Review: On their 2018 double A-side single, "Atlantico/Canto Del Sol", Brooklyn-based seven-piece Combo Lulo gleefully joined the dots between Jamaican rocksteady and South American Afro-Latin music. "The Sieve & The Sand", their sophomore single, is an altogether different proposition, though their love and knowledge of Caribbean and Latin American music remains at the forefront. On the A-side "Part 1" version, the band layers fluttering flutes and fuzz-soaked guitars atop a bounding ska rhythm, offering a breezy and sun-kissed take on one of Jamaica's most popular musical styles. Arguably even better is "Part 2", where the band's intoxicating, woodwind style motifs lazily float above a deep, head-nodding dub reggae groove.
Review: To mark the label's 50th release, the team behind Names You Can Trust has snagged a fresh cut from the band that started it all back in 2007, Greenwood Rhythm Coalition. Fittingly, it also happens to the Afro-Caribbean-Latin-Funk fusionists' first single of any sort for nigh on five years. "Jewels" is delightfully hard to pigeonhole: a suitably tropical excursion that giddily melds elements of tropical disco, dub, cumbia, funk, soul and Afrobeat into something warm, addictive and floor-friendly. It's lopped into two parts on this seven-inch release, with the second being notably more percussive and heavy than the already weighty A-side.
Review: It makes sense that Names You Can Trust would be fans of Conjunto Papa Upa - after all, the band's first two seven-inch singles (released in 2013 and 2015 respectively) offered a suitably psychedelic and soulful fusion of African, Caribbean and South America sounds fully in keeping with the Brooklyn label's open-minded ethos. This "45" is a teaser of sorts, offering as it does two cuts destined for the Amsterdam-based outfit's long promised, forthcoming debut album. A-side "El Secreto Del Metalero" is particularly potent, offering a suitably psychedelic, heavily electronic 21st century take on Cumbia full of weirdo electronics, twisted vocals, rumbling sub-bass and colourful synth lines. In contrast, "Chicarron Puelo" is a little more traditional-sounding, delivering a formidably fuzzy fusion of dancefloor-focused Latin rhythms and 1960s style psychedelia.
Review: The Slackers are a legendary ska outfit for good reason: they've put out more than 20 albums and countless singles across a fine career that dates all the way back to 1991. Now they're back on Names You Can Trust with a pair of irresistible cuts. "Baba Roots" is a feel good and swaggering ska tune with sliding bass and great lead horns that bring the sunshine. "150 Seconds" on the flip is a slower and steadier tune with laidback horn leads that are more loved up and unhurried.