Thursday, October 25, 2012

Check It #41: Rising!

In Stores Now
"Soothing Sounds" by Richie Spice [Tad's Records]

First up this week we have a bonafide Reggae star delivering his latest set as Richie Spice goes all Tarrus Riley on the people with his 'brand new' album, "Soothing Sounds", which finds the vocalist in an acoustic mood for the most part. The album comes as somewhat of a surprise, but early reaction, apparently, is quite high. I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of Spice's, but I am liking the idea and should it turn out to be anything like Riley's project, "Mecoustic", which was one of the year's finest - the results should be excellent. Also noteworthy in this case is that despite the kind of new tracklist, it appears as if several of the artist's favourites and biggest hits have been renamed, so pay careful attention if you're interested. 

CD + Digital 

{Note: The first person who makes an acoustic Soca album becomes an instant genius in my opinion}
The House of The Rising Sun Riddim [Dub Squad Productions] 

I don't know if I'm entirely familiar with the Dub Squad from out of France, but I do know that I'm now VERY unlikely to forget whether or not I'm unfamiliar with them, going forward, following the release of their excellent new riddim, the House of The Rising Run. Of course, the track is a take on a older one which is from a Folk-ish kind of tune, I believe, but Reggae fans would also be familiar as the incomparable Gregory Isaacs once also did a remake of the original track which was very popular. Isaacs, himself, is missing absent from Dub Squad's version directly, but they have assembled one of the most colourful Oneness-like, but not really Oneness, cache of artists on a single riddim this year to my opinion. VETERAN Rod Taylor leads a pack which also includes Omar Perry, Earl Zero, Solo Banton, a surging Zareb and Achis Reggae favourites Tiwony (who goes in English, primarily, on his tune 'Moonlight') and the crystal clear Mark Wonder. Also on board is the colourful Wildlife who channels the 'Kuul Ruler' [sic], on his tribute tune. I haven't made it through the entire thing (as expected, I reached Mark Wonder's tune, 'Born To Be King', and got STUCK), but I have a very good feeling about this one so beat me to the finish line and check it today. 

The Kickdown Riddim [Jugglerz Records]

As I've surely said in the past - anytime you draw artists on your album cover, you're going to be getting some of my attention - and it just so happens that this week we're looking at someone who was… the last ones to do it as well as Jugglerz Records from out of Germany chases their fine Street Soul Riddim from a few months back with their new Kickdown Riddim. As its title would suggest (at least I hope it would), the Kickdown brings a bit more of an than its elder 'sibling' did and, thankfully, Jugglerz have tapped a bag of some of the more appropriate names to handle the shift as well. The crowned Beenie Man headlines a group which also includes Elephant Man, Ward 21 [MAD!], Konshens, Fambo alongside Etzia, Teacha Dee, Cali P and a whole heap of others on this wonderfully chaotic (actual) Dancehall set which is destined for my workout playlist (once I make some room amongst the copious amounts of circa 2001 Bounty Killer I've been running to lately). 

"Hits After Hits Vol. 6" [Joe Frasier Records]

The beautiful and wonderful people at Joe Frasier Records are back with the latest installment of their sterling annual series, "Hits After Hits", and once again it features class artists with class tunes for a label from whom you have come to expect nothing less. "HAH", like almost everything from JFR (biggup abbreviations) features modern artists with more kind of old school centric pieces which are almost always Lover's Rock oriented and, for fans of the subgenre, are some of the best and most diverse vibes. This time around big artists like George Nooks (who has a new album of his own forthcoming), Marcia Griffiths, Sanchez, Lloyd Brown, Glen Washington, Lady G, Adele Harley, Fiona and Courtney John all turn in stellar efforts, with a few others as well for more big vibes from Joe Frasier Records.

CD + Digital 
The Poetry Riddim [All Connect Records] 

Rhian Morris and the fairly new All Connect Records (cool name) are up next as they jump in with the musical gold bar which is the Poetry Riddim this week. If I didn't make the point there well enough (and I didn't), the Poetry Riddim is OUTSTANDING. It may be one of the best riddims I've heard from anyone in 2012, speaking as just a musical composition and, thankfully, the riddim also serves as a nice backdrop for big and up and coming artists alike, most of whom give it the efforts it deserves. Lutan Fyah, Chezidek, Natty King, Determine and Lukie D are the biggest names you'll find here, but also do check nice tunes from the likes of Fyah Konkarah, Shallak and Climate, who also give the Poetry Riddim some of its more poetic moments (especially Climate whose 'Nothing At All' is fantastic). 

The Cross Fire Riddim [DJ Frass] 

I thought that this post need a little more of a BITE to it before we posted it so instead of writing up… the first one which I would forget before I started writing this thing, check out Frass' Cross Fire Riddim which is currently getting a great deal of attention. Surely that has something to do with the fact that the one riddim, in its brevity, carries Beenie Man, Capleton, Ele, Ninja Man and a… non-discriminating and BRILLIANT Kiprich who takes aim at pretty much everyone as his time of year slowly rolls around again with no obvious opponent.

"Dancehall Mixtape Vol. 1" [Tad's Records]

Just in case you're tired of waiting for "Strictly The Best" to roll around there is this plainly titled piece from Tad's, "Dancehall Mixtape Vol. 1", which features everything you think it does. There you go (biggup Bredz). 

'Stop Sign' by Konshens (single) [Subkonshus Music]

And lastly, check this week the official digital releasing of a tune which caught fire from a few months back, 'Stop Sign' by Konshens (who is having an EXCELLENT 2012, isn't he?). This is a good tune and Konshens well continues to impress in the year's second half just as he did here, in its first. 


Coming Soon
"Reggae" by Etana (EP) [VP Records]


Much like with the recently released "SLR" EP release from her label mate, Gyptian, VP Records is now set to release a full EP of a next of their artists with an album reportedly coming in early 2013, Roots princess, Etana, with "Reggae". Along with its title track which reached a few months back, the three-pieced EP also includes 'Play 2 Love [Star Over]' which will also be included on the forthcoming "Strictly The Best #47" album and 'Better Tomorrow', which is slated to be title track of the August Town singer's third album. Her first two, "The Strong One" and "Free Expressions" were my choices as the best albums from the respective years, so I'm well looking forward to "Better Tomorrow", in the meantime there'll be this more than solid set to help the waiting time. Be sure to pick it up when it reaches. 

Releases on November 13 
The More Spiritual Riddim [Soul of The Lion] 

And finally coming soon this week is the extended version of something we told you about from a little while ago as the More Spiritual Riddim courtesy of Green Lion and our friends at Soul of The Lion is now set to make its full arrival. The starring tune here and first single is Mr. Williamz' wicked 'We Run England' [currently available as a digital single], but Williamz certainly isn't alone in enjoying this excellent reworked composition. He is joined by… himself, as his second tune on the track, 'Herbzman', is also very good and then big names roll in. The biggest of them is the brilliantly eccentric Perfect [Giddimani] who tells all 'Don't Be Afraid'. YT also comes through with his big social commentary, 'Save The Children'. And the limitlessly gifted Million Stylez provides the riddim with its title track, while the rising Kabaka Pyramid provides listeners with even more of  a reason to pay attention to his works with the big tune, 'New Year'. Also included is a clean version of the track with beautiful spices added from noted musicians Nambo Robinson and Everton Gayle. Although you wish it was quite a bit longer, this entire set is a very impressive piece where the old school and the new school meet and push excellent results. 

Releases on October 30 

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