Stones Throw Records

In the past, not much has been heard from the reggae scene in the U.S., but this 12 (or more) piece soul/reggae crew from Los Angeles just might change that track record.

Coming through with an all-star cast on one of the States premier independant lables, The Lions are forging a name for themselves with their own brand of rootical reggae.

When you hear their sound, the classic influences are immediately clear. Their signature sound is an interpretation of seventies Jamaican reggae, first produced by artists like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Roots Radics.

Checking into The Lions bio, we find that the group formed in 2007 and is comprised of many veterans of the local LA soul and reggae scene. Vocalists Deston Berry and Alex Désert were members of the legendary SoCal ska/reggae band Hepcat, and here they team up with the sweet niceness of Malik Moore. Spicy DJ toastings are provided by Black Shakespeare, the cousin of ‘riddim twin’ Robbie Shakespeare (and co-runner of the i&i Sound System, a customized ice cream sound system van, featured on the Lions album cover).

Other band members include Dan “Connie Price” Ubick, a guitarist who has worked with  fellow Stones Throw soulsters Breakestra, and rap pioneers De La Soul. It also includes Mixing Engineer, Dub Engineer, and melodica maestro Steve “Curly Locks” Kaye (Orgone, Fitz and The Tantrums, Big Daddy Kane, Tone Loc), Bassist Dave Wilder (Macy Gray, Norah Jones, Brett Dennen, Everlast, Liz Phair), plus more musicians who have played with the likes of Barrington Levy, Beck, Raphael Saadiq, Big Daddy Kane and Black Eyed Peas.

The single, ‘This Generation’, is a great representation of their vibe and sound. The track features a smooth and catchy hook beginning with the lyric, “You can’t roll a spliff on no MP3…the sound is much better on a 33”. And so beings a tribute to the golden era of sound system style reggae and classic roots music – “This generation is going back to the roots!”

If you are  a fan of classic roots reggae and ska, keep an ear out for these guys, as I’m sure the LP will be a superb long player. Also check out their debut, Jungle Struttin which came out on Ubiquity.

More info:
The Lions website
The Lions Facebook

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