Sunday, May 2, 2021

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: David Usma & The Siderens, Joe Yorke & Stand High Patrol!

The paper label for the single features the artist name, imprint (Stand High Records), and illustration of three faces (one looking forward, another left, and the other right).(Reviews by Steve Shafer)

The incredible new single Malé Vol​.​1: Oscuridad (7" vinyl picture sleeve single/digital, Canana Records, 2021; found in the US via Jump Up Records) from Colombia's David Usma & The Siderens is part of a trilogy of releases exploring Usma's process of "healing his wounds" through music (Malé is a woman's name, so draw your own conclusions as to what this is all about). He's accomplished this by composing and recording three sets of songs that essentially go through a compressed version of the stages of grief: Darkness, Catharsis, and Rebirth. The first stage Malé Vol​.​1: Oscuridad (Darkness) features two killer skinhead reggae instrumentals: "Hell Moon" sports an otherworldly ice rink organ carrying a melody that's both beautiful and slightly unsettling, while the sprightly "Darkness" has dubby sections and majestic bursts of brass. I'm sorry for Usma's suffering, but he's making some great music while he's in the process of working it all out.

Joe Yorke & Stand High Patrol's magnificent and haunting new single "Quicksand" b/w "Quicksand Dub" (7" vinyl single/digital, Stand High Records, 2021) is about hidden, lonely suffering and bravely trying to bottle up all the feelings instead of embracing and releasing them (and reminds me of the awful time I had adjusting to boarding school life as a desperately homesick 11 year-old). With an understated but effective rocksteady riddim written by Stand High Patrol's Pupajim (the dub is by SHP's MacGyver) and lyrics by Yorke's frequent collaborator/producer Eeyun Purkins (of The Co-operators--read my review of their latest album Beating the Doldrums here), Yorke's incredible falsetto is brimming with empathy as he sings:

Hey brother, I hope you're doing fine
I know you've been having such a rough old time
When the door is closed and the monsters creep in
You're in the quicksand, feels like you're sinking

Back at school they taught you “boys don’t cry”
The tide is up inside, but no tears fall from your eyes
Brother you know that being big and tough
Means letting the tears flow when times get rough
Rough and tough

It's good advice for everyone to heed (delivered within a terrific song). Highly recommended.

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