Various Peanut Butter Wolf's Jukebox 45s

Under the auspices of Peanut Butter Wolf, the Stones Throw record label has quietly grown into a brand name standing for high quality music and a distinctive sound. The material gathered for the release of this compilation is no different and is culled from the limited seven-inch runs of selected tracks from Stones Throw artists that PBW has been putting out over the last few years. While this release will be sought after by aficionados of the label due to the rarity of the tracks themselves, it also provides a good entry point for those unfamiliar with the label. Although Stones Throw started out as a hip-hop label, its forays into releasing eight-tracks and last year's superb The Funky 16 Corners compilation, as well as championing 45s underline its reverence for music of the past, and much of the label's output reflects this. Beat conductor and purveyor of dusty breaks Madlib is the personification of this, and his appearances as jazz combo Yesterday's New Quintet, in MC guise (Lootpack), or as the squeaky voiced Quasimoto makes the links to hip-hop and jazz explicit. There's also a healthy funk selection represented here, and while Breakestra represents the label's homage to breakbeats popularised by hip-hop, the inclusion of obscure originals like LA Carnival's "Color" and the Fabulous Souls' "Take Me," which are soon to be released as part of Stones Throws ongoing series, are definite highlights. Other standouts includes "Flowers," by Dudley Perkins, the alter ego of MC Declaime, which gives you an idea of what ODB would sound like after a couple of singing lessons and a few beers. With Peanut Butter Wolf's own decade-old contribution "Devotion '92," a collaboration with the late MC Charizma, filed alongside a turntablist excursion from Montreal's A-Trak and a truly freaky psychedelic entry from the Stark Reality, the breadth of the compilation can't be denied. But everything is related and the thematic strength and obvious commitment to plain good music helps everything come full circle. (Stones Throw)