Dubkasm – Transform I

Transform I cover‘Transform I’ was the debut album on the Sufferers Heights label for Dubkasm, the Bristol-based duo of DJ Stryda and Digistep, which has now spawned an additional dub album, and a dub step remix album.

DJ Stryda has been involved in the Bristol reggae scene and further afield since the late 90s as a selector, the promoter behind the Teachings in Dub nights, host of the now famous Sufferah’s Choice radio show and much more – there isn’t a lot that Stryda hasn’t done in reggae – the title of ‘roots ambassador’ is a fitting one. (more…)

Capleton – I-Ternal Fire

I-Ternal Fire coverCapleton is part of the priestly order of Bobo Ashanti, one of the Mansions of Rastafari and is head of David House Productions. Capleton is also know as the Prophet, King Shango, King David and the Fireman, and was given the name Capleton by his peers, after the surname of a popular Jamaican lawyer.

Capleton adds to his impressive album discography with his latest offering, I-Ternal Fire out on VP Records. To long-time Capleton fans this album comes a little softer in delivery but in terms of lyrical content, Capleton brings the fire as hot as ever. (more…)

Truth – Puppets

Puppets album coverTruth are a dubstep trio hailing form Christchurch who have been making music together for ten years. Truth have had their tunes released on various international dubstep labels including Deep Medi Musik, Disfigured Dubs, Aquatic Lab and also New Zealand’s own Optimus Gryme Recordings.

Their tunes have been getting played out by big name dubstep DJs such as Mala, Skream and N Type. They have also done remixes for artists such as The Nextmen, Ms Dynamite and Silverclub and worldwide are in high demand for their live DJ shows, traveling around the world while still representing their hometown, Christchurch and New Zealand.  Impressive credentials by anybody’s standards. (more…)

Blue King Brown – Worldwize 1: North & South

Worldwize coverUp until being asked to review this album, I had heard the name Blue King Brown, but not their music. A fellow sound geek compared them to John Brown’s Body and The Black Seeds on the large popular-pop-roots-reggae-band front when I quizzed him on what he knew of BKB.

I did some homework: from Aussie, based in Melbourne, been around for over six years, released one EP and two full-length albums (of which Worldwize is the second), have opened for an impressive range of acts including Santana and Damien ‘Jr Gong’ Marley. BKB are currently touring Australia with the John Butler Trio.


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Reality Chant Productions – Kings Highway

Kings Highway coverAfter dropping three quality albums in quick succession, and following on from the success of their Country Living riddim, Reality Chant are set to take things to even higher heights with the release of their latest offering, Kings Highway.

The album boasts contributions from reggae legends Luciano, Mikey General, Lutan Fyah and Jah Mason, and turns in impressive performances from up and comers Natty King and Hi Kee. Messenjah and Confucius man the control tower production-wise, calling on support from some of the countries most well known players of instruments: Did someone say super-group? (more…)

Henry Junjo Lawes – Reggae Anthology: Volcano Eruption

Volcano EruptionThis is one of those compilations that pay tribute to a true hero of the Jamaican music business. Among just a few others, Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes is almost solely responsible for the sound of early dancehall music, and so many of its timeless hits.

So much so, that if you were to list the successful and popular Jamaican songs at the time (late 70s to early/mid 80s), the names ‘Junjo’, ‘Volcano’, and ‘Jah Guidance’, would resonate thunderously. He also played an important part in spreading the sound internationally, particularly in the UK with his connection to Greensleeves Records(more…)

Solo Banton – Walk Like Rasta

Walk Like Rasta coverWalk Like Rasta, released in January this year on Reality Shock Records, hits all my sweet spots. Solo Banton delivers his view on ‘what kind of role a Rastafarian artist should play in the music world‘ (Solo’s words), but with his tounge in his cheek and a sparkle in his eye, and all the skills that nearly twenty years in the sound system industry gives you.

I think Undercover aptly described this album as ‘ruff n tuff’. Solo journeys through his trademark digi-dancehall riddims, brushes some deep roots and playful skank (see Roots Rock Reggae) and rounds off the album with five dubs from UK versionists Russ D and Dougie Wardrop.

Dancehall Vol. 2 – The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture

Dancehall Vol. 2With the compilations to impress every time, Soul Jazz Records come correct once again with Dancehall Vol. 2, a follow up to the Dancehall Vol. 1 compilation released in 2008.

Vol.1 also coincided with the release of Beth Lesser’s Dancehall book – a photographic study of Jamaican music and culture in the 1980s (out on Soul Jazz Publishing and highly recommended by this reviewer). These releases show the label’s commitment to showcase a musical phenomenon that changed the world forever.

Dealing with the tough task of compiling music from a genre so hugely diverse, they have succeeded extremely well in selecting some very superb cuts. The tunes range far back into the early days of dancehall music, with songs drawing roots from the classic sound system songs of the 1960s in Kingston, Jamaica. Reinterpretations of this sound by 70s and 80s producers and artists meant that a new platform had come available for the youth artists and musicians of that time.  (more…)