Les Barbeaux - Soleil (Irfan/Self-published)
Every time yours truly thinks he knows every mestizo band out there, a next one turns up to prove us wrong.
Bellowhead - Hedonism (Navigator Records)
Real folkies we'll never become, but occasionally we like to make an exception.
The Mighty Fishers - High Four EP (Self-published)
This 'High Four' EP is the calling card of The Mighty Fishers, Hungary's first and, for now, only rocksteady band made up of musicians who earned their spurs with bands like Three Teadies, Dubaku Band or Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra.
Various Artists - Musica Contra La Represion: En Defensa Del Movimiento De Derechos Animales (Kasba Music)
One of the most remarkable occurrences this year was the erection of the tent camps by the Occupy-movement or, here in Europe, the Indignados.
I-Trinity-I - Reggaeality (Keyzit/Diasopora Rockers)
I Trinity I is, you guessed it, a trio, composed of Just One Fya and Kulcha I (together already active with K2R Riddim) and ManCris.
Fanfaraï - Raï Cuivré (Tour N Sol)
Fanfaraï is a bit of a maverick in the world of raï music; not only because of the instruments they use - trumpet, sax, tuba and trombone supplemented with percussion (darbuka, congas, tabl, krakebs, tarija) - but also because the band is not afraid to supplement the rhythms from the Maghreb with influences from the Balkans and Latin America.
Black Truth Rhythm Band - Ifetayo (Soundway Records)
Judging from its cover, you might assume 'Ifetayo' is yet another reissue of a vintage African album, but even though the Black Truth Rhythm Band was definitely Afrocentric in nature - a philosophy the band members followed through down to the clothes they wore - it was very much a Caribbean band from Trinidad (something real music connoisseurs will notice immediately due to the use of the steel drum in some songs).
Sic Bo - Sic Bo (Self-published)
The fact there is still a big gap between the Belgian ska and reggae scene, is yet again proven by the fact that yours truly had never heard of Sic Bo, nor of the band that preceded it, The Skavengers.
Gregory Isaacs - The African Museum + Tad's Collection Vol. I & II (Tad's Record)
After VP Records, Tad's Record is now also devoting attention to the work of the Cool Ruler.
Gregory Isaacs - Reggae Anthology: The Ruler 1972 - 1990 (17 North Parade/VP Records)
Gregory Isaacs couldn't stay without his own anthology tribute, that much is sure.
Various Artists - The Original Sound Of Cumbia: The History Of Colombian Cumbia & Porro As Told By The Phonograph 1948 - 79 (Soundway Records)
For this new Soundway Records release, a collection of Colombian cumbia and porro from the period 1948 - 1979, you'd better take your time, because listening to all of the 55 tracks (meticulously compiled over a period of several years by Will 'Quantic' Holland) will soon set you back a couple of hours.
Shazalakazoo - Karton City Boom (Eastblok Music)
We always look forward to the releases of Berlin's Eastblok Music label and this time they're presenting us Shazalakazoo or the eccentric Serbian duo Milan Djuric and Uros Petkovic who describe their club-oriented version of Balkan music as folkstep: a mix of classic Balkan melodies, Latin American rhythms, influences from the Arab world and a lot of electronics.
Phil Pratt - Dial M For Murder, In Dub Style (Pressure Sounds)
Apart from the fact 'Dial M For Murder, In Dub Style' is a classic dub production by Phil Pratt featuring a lot of good folk (Sly & Robbie, Bobby Kalphat, Ansell Collins, Tommy McCook, Herman Marquis.
Samueliko Y Los Guailers - 30 De Febrero (Kasba Music)
'30 De Febrero' is yet another release from the mestizo-stable of the Spanish Kasba Music label, even though Samueliko Y Los Guailers (a word play on The Wailers?) very resolutely opt for classic rumba catalana and prefer to describe their music as "rumba gamberra" or "hooligan rumba".
Atri N'Assouf - Akal (Self-published)
The fact the Sahara desert is far from a no man's land devoid of life, is proven by the number of Tuareg-acts that continue to sprout from the area.
The Strides - Reclamation (Record Kicks)
The Strides, a colorful bunch from Sydney, finally puts Australia on the reggae map.
Tom Fire - The Revenge (Chapter Two Records/Wagram)
The tracks on 'The Revenge' can roughly be divided into two categories: on the one hand there are the solo tracks for which Tom Fire created an instrumental poppy electro dub universe, and on the other hand, there are the songs for which he collaborated with a number of guest vocalists.
Derajah & The Donkey Jaw Bone - Paris Is Burning (Chapter Two Records/Wagram)
The debut album of Derajah - the young boboshanti always accompanying the Inna De Yard All Stars - should originally have appeared on Makasound, but the bankruptcy of the label decided otherwise and 'Paris Is Burning' remained in the racks.
Various Artists - Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood Recordings)
Sometimes a title already says more than enough and that's definitely the case with 'Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues', because for this double album Gilles Peterson continues his quest for new Cuban talent, adding a successful sequel to 2009's 'Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, New Cuba Sound' and like on that first double album, the first disc of this compilation is reserved for the more jazzy arrangements while the second one focusses more on urban vibes (though that distinction this time is not always that clear).
The Moon Invaders - The Thin Line (Grover Records)
With 'The Thin Line' The Moon Invaders celebrate their 10th anniversary and although the brothers Hardison actually grew up in Belgium, they were born in New Orleans, a place they will probably never be able to let go.