Review: Canada isn't often associated with dub but on this occasion it's where Belgium's Roots Vibration head for a fine reissue. The Uplifter were a duo formed of vocalists Egbert Dennis and Marcel Williams and their poison is heavy bass. On "Strength & Power" they are blissed out and laid back, while the little guitar riffs get you in a trance as the drums boom away. The slick dub on the flipside is even more drenched in warmth and reverb. This is a limited edition of 500 so move quick.
Review: Studio One have put out plenty of big tunes and this is the latest to get a big reissue on a super loud-cut 12" single for extra devastating impact. It's a well-known classic every self-respecting reggae fan should know and blows up any party, especially when tweaked like these two versions. They were originally produced by Studio One bossman Coxsone Dodd and have been covered by The Clash as well as sampled by The Fugees and hip hop MC KRS One. The snaking lead synth, the rumbling drums and classic ska trumpet are all straight up irresistible.
Review: The Aggrolites formed in 2002 and brought together two different Los Angeles reggae and ska bands in the Vessels and The Rhythm Doctors. They started as a backing outfit for Derrick Morgan but soon went on to do their own thing, uncoiling this debut album from 2003. It was laid down in just one day, with each track being done in one take and lyrics being dreamt up on the spot. The results are compelling and take in high speed riddims, swaggering dubs and even a cover of a nursery rhyme.
Review: Lee Perry's studio band was famously known as The Upsetters but also recorded as Black Ark Players, named after his famous studio. This is their one and only album and it first landed in 1980 as another part in the infinite musical puzzle around Lee Perry. The previously hard to find record marks the end of one era and the start of another as it came right at the start of the demise fo the studio. It is built on a bedrock of heavy beats and bass, with spooky dub styles and spacey synth styles that add layers of intrigue that never let up.
Review: Most reggae scholars agree that dub maestro Lee 'Scratch' Perry was at his musical best during the period he spent working at the Black Ark studio. Two of the last albums recorded at the studio before it burned down in 1979 were "Black Ark In Dub" volumes one and two, which were eventually released in 1980 and '81 respectively. Here they're gathered together on CD for the first time. Volume 1 (disc one) sees Perry offer up weighty, spooky and out-there dubs of backing tracks created by his regular studio band, the Black Ark Players. Disc two expands on the more vocal-focused - but no less dubbed-out - sequel, showcasing alternate takes and extended mixes of popular Perry-produced singles from the period. In a word: essential.
Review: Busy Signal has been blowing up the dancehall scene for a hot minute. He has the ability to cook up real crossover hits as heard on opener "Stay So" (which clocked up an incredible 32 million hits online) and "One Way" (with 17 million). With "Parts Of The Puzzle", the long time star wanted to show off his range, which he duly does across 10 crisp and contemporary cuts. The production is reflective and shiny, with a range of rhythms that take in classic reggae ""Girl Like You"", funk ("Balloon") and deep dancehall ("Bring Back The Vibes (feat. Josey Wales)". It all adds up to a comprehensive, forward looking record from one of the game's best.