Rapha Pico & The Signal One Band - "Lead The Way" (4:58)
The Signal One Band - "Lead The Dub" (4:55)
Review: The Signal One Band formed in 2017 after a bunch of local regular session musicians linked up after meeting at Earth Works Studio in Amsterdam. Between them the gang has worked with big names from the worlds of ska, reggae and dubstep, and all this goes into a crucial melting pot that brews up the old and new, finished off with a warm vintage aesthetic. Their new label is minted with a rumbling, roots tune that has lush trumpets and billowing chords cushioning your daily grind. The dub on the flip is even fatter and perfectly easy to get lost in.
Review: Long running dub dons Nice Up! unveil a brand new talent on their latest: that man is Escape Roots, a Glaswegian producer and Mungo's HiFi's Walk n Skank resident who calls upon vocalist Dandelion to muse on the many different joys of ganga. Riding on classic dancehall rhythms with hooky guitar riffs and tumbling claps, Dandelion touches on toothpaste, butter, soap and the titular Ganga Socks. It's tongue in cheek, head in the clouds stuff that will have you skanking for days. For those who like it more stripped back, flipside "Version" is where it's at.
Review: Fans of digital roots take note: "Gun Fever" is a brilliantly dark and direct offering from Frankie Jones. Mixing up the sound of 80s Jamaica and the sort of dub that was loved in the UK by dancehall crowds, it first landed on Third World in 1986 and now gets a crisp new remaster for the first time in its history. The low swinging bottom end is warm and rich, the claps chart and the rimshots are laden with effects, especially on the flipside "Version", that really sink you deep into the riddim.
Review: With "Frontin & My Adidas" Taggy Matcher returns with another soul/rap/reggae mash-up. This time round it's Pharell's "Frontin" acappella dropped over a deep dub beat - all the way to Kingston. On the flip side they feature a rocksteady version of a true hip-hop/electro classic! "My Adidas" is a great reworking of the RUN DMC tune, with a dub-like rhythm to it and a really classic sound overall. Stix present these two top-notch party pieces.
Review: Room In The Sky know how to serve up top notch reggae instrumentals, and few do them better than The Inn House Crew. There's a slight sadness to the forlorn melodica playing that drifts over "The Roach" but the cheerier nature of the chords mean you aren't allowed to wallow for too long, and the jangled drums and riffs are always keen to move you along. Flipside "Rathid" is a more classic roots cut with dusty drums and woodblock hits that bring the warmth.
Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz - "Higrade Skanking" (3:43)
Review: Nicko Rebel Music are back to serve up more top shelf skanking material after their debut release sold out in quick time. The EP introduces a host of debutants including Nadine Sutherland, Echoslim and Nicko Revel who sit next to the more established Mr Micah Williams, a Necessary Mayhem mainstay with skills to burn. Sutherland's "Dance Africa" is a rootsy roller with flabby bass and big trumpet lines accompanying her vocal work, which celebrates the glory of Africa, while B side "Higrade Skanking" from Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz does exactly what it says on the tin.
Family Man & Youth Professional - "Southern Version" (version) (3:51)
Review: More than 40 years after its initial release, Afrik revisit the blissed out reggae of Melford Jackson's one and only hit, "Southern Africa". At its heart is some fantastic chord work, which trills and shimmers above the rumbling drums and jangling little guitar riffs. The flip finds Jamaican reggae bass player Family Man link with Youth Professional Band for the enchantingly aimless and wandering "Southern Version", in which it is so easy, and so enjoyable, to get lost in on a lazy afternoon.