Playing with the Changes (Milan Records)
Formerly the kings of London jungle, this duo delved into psychedelic soul in 2001 on Creating Patterns. Likewise, this comeback album owes more to American folk-jazz and trippy soul than ruffneck beats. “Morning Child,” for instance, pays tribute to the lush symphonic backdrops that keep those ’70s Minnie Riperton records on our turntable. 4Hero’s productions are accompanied by some ace vocal cameos: Bembe Segue, Kaidi Taitham, Ursula Rucker, Face and Jody Watley. The disc is an elegant attempt to recognize the past (on disco throwback “Sophia” and jazz fusion “Why Don’t You Talk”) and the present (on the broken-beat styled “Sink or Swim”).
Myths of the Near Future (Geffen)
Since the days of “Fool’s Gold” and “Loaded,” we’ve hungered for a Brit indie act that can turn out epic tunes that blossom on the dance floor. The Klaxons are positioned as forerunners of the “rave-rock” wave, a trippier rivulet of the dance-punk waterway where day-glo aesthetics and Madchester bachanalia smack right into skinny jeans and Converse All-Stars. On its debut album, the band backs blissful pop and melancholic anthems with techy new romantic rhythms or adds fried synth jabs to jerky ’80s-ish post-punk. It deserves to be disgustingly popular.
Power Soul (Soul Heaven Records)
This prolific South Sider released more than seven albums worth of new material last year, so you’d think 2007 might be time for a vacation. Instead, he drops this accessible full-length, a mutation of house, R&B and nu soul. Like a club-oriented Prince, Everett’s a one-man-band in the studio. He jumps from Basement Jaxx–y club anthems (the U.K. hit “Stuck”) to deep, jazzy mediations (“Washing”). His jazz chops and subtlety make this one of the few dance full-lengths where the focus is really on the vox and keys—not so much the sound of the kick.
Bargrooves black (Seamless Recordings)
The title of this mixed double-disc compilation has a whiff of lightweight lounge, but the “black” spin-off series is about creepy ambience and controlled tension. DJ Ben Sowton’s mix disc is still conventionally dancey, stuffed with disco homages and sparse house, but has an underlying ominous intensity. Deeplay’s Martin Brodin gets more sinister with the second disc, combining moody electro and astronaut-techno with tracks from Theo Parrish and Åme.
Bombshell Baby of Bombay: Bouncin’ Nightclub Grooves (Bombay Connection)
Compiled by Bollywood connoisseur Edo Bouman, this collection—the second in a six-part series—cherry-picks from Indian movie soundtracks from the ’60s. It explodes with wacky, sub-continental swing, rock and club boogie. The 30 pages of liner notes shed light on hilarious plot outlines and priceless hedonistic lyrics, such as this one, from “Ek Bottle Ho Bagal Main”: “What do we lose if the world calls us drunkards? Fame comes only to those who become infamous.”—John Dugan