From Belgian dubber Digid, in conjunction with London’s Squarewave, comes this three-track instrumental EP on Moonshine Recordings. The opening track, Rooftop Stepper, is an upbeat tech/bass reggae outing, giving way as it proceeds to interludes of differing electronic sound, marking out its appeal to both reggae and dubstep audiences. Next up is Basement Stepper, a more assertive sound around similar digital instrumentation with a determined bass and drum sound driving it all along, the rhythm pausing mid way through before bouncing back. The final track, Space Station Stepper, slows the pace but with a more ambitious instrumentation throughout. It all amounts to highly contemporary dub that will still make sense to those who thought dub was now solely down to reissues from a few decades ago. The EP is available on 12” vinyl as well as in digital format.
Digid and Squarewave: Rooftop Stepper; vinyl/DDL; release 4th December 2015 on Moonshine Recordings.
Dubwiser Dancehall is based around the songwriting and production duo of Spider Johnson and Jonas Torrance, as an alternative project to UK reggae band Dubwiser. Spider Johnson has worked with Estelle and Killa Kela and been band leader for no other than Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, as well as collaborating with Mad Professor and co-writing the first Jungle no.1 in the UK, Original Nutter by UK Apache. Jonas Torrance is prominent in both the indie and reggae scenes and has played alongside greats such as The Wailers, Aswad and Horace Andy as well as co-writing and performing on the top ten dance tune Keep on Chasing by Oxford dance band, The Circle.
This second release from Dubwiser Dancehall, not unreasonably called EP2, is a curious but effective mix of styles and sub-genres within reggae. Opening with Ready Steady Go Yeah the sound is urban, hip-hop and dubstep- oriented, unrelenting and committed, giving way to the fast jungle sound of Boom a Rang. Next up is It’s On, fitting the style of the previous tracks but strangely melodic at its core. The remaining tracks – the dub side of the EP – lean back toward a relatively mainstream reggae style, with Reggae Dubman and the dub of Slowly hitting territory which is more familiar or less challenging depending on your point of view. Slowly Dub is in fact a strong track that’ll appeal widely. This release as a whole reinforces and extends the reputation of the band and its collaborators, already established by their first powerful EP in 2013 (see reggaemusic.org.uk 7th July 2013).
Dubwiser Dancehall; EP 2; Digital and CD release, November 2015
Here is the new video from Pauline Black and her companeros in veteran reggae/ska band The Selecter. Taken from this year’s album Subculture (reviewed at reggaemusic.org.uk 11th June 2015) ‘Walk the Walk’ is an upbeat and uptempo song, the video featuring the good and great of style and fashion as well as the musical core of the band. A strong track, it’s bound to feature prominently in contemporary sets by Selecter who are embarking on a tour of the UK and Ireland in November and December 2015 supported by girl punk band the Tuts. Watch listen and enjoy.
Barefoot Bandit is an upcoming reggae and dub band from Devon. They have quickly established a strong live reputation, including festival appearances at Glastonbury and at Plymouth’s Volksfest. They have played alongside the likes of Professor Green and the Backbeat Sound System and have just released this, their debut EP entitled ‘Call Me a Liar’. The title track is strong melodically, the instrumental sound of the rock band format is simple but powerful, and it rocks along happily enough to its conclusion. Much the same could be said of ‘Polly’, tuneful and unadorned by any superfluous studio gimmickry. ‘Slug Dub’ is a straightforward dub sound based around a simple guitar riff, while ‘World’ opens with a drum and bass sound reminiscent of the Beat and evolves into a dubbish workout. ‘Blue Light Flashing’ features a sparse deliberate reggae rhythm and a nice wah wah guitar. All in all this is a great debut and should ensure that the Barefoot Bandit move on from respected live act to successful recording band.
Barefoot Bandit: ‘Call Me a Liar’ EP, Dubterranean Records, release 2nd October 2015
Being dubbed (so to speak) as the “best of British reggae” and “a very talented young band of players” by no less than David Rodigan gives any band a lot to live up to. Shanty’s reaction is to keep to the same successful course they have already embarked upon. Their new single is, as on previous releases (see reggaemusic.org.uk 29 September 2014), an upbeat brass-led danceable sound that captures the vocals of Ben Willis very effectively. This London band has established a formidable live reputation, playing alongside the likes of the Skints, Prince Fatty and Neville Staple, and they have captured that live feel in this new release. Instrumentally Shanty share the approach of the Specials but the mood is different: Shanty are a feel-good bunch. The sound of the band can best be described as the Specials without the doom and gloom.