Me And My Friends - Look Up (Split Shift Records)
The sound of British band Me And My Friends immediately evoked memories of Oi Va Voi and Paul Simon at the time of 'Graceland' is never far away either.
Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanics - Zivot (Jasha! Records)
On 'Cigaros Explosivos', the 2014 album debut by Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanics, the Swiss band presented a refreshing mix of Balkan influences with Cuban rhythms. In the years that followed, whenever he was not touring, Jaro Milko travelled to countries like Greece, Turkey and Israel, and those musical influences have also made their way into the musical mix of the band.
Verse iTal - 100% Roots (Blu Skyz Entertainment)
After the release of his 2015 'Truth & Substance' EP, things around Trinidadian singer Verse iTal seemed to quiet down again, but this '100% Roots' album proves that we certainly shouldn't write him off yet.
Paolo Baldini DubFiles meets Mellow Mood - Large Dub (La Tempesta Dischi)
Just before the end of the year, the Italian La Tempesta Dischi label still spoils us with 'Large Dub', a dub version of the new album by Italian formation Mellow Mood, which was released in April of this year.
Various Artists - Zamaan Ya Sukkar: Exotic Love Songs And Instrumentals From The Egyptian 60's + Abderrahman El Khamissi - Music From The Soundtrack 'Respectable Families' EP (Radio Martiko)
Similarly to labels like Analog Africa and Soundway Records, Ghent based Radio Martiko has been digging into the vinyl history of the Middle East and Africa for a number of years now.
Black Symbol - Behold (Sugar Shack Records)
Four years after his comeback album 'Journey', Brummie reggae legend Black Symbol returns with 'Behold', an album for which he got assistance from Steel Pulse vocalist/keyboard player Selwyn Brown and sound engineers Angus Jones and Wooligan.
Oi Va Voi - Memory Drop (Oi Va Voi Recordings/V2)
Almost ten years have passed since the release of Oi Va Voi's excellent 'Travelling The Face Of The Globe' album, and we had actually given up on the project of Londoners Josh Breslaw and Steve Levi.
Capital Letters featuring JB - Judgement Day (Sugar Shack Records)
During the recording of their 2015 release 'Wolverhampton' the then recently reunited Capital Letters split again and the vocal contributions of lead vocalist Danny 'Teacher' McKenzie were even removed last minute just before the album hit the shelves. For this successor Sugar Shock Records wanted to avoid all possible confusion and controversy, so the cover neatly states: Capital Letters featuring JB.
Shiran - Shiran (Batov Records)
The Israeli Batov Records label already introduced us to Sandman Project and now also presents this untitled debut album by Shiran.
Fofoulah - Daega Rack (Glitterbeat Records)
For the successor of their 2014 self-titled debut album, London-based Fofoulah, a project around Gambian sabar drummer Kaw Secka and keyboardist/saxophonist Tom Challenger, took a slightly different approach.
Natural Mighty - Reflection Of My Dreams (Khanti Records/Pias)
Their 2015 'Good Time' EP, our first encounter with the Parisians of Natural Mighty, did not really leave a lasting impression at the time, but with this new album the French band clearly seems to have found a second wind.
Savages Y Suefo - Brotherhood (Agogo Records)
Who still remembers Hungarian producer-duo Savages Y Suefo? In 2012, when the Balkan hype was still at its peak, they created a highly infectious cross-over album called 'World-Style', which seamlessly merged genres like reggae, swing, electro, and, of course, gypsy music.
Yom And The Wonder Rabbis - You Will Never Die! (Buda Musique/Full Rhizome/Planètes Rouges)
We knew French clarinetist Yom as the man behind the rather melancholic album 'Songs For The Old Man', or as guest musician on 'Boukane' by folk gypsy hip-hop crossover band Lolomis, but in 2010 he also founded Yom And The Wonder Rabbis, a project aimed on blasting the klezmer genre into the twenty-first century by adding electric bass, drums and electronics.
Sandman Project - Royal Family EP (Batov Records)
For Sandman Project, Israeli guitarist Tal Sandman surrounded herself with a number of befriended and like-minded musicians.
D-Prezzy - Black Diamond EP (MacLes Music Factory Productions/Zojak World Wide)
We're always happy to be able to introduce a new artist from the stable of MacLes Music Factory, and this time that's D-Prezzy, a Belgium-based Jamaican from Spanish Town.
Proof Of Life - Free Your Mind EP (Roots Musician Records)
Musically speaking, for the time being Texas may still mostly be known as the Mecca of country and Tejano music, but the American state is also home to a budding reggae scene. Only a few months ago, the Roots Musician Records label presented 'Not Afraid', Th3rd Coast Roots' debut EP, and now E.N. Young does the same for Proof Of Life, a six-piece band from Corpus Christi.
The Driftaways - Gas Money (Self-published)
The Driftaways are a band from St. Louis, Missouri, the so-called Midwest of the United States. The band started out as a trio in 2011, but in recent years has expanded into a full-fledged six-piece outfit, present their second album with 'Gas Money'.
Talisman - Nothing Change: The Best Of Talisman 1977-2018 (Sugar Shack Records)
After in recent years re-releases of British band Talisman's early work appeared on sister label Bristol Archive Records, and the band has clearly found a second wind with 2013s 'I-Surrection' and its 2017 successor 'Don't Play With Fyah', Sugar Shack Records now presents the career spanning compilation album 'Nothing Change: The Best Of Talisman 1977-2018'.
Black Roots - Take It (Khanti Records/Pias/Nubian Records)
British roots institute Black Roots seems to have been reduced from a quintet to a quartet, but don't let that spoil the fun, as with 'Take It' the band prove they're still a force to be reckoned with!
Jungle By Night - Livingstone (New Dawn/Rush Hour)
One could compare Dutch band Jungle By Night with Brazilian Bixiga 70, as both bands play a purely instrumental repertoire and just as the sound from São Paulo based band Bixiga 70 in recent years has evolved from fairly pure afrobeat to a layered puzzle of different musical influences, the boys from Amsterdam have not been idle either, and spiced up their original recipe of Ethio-jazz and afrobeat with influences from krautrock, electro and jazz.