|From The Duff Guide to Ska patch collection (click on image to enlarge).|
The Applecores The Applecores EP (Five-track digital EP, self released, 2017): This female-fronted reggae-rock-pop NYC outfit (think Sublime crossed with No Doubt) delivers some fine originals on their debut--the break-up cut "Holding Hands" is particularly affecting--plus they do a great cover of Drake's "One Dance."
The Bakesys "Golden Brown Slices of Toast" (free digital single, Do the Dog Music, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Bakesys More Bakesys (CD EP, Do the Dog Music, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Bakesys Studio Selections 1991-1995 (CD, Do the Dog Music, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Beat Brigade Tomorrow's News (Three-track digital EP, Buddahbug Records, 2017): OG NYC ska kings (and contemporaries of The Toasters) Beat Brigade keep the aggressive and gritty '80s Big Apple ska sound alive on this really fantastic new EP. The protagonist in the dangerous, film-noir-ish ska-jazz cut "You Charming Thing" ("Every day is Christmas/Every night is New Year's eve...you tease me until I come undone") knows he's on the road to perdition, but can't resist her. "Bomb Squad" is from the (cynical) POV of someone on that detail ("You're gonna have to hose my bloody guts away!") and appropriates the great riff from Devo's "It's Not Right." The roots reggae rebel track "Battle Cry" ("This is not a warning/This is not a test/Armageddon's coming...") has one seriously good groove in its call for solidarity in the face of injustice ("No matter where you're from/No matter where you stand/Together we are strong/Together we are one"). Much more of this please.
Ken Boothe, Dillinger, Leroy Smart, Delroy Wilson White Man in Hammersmith Palais EP (limited edition RSD 7" vinyl four-track EP with mini-poster, Greensleeves Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Brooklyn Attractors Xmas in Babylon, Volume II (red or green vinyl PS single, Jump Up Records, 2017): This single by this NYC area supergroup features top-notch rocksteady arrangements of two Christmas classics (a spirited cover of "Up on the Rooftop" and a melancholy version of "Jolly Old St. Nick" retitled "Ras Nick"). Pure class, this one. Play it to impress the relatives when they visit.
Johnny Clarke "Highest Region" b/w Flying Vipers "Highest Version" (green 7" vinyl single, Jump Up Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Dub Natty Sessions and Dennis Bovell featuring Matic Horns and Mad Professor DNS and Friends (CD/digital download, available through Bovell's Old School Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Flying Vipers The Copper Tape (cassette/digital, Music A. D. D., 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Hopeton Lewis "There She Goes" b/w Vin Gordon and The Supersonics"Reggay Trombone" (heavyweight 7" vinyl single, Trojan Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Lee "Scratch" Perry and the Full Experiences Disco Devil (red 12" vinyl, Trojan/Get On Down, 2017 Black Friday Record Store re-issue; originally released in 1977 on the Upsetter label): For whatever odd reason (legal matters with Marley's estate?), this re-issue jettisons the awesome Bob Marley and Wong Chu "Keep On Moving" b side for the 7" mix of "Disco Devil" (which is, of course, a version of Max Romeo's phenomenal "Chase the Devil" from War Ina Babylon). Nonetheless, this is still a gift for Perry fans--original copies of Disco Devil go for $350 and more, while the 2003 Trojan reissue fetches around $50 and up. (If you're in the NYC area, as of this posting, Rock and Soul still has copies in stock.)
Lee "Scratch" Perry and Subatomic Sound System Super Ape Returns to Conquer (CD/LP/digital, Subatomic Sound, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Mungo's Hi Fi featuring Johnny Clarke "Rain Keeps Falling" b/w "Spring Shower Dub" (7" vinyl single, Scotch Bonnet Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The New Limits "Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday" (digital single, self-released, 2017): Considering the hellish year we've been through in the USA and the ongoing BS about the ginned-up, so-called "War on Christmas," it helps to shore up your faith in humanity to know that The New Limits chose a holiday classic to cover specifically for its message of love, companionship, and inclusiveness (since no specific holiday/religion is referred to in the lyrics, anyone from any religion--even atheists--can relate to it). Stax artist William Bell's wonderful "Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday" is given a terrific rocksteady treatment by The New Limits here. Maybe this version can find its way to wax some day?
The Skatalites Foundation Ska (CD/2xLP, Studio One, 2017 reissue; originally released in 1997 on Heartbeat Records): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Toasters Skaboom! (blue heavyweight vinyl/cassette, Jump Up Records/Megalith Records, 2016 reissue; originally released in 1987 in the USA on Moving Target/Celluloid and in a slightly altered form in the UK on Unicorn as Pool Shark): Read The Duff Guide to Ska appreciation here.
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Read The Duff Guide to Ska Year in Ska Reviews 2017, Part 1!
Read The Duff Guide to Ska Year in Ska Reviews 2017, Part 3!
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