REVIEW: “Front Line: Sounds Of Assembly” box set

Front Line: Sounds Of Assembly photo VirginFrontLine_cover_zps6486e6a8.jpg When Richard Branson saw the success Chris Blackwell was having with the reggae music he signed for Island Records, Branson felt he would like to start his own reggae subsidiary as well, and be created Front Line Records. Front Line: Sounds Of Assembly (Virgin/Universal) is a great 5CD compilation putting together some of the best music by the best artists from one of the best eras of reggae music, so if you’re also a fan of dub, rock steady, and other sub-genres, you’re going to love this. If you’re someone who has ever collected some of the box sets released by Trojan Records, this one is going to feel that way with the amount of music that’s on here. Sadly, Front Line only lasted for under two years but in that time they released 46 albums and 26 singles, yet that’s a lot of music in that short lifespan.

The artists on here are amazing, with works from Gregory Isaacs, Big Youth, The Abyssinians, The Mighty Diamonds, Keith Hudson, U Roy, I Roy, Sly Dunbar, Culture, Tapper Zukie, Jah Lloyd & The Black Lion, Prince Far I and many more. For four of the five discs, each one has over 20 songs to go through and while you may be used to a Trojan box dedicated to a specific theme, this one goes back and forth between roots reggae and dub throughout, going through not only the diversity of Jamaica’s music but also how well stocked Front Line Records wanted to become. This is the perfect album to listen to in its entirety on a Saturday night, or take time to go through each disc one by one. It’s not only great reggae, but great music period from start to finish, and Front Line: Sounds Of Assembly will be worth the experience felt.


FREE MP3 DL: Tessela’s “Gateway (Jurassik More Beats Edit)”

Test your speakers as you can caught up on the bass power of Tessela, whose “Gateway” has been remixed by Jurassik. I can imagine dance floors getting wicked with this playing, DJ’s turning this into a non-stop anthem.

If you’d like to download it, you have to click to the Soundcloud page for details

AUDIO: Thomas Blondet featuring Carol C.’s “Un Amor”

Futureworld (Rhythm & Culture Music) by Thomas Blondet may already be a title you are familiar with or know, but if not, you’ve come to the right place at the right time to find out. Futureworld is the name of Blondet’s forthcoming album, firmly planted in his Washington D.C. upbringing but featuring the curiosities of the real and musical worlds surrounding him. As you listen to Carol C.’s vocals in “Un Amor”, you’re hearing something that sounds Spanish, distinctly Jamaican, very British, subtly Indian, moving in a New Orleans manner but throughout the sonic travels comes the consistently of someone who wants to be sure others follow his travels, perhaps they will lead him to new places as well.

RECORD CRACK: Pre-orders being taken for new Imaginary Forces EP

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Imaginary Forces have finished their new EP called Corner Crew, in fact, you can stream it in full right now on Bandcamp below. The record is due out in August but they are hoping for some help. The plan is for the band to release the record but they’ll need some pre-orders for it to insure its reality. The EP will be released by Sleep Codes, and it’s going to be pressed on a hand-stamped white label 12″ record. The goal is that if they get enough pre-sales for it, the record will be done. The first 50 people who order a copy will also get a bonus Imaginary Forces CD-R. If the pre-sale goal isn’t reached, all funds will be refunded. Have a listen, have the music get in touch with you and if you’re into it, consider ordering a copy or two.

FREE MP3 DL: The Revivalists’ “Pretty Phonograph (Quickie Mart Remix)”

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On one side of the gate, you have The Revivalists and their brand new song, “Pretty Phonograph”. Now take that song and give the multi-tracks to DJ Quickie Mart. In his hands, the possibilities are endless. Here is one of those possibilities. If you’d like to download it after streaming to listen, click the player below and the DL link will be on the Soundcloud page. The song will appear on QM’s Space Monkey Radio 2 compilation.

SOME STUFFS: Richie Phoe covers prized songs from Michael Jackson and Leon Haywood

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Musician Richie Phoe is honoring Michael Jackson with his dub-influenced cover of “Thriller”, just in time for Halloween although a decent MJ cover is good for any occasion. It’s an instrumental rendition of MJ’s 1982 classic where you might hear a bit of Afrobeat, a bit of reggae, some pop, some dub, and who knows what else.

The B-side of the record features Leon Haywood’s cover of “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You”, and if you loved the bassline of the original, you’ll love Phoe’s take as it gets neck deep in the echo chamber. This will be great to mix in within any nice DJ set.

