Not gonna lie, it takes ages sorting a top 10 out every month and pasting the links, etc. Especially seeing as most of my top 10s feature tracks that aren't out yet! So my resolution for 2018 is to make the radio show a live chart, then you come to this page to find the links, and if you ever miss the playlist or track ID just open the Mixcloud page and all the tracks are listed there. So much easier for everyone, I hope you enjoy :)
Flying solo for this instalment, fighting with rogue mics and notching up a record 32 new tracks in one show!
december 2017 - the festive 50
Not my chart as such, but this is the best 50 tunes of 2017 as voted for by Cowbell listeners, based on tracks we featured on the show in 2017, with the added 'bonus' of me and Chinny talking utter bollocks between each song!
ED'S top ten music 'things' of 2017
1.northern disco lights
If you’re visiting this website and your haven’t seen Northern Disco Lights yet then GO AND SEE IT! Such a cool documentary, reminiscent of those BBC4 music biogs and shot in a similarly professional manner.
A beautiful landscape and soundscape accompanies a compelling story of the rise of Nordic Disco, from ‘shit music’ and computers to the stardom of the likes of Lindstrom and Todd Terje it is a great story very well told. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn, you’ll dance and you’ll definitely want to visit Norway!
Huge credit to Ben Davis, Pete, Chris and everyone at Paper Records for an amazing job, apparently they’re starting another project soon, can’t wait to see/hear it already!
2. Mama - Unmask me (Ashley Beedle remix)
My favourite tune of the year, so blissful, just perfect house music for me.
Quite simply 9 minutes of musical perfection and you need it in your life, no matter what ‘genre’ you like or don’t like!
You can buy the track here.
3. nsa / edinburgh
One of my very favourite cities happens to play host to a fine gathering of like-minded music lovers curated by No Strings Attached.
Impressively 2017 was their 21st year organising and DJing at the finest parties with the best crowd and I was fortunate enough to be asked to DJ for them twice, once in March (warming up for an almighty ALFOS sweat session at the Mash House) and then back in December (see NEWS page for more info).
This is how the warm up went down, tune courtesy of Pardon Moi and Damon Jee (buy here):
4. Duncan Gray - The Malcontent vol.1
Best album of the year for me, and gets better with every listen. Tici Taci label boss Duncan Gray’s debut album is bang on the money. Every tune shows off his musical talent, with the signature bass-driven groove and each with a perfectly-chosen guest vocalist.
It says it all that 3 of the tracks featured highly in our Cowbell Festive 50 last year...Silence (ft. Dominic Silvani): Shades of The The, a strong Johnson-esque vocal, great percussion too.
Trapped (ft. Snem K La Voz): Dark, slow, moody, throbbing, brilliant…my pick of a very great bunch!
Erotica Nervosa ft. Sarah Rebecca the ‘danciest’ of the lot, always gets a great reaction on the floor.
Trust me, the album is great and well worth £x of anyone;’s money, please support the artists and the label, one of the shining lights of our underground scene, BUY IT HERE!
5. nein records
That leads me nicely on to one of the other leading labels of 2017.There has been some amazing new music once more and NEIN go from strength to strength.
The Berlin-based label have pretty much soundtracked the Cowbell / Alfresco dancefloors for the last few years now but the quantity AND quality still leads the way. Hats off to label boss Tronik Youth, as far as I’m concerned he is the man at the cutting edge of our scene, great producer, remixer and what a DJ!
His set in the woods at Alfresco was incredible and we’re proud to host his monthly radio show on Cowbell, which this year featured such guests as The Emperor Machine, Zombies in Miami and Justin Robertson!
6. alfresco festival
The biggest and best yet! Alfresco started as a few mates in a windy Blackpool field in 2011 and has now become an award-winning family festival for thousands of people over a 3 days in Tunbridge Wells! Hats off to Chinny and the team for making 2017 such an occasion.
Personal highlights for me were the Crazy P Soundsytem (a master class from Danielle and Jim), Tronik Youth, 2 Billion Beats (an amazing live set, great performance from Marietta), Zombies in Miami and Psychemagik…oh yeah and the soundsystem for the main stage (and the monitors)!!!
