Low Down Weather

6.  I C Colors (feat. Mustafa Akbar)

7.  Flippin’ It On

8.  Rico Ritmo (feat. Miss Johnna M)

9.  Rico Mescalito

10.  Moon On the Rise (feat. Rootz)

11.  Runaway (feat. Miss Johnna M)

12.  To Catch A Vixen

13.  Penthouse Soul

Keep chillin’


Free download: Badly Drawn Boy EP- “It’s What They’re All Thinking”

Photo courtesy of Badly Drawn Boy's Facebook page

On the heels of his new release “It’s What I’m Thinking:Photographing Snowflakes” which dropped October 4th, Badly Drawn Boy is offering a free download! Just enter an email address to join the mailing list at his official website and you’ll be linked to the download which includes four tracks which are all great listening.

The EP titled “It’s What They’re All Thinking” starts off with a demo track from the new album.  The acoustic “In Safe Hands” features Damon Gough’s whispery soft vocals and a mellow guitar part.  I found it quite similar to his very popular track “The Shining,” but this was a little more stripped down compared to “The Shining” which has a lovely horn part.

There is an excerpt of the more uptempo “It’s What He’s Thinking” which features a wacky intro including a lot of fun electronic sounds then evolves into more of a dance track with a steady clock-like beat, and some nice ambient chords that run in the background.  The excerpt is only two minutes long, so I’d like to hear more to give a better informed opinion on it.

“The Order of Things” is another classic BDB track that has some soft ambient sounds in the background but still flows well as it builds throughout the track and has a nice outtro that sounds like birds chirping, eluding to the natural order of our planet, perhaps.

The last track and definitely most interesting to me was “A Pure Accident.” This one is a preview for the upcoming release “It’s What They’re Thinking” which will feature other artists from the Northwest of England which is also where BDB hails from (he is a Bolton native).  The artist featured with BDB on this track is Sironical. “A Pure Accident” has a huge sound to it throughout the track with strings and synth and also has a harder hitting bass line. It’s a great dance track and one of the more upbeat BDB tracks I’ve heard.

Take a listen for yourself and enjoy.

Keep chillin’