Review: Given that few clubs are open worldwide, it feels wrong to talk about potential 2020 summer anthems. That said, were dancing outside under a blanket of stars be allowed, we have no doubt that Social Lovers' new single would be getting plenty of spins. Warm, synth-heavy and sweet, it's a deliciously good lover's rock style cover of Evelyn "Champagne" King's '80s electrofunk classic "Love Come Down". Over on the flip the fast-rising outfit offers up another killer cover, re-imagining Sha-Lor's 1988 garage-house gem "I'm In Love" as a super-smooth and dreamy slab of proto-house/80s soul fusion rich in Fairlight stabs, spacey synth riffs and warming chords. Don't sleep on this one: it's a genuine gem.
Review: Originally released in 1969, but record three years earlier, this album from the hugely successful and influential Clancy Eccles played a key role in the evolution of the rock steady sound. He was at the spearhead of a new generation of young, talented and dynamic musicians who were keen to push things forwards and make their own distinctive mark on the legendary dub world. His biggest hit was 'Fattie Fattie' in 1969 and it sold at home and over here in the UK. It's a fun, playful dub with a cheeky swagger and mischievous horns. It's just one of the many gems on this classic reissue.
Review: This is a seriously high quality collection of dub that takes you on a real adventure. Ijahman's 'Whip That Tarantula' has a wonderful weird and wispy lead motif that trips you out while the snaking horns lead you into mischief. Burning Spear slows things down to crawl with his organic percussion and earthy ridders, and The Viceroys trap you in a wonderful world of echo on the stuttering and swaggering 'The Dub Of Gold.' Of the multiple Black Uhuru tracks included, the last one 'Fire & Brimstone' and might be the best with its stark hits and mischievous moods.
Review: This year's Record Store Day also happens to mark 40 years since Bob Marley put out one of his most enduring tunes. 'Redemption Song' carries the same emotional weight now as it always has and on this special, limited edition clear vinyl it comes backed with a band version as well as a live version of 'I Shot The Sheriff.' It's all about that A-side, though, with its acoustic guitars, a subtle backing for Marley's pained and vulnerable vocals. The band version is fleshed out with some swaggering dub and the live version of 'I Shot The Sheriff' is filled with atmosphere and noodling bass riffs.
Review: Indica Dubs and Music Mania link up once more for their 18th release, which comes from two of the UK dub top legends and pioneers in Alpha & Omega and The Disciples. This album was first put out in 1998, but only in CD format. Now two deuces later it makes its first ever appearance on vinyl and is as crucial as ever, with its crisp and fresh, steel plated dub sounds and warrior leads. The iconic 'Roaring Lion' is a well known anthem in the dub scene, loved and admired by all, so gets a welcome inclusion and is sure to once again be heard everywhere as soon as we can enjoy some real life sound system action .
Review: Shniece has become a key collaborator of Prince Fatty's having made such a fine impression when she guested on his 'In The Viper's Shadow' album last year. This new hook up is a winding journey that opens with some truly mind bending and psyched out 60s sounds riding on a trippy dub, and littered with samples from a public service broadcast on drugs. It's somehow a dark yet euphoric dub with a killer backbeat and futuristic edge A dub version peels things back to the drum work and lets the magic of this fine partnership shine.
Review: It seems like almost every single new week brings with it a new album from dub icon Lee "Scratch" Perry. And who are we to complain, because rarely does the quality drop when it comes to this weed loving, purple-bearded and mystic musical maestro. This time out we are treated to a special, heavyweight Record Store Day pressing of his To Drive The Dub Starship Through The Horror Zone album made with Daniel Boyle. It's a record with its head in the cosmos, with oodles of reverb making cavernous universes in which you float next to mutterings for the man himself. Made exclusively on 70's and 80's analogue equipment and with Lee's signature Black Ark sound, this is another classic in his cannon.
Review: More from the bulging back catalogue of Park Rangers, an obscure Japanese reggae band who have spent the last decade delivering surprising cover versions of well-known pop, rock and disco songs. On side A there's another chance to wonder at their 1960s rocksteady style re-make of Pharrell Williams' mega-hit happy, in which the Neptunes star's lead vocal is replaces with a cheery Hammond organ solo. It's the kind of cover that can't help but put a smile on your face. The same could be said about their similarly minded flipside cover of Prince classic 'Kiss'. While it's not as instantly recognisable, it has a similar feel thanks to the band's canny fusion of tuneful Hammond organ solos and retro-futurist reggae riddims.