The New Mastersounds rank among the preeminent modern soul and funk bands of their time. Having started out in Leeds, UK, the quartet tour the globe regularly, bringing their hard-charging, delectably greasy jams to all corners of the globe with a rabid fanbase that stretches from New York City to Tokyo, San Francisco to Amsterdam and all points in between. On October 2, 2015, they return with Made For Pleasure—their most stylistically sprawling studio record to date. The collection is set for release via Brooklyn-based independent label, Royal Potato Family. It will be supported by a cross-country 32-date U.S. tour presented by Live For Live Music.
Here’s a taste, “Made for Pleasure”:
“The album’s title is very much the ethos of the band,” guitar Eddie Roberts explains. “We make music for our own pleasure and for other people’s pleasure. It’s about sharing energy with an audience, whether it be live or listening at home.”
The New Mastersounds core four—guitarist Eddie Roberts, drummer Simon Allen, bassist Pete Shand and organist Joe Tatton—are joined on the 11-track effort by guests including soul chanteuse Charly Lowry, revered percussionist/vibraphonist Mike Dillon and the North Cali-based West Coast Horns, featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Cohen and trumpeter Mike Olmos.
“In the past, the guests on our records haven’t really influenced the writing process,” says drummer Simon Allen. “But on this record the horns were with us while we were jamming in the studio, so tunes that might not have gone anywhere suddenly came to life because they were coming up with top-line melodies to make sense of our grooves.”
“The experience of working with Charly Lowry added a whole other dimension to the record. She’s so natural and she’s got things to say,” Roberts continues. “She’s an amazing being and I was excited to work with her.”
Recorded in New Orleans, The New Mastersounds high-step through the humidity and heat leaving no soul or funk touchstone unturned. Both the title track and “High & Wide” are drenched in The-Meters-meet-Lee-Dorsey Big Easy funk, while tracks like “Enough Is Enough,” “Joy” and “Just Gotta Run” are firmly rooted in classic soul sister rhythm & blues tradition; think Tina Turner, Ann Peebles, Bettye LaVette. Super-charged by Eddie Roberts” stinging guitar leads, “Cigar Time” and “Sitting On My Knees” take a decidedly soul jazz turn, diving headlong into Grant Green grit and groove. Capping off Made For Pleasure and further validating its title is a dubbed-out reinvention of Iggy Azalea’s smash hit “Fancy” that cleverly turns the pop artist’s ode to materialism into a 21st century stoner anthem with the repurposed refrain, “I’m so irie.”