The weather was great for the majority and it was cool to see so many friendly faces, plus have a safe place for my lad and his pals to have a great time as well, highly recommended for 2018! I rarely whip the phone out whilst dancing but one highlight for me was when Andy Taylor played one of my all-time favourites in the woods….enjoy :)
7. The lost disco, croatia
It was a pleasure and honour to be invited to DJ at a new festival this year, The Lost Disco at The Garden in Tisno, Croatia.
Those who have been to The Garden will know, but if you haven’t been then get it on your bucket list! An amazing site for a festival, loads of great little stages, idyllic setting on the Adriatic Sea, guaranteed sunny weather and then you have Barbarella’s! An outdoor club where you party til sunrise with a great sound system, I was lucky enough to hear Kiwi and Horse Meat Disco playing there.
Chuck in the famed Argonaughty and the chaotic boat trips and a shit load of disco loving dancers and DJs and what’s not to love!
Highlights of the day/evening sessions were the sets from YamWho, (pictured right, Andy Williams & Des Morgan) Fingerman, Jamie Bull and Chris Massey who was a real force of nature all weekend and did a remarkable job staying awake, curating, organising everything and still rocking the place!
A lot of people are saying Croatia is the new Ibiza, all I can say is it is a beautiful country, the locals are cool (and they all like a drink) and the town of Tisno is a true gem, can't recommend it highly enough.
8. roam recordings
San Francisco based record label run by JP Soul and Jeniluv. Dark Disco, Post Techno, EBM, Acid. A little left of center and always for the dance floor.
At the start of the year I'll admit we didn’t know too much about this label, by December they were responsible for some of the biggest tunes of 2017!
Tunnel of Hate (Tronik Youth), Power to the People (Pardon Moi) plus some more great releases from Cabaret Nocturne, Zombies in Miami, Emperor Machine, K Effect, the list goes on!
We can’t wait for more Roam goodies in 2018 and to see label boss JP Soul at Alfresco, check out his promo mix here!
9. vox low sign off at the mill
A momentous occasion, the last of the Cowbell Club nights at the legendary Islington Mill in Salford. A fitting end was provided by the coolest band on the planet, VoxLow.
The finale was an epic version of “Something is Wrong” and was a real “I was there” moment! This is my footage, lurking backstage ready to jump on the decks after them (never the easiest task to follow these boys)!
Below you can click on the recording of that mix, we decided it would be apt to play a load of "Mill Classics" to close the night and bring the curtain down on a memorable few years.
Thanks to all who came, supported and danced their way through our events in the North over the last 5 years, we had some great times and the Mill was the perfect venue for Cowbell...dark, sleazy, old fashioned, unspectacular and completely focused on the music!
Plenty of friendships forged on that dancefloor and some great memories :)
10. pardon moi - your new favourite band
Berlin Based New Wave Duo "PARDON MOI" seamlessly blends modern electronics with a classic 80's New Wave feel, producing memorable danceable hits.
They burst on the scene with the anthem “Inside the Outside” and have been going from strength to strength ever since, as you will have already read in these pages.
They now have a polished live act in place, more tunes in the pipeline (watch out for RODEO STAR) and 2018 will be a big year for them. Big thanks to the talented duo, Thomas Freudenthal & James Brook for the music.
ED'S CHUG CHART - summer 17
Like a typical Gemini, Ed has 2 very different sides to his DJing sound, and this chart very much concentrates on the dark side!
The sound of his Cowbell sets, this the more chuggy, underground, slowed down “acid house for grown ups”.
1. Unisex Audio Club - Miamishi
This will no doubt be one of 'the' tunes of 2017. It came out in April and I am still playing it at any opportunity. Part of a great EP on Craig Bratley's always-impressive Magic Feet label this swirling instrumental epic demands attention from the off, a truly magical piece of music. Listen down there and buy it here.
