Sounds of the Universe in Soho, London
New York and London are the musical capitals of the world, but London has the upper hand since it’s also the reggae capital of the world, second to Kingston of course.
Two weeks ago I was in London and had the opportunity to visit no less than 15 record shops all over town, well almost anyway. I was in Notting Hill, Soho, Camden and Islington. I didn’t have the time to head down to Brixton, so that’s on the list for my next visit.
Before coming to London I had realized that a lot of the shops have closed, just as all over the world. But I still had a list with almost 30 shops. And the list was pretty reliable. Only one shop was closed – Intoxica in Notting Hill. All others were there and usually offered a good selection of reggae. Almost always at very high prices though.
That was however not the case with Haggle Vinyl in Islington. The shop probably shuts its doors at the end of the year and its infamous and outspoken owner sold all records for £5 each. Fortunately he still carried lots of reggae albums and yes, I bought way too much. I left the shop with 22 albums and a laughing wife.
Honest Jon’s in Notting Hill.
If you’d like to know which record shops I visited head over to Instagram and take a look.
Trinibagoan Londoner Franz Job recently dropped another fine EP. It follows the Curtis Lynch-produced five tracker Rebel Lover Boy released in April.
I Love London is produced by Franz Job himself and available for free download over at Soundcloud. It hosts five tracks, including a re-make of Living in the Land Glory, originally cut for Rebel Lover Boy.
Highlights include the calls for non-violence and unity and equality in Brother Brother (Drop Your Guns) and It’s Enough as well as the skanking and rocking Wrapped Up in Jehova with its catchy oooh’s.
Head over to Soundcloud immediately and grab yourself a copy.
One of this year’s best releases is Alpheus ska and rocksteady set From Creation. Now there’s a new album in a similar style – Music is Medicine from London’s The Sidewalk Doctors.
Music is Medicine is their debut album and includes nine authentic rocksteady and ska-styles tunes fused with lead singer Nathan Thomas’ soft, almost whispering, voice.
This production is straightforward and non-polished. The organ is – as it should be – in the front seat on several songs, and the piano hook on With You is nicely borrowed from The Uniques’ My Conversation.
Music is Medicine might not be as great as From Creation, but it’s certainly a nice change to hear reggae that is not roots or dancehall these days.