Review: Given that few clubs are open worldwide, it feels wrong to talk about potential 2020 summer anthems. That said, were dancing outside under a blanket of stars be allowed, we have no doubt that Social Lovers' new single would be getting plenty of spins. Warm, synth-heavy and sweet, it's a deliciously good lover's rock style cover of Evelyn "Champagne" King's '80s electrofunk classic "Love Come Down". Over on the flip the fast-rising outfit offers up another killer cover, re-imagining Sha-Lor's 1988 garage-house gem "I'm In Love" as a super-smooth and dreamy slab of proto-house/80s soul fusion rich in Fairlight stabs, spacey synth riffs and warming chords. Don't sleep on this one: it's a genuine gem.
Review: More from the bulging back catalogue of Park Rangers, an obscure Japanese reggae band who have spent the last decade delivering surprising cover versions of well-known pop, rock and disco songs. On side A there's another chance to wonder at their 1960s rocksteady style re-make of Pharrell Williams' mega-hit happy, in which the Neptunes star's lead vocal is replaces with a cheery Hammond organ solo. It's the kind of cover that can't help but put a smile on your face. The same could be said about their similarly minded flipside cover of Prince classic 'Kiss'. While it's not as instantly recognisable, it has a similar feel thanks to the band's canny fusion of tuneful Hammond organ solos and retro-futurist reggae riddims.
Review: This year's Record Store Day also happens to mark 40 years since Bob Marley put out one of his most enduring tunes. 'Redemption Song' carries the same emotional weight now as it always has and on this special, limited edition clear vinyl it comes backed with a band version as well as a live version of 'I Shot The Sheriff.' It's all about that A-side, though, with its acoustic guitars, a subtle backing for Marley's pained and vulnerable vocals. The band version is fleshed out with some swaggering dub and the live version of 'I Shot The Sheriff' is filled with atmosphere and noodling bass riffs.
Review: First released on CD way back in 1998 and now getting a deserved reissue on wax, "Sacred Art of Dub Volume 1" sees two of Britain's longest-serving dub outfits - Alpha & Omega and Jah Shaka affiliate Russell Bell-Brown AKA The Disciples - put a new spaced-out spin on each other's weighty, bassbin-bothering riddims. It offers a great snapshot of late '90s UK dub, with highlights including the hot-stepping, Melodica-sporting dancefloor goodness of "Philosophers Stone", the weighty bass and soulful vocals of "Dancing On A Rainbow", the rolling, snare-heavy roll of "Elixir" and the cheery digi-dub business of jaunty bonus cut "Eternal Dub".
Review: Indica Dubs and Music Mania link up once more for their 18th release, which comes from two of the UK dub top legends and pioneers in Alpha & Omega and The Disciples. This album was first put out in 1998, but only in CD format. Now two deuces later it makes its first ever appearance on vinyl and is as crucial as ever, with its crisp and fresh, steel plated dub sounds and warrior leads. The iconic 'Roaring Lion' is a well known anthem in the dub scene, loved and admired by all, so gets a welcome inclusion and is sure to once again be heard everywhere as soon as we can enjoy some real life sound system action .