2. Tronik Youth - Tunnel of Hate (Rigopolar remix)
Another strong EP (more about this later) on the marvellous Roam label, who are killing at the moment! Nein Records boss Tronik Youth delivers another powerful EP of Berlin-based beats, but the standout remix comes from Mexico’s Rigopolar. A brooding, building brilliant bastard when it kicks, a definite contender for remix of the year! Buy it here.
3. Rebolledo - Discotico Plexico (Maceo Plex Remix)
Hmmmm….Rebolledo teams up with Maceo Plex, no words required from me, buy it here!
4. Todd Terje - Maskindans feat. Det Gylne Triangel (Erol Alkan Rework)
Another clash of the electronic titans, this is a tribute to the power of Norwegian music (go and see NORTHERN DISCO LIGHTS by the way, amazing music film). This one is Terje’s take on the 1982 new wave track from Norwegian synth-pop duo Det Glyne Triangel, and he even gets them in to perform on the track. His remix is brilliant, but Erol Alkan cranks it up to 11, goes for the arp, turns the lights down and delivers a darker, louder twist and it is brilliant! It makes you wonder 'what else has been overlooked from that era of Nordic goodness?' Get your copy here.
5. Inaktiv - It Apostrophe S (Future Bones remix)
Duncan Gray’s Tici Taci label always deliver the goods and this EP is no exception. The stand-out for me is another great remix from Ireland's Future Bones, seems every one of their remixes is a guaranteed stamp of quality at the moment.
I love the live sounds of the guitar and drums, especially when the beat kicks back in, always goes down well when played out! Buy it here.
6. Lee van Dowski - Tale Of Ordinary Madness (Original Mix)
Not gonna lie (or Google him), I honestly don’t know much about this dude, I heard it because I like the label Crosstown Rebels. This is a bit darker than their normal offerings and I love it! Builds really well, dark, menacing and sounds amazing in a club! Buy it.
7. Tronik Youth - Insecticide (The Hacker Remix)
Speaking of tracks that sound great in a club…..it’s that Tronik Youth EP again! The original of this is good enough but hats off to electronic legend The Hacker who delivers a killer remix! Some great sounds, synths, squelches and general bassy darkness (oh yeah and a generous banging of the Cowbell)!
You’ve had the EP link already so why not just go visit the label? They’re bloody brilliant!!
8. Javier Busto & Cannibal Ink - Human Traffic
Amazing compilation from another red-hot label, the Spanish supremos at Logical Records.
Hard to pick just one track from this EP, so many talented producers and great tunes, this one edges it for me from the gaffer Senor Busto! It’s the breakdown and the vocal sample that pulls me in. Trust me though, the whole EP will keep you dancing for a long old time!
9. The Sweeps - Hide my shadow
One of my favourite labels Emerald & Doreen have veered slightly off the chuggy path to deliver a slice of Hamburg synth pop and it stands to be the catchiest track of the Summer!
Definite shades of Juan MacLean & Nancy Whang but to me that is a great thing! If the vocal proves to catchy (my missus can’t stop singing it) then you’ll be glad to know a whole host of remixes are available too…the instrumental remix from Nicolas Chenard accentuates the synth and keeps things aimed firmly at the dancefloor. Get yours here.
10. K-Effect & Javier Busto - On Fire (Ivan De La Rouch remix)
Yet another collaboration between some of the leading lights of the underground scene. The prolific K-Effect teaming up with Los Bikini’s Ivan de la Rouch and Javier Busto is a recipe for guaranteed chugging, acidic, floor-filling, cosmic Spanish brilliance! You can really hear the Los Bikini trademark sound come to the fore on this remix, a tried and trusted sound at Cowbell towers!
11. M.E.A.D - Raw (Los Fugazzi remix)
DetSync is one of the hottest UK underground labels right now and 'The Brutalist EP' comes from one of the label bosses Brad Goddard (aka M.E.A.D). As well as running a label and DJing he is a great producer (check his track ‘Leece’ on the Magic Feet EP mentioned above). The tune that immediately stood out for me was the remix of ‘Raw’, with the stabs taking me back to sounds of early 90s Gypsymen at the start, while the second half takes a more sinister turn leaving you wanting more! Thankfully the rest of the EP is up to par with tunes for all dancefloors, including the acely acidic ‘Doors of Perception’ and the quicker, original version of Raw! Download your copy.
