Musclecars – She Raised Us In Sunset Park [Toucan Sounds]

Sometimes you’ve got to take a victory lap. Nothing wrong with that — especially if you’ve been pumping out Body & Soul and providing Shelter for dancers young and old like musclecars have been. The defacto torchbearers for a traditional yet vital and very much alive strain of New York City house; Brandon Weems and Craig Handfield have put in the work through beautiful productions, cathartic DJ sets, and their regular party turned stand out record label Coloring Lessons. It’s hard to believe the two made their production debut less than a year ago with toucan sounds’ fantastic “Don’t Go” alongside powerhouse vocalist Brandon Markell Holmes. Returning to the source with this new deluxe edition of their beautiful debut Street Dreams EP, musclecars and toucan sounds present a joyful and realized companion piece that further proves they’re here to stay.

Anchored by the massive “She Raised Us In Sunset Park;” this three track package of smartly curated remixes and spiritual sequels is bursting with the life and emotion of a city in its reawakening. Perhaps the duo’s finest moment yet, “She Raised Us In Sunset Park” is an everything-in-its-right-place hand percussion latin jazz house groover that takes Pink Flamingo Rhythm Revue’s Eric Mendelsohn’s lush guitar tone from EP standout “The Man Who Kept Bedstuy Warm” and pushes it to the floor with a searing solo drenched in reverb and power. Percussionist Jimmy Lopez steals the show with a flurry of shaker, congas, and a fiery timbale solo. It’s like an early Santana cut and I want to hear it played loud on the streets of New York every day this summer.

An international array of remixers seal the deal including well executed mixes from London’s K15 and Tokyo’s beloved Dazzle Drums. The sound of birds mesh with the cool whisper of vocalist Tiff Ortiz, twinkling grand piano notes, and beautifully mixed deep house percussion laid on top of an irresistible bass line for K15’s take on “Sol.” Hopeful and curious; this is a track you can easily melt into. Another Tiff Ortiz featuring track “Sun Track I,” Dazzle Drums balance meditative calm with lounge dub deepness with craft filled intentionality. All together — Street Dreams (Deluxe) is a natural expansion and well needed victory lap for a group that is just getting started.


Nick B.