Garage is well and truly back in fashion, and that pleases me no end, because it might actually be my favourite musical genre – it’s at least on par with Gregorian chant, anyway.
So, I guess, apropos of nothing – maybe that I can spy a bit of sun seeping in through the office window today – I thought I’d round up about a dozen garage bangers to send your way. Aren’t I nice?
Yes, yes, it’s all been done before, but don’t worry, I’ve switched it up a bit – all the below tunes are album tracks only, so they never received a proper single release. As such, hopefully you won’t have heard them and as a result, I can bring a nice, fresh chunk of extra garage-love into your life.
Pop on your Gucci loafers and Moschino denim jacket and bang these big ones out (or just scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist of them all):
1. Craig David – ‘Two Steps Back’
Craig has been massively instrumental in the garage resurgence, what with his absolutely huge (and hugely welcome) comeback last year, so it makes sense he’s the first on the list. This one’s from his second album, 2002’s Slicker Than Your Average, which in case you were wondering, you’ve been massively sleeping on. Sort it out.
2. Shift K3Y – ‘Forever’
Here’s one from the new breed of garage producers, Shift K3Y, with an upbeat little number from his latest album NIT3 TALES. It was tough choosing between this and ‘Brandy & Coke’, but this one just edged it.
(Although this video appears greyed out, it still works)
Katy B – ‘Blue Eyes’
Another newer artist with a hidden garage banger. Katy B isn’t necessarily known for her garage tracks, but she works with a lot of genres, so she mixed it up on her 2014 album Little Red and popped a bit of that garage sound on there. It worked.
Romina Johnson – ‘Coming On Strong’
You might not recognise her name, but you’ll recognise her voice from the garage classic ‘Movin’ Too Fast’ by Artful Dodger. Well, she had an album of her own which housed a couple of pretty big tunes, including the one below, which could easily have been a single in its own right.
Artful Dodger Feat. Nadia – ‘I Can't Give Up’
Artful Dodger were the kings of garage for a short while during the early 2000s, with hit after hit two-stepping their way into the charts, but they’ve got a few hidden gems in their repertoire, too. This melodic stormer is from their 2000 album, It’s All About The Stragglers, and it bangs just as hard as any of their singles.
TQD – ‘Hold Me’
Back to the new kids here, with TQD, whose 2017 album, UKG, does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s full of huge tracks, but this one is my favourite.
Oxide and Neutrino – ‘In The Morning’
Obviously, everyone knows Oxide and Neutrino for their mega-hit ‘Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)’, but I’m gonna admit, and it might be controversial to say so, I think that might even be my least favourite O&N song. They have SO many other amazing tracks on offer, like this one, for example. It’s from their 2013 EP Quarks & Leptons, which is so good it’ll make you shit yourself.
MJ Cole Feat. Fallacy – ‘Live My Life’
MJ Cole is another garage legend who’s been a mainstay in the scene from the beginnings all the way up until now. He’s still churning out quality stuff, but this roller is from his 2003 album Cut To The Chase. It’s très, très decent.
MC Neat – ‘It’s Ya Boy’
Here’s a rare appearance of MC Neat without his partner in crime, DJ Luck. Back in 2013, he released an EP called Undiluted, which is presumably called that because it’s undiluted with filler – it’s all top-notch. This one is the stand-out, as Neat takes a trip down garage memory lane.
Ed Case Feat. Ms. Dynamite – ‘Deal With The Matter’
Both Ed Case and Ms. Dynamite have released their fair share of garage classics over the years, and this collaboration for Ed’s 2002 album Ed’s Guest List was no exception. Ed’s trademark production combined with Dynamite’s frenzied MCing – it’s a match made in heaven.
Stefflon Don – ‘Forever’
The second song on this list to be called ‘Forever’, and in-keeping with Shift K3Y’s one, this also came out last year. Stefflon Don’s Real Ting mixtape hides a sneaky little garage tune as a bonus track at the end. The album is quality as it is, the inclusion of garage only makes it better. Like with most things, really.
Oxide and Neutrino – ‘Execute’
Sorry, had to bang another Oxide and Neutrino track in here. It’s the first song off their 2000 album Execute – it’s so good they named the album after it. It might be, their… best… song? God I love it.
So Solid Crew – ‘Friend Of Mine’
Couldn’t really have a list of garage tracks without a So Solid number (unless you count Oxide and Neutrino, of course), so here’s one off their 2001 album They Don’t Know. This song shouldn’t work – it’s utterly all over the place – but it just does. Was always my favourite track off that album.
And if you couldn’t be bothered to read any of the above nonsense, then here are the tracks in an easily manageable playlist. I guarantee that listening to it will make summer come about a month early: