Nov 29, 2014
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VIDEO: Watch Hollie Cook Perform Live at the Google Offices

Words by Jesse Serwer

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Hollie Cook’s first US tour is officially history after wrapping up this weekend in Los Angeles. But there’s still an opportunity to catch a performance even if you missed all the shows. Following night two of the tour in Boston, Hollie and The Next Level Band stopped into Google’s offices in that city for a performance on the Talks at Google series, running an entire set’s worth of tunes, from her debut single “Milk and Honey” to tracks off her new album, Twice, like “99,” which she reveals here, is about eating ice cream.

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LargeUp Premiere: Horseman’s “Dawn of the Dread” LP

Words by Jesse Serwer

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Halloween and reggae might seem like a strange pair, but there’s a whole history of ghoulishly irie tunes out there, from Ernie Smith’s “Duppy or Gunman” to the whole Scientist Rids the World of the Curse of the Evil Vampires LP. (See our “Duppies and Vampires” Toppa Top 10 countdown for some more favorites). Adding to that legacy now is Dawn of the Dread, the first album from London-based drummer and vocalist Horseman.

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Toppa Top 10: Ten Sitcom Stars with Caribbean Roots


Words by Jesse Serwer
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R.I.P.: John Holt, 1947-2014

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Reggae (and, perhaps equally, rocksteady) lost one of its great voices this weekend, in the late, great John Holt. Holt had at least three distinct eras in his career, and chances are you know his work from one, if not all of them.

The singer, who began working with producer Leslie Kong as a teenager in the early 60s, came to prominence as a member of Jamaican vocal group the Paragons, which he joined in 1964. The group (which also included a young Bob Andy) recorded some of the most seminal hits of the rocksteady era, working with producer Duke Reid at Treasure Isle, including “The Tide Is High,” which Holt wrote, and which was later made into a worldwide hit by Blondie. In the ’70s, Holt became known as something of a covers specialist, recording several popular cover albums with names like 1,000 Volts of Holt, and turning tracks like Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” into lite reggae gold. Embracing Rastafari, in later years he would take on a more defiant tone with his music, as exemplified in his 1983 protest “Police in Helicopter.” Here’s a look at a very small handful of Holt’s most notable tunes.

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Phone Tap: Deejay Theory Remixes Chan Dizzy’s “Calling All Girls”

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Dutty Artz, the Brooklyn-based label behind releases from Jahdan Blakkamoore, DJ/Rupture and others, dropped Chan Dizzy’s “Calling All Girls” earlier this year, as a preview of the forthcoming collaborative LP between NY producers Matt Shadetek and Robzilla. This week the label drops a full EP of remixes for the Robzilla-produced track, including a predictably fuego version from our own Deejay Theory that blends the driving arrangements of mid-aughts dancehall (dramatic synth stabs, cell phone chirps) and something more modern and moombahton-y.

Stream Theory’s remix below, and pre-order the EP (also featuring mixes from Kush Arora, Samrai and Love Taps) here via Bandcamp or iTunes.

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VIDEO: Christopher Ellis’ “Roller Coaster”

Words by Jesse Serwer

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Christopher Ellis is rocksteady royalty. But the son of the great Alton Ellis has been making a name for himself recently, with a soulful sound that sits somewhere between reggae and the retro R&B vibes of an Aloe Blacc. If you were at last year’s Okayplayer Holiday Jam you might have seen Chris jamming with the Roots on a cover of his pops’ classic “I’m Still in Love With You.”

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