SistaSara - Space Stepper EP (Dub-O-Phonic)
Yours truly got to know Italian-Nigerian Sarah Fugue aka SistaSara back in 2017 thanks to her self-released 'Creation' album. For 'Space Stepper' she joined forces with the Cypriot Dub-O-Phonic label, and this 5 track EP is meant as a foretaste for her soon to be released 'Universal' album.
Gingermon - Baked To Perfection (Self-published)
For our first American reggae release of the New Year, we're heading to Cleveland, Ohio, home of Gingermon, the alter-ego of singer-songwriter Tim Gandee, presenting his second album with 'Baked To Perfection'.
Ustad Saami - God Is Not A Terrorist (Glitterbeat Records)
For this fifth part in their Hidden Musics series, Glitterbeat Records this time travelled to Karachi, where they met up with seventy-five year old musician Ustad Saami.
Echoes Of Zoo - First Provocations EP (Self-published)
Echoes Of Zoo is the new project around saxophonist Nathan Daems, for the occasion flanked by jazz guitarist Bart Vervaeck, bassist Lieven Van Pée and drummer Falk Schrauwen.
Electric Circus - Canicola (New Model Label)
'Canicola' (Italian for 'heatwave') is the third album by Electric Circus, a band from Trentino, in Italy, which started as a trio back in 2013, but has since expanded into a quintet.
Julio Montoro Y Alma Latina - Black Roots (Tumi Music)
Julio Montoro is a Cuban multi-instrumentalist who in the past toured, among others, with Orchesta Reve and La Charanga Habanera, and for a while worked with Afro-Cuban All Stars voice Felix Baloy. In 2014 Julio already presented his solo debut 'Alma Latina' and on successor 'Black Roots' that album title seems to have evolved into the name of Montoro's band as well as his personal studio in Havana.
Jaune Toujours - Europeana (Choux De Bruxelles)
In the current sociopolitical climate, some bands and artists have almost become an anachronism and that both musically and in terms of content. Take Brussels based Jaune Toujours for example, which for more than twenty years has been steering its own course and after more than five years is presenting a new album with 'Europeana'.
Jahbar I - Jahbar I Dehya (Wizkilful Productions)
Our last album review for this year is for 'Jahbar I Dehya', the long-playing debut of Jahbar I.
Various Artists - Step Forward Youth: Roots Masters From The 'Punky Reggae Party' (Greensleeves)
For once, their 'Strictly The Best' compilation will only be released in the new year, so Greensleeves/VP Records ends 2018 with 'Step Forward Youth', zooming in on the relationship between punk and reggae.
uKanDanZ - Yeketelale (Buda Musique)
After 2012s 'Yechelal' and 2016s 'Awo', the third album by French Ethio-crunch ensemble uKanDanZ is appropriately titled 'Yeketelale', Amharic for "it continues".
MoZaiq - MoZaiq EP (Roots Musician Records)
This last release for 2018 on producer E.N. Young's Roots Musician Records label is once again a debut EP, this time by MoZaiq, a six-piece formation from La Quinta, a city in the Coachella Valley (see also Burnt), who describe themselves as: "...a group of broken guys joined to create beautiful art through music.".
ERROR 404 Band Not Found - Schmetterling (Self-published)
In terms of originality, band name ERROR 404 Band Not Found definitely stands out. The ten-piece Swiss brass band from Basel of course refers to the famous ERROR 404 you get when entering an invalid URL.
DubRaJah - Nilotic EP (Dub-O-Phonic)
The last Dub-O-Phonic release for this year is by label veteran DubRaJah, who with this 'Nilotic' EP continues along the path he'd already taken with 2014s 'Enkag' and 2017s 'Reprise'.
Ry-Co Jazz - Dansons... with le Ry-Co Jazz (Radio Martiko)
After exploring Cairo's musical nineteen sixties past on their previous releases, Radio Martiko now took the Congo-Brazzaville of just after its independence for 'Dansons.... avec le Ry-Co Jazz'.
Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band - Siri Ba Kele (Sublime Frequencies)
For the successor of 'Juguya', his long player debut full of steamy afrobeat and Afro-funk, Burkinabe Baba Commandant opted for a more traditional approach in which the Mandingo guitar was given a central role.
Os Catedráticos - Ataque (Far Out Recordings)
Composer, arranger, producer and keyboard player Eumir Deodato is widely regarded as one of Brazil's most productive musicians. Deodato can be heard on more than 500 albums including, among others, releases by Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, Frank Sinatra, Kool & The Gang, George Benson, Tom Jobim and Björk, but before he moved to New York in the late nineteen sixties, Eumir had already built up a great musical reputation in his own country where he collaborated with Roberto Menescal, João Donato and Marcos Valle. In that same period, he also recorded a number of albums with his own lesser known samba jazz and bossa nova ensemble Os Catedráticos, and from those releases it's mainly 'Ataque' which perfectly captures the magical groove of nineteen sixties Rio.
Feeling Kréyol - Las Palé (Strut Records)
'Las Palé' is the first international and fully remastered reissue of the debut album of Feeling Kréyol, a Guadeloupian girl group from the nineteen eighties.
La Banda del Panda - Rumba Bastarda (Kasba Music)
'Rumba Bastarda' is the third long player of La Banda del Panda, a six-piece mestizo band from Barcelona.
Gypsy Hill - Producing (Batov Records)
For the successor of their 2014 debut 'Our Routes' and remix version 'Their Routes', for 'Producing' Gypsy Hill, Israeli duo DJ Kobayashi and Herbert Newbert, opted to invite a musical guest for each track.
Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers - Magic Polaroid (Agogo Records)
German quintet Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers continue to evolve, straying ever further from the instrumental band they still were on 'Cranes And Carpets', their 2015 debut album.