Brooklyn-based Big Crown Records opened its doors a year ago and was founded by producer and multi-instrumentalist Leon Michels (El Michels Affair, The Arcs, Chicano Batman) and DJ Danny Akalepse. In celebration of their first year, Big Crown kicked off a monthly vinyl release series, which will culminate in a compilation album to be issued later this year.
El Michels Affair is the brainchild of New York-based instrumentalist Leon Michels (drums, organ) and Nick Movshon (bass). Their mostly instrumental jams are funky, soulful, jazzy, and a hell of a lot of fun. In anticipation of their new album ‘Return To The 37th Chamber,’ El Michels Affair offers up the splendid single “Tearz” b/w “Verbal Intercourse.”
The A-side is a heady mixture, taking the instrumental part of the Wu-Tang Clan song “Tearz” and mixing it with Shannon Wise of The Shacks singing Wendy Rene’s timeless mantra “after laughter, comes tears.” Rene was the stage name of soul singer and songwriter Mary Frierson, later Mary Cross (RIP). She recorded for Stax Records in the mid-1960s. In the second half of the song, Lee Fields adds his soulful vibe, giving this mix a little something for everyone. On the flip side is the instrumental version of Wu Tang Clan’s “Verbal Intercourse.”
El Michels Affair has opened my eyes to a whole new world of music with this single, a world where I will hopefully experience more bliss.