FREE MP3 DL: Bombay Dub Orchestra’s “Bohemia Junction”

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It has been a few years since I last heard new music from the Bombay Dub Orchestra, but I’m happy they are still around. With a new album released yesterday called Tales From The Grand Bazaar (Six Degrees), they have shared a song from it called “Bohemia Junction”, which you may download “for free (9.2mb). The new album welcomes back Andrew T. Mackay and Garry Hughes, showing their love of different sounds and influneces, everything from reggae and dub to Indian classical, down tempo to electronica, and it’s all glowing like a beautiful ocean to meditate in front of during sunrise or sunset. My review of Tales From The Grand Bazaar will be posted very soon.

(MP3 made available courtesy of Ryan Romana @ pressjunkiepr [dot] com.)

VIDEO: Seasick Mama’s “Man Overboard”

If your name is Seasick Mama, do you throw up each time you’re on a boat, raft, or inner tube? Most likely you’re not someone who would want to stay near the water but again, if you’re Seasick Mama…

Then again, in this case, Brooklyn’s Seasick Mama is the name Marial Maher used to get her thoughts across in a musical manner, nothing ill about that. She will release a new EP in November titled Tip Top Shape (No Shame), and “Man Overboard” is the first video created for it so far, shot in the Dominican Republic by director Jay Bulger, who had this to say about making this for Seasick Mama:

VIDEO: Bajah’s “Hail the King”’s In Session documentary series explores the making of different songs from the inside out, looking at recording sessions and some of the work it takes to make it happen. For this installment, it looks at a project between artist Bajah of Sierra Leone and Brooklyn-based producer Billy Szeflinski, who works as Prince Polo. It makes me wish more artists worked this way, and it also makes me wish I was working with artists to help them achieve their goals.

RECORD CRACK: Bill Callahan gets dub-y for new single

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Here’s a very interesting project. Get someone who creates music that has nothing to do with a specific genre. As a means to promote your new album, remix some songs in that specific genre and release it as a single.

Odd? On the surface, maybe, but at a time when the music industry doesn’t know what to do with itself, why not take a chance and a risk and see what happens, right? That’s what Bill Callahan is doing with a new single which may surprise longtime fans, or perhaps maybe not. Callahan is known for his brand of folk and Americana, and he will be releasing a brand new album very soon called Dream River, which brings him back to the outdoors for a bit of visual and sonic exploration. However, for his new single, he has taken two songs from the album and given them the dub treatment. The tracks are called “Expanding Dub” and “Highs In The Mid-40’s Dub”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these mixes end up forming lives of their own. You may have a listen to the A-side of the single, “Expanding Dub”, below.

The record will be pressed at 45rpm to insure optimum sound quality, but will also be available digitally as MP3’s and FLAC files. You may order your copy directly from Drag City Records

As for the album, Dream River will be released on September 17th, which will follow with a two month tour, taking him throughout North America up through the holiday season.

September 25… Houston, TX (McGonigel’s Mucky Duck) ®
September 26… Baton Rouge, LA (Spanish Moon) ®
September 28… Athens, GA (40 Watt Club) ®
September 29… Carrboro, NC (Cat’s Cradle) ®
October 1… Charlottesville, VA (Jefferson Theatre) ®
October 2… Washington, DC (Sixth & I Historic Synagogue) ®
October 3… Philadelphia, PA (First Unitarian Church) ™
October 4… Providence, RI (Columbus Theatre) ™
October 5… Cambridge, MA (The Sinclair) ™
October 6… New York, NY (Webster Hall) ™
October 8… Ithaca, NY (The Haunt) ™
October 9… Pittsburgh, PA (The Warhol @ Carnegie Lecture) ™
October 10… Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom) ™
October 11… Detroit, MI (Trinosophes) ™
October 12… Madison, WI (High Noon Saloon)
October 13… Minneapolis, MN (Cedar Cultural Center)
October 14… Chicago, IL (Alhambra Palace) Ψ
October 16… St. Louis, MO (Old Rock House) Ψ
October 17… Columbia, MO (Mojo’s) Ψ
October 18… Springfield, MO (Outland Ballroom) Ψ
October 19… Norman, OK (The Opolis) Ψ
November 8-9… Austin, TX (Fun Fun Fun Fest)
November 12… Phoenix, AZ (Rhythm Room) ۞
November 13… Pioneertown, CA (Pappy and Harriets Pioneertown Palace) ۞
November 14… Los Angeles, CA (Japan American Theatre) ۞
November 15… Santa Barbara, CA (Soho Restaurant & Music Club) ۞
November 16… San Francisco, CA (Slim’s) ۞
November 17… San Francisco, CA (The Chapel) ۞
November 19… Portland, OR (Aladdin Theater) ۞
November 20… Seattle, WA (Neumo’s) ۞
November 22… Boise, ID (Neurolux)
November 23… Salt Lake City, UT (The State Room)
November 25… Denver, CO (Oriental Theater) ʯ

® w/ New Bums
™ w/ Lonnie Holley
Ψ w/ Circuit des Yeux
۞ w/ Mick Turner
ʯ w/ The Howling Hex