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Review: Dennis Brown The Promised Land 1977-1979

Label: Blood & Fire

Like nearly all Dennis Brown albums, The Promised Land has a mix of great tunes and filler tracks: in general this is an above-average to very good collection. For roots reggae fans, the backing tracks are uniformly stellar Studio One creations, featuring the best of the best: Sly, Robbie, Horsemouth, Chinna, Sticky, Flabba and more. This collection combines Joseph's Coat of Many Colours and various singles from Brown's own DEB label in the late '70s. As usual, Blood & Fire's reissue packaging is excellent, loaded with great liner notes, an interview with Brown and more. Read more » 

Review: Bad Company UK Shot Down on Safari

Label: System

I interviewed Bad Company for XLR8R a few years ago, and they are nice guys. They've been making some of the meanest sounding shit I've ever heard for years now, but they still manage to sneak in some funky little polyrhythms and the odd soulful track here and there for flavor. Ripping basslines and chopped up amens are in evidence as always, but hey, Bad Company is nothing if not consistent. Just check out the included bonus Best Of The Bad mixed-CD if you don't believe me. Read more » 

Review: Tony Allen Homecooking

Label: Narada

The drummer who helped Fela Kuti launch a musical revolution from Nigeria in the '60s and '70s returns with yet another powerful piece of evidence that Afrobeat is here to stay. Since striking out on his own, Allen has brought his distinctive drumming style to whatever genre he investigates. On Homecooking, the soul production might lack some of the raw fire of his '70s recordings, but here, Allen's signature bubbling snare patterns are introduced to hip-hop, with British/Nigerian MC Ty transposing the revolution into a contemporary context. Funky and uplifting. Read more » 

Review: Alejandra & Aeron Bousha Blue Blazes

Label: Orthlorng Musork

From their earliest Lucky Kitchen releases, Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman's take on computer music has been extraordinarily personal. Their subtle combination of processing and recordings culled from everyday life is far removed from the stereotype of factory-stamped interchangeability in electronic music. Their latest release is constructed around recordings of Aeron's grandmother, Bousha, who sings and plays a very out-of-tune piano on several of the album's songs. Read more » 

Review: Adult. Anxiety Always

Label: Erstaz Audi

When you get the paranoid sense that these 21st-century schemes have us all stuck in a future gone stark-flippin' wrong, it's nice to severely nod your head to some Adult. and pretend to laugh at yourself while blowing off legitimate steam at the same time. Following up their debut full-length, Resuscitation, husband and wife Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller continue to pump you up with fatty lines of analog synth, drum-machine ricochets and stern irony, this time in a more ominously clockworked frenzy. Like cogs in the system secretly in control of the whole mechanism, Adult. Read more » 

Review: Susumu Yokota Over Head

Label: Play

Susumu Yokota is a little bipolar. On productions for his Skintone imprint (licensed by the Leaf Label), Sublime, Exceptional and even Harthouse, he's alternated between dance music and pure ambiance, exploring house, techno, disco and broken beat on the one hand, and deep, beatless sonorities on the other. Over Head sees Yokota's twin selves finally meeting up. The album's 10 tracks splice bells, traditional drums, mountain-spring-clear tones, and eerie, faraway voices into a careful churn propelled by techno's pulse and destabilized by broken beat's Brazilian swing. Read more » 

Review: Supernatural The Lost Freestyle Files

Label: Babygrande

It's all about winning combinations: armed with mental stamina and a formidable gift o' gab, Supernatural can cut down just about any opponent and cipher as though he'd written the lyrics ahead of time. Fans have been waiting for this premiere MC's freestyle files since 1994, the year Supernatural was slated to drop an improvisational album recorded in one straight take. For reasons unexplained, Supernatural retreated into relative obscurity, and didn't unleash The Lost Freestyle Files until now. Read more » 

Review: Adrian Sherwood Never Trust a Hippy

Label: Real World

Using subtle filters, complicated audio transformations and stereo manipulations, London dub hooligan Adrian Sherwood brings the music into the 21st century. Sherwood's been around for a long time, using his On-U-Sound label and collaborations with others on a variety of projects, among them Tackhead, Dub Syndicate, Bim Sherman and Samia Farah. On what is remarkably his first solo album after two decades of collaborative productions, he keeps the quality level high while paying even more attention to the minutia. Read more » 

Review: Calibre Peso

Label: Signature

With so many tunes floating around on plate but nowhere near enough being released, Calibre (one of my favorite producers!) has finally taken matters into his own hands by starting his own label, and what a way to kick things off! The latin-tinged roller "Peso," backed with the infamous, Bob Marley-sampling "My Chance," have been doing the damage on dancefloors all over the world. This is already one of the scene's best labels and its only just begun! Buy on sight!! Read more » 

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