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: Music Mania and Indica Dubs come together for a big15th release that takes the form of this excellent "Dubs From The Zion Valley" full length. Despite the sleek future sounds on offer, it was first put out in 1994 and includes some well known classics such as "4 Min Dub" by Isrealies and "Meditation Rock". Both have been big cuts for the Aba Shanti-I Sound System for decades now but still sound super hot to this day. Our pick: Bush Chemists' "Rimshots Get Clap" is a hand out with its endless echo, reverb and woodpecker like hits all built on a natty bassline.
Review: This newly expanded reissue of classic Desmond Dekker compilation "Double Dekker" includes six rare bonus cuts next to the rest of the material that helped it make such an international impact. There isn't much cross over with other compilations, either, making it a must for fans of the late vocalist. Interestingly, this release was compiled after Dekker had left Trojan for the newly formed rival Creole, and it went on to become one of their biggest sellers, at the same time as putting his newer recordings into the shadows. So sink in and enjoy one of rocksteady's best.
Review: You can't overestimate the importance of The Heptones in the evolution of Jamaican music, after they defined the transition from ska to rocksteady and on to reggae. This album, "Back On Top", captures the band in the early '80s, when they had reached an international audience after working with Lee 'Scratch' Perry and releasing on Island Records. By this point they were back producing themselves, creating a perfect spanning sweet ballads and upbeat skankers, not to mention a cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday". Lovingly repressed on 180 gram red vinyl, this is a welcome reissue of an album that's been tricky to get hold of for some time, from one of the all time great reggae acts.