Steady rocking reggae rhythms made to delight.
The Frightnrs are a Queens, NY rocksteady powerhouse that’ve had a serious influence on the modern ska/rocksteady/reggae scene. Just as ska had waves of revival, I have my fingers tightly crossed at the prospect of a rocksteady revival, and it seems to be happening. Slowly, as rocksteady would do.
The Frightnrs’ 2016 full-length Nothing More To Say is thoroughly sold out, well known, and objectively excellent, so I figured I’d dig up something equally great but potentially far less exposed. This June 2012 EP, released on Diplo’s Mad Decent label, isn’t housed on Spotify but can be found on bandcamp or at the end of this post.
The stellar Duff’s Guide to Ska review on this helped me out a bit here. Reggae production legends Victor “Ticklah” Axelrod and Agent Jay played roles on the EP, combined with the powerfully ranged vocals of the late Dan Klein, so you know the feel is strong, authentic & tight. Analog recording and adherence to traditional rocksteady sounds makes it oh-so-hard to tell that these tracks aren’t straight out of 60s. Surprisingly, they’re all originals but for ‘Walkin”, which versions Jackie Mittoo’s ‘Ram Jam‘.
“ties been severed” is quirky, minor, and personal favorite song of mine. I first heard it as background on a ska dancer’s Instagram. She seemed to get really frustrated that folks were asking for the song title (probably because it happens on every post, every day), but this was so good that I just had to know. Thank goodness for internet trolls – one responded that it was the Frightnrs. I had a huge “doh!” moment… but this was all before I had Bandcamp (or the wherewithall to explore outside of Spotify) for releases I didn’t know about yet.
I’m glad that the internet carried me safely to the Frightnrs, who are carrying rocksteady into the soundsystems of the future. This EP mostly speaks for itself, so get yourself into the riddim, and let me know if it’s carrying you someplace new!
03 – ‘ties been severed‘
Give it a listen:
Released June 29, 2012