The Heartwarming Riddim [Akom Records - 2013]
First up this month (…because I forgot to put it on the other thing) (at least I think I did) (nevermind, just ignore that), is the latest creation of the ALWAYS dependable Akom Records, who make their 2013 debut with the FINE Heartwarming Riddim. This track is one cool and colourful piece of one-drop which makes for an excellent foundation for fine vocalists such as Million Stylez, Chezidek, Pressure Busspipe (whose 'Nah Bow Out' tops the riddim in my opinion), Ras Mac Bean, Jah Marnyah and others. As they've constantly shown in the past, Akom does extremely good work and the Heartwarming Riddim continues their winning streak.
"7 Year Itch" by Protoje [Don Corleon Records - 2011]
The great thing about putting out a new album when you don't have several hundreds to your credit already is that doing so really opens up anything else you've done to that point and suddenly makes it crucial again. That's well been the case with Protoje who just recently delivered album #2, the incredibly well received "The 8 Year Affair". For the sake of doing that review, it took me back in the direction of his debut set, "7 Year Itch". That's a good thing, I really did like that album (and we've actually now had a couple of readers say that they thought the first was better than the second) and it does contain songs such as 'Dread', 'Arguments' and 'Rasta Love' alongside Ky-Mani Marley which're still, very much, Protoje's signature songs (although he is currently in the process of making new signs with the new album - check both).
CD + Digital
"iSpaniard" by Bunji Garlin [Bunji Garlin - 2012]
It hasn't been so much this album as much as it has been Bunji Garlin in general. Although neither he nor the Letter F competed this year, they both turned in, as usual, fine 2013 seasons ["they put their hands up to de sky!!!"] ["we ready fi de rooooooooooooad!"]. Last year, however, Bunji was arguably in an even finer form which would lead to his first album release in quite a few years, the increasingly AWESOME "iSpaniard". While Machel Montano would deliver the much more celebrated double release, "Double M", which was a good album, to me there was no question, "iSpaniard" was THE best Soca album of the year with big tunes such as 'Tun Up', 'Bam Bam', 'Born Ready', 'So & So', 'Mash Up' ["mash up the party, let dem rags kick like karate. MASH UP! Mash up de party. Mi doh care if you over forty!"] and more still. Garlin also apparently has something planned for this year as well, which sounds… like I'd like to not have to wait for it, "Origins: The Groundation Way", but until then, his most recent piece, "iSpaniard", perhaps quietly, was clearly one of his best albums to date.
CD + Digital
"World Crisis" by Norris Man [JetStar Records - 2003]
Obviously Norris Man's third album, "World Crisis", has been the largest 'remainder' from our recent dig into his catalog, "Discography: Norris Man" and I'm not at all complaining about it. As I mentioned, I'm likely the biggest fan this album ever made in its day and almost any excuse I can find to pull it up again is a good thing. Definitely the tune which has grabbed the lion's share of my attention has been 'Far From The Light'. I'm thinking now that I do not recall this tune ever being so nice and that it may just be one of my favourite from the chanter's entire career. It's excellent and it's not the only thing here deserving of such a descriptor. Should this album continue to progress on my tastes at its current rate, eventually I'll stop wondering what I'm hearing start looking at everyone else - wondering what they weren't. BOOM!
CD + Digital
"We Muzik" [Precision Productions - 2012 & 2013]
And finally, I've been having a HEALTHY dose of what quickly seems to have become the single most dependable official Soca compilation, "We Muzik" from what… quickly seems to have become the most dependable Soca studio (with respect to a handful of others ), professional hitmakers, Precision Productions. The series, which is now three installments deep, began just last year with Vol. 1 [DUH!] [shocking that it didn't begin with Vol. 2!] and, in terms of consistency, was the best Soca compilation of the year that I know of (and there were some good ones last year also). I'd actually forgotten about Vol. 2, but it was a FANTASTIC idea they did. Vol. 2 (and hopefully every even numbered edition of this series, going forward), took things out of Trinidad (for the most part) and, in doing so, highlighted BIG tunes from the likes of Tian Winter (who actually had FOUR songs on the project), Teddyson John, Alpha, Alison Hinds alongside Mr. Dale, El-A-Kru and even Mr. Killa and Anthony B. The most recently released #3 focused back on the recent 2013 Trinidad Carnival season and, just like its predecessor, featured some of the biggest names in the genre with Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Destra, Nadia Batson, Iwer George, Blaxx, Benjai, Kerwin Du Bois and others appearing between "WM" #1 and #3. So! If you want to relive the moment of a couple of GREAT seasons now (and you have no excuse not to want to!), definitely check out the "We Muzik" series from Precision Productions.
CD + Digital [Vol. 1]