12. Planet Jumper - Beware the beast in we
Sprechen is another UK-based label to keep an eye on and this new EP from Planet Jumper underlines the variety of tracks coming from this stable. For me Planet Jumper brings a touch of bass-driven funk to the world of slo-mo chug, so there is a big crossover of my favourite sounds! This track is all about the bass and the groove, when that bass comes back in after the breakdown I dare you not to turn it up at least one more notch! Buy it here.
13. Hercules & Love Affair - Omnion (ft. Sharon Van Etten) (Joe Goddard Remix)
Joe Goddard has been everywhere this year, albums, releases, festivals, remixes and a very wide range of sounds/genres all the while! I’m a big fan of his remixes and this is another belter, stepping up to enhance another great tune from NY’s finest Hercules & Love Affair. Yet another clash of the titans! Buy it from beatport.
14. J.P SOUL - Take Me To Your Leader (Montcosmik Remix)
The Roam/Nein mutual appreciation continues as Roam supremo, San Francisco’s JP Soul delivers another excellent EP on the mighty Nein label. The A.L.E. EP is packed with dancefloor weapons, with the pick of my bunch being the remix from France’s finest Montcosmik, with a textbook dark, chuggy, floorfiller complete with a great breakdown and wicked effects…speaking of which the whole EP was mastered by K-Effect, yet another international collaboration of talented artists (where would we be without the internet)? Buy it here.
15. Zombies in Miami - Along strangers
From the Odissey EP, not a weak track on it but this is my personal pick. Zombies were a massive highlight at this year’s Alfresco Festival, a mesmerising set and I’d like to think this was amongst the playlist (if not it’s definitely the same sound). Dark, brooding, spacey, chuggy…you get the picture! Bloody love these two, more marvellous music from Mexico! Use the link to beatport to buy, it.
ED'S SUNNY SIDE UP CHART - 28 JUNE
Whilst Ed is well known for his appreciation of music from the dark side, he just can't forget his schoolboy crush on vocal, soulful house. Here's a selection, in no particular order, of latest 'Vo-So-House' releases, which he will be delivering this summer.
Pour yourself a cold one and enjoy...
1) Bosq ft. Megan Doherty - Can’t seem to hide
The catchy disco track of the Summer! Its as though Lapsley’s hit 'Operator' got put through to Spiller's Groovejet and they produced this catchy floor filler! Undeniably chart-bound and certainly destined for every compilation album of the Summer but, who cares? Press play and I dare you not to smile when you hear the groove! Buy it here.
2) Robot Koch ft. Julien Marchal - Fluid
Haunting brilliance from Solomun’s Diynamic label, the strings and piano are masterful and the vocal sits nicely alongside to make a modern masterpiece from the German artist. Buy it here.
3) Joey Negro - Stomp your feet (Hot Toddy remix)
When two big hitters collaborate you know you’re in for a treat. Crazy P’s Chris Todd (Hot Toddy) provides two excellent remixes for this new release from Disco Doyen Dave Lee (aka Joey Negro). The track is taken from his forthcoming album “Produced With Love”, which I have to say, looks absolutely superb. My appreciation of his work is no secret but it is sure to be another monumental labour of love from the meticulous magician.
This release sees the hook neatly sampled from T-Connection’s “Do What You Wanna Do” (one of my favourite disco classics). The Hot Toddy remix lends itself very kindly to the dance floor and the Dub version is worthy of regard if you’re not feeling the vocal, however you will miss the breakdown and the T-Connection taste! Or, just do what I did and buy them both…then pre-order the album!! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Buy 'Stomp Your Feet' here.
4) Les Crocodiles - La Nuit des Tropiques (Field of Dreams remix)
Another collaboration, this time between Al MacKenzie (original member of D:Ream, more about him later) and Chris Kentish (Field Theory). An amazing take on a stone cold classic. Very tricky to try and improve on an already-great track but they have done a grand job. It’s what Mr Fingers might sound like if he grew up on Sa Trincha beach and not in Chicago! Downtempo brilliance that has been played by ALFOS but also works well as part of a sundown set. They have another great track out soon (Nothing Is Perfect) but I just can’t stop playing this one, brilliant production and a great track.
Keep your eye out for this new collaboration, which will be released very soon:
5) Clandestino - A Mighty Memory
Part of an amazing EP from the Leeds trio. It was great to catch up with the boys at Alfresco this year, and an honour to play the main stage before them. Proper solid Northern blokes who excel at all things balearic. Clandestino recently celebrated their 5th birthday with a sell out ALFOS night in Leeds, the label is a guaranteed stamp of quality house music and their regular shows on K-Mah radio are always full of great new music.
This track is my stand out from an amazing EP, a digital-only treat for those of us who aren’t vinyl snobs. The whole EP is well worth the investment and thorough listen though. Buy your copy here!
6) Save That Magic Feeling (Ron Basejam remix)
It goes without saying that another of my Alfresco highlights was the brilliant Crazy P Sound System who played in the woods on Friday afternoon. On this occasion, Ron Basejam completely stole the show for me, combining keyboards with deck duties he gave a glimpse of his vast array of musical talent. Whenever I see a Basejam remix I pretty much click on ‘Buy’ before even listening, such is the consistent quality of his signature. He captures the groove perfectly and on this remix he teams up with Ibiza stalwarts DJ Pippi & Willie Graff to create a slow disco burner, catchy vocal and a lovely little chugging bassline.
Guaranteed to get the feet tapping early doors, this will be in my playlists 'til the clocks change! Buy it here.
7) DJ Nature - Born lifted
Bristol born DJ Nature now resides in New York, and why not?! But his new EP (Ultimate Delusion) on Brizzle’s brilliant Futureboogie label belongs on a beach, somewhere very warm! All four tracks are excellent downtempo productions; “Lovin U More” is top notch but the opening track is soooooooo good (as the vocal states)! This will be in my set every time I play in the great outdoors this Summer, perfect for tapping the feet to whilst enjoying some sunshine and beats. Get your copy here.
8) JOri Hulkkonen - Tintan Terdel
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know much about this guy, except that he’s from Finland and he has a tune out on 'My Favourite Robot' Records. It was the strength of the label which drew me to listen to this new EP, and the 2nd track is a dreamy, spacey, synth-led beauty! Every time I play this, people come up and ask me what it is. Unfortunately it’s not the easiest to spell or to shout over the decks, (can you imagine?) but do yourself a favour and click on the link, listen, fall in love, then buy it here.
9) The Soundersons- Can’t get enough
More wholesome goodness from Paper Recordings, this is a rare vinyl treat and it has a swanky video too! This definitely has crossover potential, the Italian producers have teamed up with Diana G to make a catchy vocal disco gem. The original is split into two parts, so those who don’t dig the vocals get an instrumental workout too. Either that or you heard the vocals once and now you can’t get them out of your head (more likely)…ridiculously catchy! Everywhere I’ve played it, this track has been one of those that the girlies just love, and that’s never a bad thing for a DJ’s arsenal :) Only available on Vinyl, you can get yours here. Head over to Soundcloud to hear both versions, Part I is featured below.
10) Baby June - Hey! What’s your name (Ed Mahon remix)
Shameless plug alert! I am so excited and was honoured to be allowed to have a play about with one of my all time favourite house tracks. As well as storming the charts in the early 90s, Al MacKenzie was part of 'Baby June' and delivered an underground house classic in the summer of 1992. Fast forward 25 years and a possible re-release may be on the cards. Either way, Al was kind enough to let me try and bring the original version back to the dancefloors of today. I must say an enormous thank you to piano legend 'Davos', who was able to re-create the killer piano riff and, help with the strings and breakdown. It was an interesting challenge to subtly add my own elements to the track and great to see it get such a buzzing reaction on its first outing, at the Alfresco Main stage.
You won't be able to buy it yet, but if you listen to the second tune on this podcast you’ll hear none other than Hacienda legend Graeme Park playing it after 3mins 40secs :) Keep an eye on the news page for updates of the track release.